Crimea in Crisis

Crimea in Crisis

I can’t claim to know a lot about Eastern European history or politics. But I do like to think I possess enough common sense to understand basic parliamentary protocol.

Considering how much of the current standoff between Russia and Ukraine centers around competing claims of political “legitimacy,” it’s probably worth reviewing a few procedural facts.

On February 22, after weeks of violent street protests, the parliament of Ukraine voted 328 to 0, with six abstentions and 122 absences, to declare President Viktor Yanukovych, who had previously fled the capital, unable to discharge his duties on account of being at an “unknown location.” This easily cleared the two-thirds majority the Ukrainian constitution requires for presidential impeachment, and though Yanukovych himself would later denounce the vote as “unlawful” and claim his legislative allies were shut out and beaten, in reality the 328 in favor included many turncoats from the President’s own “Party of Regions,” which comprise the legislature’s largest faction.

With Yanukovych out, speaker of the house Oleksandr Turchynov assumed the limited powers of “acting president,” per the country’s constitutional order of succession, with parliament scheduling May 26 as the date voters will pick a permanent replacement. A few days later, parliament then voted 371 to 1 to install Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former multi-term cabinet minister, key opposition leader, and protest darling as prime minister. For now, he holds most of the country’s executive authority.

There are legitimate questions to be asked about some of the finer legal details of this succession, particularly whether Yanukovych was actually impeached (which experts say is an “extremely complex” and possibly even “practically impossible” procedure under Ukrainian law), or was simply determined by parliament to have abandoned office, which is a simpler, though also somewhat ambiguous, legislative manoeuvre. At the very least, however, the fall of President Yanukovych appears by any reasonable standard to have been carried out according to generally understood norms of democratic parliamentary procedure — a far cry from the revolutionary “coup d’etat” his bitter supporters claim.

The same can’t be said for what happened to the government of Crimea.

Crimea is usually described as a “semi-autonomous” province of Ukraine, though this is one of those empty terms western journalists use to provide a thin veneer of clarity to an impenetrably exotic situation. At the very least, it has its own parliament, which, since 2010, has been controlled by the Yanukovych party by a large majority. With over half its population Russian-speaking, including many Russian immigrants, Crimea was long a strong, pro-Russian base for the pro-Russian president. Yet in the frantic aftermath of his overthrow, some began to worry its pro-Russian government wasn’t nearly pro-Russian enough.

On February 27, five days after the fall of Yanukovych, gunmen stormed the Crimean legislature, barricading the doors and raising the Russian flag. A faction of what CNN describes as “only pro-Russian lawmakers” then voted in a closed-door session to remove Crimean prime minister Anatoliy Mohylio and install Sergey Aksyonov, the thuggish leader of the hardline Russian Unity Party (which holds all of three seats in the 100-seat chamber) in his place. This morning, it was announced that that same legislature had voted “unanimously” (and according to at least one source, without quorum) to join Russia (or, in the even less subtle words of one lawmaker “be part of the Russian Federation as Russia’s subject”), adding that citizens would be asked to ratify the decision in a hastily-organized referendum to be held in 10 days.

It’s not currently known how many of these “gunmen,” who have been occupying quite a lot of space on Crimea beyond the parliament, are actual Russian troops. Though we were all expecting a formal invasion of the place after President Putin started squawking about the need to protect Russian-speakers from Ukraine’s dangerous new neo-Nazi coup government, it seems the estimated 16,000 Russian soldiers currently in the territory slipped in quietly when everyone was distracted. (For his part, Putin still denies they even exist.) Crimea’s blunt army annexation may actually wind up occurring by considerably subtler means — perhaps subjection into a puppet state on par with the Completely Independent and Sovereign Countries of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which we may recall Russia heroically “liberated” from Georgian rule back in 2008.

A curious phenomenon of modern politics is that every sort of politician, even the harshest despots, generally tries to couch their deeds in the cloak of democratic legalism. Technically speaking, no government ever acts arbitrarily, dictatorially, or for reasons of brazen self-interest; there are always polite justifications about obeying the constitution and upholding the rule of law.

As it stands, Moscow does not recognize the post-Yanukovych Ukrainian government as legal, and Kiev does not consider the gang running Crimea to be constitutional. Both profess indignity that their opponents would have the gall to pretend otherwise, and both are currently in the process of trying to rally world opinion to their analysis.

Not that most foreign states are having a hard time picking sides.

Ukraine has a perfectly ordinary, constitutional civilian government. Despite having assumed office amid unprecedented circumstances, its leaders ascended to power through a parliamentary process that was open, procedural, and ultimately accountable to lawmakers, voters, and the legal system.

The Crimeans, in contrast, have a cryptic, cloistered, and unaccountable government that has, quite literally, been imposed at gun point — and probably foreign guns at that.

Even if your feelings on this distant standoff range from ambivalent to Chamberlainian, its hard to deny that in the battle of competing legitimacies, this is hardly a fair fight.

But then again, with Putin backing the Crimean junta while the pro-Ukraine west sits on its hands, a fair fight was probably never in the cards.




^ 99 Comments...

  1. Psudo

    The most detailed description of the situation I've read of the situation is also the most compelling narrative. Thank you for writing it!

    In discussing Crimea's "autonomy" with a supporter of the Russian narrative, I requested some clarification of specifically how independent Crimea was. Do the have an independent military? Do the conduct their own international diplomacy? Are their judicial decisions immune to appeal to Ukrainian federal powers? Can their laws be declared unconstitutional under Ukraine's constitution? No answers came, and none appears forthcoming. By specifying the abuses of parliamentary procedure that put the Russian Unity Party in power, you've given me a bit of a real perspective on… Hey!… What's going on? I thought you might be interested in that line of questions intended to measure the extent of autonomy.

  2. Jake_Ackers

    In Europe its difference. For example Scotland has its own parliament. But its pretty much like Texas. Crimea is more like Puerto Rico.

    Can the Ukraine gov't pretty much do what they want with Crimea? Legally, yes. But it rarely enforces any major power. Wiki states, "On 14 October 1993, the Crimean parliament established the post of President of Crimea […] However, political turmoil continued […]17 March 1995, the parliament of Ukraine intervened, scrapping the Crimean Constitution and removing Yuriy Meshkov (the President of Crimea) along with his office for his actions against the state and promoting integration with Russia."

    Lets remember one of the main reasons why Crimea joined the Ukraine. It didn't want to be invaded by Russia. Now Russia has learned that political takeovers work just as well and pretty much goat the Crimean Russians to joining RU. But they only make up about 2/3 of the people in Crimea. What happens to the other 1/3?

  3. Pseudo

    It sounds like you're saying that laissez faire federalism has been evolving into de facto independence that is not officially recognized in Ukrainian law. Is that about right?

  4. Psudo

    Stupid spellcheck… I'm not used to this iPad yet.

  5. Jake_Ackers

    Pretty much. It's just part of the Ukraine for economic benefits and to prevent the minorities there from being oppressed.

  6. Psudo

    Does that mean that the attempt to leave Ukraine should be considered a threat against minorities in Crimea?

  7. Jake_Ackers

    In the long term. Yes I can. Look at Chechnya. Plus Crimea has a lot of Tatars. Which were displaced when it was part of Russia. Russia is saying its protecting the Russian minority in Ukraine. Ukraine is saying it is protecting the minorities in Crimea. Which lets face it. Russia will not only use the minorities there as a scapegoat but also discriminate. Ukraine is a multicultural nation so I would rather be part of Ukraine if I was a minority.

  8. Colin Minich

    I'm truly baffled at the American conservative response, however, to suddenly get stuffy at Putin with a military or physical response. Granted, it shouldn't be surprising considering how it's Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and the Cold War hawks that harken this stuff back to the days of Brezhnev, but with the failures of Iraq and Afghanistan do you really expect Obama to now go toe to toe with the Russians over a non-NATO nation?

    And furthermore, it gets even more disgusting about Europe (and elsewhere) laughing at Obama for trying to do what he can, albeit weakly, while realizing a zero sum game trying to confront Putin. Then others laud Putin for being this magnificent troll (which is admirable only in the sense of having brass bucks as a leader) and for making the US look weak. China obviously plays its bullshit "status quo" fetish despite the fact it has land purchases in Eastern Ukraine and bristles at having to deal with Moscow for land.

    What has happened, JJ, is that the media circus made this a complete clusterf*** and then politicians are childishly following suit without a damn good option in their heads.

  9. Cato

    The Cold War-era RINOHawks always go from zero to invasion in about 3 seconds. There's a lot of intermediate things we could try, such as with how we opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Not so much the "creating the things that would become the Taliban" part, as supplying local fighters (in this case, the proper Ukrainian military) with cutting-edge weaponry like anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles that would make it impossible for the Russians to operate a modern military offensive against them.

    We really need to dust off our old Arsenal of Democracy rhetoric, because this is the kind of situation that it was made for.

  10. Jake_Ackers

    War from now on will always be conducted with Covert-Ops and using the target nation's own people as soldiers. Much easier to equip rebels than your own people. Problem is if you get a Syria like problem where the rebels are just as bad as the gov't.

  11. Jake_Ackers

    Agreed Colin. I think the solution is to (as I posted wayyyyy below):

    "Just bankrupt Russia already. If oil goes around $90 a barrel, Russia cannot sustain itself. Just the speculation will hurt them enough. Give Putin an ultimatum. Stop invading Ukraine. Work with the West and we will help them (RU) explore energy in E. Europe and maybe even help them join NATO. Otherwise, we will announce all coal, natural gas and oil in the US will be explored. Work with Eastern Europe to explore their own. And expand the missile shield."

