Today is Friday and the lesson is international relations……..I will begin with Ukraine…….
By now even the dimmest bulb in the pack knows that there is big trouble brewing in Ukraine…..almost daily there is a report or two of some sort of violence…..pro-Russian forces win some then lose some……and the pendulum swings to the Ukrainian government forces….they lose some and then win a couple…..all the while the world governments are doing what they do best…..very little………sanctions and moving troops around in a gigantic bluff.
There is a saying in international relations……”In international relations, in foreign policy, a great deal has to do with historical perspective, a great deal has to do with a sense and perception of the people.”
And there is the rub! All the well meaning people in the west are overlooking the people. The history of Ukraine also has been overlooked………the country we know as Ukraine came into being when the Soviet Union broke up into the smaller independent countries. In the past Ukraine has been part of many different empires…..except for a short time during WW2 when there was a sort of republic established…..did not last long…..the point is that they have not been on their own for very long and old habits die hard.
fast forward to today’s situation………it is the ultra-nationalists in the west of the country versus the pro-Russians in the east….and of course Russia has a vested interest in ukraine, after all it was called the “The breadbasket of the USSR”……and plus there is that warm water port that Russia has always coveted……and now the stage is set for what is brewing…..a civil war……..
This observation from Jason Ditz writing for Antiwar.com…………
Multiple funerals around eastern Ukraine and Odessa added a somber undertone to the ongoing protests and the military offensive against the protests, with a growing sense that the chances of a negotiated settlement are evaporating.
With scores killed Friday and over the weekend, Monday and Tuesday saw more of the same, with troops attacking the city of Slovyansk in the east, reports of dozens killed on each side, and the interim government scrambling to install anti-protester leaders in and around Odessa.
A week ago, both sides seemed to figure they had the other outfoxed, with the Ukrainian military figuring the protesters would eventually capitulate and the protesters figuring the Russian troops deployed just across the border would prevent Ukraine’s ramshackle military from trying anything too aggressive against them. Both were wrong.
Talks were looking less and less likely, and now seem virtually impossible, with the government ruling out letting the protesters attend the talks at all, and Russia ruling out participating without them.
Instead, in the absence of negotiations, protesters demanding reforms morphed into civil unrest and in some parts of the country a full-scale rebellion. Easterners see the government as too closely aligned with neo-Nazis, and the government has declared the ethnic Russian easterners “terrorists,” recruiting the neo-Nazis into an irregular force to attack them. A civil war seems not only possible, but increasingly difficult to avoid.
An another civil war in the world would be a disaster……..the whole system is breaking down…….but why is Ukraine important? In the grand scheme of globalization, does it really matter?
We could always make up some spurious excuse for interference…..kinda like Iraq…..in reality we created more problems than we solved……..could Ukraine have the same fate?
And I ask again…..does Ukraine really matter?
That question was answered by a piece written by John Glasner for antiwar.com……..
Over at Foreign Policy, Christopher J. Fettweis argues the hysteria in Washington over Ukraine is based on “pathological beliefs” about foreign policy. “The United States has no interest at stake in eastern Ukraine or Crimea,” Fettweis writes. “It is hard to imagine how any outcome here would affect the American people…”
Most importantly, Fettweis debunks the pervasive myth that the U.S. must do something to show its strength against Russia over Ukraine:
How we act now, it is commonly believed, can signal to Moscow (or to Beijing, or to Tehran) how we are likely to respond to provocations to come. Our inaction will encourage their belligerence.
There is a mountain of research from political science to suggest that this is an illusion, that credibility earned today does not lead to successes tomorrow and therefore is never worth fighting for. Others simply do not learn the lessons we wish to teach through our actions. Our rivals tend to believe that the United States will act in accordance with its national interest, rather than because of its reputation for resolve earned in previous crises. In fact, when countries back down in the face of provocation, often their rivals believe that they will be more aggressive in the future…
Worrying about the messages sent during this crisis, in other words, distracts us from what ought to be its central fact: Ukraine does not really matter.
I’ve written about the credibility mythnumerous times. In Reason back in March, I argued against the ridiculous notion that Putin decided to take action in Ukraine because of Obama’s failure to enforce his “red line” and bomb Syria several months earlier. The credibility canard is a issue that is largely settled in the scholarship, but continues to inflict analysis among politicians, strategists, and policy wonks.
Kudos to Fettweis for saying what nobody else in the mainstream dares to: Ukraine does not really matter.
So, does Ukraine matter in the grand scheme of things international?
Side note: After I composed this and saved it as a draft…….our boy Putin has confused the situation a bit more……..
Will pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine listen to Russia’s president? Leaders say their “people’s councils” will consider Vladimir Putin’s request to delay a referendum on autonomy scheduled for Sunday, the BBC reports. “We respect Putin’s stance,” says a pro-Russia leader in the eastern city of Donetsk.”He is a balanced politician. Therefore we will submit his proposal to the people’s council.” Millions of ballots have already been printed for the votes. More:
- Among the rebels, however, there is confusion and disbelief, the Guardian finds. One militia member in Slovyansk described Putin as a coward. “Instead of helping Russian people here, he is betraying us,” he says. “He will pay for this with a revolution in Red Square. Russian people will not stand by and watch this happen.”
- Putin also promised to pull Russian troops back from the Ukraine border, but NATO, the Pentagon, and the White House say they’ve seen no sign of this happening, reports Reuters. “We would certainly welcome a meaningful and transparent withdrawal,” a White House spokesman says. “To date, there has been no evidence that such a withdrawal has taken place.”
- While Ukraine appears to be back from the brink for now, Western governments are still pretty skeptical about Putin’s intentions, especially considering what happened in Crimea, the New York Times reports. Analysts suspects Putin wants to avoid chaos—and an expensive, bloody invasion—while still keeping eastern Ukraine in Moscow’s orbit. “He really promised nothing,” a political commentator in Moscow says. “He demonstrated that he controls the level of tension in Ukraine. He can return the situation to the high levels of violence at any moment. He did not refuse the referendum, but only proposed delaying it.”
Personally, I think it is a game of chess to Putin……..he appears to be reasonable and if Ukraine goes forth with military operations and more violence breaks out….he, Putin can step in and be the hero of the hour protecting the people of eastern Ukraine…….just my thought on the situation.
I have a thought on this situation and i shall share it later today.
Any one else with an opinion they would like to share?