The greatest take-away from the Ukrainian crisis is that we live in a propaganda environment so thick that we can scarcely perceive it. Imagine if Quebec separated and the international community was trying to drive us out of the G8 because the federal government seized the western portions of (English) Montreal, plus the triangle of land between the Ottawa and St Lawrence rivers, and Pontiac County.
Ludicrous huffing and puffing when we have neither the means, will or justification for stopping Russia from seizing Russian-language territories. Andrew Coyne, for example:
It is interesting to reflect on Russia’s long historic and emotional ties to Ukraine, as it is useful to bear in mind its strategic interests in the naval base at Sevastopol. But it is not actually germane. Whatever its motivations or explanations, the issue at the heart of the invasion remains: it is wrong, and it must be stopped. If it is not possible to eject Russia from Crimea, then certainly it must be deterred from expanding its reach further. That’s not only a matter of defending the right of Ukrainians to decide their own future. It isn’t even about Russia, in the long run. It’s about the whole structure of international relations.
Ah, no, Andrew, it isn’t. History is entirely germane. It is a matter of great power politics, in which right and wrong play rather less role than we idealists might like. It is about Russia’s interests and power as a state to control its near-abroad.
I hope the Ukrainians can pull themselves out of the mess they are in. I hope they can manage to lift their abysmal GDP per capita of $3,800 to the levels of prosperity found in, say, Slovakia [$17,600]. I hope they can maintain friendly relations with both the European Community and with Russia. I hope, I hope, but it is not going to happen without serious territorial adjustment to let Russians live inside Russia.
Everyone knows this, except people who write in newspapers.
Crimea: it was never Ukrainian until the Soviet dictatorship handed it to the Ukraine in 1954. See purple-coloured peninsula into Black Sea, below.
Electorally, look at the difference between largely Russian-speaking areas and Ukrainian-speaking areas. Blue supported the ousted President Yanukovich, yellow the losing candidate Tymoshenko.
Linguistically it is divided this way. The solid red and pink is majority Ukrainian.
If Obama had any brains he would be congratulating Putin on firm and decisive leadership on the issue (lying through his teeth of course) but remembering how much we owe to Putin’s non-interference in important decisions in the United Nations and a few other favours he has done us in the nature of suppressing Islamic terrorism, which we have failed to be grateful for.
I hate dictatorships as much as the next sensible man, but when a foreign leader is claiming back territory vital to his national interest, which was handed over by a discredited former dictatorship to a neighbouring state which is now on its way to becoming foreign and possibly hostile, and when you have no capability of resisting that leader, nod sagely and agree.
Russia will dictate what is going to happen here, and we are just blowing smoke. Vlad the Impaler knows this. Apparently we do not.