  12. Psudo

    You're saying that the Russian economy needs oil exports to survive, and if we drill like crazy then 1) oil prices will drop globally, 2) Russian export revenues will go down, and 3) economic pressure will bankrupt Russia.

    A) Can we really provide enough oil to keep oil prices down long enough to have those effects? We have enough with oil shale, sure, but oil shale is also fundamentally more expensive to extract from the ground and refine.
    B) Why wouldn't Russians alter their policy around step 2, thus preventing step 3?
    C) Would a bankrupt Russia actually be a benefit for the USA and/or the world?

  13. Jake_Ackers

    We don't need to. Speculation will drive it prices down. It's a threat. Russia won't actually need to go bankrupt. Look how nuts Americans went over oil prices. Now imagine if that impacted Russian revenues. Energy is half of Russia's federal revenue stream. Either Russia goes into debt, which impacts their economy. Or they cut expenditure military or otherwise. At least East Europe is not dependent on Russia as much and thus more willing to apply pressure to RU.

    By "alter their policy" do you mean they would stop invading Crimea? Or do something to stop the price of oil lowering?

  14. Thorfinnsson

    I am not sure that a parliamentary vote conducted under the pressure of an armed mob in Kiev constitutes legitimate parliamentary procedure.

    But in any case, the Ukrainian crisis shows again the importance of the NATION-state. The Ukraine is not a nation, but geographic expression cobbled together from bits of the Russian Empire, Poland, and Romania. Liberal democratic government is exceptionally difficult if not impossible without a common national culture.

    The clear solution is partition. Western Ukrainian should become an independent state (called either Ukraine or Galicia) fast-tracked for EU membership. The Crimea should become an exclave of the Russian Federation. Eastern Ukraine should either become an independent state (Donets Republic) within the Eurasian Union or an autonomous part of the Russian Federation. The most difficult question here is the status of Kiev–it reminds me of Brussels in the intractable Belgian question (another state that should be dissolved).

  15. JJ McCullough

    How about Canada? Or America? Those are giant, arbitrary multi-ethnic empires, too. It seems to me this principle of ethnic "self-determination" is one that can be used to justify an awful lot of violence and oppression — and worse, sets off a chain reaction that never seems to end. Just look at the bacteria-like sub-dividing of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that's still going on.

  16. Ricardo Bortolon

    I think Yugoslavia's subdividing but not Canada and the US's illustrates that violence and oppression tends to be the flashpoint for ethnic self-determination after which point it becomes a positive feedback loop.

    The question then is whether you think Canada and the US prove that multi-ethnic blobs can exist or if they're delaying the inevitable. Belgium may be illustrating the slow transition if ethnic self-determination occurs without violence.

  17. Cato

    Multi-ethnic blobs work, when they have a common culture and shared experiences to create a sense of unity. Ethnicity is actually a very small source of division, when compared to culture. Until the USA and Canada discovered the joys of multiculturalism and the balkanization that comes from it, the older melting pot mentality had done a pretty good job of making Americans or Canadians out of anyone that landed on our shores from just about anywhere in the world.

    Now we're just going to end up PC-ing ourselves to death and become a fractious mess of hyphenations (or is that Hyphen Nations?) trying to dominate each other. I have to say that I'm not a fan of the idea either, since I don't qualify for anybody's superior race and can only call myself an American.

  18. Trenacker

    When, praytell, did we decisively transition from "melting pot" to "a fractious mess of hyphenations" obsessed with political correctness?

    I seem to recall that Nativism and white supremacy — only two examples of many — are considerably older in this country than you yourself…

  19. Jake_Ackers

    Good point on the violence being a flashpoint, Ricardo. On "Delaying the inevitable?" Quebec.

  20. Dryhad

    Countries like Canada and the US that are former colonies occupied primarily by the descendents of colonists basically got a head start. They did their violence and oppression back in the days when right of conquest was still considered an acceptable source of legitimacy. The remaining indigenous populations ended up too divided and few in number to even expect independence of any kind.

    In Europe, though, borders were drawn up based on what lands were owned by a given emperor/king/archduke/prince elector/whatever. Ethnic and cultural groups lived in the same places for thousands of years, even while the leadership changed around them, and nobody really cared. It was really only in the 19th century that self-determination started to be a thing, and the people of Europe had roots going down much deeper by that point.

  21. Trenacker

    In Europe, borders were drawn and redrawn repeatedly down the years. As one scholar whose name now escapes me (Daniel Byman?) put it (and I paraphrase): Who mourns the Ostrogoth? The Vandal? The Hun?

    The Europeans made states, and nations, by slaughtering each other from the Fall of Rome through the end of the twentieth century. Borders were drawn and redrawn. Ethnic and cultural groups were in constant flux. A Gallo-Roman became a Frank, who in turn became a Burgundian, who was again in turn made a Frenchman or a Fleming or a Dutchman. A Norman became a Sicilian who became, by turns, an Italian. A Greek moved from Asia Minor to Athens. Let's not get started on Germans or Austrians. The Carpathians are full of Germans. Finland was a possession of Sweden, then of Russia, before gaining independence after the First World War.

    Self-determination shattered Europe. The ethno-nationalisms of the nineteenth century were a direct cause of the catastrophic pair of world wars that followed on the heels of the Austrian Archduke's assassination by a Serb nationalist in a city that had previously been ruled by the Ottoman Turks.

  22. Trenacker

    Is it not interesting that multi-ethnic statehood seems not to be an objective in most parts of the world?

    I was always struck by the fact that the Serbs claimed to be amenable to the secession of other ethnic groups from the Yugoslav federation… so long as they divested themselves of lands settled by Serbs.

    It is frankly bizarre to me that so many people want to caveat their criticism of Putin with the statement that Crimeans deserve the right to self-determination.

    It is also a bit distressing the extent to which a lot of folks are just eating up the argument that the U.S. orchestrated this whole thing through the offices of Victoria Neuland. I find that a lot of the same crowd that absolutely excoriated Bush over the invasion of Iraq — largely, it seems, because they have a lot of resentment toward the United States as a superpower, but also because it is apparently quite validating to suppose oneself smarter than a president — are lining up to applaud Putin.

  23. Jake_Ackers

    The funniest thing is the conspiracy theories. Scandinavian Neo-Nazis backed by the Zionists (Jews) are trying to take over the Ukraine to manipulate gas prices. As opposed to just buying out a politician once this whole mess is over.

    But yah multi-ethnic statehood is largely well an American (Hemisphere not so much just the USA) invention really. Maybe British if you want to go that far back. Most of the world believes Norway is for the Norwegians. France for the Franks. Germany for the Germans. Etc. etc.

  24. Jake_Ackers

    In response to JJ: Quebec.

  25. Dryhad

    Indeed, and what's interesting about that is that it's colonist vs colonist. The strongest opposition to British descended Canadians are French descended Canadians. South Africa is another interesting example of a country founded by uneasy truce between two sets of colonists, with the natives pushed to the side. Ethnic diversity only means something if you have both the history to care about it and the might to back it up. Otherwise you're just an irrelevant minority.

  26. Jake_Ackers

    Iraq. Didn't happen with them and won't happen now. Iraq should be 3 countries. Just look up the "New Middle East Map" in a search engine. You will see my point.

    The West (mostly UK and France) craved up the MidEast and Europe without regards to ethnicity and culture. Not once but several times.

  27. Trenacker

    An interesting question is whether we should encourage borders that map with ethnicities or if we are only fooling ourselves by doing so. Are multiethnic nations stronger? Surely larger states have a better claim on future strength than smaller ones. The United States fared better, despite bloody civil war, as one country than thirteen.

  28. Guest

    Great going for the Crimeans, I'm glad that they've been able to get over the 60 year error of their republic being transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic.

    I'm ashamed that our country's holding back and saying "that's wrong!" in typical fashion for the sake of the integrity of nations as determined by the stroke of Soviet dictators, like with Artsakh. Yet it didn't stop us from bombing the hell out of Serbia the moment we decided that we wanted a base in Kosovo, it's funny how we balance territorial integrity and national liberation movements like that, isn't it?

  29. John

    The difference of course being that Serbia had committed outright genocide just a few years earlier in a neighboring country and was attempting to do it again in Kosovo. Unless someone is willing to contend that the Ukrainian authorities were going to massacre ethnic Russians, the situations are not comparable.

    A bigger issue is Westerners who seem to think that the West is as bad as Russia. People that believe that are ether naive, ignorant, or evil. Whatever their motives their positioning is pro-Putin regardless of their intentions.

    I knew that there were many self-hating Westerners but I never would think that their blind hatred of the US and Europe would cause them to cheer Russia. And don't for a second think moral equivalence of Russian actions is anything but defending them and cheering them along, again regardless of original intentions.

    I am 100% against military involvement of the West ironically enough. But I would've thought that gathering enough common decency to look beyond the self-hatred for one bloody minute to condemn what has happened without constantly trying to relate it to Western actions would have been a reasonable thing to expect from Western publics. But apparently that's asking for too much. And that is why Putin has won.

  30. Trenacker

    In strong agreement, John. The anti-American rhetoric coming from elsewhere in the Western world is frankly mystifying.

    As for Kosovo, I question how anyone could believe that the U.S. desired a military outpost in the Balkans when it already possessed such bases in both Italy and Turkey.

  31. Guest

    Additionally, if the US didn't desire a military outpost there, then why is the largest US base in all of the Balkans now sitting on Kosovo? Because if the US didn't desire such a base, then why would it have built one?

  32. Jake_Ackers

    To prevent another war. Or do you not put security guards at a bank that just has been robbed?

