Another Crimean War?


by Mustang

The background:

Most people today did not experience the tragedy and trauma of the last world war.  Less than half remember the dangers of the Cold War when two superpowers threatened one another with nuclear annihilation.  But even then, the American people seemed incapable of demonstrating wisdom in choosing their national leaders.

This matters because the president makes the final decision in foreign and domestic policies.  The question often asked is this: are we, as a people, better off today than we were in, say, 1945?  If we are honest with ourselves, the answer must be “no.”

Our honest answer has less to do with political parties than the utter ignorance of the people who choose their president.  Since 1945, we have had two bloody wars (Korea and Vietnam) and a series of smaller but more costly conflicts in the Middle East.  There was no American victory in either Korea or Vietnam, and we cannot say the U.S.-led coalition accomplished much toward preserving our true national interests in the Middle East, either.

We cannot lay our inept foreign policies at the feet of the American voter.  They do not influence the president’s choice of cabinet officers.  But we can criticize the American voter for choosing inept presidents who select their cabinet and whose “final say” makes us either more secure or less so.

President Joe Biden’s recent marathon presser revealed to the world what a horrible choice American voters made when they elected him president.  But Biden announced more than his incompetence.  He revealed that today’s world is as dangerous as ever.  Without much notice by anyone, Joe Biden has moved us closer to yet another major (regional) conflict.

Some Background

After a long period of domination by Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and Russia, we did not see a fully independent Ukraine until late in the last century.  In size, Ukraine is second only to Russia on the European continent.  Between 1921-1991, Ukraine was part of the U.S.S.R.  Today, around one-quarter of the people living in Ukraine are ethnic Russians — and this matters because Russia and Ukraine are in a state of war.Image preview

The issue confronting these two countries today has historical roots.  In 1783, Catherine the Great of Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula to secure warm-water access to the Russian heartland.  Control of the Crimean Peninsula and most present-day Ukraine (once known as “New Russia”) has served Russia in two fundamental ways.  First, the Black Sea area provides Russia with access to maritime trade with the countries surrounding the Black Sea and access to the Mediterranean Sea.  Second, Ukraine and Crimea provide a defense shield to the Russian heartland.

In 1990, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) involved fifteen countries of Eastern Europe comprising more than 8.6 million square miles.  The largest of these was Russia.  The next largest Soviet Republic was Ukraine.  When the U.S.S.R. collapsed in 1991, its fifteen separate republics declared their independence, and Russia lost most of its regional influence, particularly in the area of the Black Sea.

Bulgaria and Romania not only became independent nations, but they also joined the alliance of western European states known as NATO.  Worse for Russia, Georgia and Ukraine announced their intent to follow suit, and Turkey began to cultivate relationships with former Soviet republics, mainly Moslem and Turkic speaking countries, including Ukraine and Crimea (an autonomous state of Ukraine).

Within two decades, Russia began to feel the pressure of encroaching NATO states in the area of the Black Sea, significant because 15 buffer states no longer protected the Russian heartland.  When Georgia attempted to join the NATO alliance in 2008, Russia engineered a breakaway effort among ethnic Ossetians and then used those disturbances as a pretense for military intervention.

Similarly, Russia had no intention of allowing Ukraine to join the NATO alliance or control its access to the Black Sea region.  Consequently, in 2014, Russia invaded portions of Ukraine and seized and annexed the Crimean Peninsula for the second time.

Russia’s aggressive behavior toward both Georgia and Ukraine demonstrates its willingness to use military force to safeguard its interests in the Black Sea area.  It is also remarkably consistent with the behavior exhibited by the United States during the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis.

Today

The Crimean Peninsula has once more become a springboard of Russian power and influence in the Black Sea area and the Mediterranean region.  Turkey’s control of the Bosporus and Dardanelles (a choke point that might deny Russia’s access to the Mediterranean) explain why Russian President Vladimir Putin has been working to create a closer relationship with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  It works to Russia’s advantage that President Erdogan has become frustrated with the NATO alliance.

For Russia, homeland security and its ability to project its power and influence top all other considerations because Russia has a substantial economic interest in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.  The Black Sea is an important trade and transportation artery, and the port of Novorossiysk is vital to both Russia and Central Asian countries to export grain and oil.

Russia is investing in new infrastructure to protect its Black Sea trade corridor and create alternative routes to skirt Ukraine.  Experts believe that a series of oil and gas pipelines through Turkey will buttress Russian-Turkish ties, improve Russia’s leverage with Turkey, and provide Moscow with new export routes bypassing Ukraine.

