Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

De-Escalate in Ukraine?

I might have a lot of opinions about what Russian President Putin seems to be about, but I hope he takes President Obama's call pretty seriously.

Here's the deal--I don't have to like Putin or what he's doing to acknowledge that levering his ass out of Ukraine isn't happening without a fight. I also don't have to buy into the idea that "The West" staged a coup (which is just bizarre to me, because did you see Yanukovych's pirate ship?) when Ukrainians had good reason to be aggrieved with their old leadership, to realize that there is an interest anywhere to be sure that people everywhere have a right to choose their government. And this point includes bigger countries not just taking over smaller countries just because. It's occasionally done, but it's not really a "done thing".

Getting back into a Cold War mentality seems unhelpful. Arming and "training" Ukraine (in what--reading the manuals of the arms we give them?) seems like the start of what could grow to a larger commitment. Also, if we did decide to go so far, what is the Russian response?   I'm not saying the whole thing looks like War Games except for reals and with better computers, but yeah--

I don't want to "play a game". Everybody would do better taking a big step back.

3 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Robert Parry has been right about many things over the decades.

So if I'm to choose between what he has to say about the Ukraine and the usual cast of liars and government toadies in our media, I'm taking Parry.
~

mikey said...

Two things are true, despite some artificial 'debate' about them.

First, large countries exert influence over their near abroad - usually termed 'regional hegemony', the regional hegemon uses economic, military and diplomatic intimidation to control their neighbors. If Mexico was considering joining the Warsaw Pact in 1985, you can be that the US response would have been vigorous.

Second, the push for NATO expansion up to Russia's borders was always clearly a bad idea. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was no real purpose for NATO and certainly no need for eastward expansion. It was an obvious ploy to poke the bear when the bear was weak, and it ultimately had the predictable response.

And for good measure, what is the indication that the Ukrainians would be doing any better if they had certain additional weapons and equipment? The Russians share a border with Ukraine - anything we pump in there they can much more easily match or exceed. The old saying is when you find yourself in a hole, quit digging. Escalating a war that simply cannot be won is kind of stupid, and my understanding was Obama's foreign policy is based on the philosophy of "don't do stupid shit"...

upyernoz said...

Second, the push for NATO expansion up to Russia's borders was always clearly a bad idea. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was no real purpose for NATO and certainly no need for eastward expansion. It was an obvious ploy to poke the bear when the bear was weak, and it ultimately had the predictable response

While I agree that NATO expansion up to Russia's borders is a mistake (I also think not inviting Russia to join NATO or abolishing NATO at the end of the cold war was a mistake), that is not what happened here (it is what happened when Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia all joined NATO). Ukraine had already ruled out ever joining NATO, it is one of the few things that all the major political parties agreed on, largely because it was deemed necessary to placate their large powerful neighbor. The Ukrainian parliament had passed a law barring the country from even entering into talks about joining NATO.

This crisis was about whether Ukraine would move towards joining the EU or the Russian-dominated EEU. Unlike NATO, the EU was never an anti-Russian alliance. On the contrary, nothing stopped Russia itself from applying to join (aside from Russia's aversion to the political and economic reforms it would require). A lot of people were aware that Russia wanted Ukraine in ithe EEU and not the EU, but few expected Russia to act so strongly against the EU idea when it had not done so when other of its neighbors either joined or took steps towards joining the EU. The EEU only came into existence at the beginning of 2015, so maybe Russia was worried that the economic union would not survive unless it had more members.