  33. Guest

    Kosovo has its own army, the US saw fit to support that during the war with basically air power, supplies and so on and little more. Let them guard the country with that same air support that ended up preserving Kosovar independence, along with the NATO troops folks busy around the actual border with Serbia instead of Camp Bondsteel. Hiring a few guards around to keep the peace is on an entirely different level of scale than constructing one of the largest military bases on the continent and even the world.

  34. Jake_Ackers

    Yah its called a base in the middle of a warzone. As evidence by the region is still having problems. Furthermore, its geopolitical positioning. Overwhelming presences in an area avoids a war. South Korea, Germany, etc. Even in places like Columbia with respects to Venezuela. We went into the Balkans because Bill Clinton taught we should of went in to stop a genocide. Republicans thought the UN should of dealt with it.

    Do people of the world not realize that the US is not monolithic? The next administration won't necessarily agree with the previous one. That is why we intervene in some places and not others.

  35. Guest

    The base is not in the middle of the warzone, it's a distance away from the problems in the north of Kosovo where NATO has other facilities. The 'problem' of the region is that the majority Serbian north don't want any part of being in this Kosovo, but right after Kosovo became a thing we were suddenly concerned about its integrity and won't support the Serbians breaking off to join Serbia. It's not as if Serbia was about to declare a war on a US guaranteed area regardless of whether or not they have forces in the region, anyway.

  36. Jake_Ackers

    The war was in the Kosovo or that region. So the US has a base in that region. It's not going to literally put a base in the middle of the former battleground. Its in the region just in case anything else happens. The security guard doesn't stand in the middle of the bank where people walk or in the face of the bank teller. He stands in a corner or at his little desk.

    Moreover, everyone in the world thinks the US is monolithic. The Republicans opposed the wars in the former Yugoslavia but Bill Clinton went in. But we are in that mess now anyways. So we have to make sure it doesn't become another mess. I didn't support the war in their either.

    And on Kosovo. Kosovo is different. You can give the 3 remaining Serb majority provinces to Serbia. However, the country is a melting pot. Kosovo is an area that has been thrown around for centuries. So the Kosovar identity is based on land not on ethnicity. Although yes the vast majority are Albanians but there are significant other groups there too.

  37. Guest

    Closer to the tiny bank having the second largest security company in the city springing up in their parking lot, in addition to having guys prowling around within the structure. NATO provides troops enough at the troublesome border area.

    I don't care about whether others think that the US is monolithic or not. That doesn't change that Serbia isn't insane enough to declare a surprise war on US-guaranteed Kosovo and get stuffed with bombs in its water supplies and television stations all over again.

    We aren't going to give the three Serb majority provinces back to Serbia, we've already made conditions that provide against that. Kosovar identity is not Serbian, it's an extension of the Albanian nationality. Kosovar Serbs are closer aligned with Serbia than they are with Kosovar Albanians, which should be of no surprise considering their history.

    "We should endeavor to ensure that the Serb population of Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible … All indigenous Serbs who have been living here for centuries should be termed colonialists and as such, via the Albanian and Italian governments, should be sent to concentration camps in Albania. Serbian settlers should be killed." – Mustafa Kruja, Prime Minister of Albania during the time of Italian occupation.

    Around 50,000 Kosovar Serbs were killed during World War II with another fifth of a million being driven out. This was largely due to the actions of groups such as the 21st SS Division composed of Kosovar Albanians as well as… well, Albanian Albanians, who were more renowned for committing atrocities against Serbian civilians than doing anything to actually support the war efforts of the Germans and Italians. What in the world do you think unites these people? A hateful past, different religion, different language, a geographic distribution with most of both ethnic groups being concentrated on opposite sides of the country, I wouldn't go near calling that a melting pot! Maybe back during the time of Yugoslavia, that these sorts of things were much easier to look past under the time of communism, but definitely not now after the intervening war.

  38. Jake_Ackers

    My point is that the reason why Kosovo even exists is because that part has been thrown around between a few different countries over the last few centuries. So the people, regardless of ethnicity, that live in that piece of land have reason to be pissed off at every single country around it. And yes like I said the vast majority of Kosovo is ethnic Albanian.

    The base is not there to stop Serbia. It's there to prevent another genocide. Some terrorist/genocidal group is less likely to start something if they know the US is around.

  39. Guest

    Not the countries around them, really. The main two players in the area a couple of centuries back were Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and a few more later on. Those few later on with control of Kosovo were basically Serbia (with varying degrees of independence from the Ottomans) and Albanians (following the Italians increasing their jurisdiction over Kosovo), and being that the Austrians, Hungarians, and Turks are all gone from the area aside from really tiny minorities, those are basically the only two countries with an interest in Kosovo. Orthodox countries generally gravitate to supporting Serbia, Muslims and the west generally prefer the Albanians (and hence Kosovo). The Albanian Kosovars have no problem with Albania, the only problem that the Serbian Kosovars have with Serbia is that Serbia wasn't able to hold onto Kosovo, so the hate between the two is pretty well-directed.

    I don't quite think so. US bases actually have drawn a decent number of attacks and over time tend to generate a lot of discontent in the host country around that area, especially if the area around it gets built up while the US still pays super-cheap rates or nothing for land that's skyrocketed in value while making the surrounding area kinda slummy relatively. Kosovo's a poor enough area now that this isn't really a concern for the moment, but it's something to think about for the future.

  40. Guest

    Serbia did not commit genocide in Bosnia, rather those were the actions of some of the Bosnian Serb militia groups (there was a great amount of disorganization with no control over those, Serbia's border was closed at the time of the event!) as well as a number of others. Yet Croatian fascists seem to get away without a drop of blame on the matter, because the west adores Catholics. Furthermore, international courts found that genocide was not happening in Kosovo, try again.

    But isn't it funny how we have the similar case of the Artsakh Republic? That territory was arbitrarily gifted to the Azeris as a reward by Stalin in a part of his move to simultaneously weaken certain Soviet minorities and make friends with the Turks. Outrageously illegitimate, and when the Cold War is over the still-majority Armenian province despite the Azeri attempts to stomp out and assimilate the Armenians voted to leave Azerbaijan– not surprising, given the Azeri tendencies to murder, displace and annihilate even the evidence that its Armenian minority existed. Yet, does the US go in bombing television stations and water supplies in Baku to protect that group? Goodness, no. While decisive action was taken to secure Kosovar independence, we still just get mumbles about the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan… maybe that has something to do with the massive stores of hydrocarbon energy that Azerbaijan has.

    Now, I don't think that the Russians are some blameless heros going about sacrificing themselves for the benefit of the world, obviously not. Russia acts in its self-interests, as does our own. I'm just lamenting that the national self-interest doesn't match up with what is proper while Russia's has on issues such as South Ossetia.

  41. Jake_Ackers

    Veto power.

    I'll explain. The problem is this. The Caucuses is in the hegemony of Russia. The former Yugoslavia was out of that hegemony for a while. NATO was used to justify invading Yugo because it the war was a genocide, it could of spilled over and the UN was used too.

    Russia has veto power in the UN. That is why the UN didn't go into the Caucuses. And NATO was not going to be used in something that is in Russia's house. Another World War much?

  42. Guest

    I'm not talking about military action. Talk is cheap, military action costs bodies treasure and votes, that's why the US isn't going to do anything with the Ukraine no matter how it turns out regardless of talk about the Ukraine should be kept as one country instead of allowing the Crimea to break free.

    Yet there's not even political rhetoric (just cheap talk!) from such politicians about supporting Artsakh. If the US was about to intervene on any side, it definitely wouldn't be on that of the Armenians… Considering NATO, Turkey would never tolerate intervening against their brother Azeris for the sake of the Armenians. Turkey and oil-rich Azerbaijan are important to the US, so it won't care about the Armenian plight even if it were to be much more sympathetic. Why do you think we can't get a president who promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide prior to his election to do so much as that?

  43. Jake_Ackers

    Okay valid point. For the most part I do agree. The world is not going to risk a war with Russia. But it does not need one. Russia can be pressured into negotiating itself out of this mess.

    Look, yes there was an Armenian Genocide. No doubt there was. But the situation in Artsakh is not the same as in Crimea.

    Each problem is handled one at a time. Ukraine is here and now. The Armenian Genocide will never be fully recognized because of what you said. Plus it was almost 100 years ago and before the UN agreement on genocide in 1948. And again referring to my last point. The Caucasus is a Russian hegemony. It's like trying to mess with China on Tibetan issues. Plus all the countries that do recognize the genocide happen to be Western countries.

    Armenia will only be addressed and given support after the War on Terror. Nukes and bombs going off is on the forefront right now. Thus the support of Turkey is much needed on the Global War on Terror.

    Moreover, do people of the world not realize that the US is not monolithic? The next administration won't necessarily agree with the previous one. That is why we intervene in some places and not others.

  44. Guest

    Russia doesn't need to be pressured into anything here, it's in the right on this matter.

    Of course the situation there isn't the same as in Crimea, I never declared it to be. It's an example of a case similar to Kosovo that turned out radically different because the US has no consistency on the matter because it's all determined by national interest. I lament that, because I personally believe that my country is on the wrong side of this affair… though that won't change anything, because despite silly attempts to 'reset' relations with Russia we'll still move at any chance to spite it. Similarly, we won't have the integrity to declare that the Armenian Genocide was a thing because that would upset the sensibilities of the Turks and the Armenians are such a (now) tiny population friendly enough to Russia that the US would relatively speaking net only negatives for having the courage to speak out on the matter. Never mind that the freaking Holocaust occurred before 1948, never mind that there are still survivors of the Armenian genocide left, it's just old stuff and those Armenians need to move past it. Or, to take the Turk's position, they need to stop agitating against something that never happened and that they would have deserved anyway. The wonderful friends that the US has, right? I respect that country about as much as Saudi Arabia, another great friend that we have.