What’s more, Russia is expanding its energy ties with Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia, giving Moscow a geopolitical weapon to undercut NATO influence in the Balkans.  Russia’s energy pipelines do generate revenues, but more than this, they are part of Moscow’s regional defense strategy.

The Russian economy is not Moscow’s only concern.  After viewing the accompanying linguistic/ethnic map, “civil disturbances” within Russian-speaking Ukrainian communities could “justify” further Russian military intervention (as in Georgia).  Should that happen, what could the NATO countries do about it?

Image preview

Today, Russia views Ukraine’s growing ties with NATO as a threat to its physical and economic security.  In the past, Russia has demonstrated no hesitance in using its military to defend its interests.  With that in mind, was President Biden wise to threaten Moscow with severe economic sanctions?

Cornered animals are dangerous.  Perhaps the situation would be less dangerous if the west was dealing with less pig-headed Russians and Ukrainians, and maybe it would help if there were adults sitting at the negotiating table.  Adversarial relations only keep everyone tense.  People who are tense shouldn’t have their hands on atomic triggers.

The attitudes reflected by NATO and Russian diplomats does not bode well for future relations between East and West, but as a practical matter, how should the west expect Moscow to react to NATO missiles in the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics?  What could possibly result from Russian/Ukrainian intransigence, NATO poking Russia with a stick, and Joe Biden’s incompetence?

35 Responses to “Another Crimean War?”

  1. Baysider Says:

    “was President Biden wise”? Well, the answer to that question is generally no, and this one is definitely no exception. On the other hand, Bunk makes an excellent observation about the distraction of a military action. Correctly timed – before it’s clear it’s one big clusterf**k – would be the trick for the 2022 elections.

    Excellent analysis. We tend to think of “those” countries as chunks of land and are barely familiar with their names on a list. We’ve recently completed 2 courses on histories from the central Asian steppes and their empires and 2 more that extended into the region. The movement, interactions, connections and histories together of a great mix of people is vastly beyond the imagination of the typical American. And CERTAINLY beyond the conception of the dunce in the white house OR his handlers.

    In 2005 retired general Hal Moore (Mel Gibson in We Were Soldiers Once) spoke at the West Point graduation. In a Q&A afterward he was asked about the war in Iraq and Donald Rumsfeld. His reply still applies today. Just substitute Ukraine for Iraq and Lloyd Austin for Donald Rumsfeld – IF he supports this lunacy. Moore: “The war in Iraq is not worth the life of even one American soldier. As for Secretary Rumsfeld, I never thought I would live long enough to see someone chosen to preside over the Pentagon who made Robert McNamara look good by comparison.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • peter3nj Says:

      Let’s have Biden and company take a junket to the Crimes and re-enact The Charge of The Light Brigade without… changing a thing…👩🏽‍🏭

      Like

    • Mustang Says:

      I agree with most criticisms of Donald Rumsfeld, arrogant ass that he was, but I have to give the devil his due. He did a great service to our country by snapping the Army out of its post-Soviet Era intransigence. I think the Army’s level of combat readiness was much improved during Rumsfeld’s tenure. For much else, however, he took us “too far” in the other direction and gave us a bloody disaster in the Middle East. Bob Kaplan wrote an excellent summary of Rumsfeld for The Atlantic several years ago.

      Like

  2. peter3nj Says:

    Off topic if I may:

    NYC’s newly elected Afrocentric mayor from New Jersey has learned fast as he passes the buck to the Feds to come in and save his far left Third world city once known as The Big Apple. Maybe a coupla billion disappearing fed-bucks like those funneled to ex-mayor deBlasio’s lesbian pygmy wife will assuage Mayor Eric Adam’s rehearsed outrage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mustang Says:

      It probably won’t matter once NYC is a smoldering, radioactive pile of brick and mortar dust.

      Liked by 2 people

      • peter3nj Says:

        Vacant NYC land is a fortune in waiting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mustang Says:

        Can you even imagine, Peter, all the leftist cities in America going up in smoke because of leftist missiles from a traditionally leftist country? Talk about coincidence! I’d sure hate to lose NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, Houston, LA, Denver, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Columbus, Seattle, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Albuquerque, Kansas City, and Atlanta. Just wouldn’t be the same without them. And you’re right … they’d all be hot real estate markets … after 70,000 years.