    It's awfully funny how so many consecutive administrations will have extremely similar policies on various conflicts and regions regardless of what they said while attempting to get reelected, though, wouldn't you say? It's as if there's some sort of national interest towards going for certain options like being the friend of the Saudi's despite the personal feelings that our leaders might have for some of those nations.

  45. Jake_Ackers

    Or that fact you seem to forget the US has different PRESIDENTS. Do you seriously think in the hundreds that the US has been around, you can say it has always thought the same way? There is a Congress, President, multiple parties. And elections. That is why there are elections. The President goes into one war we don't like and he gets kicked out in favor of another. So yes a democracy will not be as consistent on it's foreign policy as lets say a dictatorship.

    Even in places like Russia and Germany. Do we go around saying, "Oh Merkel must be a Nazi! And Medvedev must be a Communist!" No, because the politics of those countries have changed. Or do you go around blaming Putin for the Ukrainian Famine in 1932-33? Or the Georgian Ethnic Cleansing in 1992-93? No. Not his fault.

    Moreover, you think Russia is right in the Crimean crisis. However, Crimea may have a right to self determination but Russia has no right to interfere with Ukraine. Russia has been killing leaders in that country and trying to takeover its gov't for a while. Russia started interfering in Ukrainian affairs long before this. It's not like Ukraine has committed genocide in Crimea. So let Ukraine and Crimea solve their own issues. Putin waited for any little thing to give as an excuse "Oh the Crimea Russians are being oppressed!" Russian intervention in Ukraine has been happening for a while. Crimea is just the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Yes the Holocaust occurred before 1948 but the trials were done as a result of Germany losing the war. It was done directly after the event. The world was smart enough to including the trials as part of ending the war. With respects to WW1 it didn't because the world didn't even realize what a genocide was. Hello 1915 in the middle of remote area. After that event (Armenian genocide) did the world wake up.

    Nevertheless, the world is not going to go and pull up dead Ottoman leaders and put them on trial. It's like with slavery in the US. Is the US suppose to pull up dead Confederate leaders and dead slave owners and put them on trial and make pay reparations? Moreover, all the countries that recognize the Armenia genocide are mostly Western.

    And moreover, the US has recognized the Armenia genocide in one way or another. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide_re

    Its funny how you want the US and West to stay out of the other people's business. Yet demand them intervene in the Armenia/Artsakh situation in one way or another. Artsakh is a Caucasus problem, let them deal with it. Like Crimea is a Ukraine problem. Let Crimea and Ukraine deal with it. The only thing the US and the West can do is recognize the genocide in Armenia. which it outright should. Although for the most part it has, and some countries even passed bills saying so.

  46. Guest

    I'm glad you've enlightened me on something as important as the US not having a president for life. How dense do you think I am? But do you not notice a serious alignment between the foreign policy pursued by consecutive administrations? The opposite party will bitch about whatever the one in power is doing no matter what, obviously, but things don't seem to change up too much when the power does switch off. But a country will as a rule follow its natural interests (barring some dictator like Mugabe who's in it solely for the money rather than any tinge of wanting to improve the life of the people or stature of the country) and while these can evolve over time and occasionally change abruptly, there will be a general consistency until something comes along to shake things up.

    I don't think Russia is right to interfere in the Ukraine. That doesn't mean it's going to stop, any more than I think the US would recognize the Armenian genocide no matter how much I would personally wish it would. They're both not going to stop doing those things due to their national interest, at least not if a very peculiar figure doesn't pop in and change everything we have down on the books.

    The world was no stranger to genocide occurring. Not on such industrialized and barbaric levels as occurred during the Armenian and especially the Holocaust levels of cruelty, but people recognized that it was a Bad Thing, and people of the day responded with shock at the atrocity. Hitler said that he'd be able to get away with his genocides and mass slaughter precisely because of the sort of lethargy that people like you have in responding to the Armenian genocide.

    "Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

    But yes, as you say, there's no need to recognize the Armenian genocide, there's no need to make the Turks face the enormity of what their ancestors did. While they can rationalize away the Armenians as massive liars with a huge lobby in all the western governments constantly scheming against poor Turks, that's definitely a healthy sort of view that will probably never result in any sort of awfulness. Nor the Azeri tendency to erase the land of any trace that Armenians ever lived there. That's probably healthy, and we should just ignore it.

    While we're at that, though, I'd like you to consider a world where the African-Americans were freed, but it was considered to be a crime against Americanism to talk about how they were enslaved, where blacks were regarded as lying about how they suffered, where the US pushed in massive financial and diplomatic punishments against anyone who dared recognize the struggle of the African-Americans. But there's no use there in bringing them up again, right? You're not going to have anyone pay reparations, after all (though this is not actually the case in Turkey, where it is very well known that certain properties were previously owned by Armenians and could be restored to the family of their previous owners). You aren't going to put any southernors on trial, so there's no need for anyone to face any uncomfortable reflections on how people so similar to them could perpetuate such a cruelty on another people. Personally, I would think that such a world would be worse off. At least in the modern time, we can recognize slavery as a shameful period in our nation's history and other nations can hold us to that.

    I'm not demanding that the USA interfere in Armenia and Artsakh. You're wrong that the US would never interfere in Russia's backyard; after all, the US is heavily supporting Georgia in its run to become a part of NATO, and Armenia and Artsakh are further separated from the Russian border. I would be content with mere words defending the brave people of Artsakh, instead of yet more about how the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be a thing. Yet we don't even get that, so here I am bitching on the internet to a guy who thinks I don't even know that the presidents of the US switch out every few years.

    Unofficial recognition of genocide doesn't mount the pressure that would allow the few surviving victims to get some proper compensation. That's why the Armenian drive for it is so strong before the last survivors die off.

  47. Jake_Ackers

    One I am not saying the US shouldn't recognize. Nor am I saying the Armenia genocide is not a serious issue. We are having two different arguments.

    What I was saying, is that it is an explanation of why the US and the West acts the way it does. Of course each country is going to do what is best for its own people. That is the point of the country.

    Moreover, I agree that Russia is not going to stop. The same way Hitler went on with his genocide because the world did nothing about the Armenian genocide. The same way another country can do exactly what Russia is doing, just as Hitler did with Czechoslovakia.

    And again like I said for the umpteenth time. The Armenian genocide is a genocide and there should be recognition of it. Just like with the Nanking Massacre and other genocides.I was explaining why there hasn't been global action on it. I am never saying, that we shouldn't or that there shouldn't be. But explaining why. Moreover, the point of the US not being monolithic is because even if one President wants to say it is a genocide, he might not have the votes. Again further explaining why we have not.

    And I made the point about the US not being monolithic because the entire world like to believe that every politician and every America agrees with the actions of their gov't. I didn't realize you were American or at least understand our politics. Sorry for that. However, yes I do agree we should at least acknowledge the past and current situation in Armenia. But again I was explaining why we did not and have not and won't do certain things.

    The way you were describing, seemed liked you favored the USA marching into Turkey and rounding up some Turks and putting them on trial like the Nuremberg or Hague. My point was in explaining why it has not been done thus far. Not that it shouldn't.

    What I meant by the US not intervening in the Caucuses is military intervention. We won't do it in Ukraine because well its Russia and same goes with Georgia. But were willing to do it in Libya and Syria because its well a lot easier to, frankly.

  48. Guest

    I know full well why the US is acting the way it is, you don't need to explain it to me. I'm very well aware that the US is not going to try to provoke Turkey or Azerbaijan– the former is a model country for how it wants much of the Muslim world to act with its democracy, secularism, focus on the economy and somewhat of a closer connection to Israel, and Azerbaijan is… well, more worrying, but at least secular and Israel friendly. The cartoonish dictatorship and more odious aspects of Azerbaijan such as them promptly releasing and making an ax-murderer a national hero following his release into their custody from Hungary (he'd murdered an Armenian roommate on during a NATO Partnership for Peace thing, see) can easily be overlooked with a few juicy pipeline deals, and best of all, Azerbaijan comes included with some claims on Iran for whenever the US decides to invade. Alienating those countries for the sake of the few millions of Armenians that are left is bad from a US perspective of influencing other countries, even if it requires the US to engage in some dodgy behaviors. It's not stopped us from pulling much shadier stuff in the past, so why would it now?

    Yes, I understand why the US won't do these things. I wish that the US would take a slightly stronger stance and just speak at least a few encouraging words on the matter. Would that help? No, nothing much beyond my conscience. I still wish it could happen, no amount of explaining why it won't is going to change that.

  49. rat free Albertan

    the upcoming referendum is 59 years too late. Damn you Nikita for the illegal transfer.
    Viva le Alberta Libre

  50. Jake_Ackers

    Crimea became independent. Then Crimea voted to become part of the Ukraine. Why? Because they were afraid of being invaded by the Russians.

  51. Guest

    Crimea did not have a separate independence from Ukraine at that time, it was enrolled within the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic when that unit became independent from the Soviet Union as the latter collapsed.

  52. Jake_Ackers

    Actually you are technically correct. I said Crimea was independent because the Crimean parliament at the time declared themselves to be independent and then reversed it.

  53. Guest

    It would be hard for an independent Crimea to make its way when there are more resources to be had from being linked up to a larger organization. In the chaos of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it's no surprise that the headache of setting up a new nation against the wishes of a good portion of the populace that would border a probably bitter neighbor was decided against, despite the fact that only around I think a third of the population of Crimea voted for Ukrainian independence. They've tested how it is sticking with an independent Ukrainian nation for a couple decades now, if they decide that they've had enough of it then I think that should be it.

  54. Jake_Ackers

    Yes and that is a Crimea and Ukraine problem. There is no genocide of Crimean Russians. Yet Russia has been intervening in Ukraine for a while now. Let Crimea and Ukraine solve their own problems.

  55. Guest

    Ukraine is not going to let them go by themselves, so the Russians intervened. Do I support that intervention? Not really, but if it lets the will of the people of Crimea be heard and it's not bloody, then I guess it ultimately serves a good purpose. I don't support the US imposing unnecessary economic hardship on the people of Russia to try to budge Putin in a move that won't work to try and freeze everything into the status quo.

  56. Jake_Ackers

    Yes and that is a right the Ukraine has, to stop Crimea. Or least let them solve their own problems without countries like the US and Russia intervening.

    And yes I do think sanctions are the dumbest political policies around. You should outmaneuver your appoint, not try to squeeze them. Which only hurts the people.

  57. Guest

    Why should that be a right? The British Empire wasn't going to let the Americans separate from the empire, do you think that the French and the Dutch had no right to intrude on British problems? If so, the revolution would've been stamped out pretty fast. I think that some degree of foreign intervention for the liberation of a people can be a good thing in the end.

  58. Jake_Ackers

    Foreign intervention can be a good thing and legitimate but it is less so now a days. Today its a new global politics. During the WW1/2 era, ethnicity was an excuse. Today only genocide and national defense really is one.

  59. Jake_Ackers

    Would you like to go to war with Russia? Yah its called another World War. No thank you. Plus the former Yugoslavia used the UN. Going to use the UN in Russia? Russia has VETO power.

  60. Guest

    Why would I want to go to war with Russia over the matter of Crimea rightfully returning to them?

  61. Ekateryna Pukachenko

    Now, I hate all Western and all Eastern politicians. Instead of leaving us resolve our own issues, the West supports the West, the East supports the East. Each part of our country is a puppet in the hands of Westerners or Easterners. Everybody says that we decided democratically.

    Yes, of course.

    The West fights Russians in our land, and vice versa.

    And you, commentators, sitting on your silk sofas, thinking that you’re thinking, while we face the war, thank you for shutting the f*** up and leaving the real people resolve their issues without Putin, without Merkel, without Obama. Nobody comes. When the war breaks, you’ll still be sitting and commentating -you who have all the science and knowledge of the world- and we’ll be hearing and running from bombs.

    So, please, keep sitting, stand ground there, and watch a good movies, and leave us alone!

    With you, “democrats”, and them, “dictators”, all of you, brought our country on the edge of war.

    When a mother receives a sealed coffin, she doesn’t care of geopolitics.

    I’m convinced more than ever that because of you, all of you, we will morn husbands and sons, and you silk-sofa commentators will always be sitting there commentating.

    If you think that you’re right, put a gun and come fight. Otherwise, please, leave us alone. And shut up. Please.

  62. Colin Minich

    I'm in the service, lady.

    If I have to go fight, even if it's against the Russians, I'll do so even if I have reservations doing so. I'd rather you not spout a bunch of rhetoric before thinking that some of the people commenting have stakes in the matter or know people who do.

  63. Ekateryna Pukachenko

    I just feel strong anger. Ukraine is not your country. If one day you go fighting, it’ll be for your OWN country. If Canada is against Ukraine, you’ll fight against Ukraine. If it’s against Russia, against Russia.

    My anger is that, here, we feel fear, and we see all this Americans and Russians all around the country. Nobody, I say really nobody even you, cares about us. And yes, you’re just a commentator, and we are the actors.

    Again, as a Ukrainian, I feel ashamed that we look abroad (West or East) to make sens to our country.

    I follow your blog since a very very long time. I enjoy it, and I’ll keep enjoying. But when it comes to all those word and comments, I am angry. Extremely.

    Just imagine how it’ll be if it was your own country that is on the brink of war, and you see all people saying that Obama did this and it’s, say, Mexico’s fault and so… while you fear on your homes…

    All what was asked is to leave your country alone.

    Am I wrong?

  64. Colin Minich

    "All what was asked is to leave your country alone."

    – Then unfortunately you're incredibly naive despite sincere in your intentions.

  65. Jake_Ackers

    Crimea and South Ossetia is not Russia. Crimea is Ukraine and South Ossetia is Georgia. And yet Russian has stuck their noses in it. The Russian gov't rules over Russian land, not people who call themselves ethnically Russians.

  66. Guest

    People who call themselves Russians and want to be a part of Russia living on a land that was part of Russia until it was arbitrarily given to Ukraine should be allowed to become a part of Russia again, should they want it. Similarly, the South Ossetians prefer either independence or being under the Russian Federation like the North Ossetians, so if they're willing to violently throw off the Georgians then it's long passed the point where they should've been allowed to go peacefully. Similarly, I think that Russia should allow the Chechens to go, though I admit that I doubt that that would happen.

    Now, what reason if any does the US have to care about what goes on in that part of the world? Why should Russians have no right to 'stick their noses in' on what goes on on their very borders while the US should have free reign to poke around a very long way from home?

  67. Jake_Ackers

    That's because many believe that a country was made for ethnic groups. That was the logic Hitler used to invade most of Europe. He was "protecting" the Germans. This is the 21st Century, countries do have rights to multicultural states.

    I do applaud you for being consistent, as least you think the Chechens should get independence if the Ossestians should too. Problem is that then every little ethnic group would want a country. Russians in Ukraine are not being discriminated against not facing genocide. The Crimea problem is merely something fueled by Russia to regain control over it. The Ukrainian gov't until recently was pro-Russian, we know that RU has been trying to control Ukraine though a quasi-puppet regime. Ukraine does have a right to a multicultural state.

    Why does the US care? Because the last two times the US didn't care, it was the US who had to bail out Europe (WW1 and WW2). If Putin isn't stopped in some fashion, he will keep taking over all of the former USSR.

  68. Guest

    There's a vast difference between the majority ethnic Russian Crimeans voting to join Russia in the upcoming referendum and Hitler deciding to try to annex everything west of the Urals for life space and justifying it with the incredibly small percentages of German minorities, who didn't want to be involved with any of it in the first place due to the fact that they knew the Soviets would have a terrible vengeance on them before Hitler showed up even if his lightning war had been a success.

    Most little ethnic groups do, in fact, want a country of their own, or at least some autonomy for areas with a good number of them. Where they do not have a country of their own, there will often be some sort of rebellion or agitation for one to happen. Where there are multiethnic nations, it's generally because effectively one group is so very large and well-spread throughout key areas of the nation that there's no way minorities would be able to rally a large enough area filled with majorities of their population to pull off a viable country. Or else its the minorities themselves that are spread so thin that there's no way they could pull off a country of their own. In these cases, generally some regional autonomy is allowed for for the minorities and that's enough for their to be peace. Russia, for example, is over 80% Russian in population and yet has over 160 ethnic groups. A good number of these ethnic groups, where they're concentrated enough around one area anyway, will have little republics of their own within the Russian Federation, such as Tatarstan. China similarly has autonomous regions for the areas where Han Chinese may make up less of an overwhelming majority of the population, though as we can see with the Uighurs and Tibetans there's still been a drive for total independence for those regions among some inhabitants. It's telling that those are the only ones where the Han make up less than 50% of the population, isn't it? There are a few non-nation based states such as India and Pakistan, though I'm not as educated with those ones as I understand it they basically substituted the ethnic group basis for a Hindu/secular and Islamic one, respectively. Though that's certainly not stopped ethnic groups in both countries rebelling in an attempt to gain independence, which even happened successfully with Pakistan to give us what is now Bangladesh.

    The new world is an entirely different can of beans, of course. It's easy for us to say that everyone would be better off if they just all got along, but then again most of us share the same language and much of the same culture, not to mention most of the country has autonomous units built in due to a less centralized basis so that the people on a local level still have a hand in their government, which helps a lot. Many ethnic concerns are started just because the ethnic group in charge of the country tends to devote more resources to their areas rather than those of outlying minority groups so that those ones fall behind, which tends to piss those guys off for obvious reasons.

    The US has cared far too much about everything half the world away in recent years on the flimsy justification of stopping the next Hitler (seriously, why did the US even *have* to enter World War 1 when that was just a great stupid mess? World War II is the only thing you have going for you there, and Hitler published what he was planning on ahead of time). Are you saying that Putin is the next Hitler? What ethnic groups will he strike against, what evil will come about because of his rule? Hitler had published a book on how he intended to go against what he viewed as the problem groups of his country, have you seen any such thing from Putin?

    Oh no, Russia's bigger. That's an intrinsic harm to America… how? We were somehow able to get along with a Russian Empire even larger than the USSR alright, weren't we? Though that's not what's occurring now. Right now, an area is going to democratically vote on whether or not to join Russia in a referendum, if that works they join officially, if not they don't. That's fine in my book. If Russia were to declare that the whole of Kazakhstan belongs to them on the basis of 20% of the population being Russian (a much firmer number for justification than Hitler had, mind you) then I'd have a problem with it and support intervention. If the many Russian majority communities in Kazakhstan were to vote to join Russia instead, I'd be fine with that.

  69. Jake_Ackers

    Crimeans voting to join Russia is like the Austrians voting to join Germany. Not talking about the Urals. Hitler then after went for the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia. No one thought Hitler would takeover all of Czechoslovakia in the beginning. But it happened. Who is to say Putin will stop at Crimea?