        Like

      • kidme37 Says:

        “all the leftist cities in America going up in smoke because of leftist missiles from a traditionally leftist country? Talk about coincidence!”

        Par for the course given actual events concerning the left.

        Like

  3. Always On Watch Says:

    Synchronicity! I also posted a question about this topic:

    Save Ukraine?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. bunkerville Says:

    From Bunkie here… I guess I have difficulty with the premise that “Mother Russia” is entitled to put back together all of the parts of her empire that was dissolved. Security reasons for “her” seems to be a stretch since it will require millions to live under Soviet rule once again. Sure it would be great to add this and that…. (Other countries) and enjoy their bounty but……maybe just once live within one’s means.
    Granted it is not worth one life of ours. Russia and Germany… now there is a pair matched so well. Let them duke it out for old times sake.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mustang Says:

      Entitlement has nothing to do with it. All nations operate according to their own perceived interests, so it falls on Russia to make their own decisions … and on all other nations to make theirs. Decision-making is a process where one weighs the benefits and disadvantages of some policy (foreign or domestic). Putin apparently believes that the west hasn’t the guts for another World War, and if that’s true, who will stop Russia from retaking Ukraine, or any part of it? Putin probably thinks that if he cuts off the oil pipeline to Europe, it won’t take long to convince western aligned nations to sit down and shut up. Wars, you see, require gas and oil. Where will the NATO members get theirs? No, not from Saudi Arabia. No, not from Iran. No, not from Iraq. Putin has already made his deal with those oil-producing countries. He did that while Bush/Obama was playing patty-cake in the Middle East. Putin cutting off Europe’s gas and oil will devastate the European economies.

      What are the western aligned nations thinking? They’re probably thinking, with Biden in the White House, that it will be an easy thing to convince the U.S. to send troops to Ukraine and Crimea. Notice that NATO never quite “ponies up” in the troop’s department … and it will be easy for NATO members to say to Putin, “Hey, it wasn’t us. Your beef is with the United States.”

      What possible benefit accrues to the United States to involve itself militarily in Ukraine and Crimea? I cannot think of a single one. Besides, I don’t think Russia’s military is very worried about having to confront the US 34th Transgender Brigade in Crimea — and I suspect Putin isn’t worried about any sanctions imposed on them by the UN, either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elizabeth Kanas-Gonzalez Says:

        Read my comment on AOW’s post that we all wrote about, serendipity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bunkerville Says:

        Mustang… I don’t disagree. I would not send one soldier over there nor pay one cent. I would simply bring our 50K soldiers home. Let Europe freeze their rear ends off with their windmills and Russian energy. What I disagree with is the premise that Putin is so afraid of NATO.. Does anyone really think NATO will attack Russia and Russia thinks that as well? That is a non starter for me… it is an excuse. They want to self aggrandize and take stuff… But I am a simple person and I often miss the nuance of the situation. 🙂 As I opined at AOW — Biden needs a war to distract and the ladies who brought us the Arab Spring are ready to rock and roll.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth Kanas-Gonzalez Says:

      @Bunkerville wow. No wonder America is so hated just look at the hate you spew. How cold and cruel. They are a Democracy in the Ukraine and people that bleed just like us. They need our help. It will happen despite what you think and I am grateful for that. At least Mustang has more heart and is not cold-blooded like you. I won’t be back to read the debauchery of this post. People just like you said the same thing during WW11 and got Pearl Harbor. America needs to learn from that mistake.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. peter3nj Says:

    The godfather Vito Corleone had three sons, Sonny, Fredo and the youngest and smartest Michael. Sonny was a casualty of a protracted war between the mafia families. At a sit down with the heads of the other mafia families Don Vito Corleone asked the rhetorical question of the others, how did things ever go this far after which the families while agreed to an uneasy peace. Meanwhile Dons Barzini and Tattaglia waiting out the impending death of a sickly Don Vito plotted to destroy the Corleone family once and for all. Upon Vito’s death from a heart attack luckily for the Corleones their godfather had the foresight to name son Michael as his successor prior to his death. So now the newly named Don Michael while striking first proceeded to outsmart and outgun the other New York families and become the new godfather of godfathers. As for the other son Fredo? He sits in the Oval Office with his finger on the nuclear button.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. kidme37 Says:

    Hunter Biden – Daddy can’t you keep Russia out of the Ukraine? We won’t get any more checks if they take over.

    Liked by 2 people


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