    Not all dictators and genocidal leaders go around with a manifesto. I never said Putin was going to committee genocide. But since we are on that note. He is oppressing people in order to stay in power. How about him, scapegoating gay people in Russia? Oppressing Artists and anyone who speaks up against him? He is a modern dictator. Which leads to my next point.

    Crimea voting democratically? Sense when did Putin believe in that? So its okay for Crimea to vote but when Russians try, they get oppressed and jailed.

    If Crimea wants to be independent, let them deal with Ukraine alone. Crimea also have ethnic Ukrainians and Tartars. Crimea doesn't just belong to Crimean Russians. There are other people. Take that land away too is "tyranny of the majority." If Crimea wants independence that is one thing. It is another for Russia to use it's dirty tactics like killing Ukrainian leaders, taking over the main Ukrainian gov't with corrupt political methods. The problem isn't Crimea leaving. That was going to be a issue either way. It's Russia being hypocrites.

    And on WW1. The USA was attacked in WW1 and also found out Germany planned on giving parts of the USA back to Mexico.

  70. Guest

    Yeah, they did. Was that the evil part of Hitler's rise to power, that Austrians voted to join up with Germany? Hitler instituted some of the earliest regulation against cigarettes and animal abuse, too, is that evil just because Hitler did it? Keep what Hitler did that was horrible distinct from everything else. For the record, anyone who thought that Hitler was going to not go for the Sudetenland was a chump. He said that it was a necessity in the book he wrote before coming to office, everything about him reeked of hyper-nationalism, why wouldn't he try to get away with it? And when he did, well, there went most of the extensive fortification network that the Czechs had been building to ward off the German threat that almost entirely surrounded the Czech half.

    "We will never instigate. We will never support such trends. Only people who live in a certain territory have the right to decide their own future," is a fundamentally different sort of quote than "Under the guidance of the Reich, Europe would speedily have become unified. Once the Jewish poison had been eradicated, unification would have been an easy matter," or "It is eastwards, only and always eastwards, that the veins of our race must expand. It is the direction which Nature herself has decreed for the expansion of the German peoples." These sorts of people tend to do some signalling, yes? So long as it's limited to Crimea-type situations then there's no need for them to be interfered with. If they raise the cudgel of mass violence against a smaller nation with no such intents or this becomes a pattern, then intervention will become reasonable.

    Yeah, Crimea has Ukrainians and Tatars. Russia has them too. If the majority of the populace wants to go with leaving for Russia, that should be no stricture against the move. Or would you rather have a tyranny of the minority where a small portion of the population overrules the majority wishes on such things? At any rate, a negotiation with the Ukrainian government clearly won't be possible. Or do you think that the new ruling class of a bunch of nationalist thugs sweeping up from the streets is going to allow a whole region secede from Ukraine and join up with Russia on their watch? This isn't the United Kingdom or Canada.

    Yeah, the Germans attacked the Lusitania. A British ship, not an American one. When the Germans had already given warning of their unrestricted submarine warfare for any attempt to pass a ship through the area, and that ship was transporting war munitions to supply the British, and the British had been breaking rules like this plenty of times before. It resulted in American deaths, but the German embassy had bought out plenty of ads to tell Americans leaving that it would be a very bad idea to board that ship. Because of that, we took the opportunity to declare war and get over 100,000 American deaths and over twice that in wounds, often horrible ones, all so that vengeful West European powers could use them as cannon fodder to crush their German enemy and divide up their empires, creating instability that would result in the second world war. But we got at least a few islands out of the deal, right? … islands that would give Japan reason to invade. World War I was a blunder for the US.

    If you think that Mexico was in any state to attack the US with German arms that Germany had no chance of supplying due to the blockade (while they were in the midst of their civil war, by the way!), you need to have your head examined. It was a desperate move of a guy who didn't really know much about Mexico aside from that they'd possessed a good chunk of what's now the US and hoped that they'd throw themselves on the sword to slow down an enemy he knew was going to find a justification to declare war sooner or later. Unfortunately for him, he happened to provide that justification through his desperate attempt.

  71. Jake_Ackers

    Again I was explaining why the US intervened and how it intervened in WW1. Not saying it was justified or not. The US was itching to get into it any how.

    I am not comparing Putin to Hitler because Hitler was evil. I was comparing it because there is a strong chance Putin won't stop. If he could he would expand Russia past the levels of the old USSR.

    And on Crimea. Personally, my problem is with outside forces intervening in the Ukraine. Russia's methods of manipulating Ukraine's gov't is not justified by Crimea wanting to leave. Does Crimea have a right to leave? They have a right to do what they want. However, Russia method of intervention is wrong, before and now. That is my problem with this. Could Russia intervene? Yes but only if there was genocide the sort against Crimea by the Ukrainians in power. Then yes Russian intervention would be okay. However, Russian has been sticking its nose in Ukraine long before. Without regard to the Crimea situation. Russia wants Ukraine. Crimea is just a good flashpoint for it. At least they get Crimea back.

    It is as if Scandinavia started to try and take our pro-UK officials in Great Britain just so Scotland could become free because the Scots are Nordic too. Might be justified if Scotland was facing a genocide but they aren't. So if the Scots vote for independence. Let them. That is a British problem not a world problem until there is genocide. Same goes with Crimea. Russia didn't even wait for that. They didn't even wait for a maybe or a hint. They have been intervening in the Ukraine pretty much well, since it has been independent. Russia has never respected Ukrainian independence, regardless of Crimea. If Crimea was part of Russia today. Russia would of still intervened in the Ukraine. And that is my problem.

  72. Guest

    I'm familiar with the history books on the matter, thank you. You'd included World War I in your statement about the US 'needing to bail out Europe' the last few times it'd 'done nothing', so I decided to challenge that Europe needed any bailing out there. There was a good fight to be had against the Ottomans due to the oppressions they were mounting on most of their peoples, but we and the allies as a whole never really focused much on that area of the war (aside from the British and French snatching up some protectorates instead of liberating Arabs as they'd promised, not like that should've surprised anyone) to the severe detriment of many of its minorities. Similarly, some focus could have been paid to Russia I guess, but no one really wanted to get involved in propping up or putting down that mess, too much land to cover.

    And I'm saying that there were a few places to stop Hitler before he'd invaded Poland. It's one thing to let Austria and Saar join up by popular vote. Fine, very well. Militarizing the Rhineland, laying demands on the Sudetenland… the sheer barrage of these should alert people to what's coming, Hitler's trying to get away with as much as possible. Invading the Czechoslovakian rump state? Definitely take action by then.

    This is the thing with Russia. Crimea votes to join, maybe you can get Belarus to do so, too, they're all pretty close. The moment they start trying to bully one of the Baltic states, though? All of that's NATO, obviously a no-go. Ukraine is on the fast track to start being in NATO, plus the people will be very opposed especially with less Russians due to Crimea's departure. There simply aren't many options for expansion left. Expand into Finland? The west would explode with fury, righteously, and the Russians haven't been singing "Receive us as guests, Suomi-beauty" for quite a long while since the Winter War. Expand into Kazakhstan? There are a few Russian majority communities in the north so that that could reasonably happen, yet unlike Ukraine, Kazakhstan is actually friendly to Russia and is in the Commonwealth of Independent States with a great number of things, being bellicose to them would harm the Soviet Union in a way that being aggressive to hostile Georgia or Ukraine would not. There's Mongolia… influence it, sure, but even the Soviet Union never sought to conquer it. China would not be happy, and that's another nation that China isn't going to expand into. That leaves leaving Russia's shores, to the disputed island of Sakhalin and the Kuril islands… which it already owns, aside from the southernmost few of the latter left to Japan. Japan still claims them, but no one really cares. They're planning to have a discussion about settling this diplomatically. So, what else does that leave… the Arctic Ocean? This talk about Russia suddenly rolling all of Eurasia is a little exaggerated, you see, unless you think that Russia's suddenly become very willing to trigger World War 3 for the sake of a few scraps of land where everyone hates the Russians in the Baltic.

    As to the last thing, I'm just… perplexed. The Scots aren't Nordic, at least not in any other sense than being on the North Sea. Sure, parts of Scotland (and at times the whole of it) have been ruled by Scandinavian leaders, but the rule of the last Norwegian earls of Scotland's northern isles ceased centuries ago, the Norn language has been extinct for a while.

    If the Scottish were to hold a referendum, the thing is that the UK is mature enough of a nation and people are accountable enough that I think it would actually be allowed to go free, so no sort of intervention would be required. If the Scottish people as a whole wanted to break free and were not allowed to, though… well, I personally wouldn't have a problem in such a case if we came on over and made allowance for some republicanism as peacefully as we could manage.

    If you're waiting for mass killings to start before intervening, you have a big problem on your hands, and that only allows for intervention against very cruel powers while overlooking less outrageously evil yet still oppressive ones. I can't say I fully approve of the Russian intervention, but at least it's being handled about as bloodlessly as possible in a way that will allow the Crimean voice to be heard.

  73. Jake_Ackers

    Again Russian intervention didn't start with Crimea nor will it stop. It might not invade the Baltic states but doesn't mean it won't manipulate it like it did with the Ukrainian gov't (regardless of the Crimea issue). Not all interventions come in military conquest.

    The Nordic Council has backed Scotland to join it. In that sense, it is Nordic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_Council#Expan

    The international community cannot justify military action unless there is already violence in a region. You can intervene against cruel powers that are oppressing people in other ways. Intervene non-militarily if the oppression is not genocide.

    And the Russian intervention is not really bloodlessly. A shadow army with guns is only bloodless now…. And I am not saying the West should intervene militarily either. Nor am I saying the Russians should be stopped militarily.

  74. George Sturum

    That sounds all nice and dandy (leave Ukraine alone), but considering that the Russians are going to do what they want regardless of the US and EU do, you're stuck with at least one major nation involved in your domestic affairs. I think you're right though that the best course of action would be for everyone to leave Ukraine with maybe international peace keepers deployed to Crimea temporarily (no European, Russian, or American troops). Have everyone vote for a new government and let Ukraine move on that way.

    Based on the security council deliberations earlier this week, everyone would support that course of action except for Russia. Therefore, I find your criticism of both sides to be bizarre; false equivalence at its finest.

  75. Ekateryna Pukachenko

    It’s not naive. It’s a scream from a true Ukrainian.

    Nobody fights for Ukraine. Except Ukrainians.

    EU & US fight against Russia. Russia struggles for itself. Or, worse, just for Putin himself.

    I see on TV shows a lot of people who want to transfer us from a Russian satellite to a Polish satellite!

    We could have been a major power, regarding our scientific heritage at the end of the USSR. In spite of this, US & EU invited our scientists, and left our country nearly brainless. Poland, Hungary, should be our satellite. Not the contrary!

    I’m ashamed. We are just a stake in the hands of major powers.

    If Westerners wanted to really help us, they had two decades to do so. They just helped to bring us steps closer to hell, with poverty and corruption.

    Of course, nothing to expect from Russia, needless to say.

    This is the non-naive truth. West doesn’t care of us, neither do Russia.

  76. Pseudo

    It is a shame that the west did nothing good for Ukraine since the Soviet Union fell. Most of us knew nothing about Ukraine's troubles until Russian ambitions for Crimea drew our attention. I, for one, am sorry that we failed you.

  77. Jake_Ackers

    Well to an extent. But when McCain said Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO. He was laughed at. Then Palin said Putin would invade Ukraine. She was called nuts. Romney said Russia was our greatest geopolitical foe and Obama pretty much called him stupid. I think its more so the Left on this one.

  78. Jake_Ackers

    Austria voted to join Germany. Then Germany invade the Sudetenland to help the ethnic Germans. And took over the rest of Czechoslovakia.

    Crimea voted to join Russia. Then Russian invaded the Ukraine to help the ethnic Russians. And…. wondering what is next. Although I personally doubt Russia will take over all of the Ukraine. They protested their own gov't, the resistance would be massive.

    On another note, just bankrupt Russia already. If oil goes around $90 a barrel, Russia cannot sustain itself. Just the speculation will hurt them enough. Give Putin an ultimatum. Stop invading Ukraine. Work with the West and we will help them (RU) explore energy in E. Europe and maybe even help them join NATO. Otherwise, we will announce all coal, natural gas and oil in the US will be explored. Work with Eastern Europe to explore their own. And expand the missile shield.

  79. Trenacker

    NATO is a military alliance, not an economic compact. You criticize Obama for taking a step too far in Syria. If you felt that, barring willingness to use military force, he should not have made any ultimatums in the first place, then it is difficult for me to understand how you can talk about NATO expansion.

    The missile shield is problematic. Robert Gates spells out many of the problems in his autobiography. First, the technology was questionable, and other options with longer range and superior performance were more meritorious of our scarce defense dollars. Second, the deployments were extremely unpopular in both the Czech Republic and Poland at the time that they were last being contemplated.

  80. Jake_Ackers

    NATO is not economic, is correct. But NATO has constantly been seen as a threat to Russia by Russia. Helping them join NATO has been a much talked about option for a while. Its one of those things that perception helps drives other policies.

    And on your missile shield point. Again its one of those things that perception helps drive other policies. The Star Wars program was a bunch of junk on paper. Yet the Russians sure thought it was real. Its positioning yourself on the global stage.

  81. Jake_Ackers

    On another note, this is the 3rd time Putin got the best of the US and Obama. South Ossetia, Syria (which still didn't fully give up their chemical weapons), and now Crimea. Oh not to mention how the US is losing ground in Central Asia/former Soviet republics. Guess Romney had a point, Russia is out greatest geopolitical foe.

  82. Trenacker

    How did Putin outflank Obama on South Ossetia? How did he outflank Obama on Crimea?

    Is it your contention that Putin would not have acted had Obama not issued a threat over Syria's use of chemical weapons? If Obama had fired cruise missiles at a short list of regime targets?

    The irony of the whole situation is that even had Obama enforced his red line in Syria with missile bombardment, it is difficult to imagine that he would have contributed to a happy outcome. The Alawites have every incentive to continue fighting even in the event of Assad's death.

    People looking at Putin's seeming ease-of-action forget that he is a despot who needs only to coordinate the efforts of a single government bullying smaller nations on his own border. Obama, meanwhile, has to mobilize the Western Europeans, over whom he has less leverage than Putin and with whom we no longer share the same worldview. Western Europe is more concerned to avoid financial disruption over the Ukraine than to discourage Putin from future adventurism. The lure of gas and investment dollars is simply too great. I don't see that it's Obama's fault.

  83. Jake_Ackers

    I said got the best of the US didn't say it was Obama's fault. Our response on the global stage is what drives a lot of perception. You do realize what Putin is doing is exactly what Hitler did prior to WW2? In terms of the global international stage at least. It's not one act that made Putin get the best of US. It's all three.

    South Ossetia was over before Obama got in. So I don't blame him for that. Again it's not one act, it's all three.

    Syria was handled incorrectly. Syria isn't our problem, it's a UN problem. Which would of never been resolved in the first place without dealing with Russia. Hence, the redline should of not be talked about and if it was, not until background talks with Russia and China. Russia wants access to Syria, economically and militarily. If that was given I doubt Assad would of been in power, in one way or another. Some General would of put a bullet in his head and taken over.

    And on Ukraine and Crimea. I'm not blaming Obama. I am saying his overall response is anemic at best. This whole mess cannot be handled like a pissing match between giants. Russia is a bully. So push back, just start announcing policies. I don't support war with Russia but I do support putting them into a tight economic situation where they HAVE to negotiate themselves out of this Crimea mess.

  84. Trenacker

    You said, "On another note, this is the 3rd time Putin got the best of the US and Obama." It wasn't clear to me that you really meant "or Obama."

    Syria was handled incorrectly, I agree. I disagree that the UN could have been expected to do anything useful, if that's what you're implying. I agree that Obama should not have invoked a red line that he was unwilling to enforce. (I do, however, wonder if, once the threat was levied, even employment of a few cruise missiles fired at regime targets would have been enough.) Again, it is interesting to note the distinction between taking minor action calibrated for a global audience (as a demonstration that dictators get their "just desserts") and doing anything that would help to end the war itself. The best that Obama could have hoped for was to kill Assad with a cruise missile — an action that may have appeared to violate the executive order against assassination of heads of state.

    Russia wants access to Syria as a market for weapons and more, yes, but I think that, for Putin, it was also a question of lining up opposite the United States. To embarrass us and lard his credentials as both Middle East kingmaker and geopolitical player. This is how he signals to the rest of the world, but especially his own people, that Russia remains relevant and powerful: it can afford to disagree with, even foil, the United States. In China, the calculation is partially the same.

    It is significant that, when it comes to Syria, Russia also worked hard to defend the principle of Westphalian statehood, just as China did in Sudan: repression is an acceptable tool of a beleaguered leader. That line of argumentation fits, too, with the Russian position on the Ukraine: it was the seizure of power that was illegal, according to their logic, not the deadly suppression of popular dissent.

    Obama's response is anemic, but I blame the Western Europeans for that. He's finding it difficult to persuade them to take meaningful action against the Russians because they are loathe to endure economic hardship. Then, too, it doesn't help that most of the rest of the world really does regard the Ukraine as a Russian satellite.

  85. Jake_Ackers

    Sorry Trenacker I should of said "or". My fault.

    On Syria, the UN wouldn't do much nor could it anyway because of RU's veto. The go to in situations like Syria is to back some General to do a coup. Which could of been done if done with Russia and maybe China.

    On your point of Russian position on seizure of power. Funny thing is without Crimea. Russia still would of been sticking their noses in Ukraine. Russia can defend Westphalian statehood but it violates it completely. China at times does too.

    And yes I think the W. Euros were weak. I agree on that. However, Obama if he positioned himself stronger on energy, he can pressure RU heavily. Problem is Obama's "war on coal" and other energy reserves makes him even weaker on the issue. He is tying his own hand because his own back.

  86. Trenacker

    How does a coup solve the essential problem? The question is whether the Alawites will continue to dominate, not who, precisely, sits at the top of the pecking order. That is why it makes little practical sense to talk about assassination: just as in Sudan, it's the regime type that matters (ethnic/sectarian oligarchy), not the leadership.

    Of course Russia and China violate Westphalian principles when it suits them. Russia is trying to maintain the figleaf that there is no state to violate, however.

    Obama's energy policy is an issue entirely aside from our relationship with Russia. While I have many objections to the War on Coal, I don't see how one can mark him down for failing to develop an overall energy policy that pokes Russia in the eye.

  87. Jake_Ackers

    The Civil War is in a stalemate at least in the eye of the international community. Rebels are bad, and so is Assad. If a General puts a bullet in Assad. There is at least one side the RU, China and West can back now.

    The energy policy can be used to bankrupt Russia. Russia main source of income and of its economy is Energy. Oil, Gas and Coal. Almost 70% of it's exports is that. And it is its main source of power with Eastern Europe. Want to stop Russia? Stop it's money.

    The US can expand oil, gas and coal production and exploration at home and abroad especially in places like E. Euro. That will drive the price of energy down. Helping the US economy, destroying Russia and putting external, internal and economic pressure on Putin. In addition to removing Europe's heavy reliance on Russia. Especially E. Europe's.

    I am not faulting Obama for not having an energy policy that pokes Russia in the eye, before. I am faulting him for not taking a chance to develop one now and using it. Energy is half of Russia's federal revenue stream. Touch that and the country is bankrupt. It's military crippled. Then block East Europe reliance on Russia energy and the country not only cannot afford to enforce geopolitical influence, it will have even less.

    All in all, you just threaten Putin with energy prices and it is a good motivation for Russia to think twice about how it handles itself.

  88. Trenacker

    Backing a side to what end? The American people haven't the stomach to try Edward Luttwalk's strategy of picking sides in this particular situation. The president's advisers would never sign off on an approach like that — not with the looming shadow of Afghan blowback still so fresh in the popular psyche.

    It's hard for me to see how lifting restrictions on oil, gas, and coal production would cause Putin to veer from his present course. I agree that, over time, such a policy could hurt him considerably. Of course, there is more at stake in terms of energy policy. First, nuclear power is tremendously unpopular and is likely to remain so for some time given the Fukushima disaster. Second, Obama is pledged to a greener energy situation. His "War on Coal" may be ill-advised but it's also a rational policy for somebody who believes strongly in the need to take steps now to avert future ecological disaster. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that while I disagree with Obama's implementation, I can't help but acknowledge the requirement for a coordinated energy policy that moves us in the same direction overall. Your argument that coal and fracking will help the U.S. economy is reasonable… but only over the short term. Personally, I agree that we should lift restrictions on coal mining, finish the Keystone XL pipeline, and embrace fracking, but I'm also aware that coal mining is dirty and that fracking could have serious consequences for local environments.

  89. Guest

    What does the US have to lose in any of those cases, though? I don't see how Crimea heading over to Russia or Georgia losing its hold over South Ossetia negatively impact the US unless you're already of the mind that anything that benefits Russia even slightly causes harm to the US, and for the Syria situation, the rebels aren't any more of an attractive prospect than the ruling regime. It would be very bad for the religious minorities of the country if Syria's regime was toppled.

  90. Jake_Ackers

    It's not Crimea. It's that this is how it starts. What is after Crimea? Ukraine? Belarus? Baltic states? Under that logic just cut up the world into two countries. US and Russia.

    How did Czechoslovakia and Austria becoming part of Germany hurt the US? It didn't. Except that Hitler didn't stop there. He kept going. Although Hitler was mostly a Western Europe problem until Japan attacked the US.

    Moreover, Crimea is a Ukrainian/Crimea problem. Crimea has a right to self determination but so does the Ukraine. Russia has been intervening in the Ukraine for a while now, for a long while. Russia has being hypocritical. So its okay for Russia to mess with Ukrainian affairs but it's not okay for the world to complain about it? Crimea is the start that broke the camel's back. The world has been pissed at Russia for a while now with respects to them sticking their noses in Ukraine.

  91. Guest

    The majority of the Ukraine is obviously not for hooking up with Russians, though I could conceive of the Byelorussians joining up with Russia as the ties between the two countries are very close. The Baltic States would join up willingly with Russia right after you have the Sahara grow a sheet of ice over its whole expanse. For Russia to snowball like that, it would need to undergo an actual conflict that would be worth intervening in.

    By the time Hitler invaded the rest of the Czech Republic he'd crossed the lines for intervention and he should've been attacked if the European powers had a spine, however they felt content to wait until Poland and didn't even act following that for quite a long while. I guess you could say that if Hitler never accomplished those initial goals (Mussolini was fairly aligned with your view and stopped the anschluss the first time Hitler tried) then he would've limited his destruction to one country instead of many, but that would still have left Hitler with even more preparation time to build up a massive army that he probably needed. It would have been demoralizing to the Allies to keep those nations separate when there was a clear demonstration that the Austrians wanted to be a part of Germany at that time, heaping yet more punishment on the Germans for their loss in the first world war that a lot of countries like the US just didn't have the stomach for (aside from the French, who wanted to go with a plan that would have had millions of the Germans starve… they were very bitter about the first world war.) I think that that would have bought some time, but if no one was going to press in for total regime change (and why would they over the matter of Austria wanting to join?), that might have made history worse. Certainly it would have given Hitler more time to solidify power in Germany. Unless you're aiming to throw out Putin, I'm not sure what you could possibly be throwing out here. People only become more inflamed by such things when they're not allowed to because of the whims of distant, foreign powers. The desire of the Crimean people isn't going to lessen from this, will it?

    I've never said that Russia has the right to interfere in the Ukraine, but it's in its national interest and is I think more legitimate than any US meddling, considering the circumstances. I'm not against this if it's just talk, but if we pull any action because of this, that will be very bad. Fortunately, I think that the Europeans like to be able to light their gas heating and stoves in these cold days, so I don't imagine that this will really come to anything aside from a realignment of the Crimea to where it was sixty years ago and lots of bitching from the West.

  92. Jake_Ackers

    Okay now we are getting on the same page. I was just using the Baltic States as examples for a lack of better ones (was my bad including them in the argument). Belarus is the most likely and it is pretty much Russia anyway.

    I agree that Ukraine is not the US nor any other countries business. Same goes for Russia in my book, not their business. However, it only appears to be in Russia's interest/business because Crimea has Russians there. Now if one thinks protecting ethnic groups is legitimate reason to intervene that is another issue entirely. But Russia whether there is a Crimea or not, would still be intervening in the Ukraine. And that is my biggest problem. Plus W. Euros and the US all want Ukraine's resources. That is their main interest there.

    The legitimacy of Russia in the Ukraine is based on ethnicity. Which is not universal legitimacy. Especially in Western eyes, now anyways. So Russia says, this is a Russian/Ukrainian/Crimea issue. However, Russia has been pissing in Ukrainian waters for a while now, regardless of Crimea. Crimea is an excuse for intervention now, not the reason for previous Russian intervention. I view the Crimea issue just a continuation of RU messing in Ukraine. It's not a new issue.

    If Russia only messed with Ukraine because of Crimea and only messed with Ukraine these past few weeks/days. Then yes Russia might of had more legitimacy but it has been in Ukraine since there has been a Ukraine.

  93. Guest

    The Russian intervention appears to be more or less limited to occupying key areas of Crimea, does it not? They don't recognize the current Ukrainian government, but they're not storming in to replace them with the last guy or some puppet. If Crimea were to be a part of Russia already they'd be intervening probably in some way, but it'd be much more subtle than this. But everyone's going to meddle anyway, so at least this time it's for a fairly decent reason for the Russians. All the major powers are going to meddle in as many places as they can, it's what they do and that hasn't changed throughout the centuries.

  94. Jake_Ackers

    Russia has been intervening in ALL of the Ukraine. Crimea was an excuse for physical military intervention. What is Ukraine suppose to do? Believe Russia will stop at Crimea? Crimea is not the first nor the last time the Russians intervened in Ukraine.

    Just because you think Russia has a decent reason now, doesn't justify the acts before. Even if Ukraine believes Crimea has a right to self determination. It doesn't have to recognize that Russia is a legitimate player in the issue. After all Russia has been and is a direct threat to Ukraine. And has been messing with its politics for a while. You say the US went into the Balkans for a base in Kosovo. Russia has interests other than just Crimea with respects to Ukraine. And that is a direct threat to Ukraine. Ukraine doesn't have to accept Russia as a legitimate player in this issue. Especially since Ukraine isn't committing genocide. Russia's military response is over the top in respects to what is happening between Ukraine and Crimea. Military responses are used to stop violent acts like genocide.

    Moreover, you keep believing that intervention in the name of ethnic groups is justified. The world does not accept that as the threshold anymore unless the ethnic group has faced violence.

  95. Trenacker

    One of the major problems here is that the Ukraine has virtually no military due to a long history of cuts and corruption. This is beside the problem of whether, even had the Ukraine a competent military, it would be dealing with mass defections/desertions.

  96. Hentgen

    J.J., I couldn't get through the first few paragraphs without finding an error. You are incorrect that an impeachment vote requires a 2/3 majority. It requires 3/4, which the vote in the Rada failed to reach.

    From Chapter V, Article 111 of the Ukrainian Constitution: "The decision on the removal of the President of Ukraine from the office in compliance with the procedure of impeachment shall be adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by at least three-quarters of its constitutional membership upon a review of the case by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and receipt of its opinion on the observance of the constitutional procedure of investigation and consideration of the case of impeachment, and upon a receipt of the opinion of the Supreme Court of Ukraine to the effect that the acts, of which the President of Ukraine is accused, contain elements of treason or other crime."

    SOURCE: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/content/chapter05….

  97. J.J. McCullough

    That's why I said it's ambiguous if they actually "impeached" him or not (as opposed to having simply dismissed him for being unable to discharge his duties) and why I noted that expert opinion considers Ukraine's impeachment law to be badly written and hard to follow in practice.

    The constitution doesn't actually outline a process for determining what to do with a president who has abandoned office, though considering it only takes a simple parliamentary majority to dismiss him for "health reasons" (article 110), and that it takes a two-thirds majority to render a verdict on an "accusation of the President " (article 111) I'd say they probably have a case.

  98. Jake_Ackers

    Almost 100 comments. Wow. I want to give "Guest" a special shout out. Thanks for the back and forth.

    JJ has any other article gotten as many comments?

  99. David

    "Completely Independent and Sovereign Countries of Abkhazia and South Ossetia"

    Well, what do you know! There *is* a way to easily denote sarcasm on the Internet!