> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Discuss: Ukraine/Russia Standoff



Discuss: Ukraine/Russia Standoff

Putin is trying - at least - to grab Crimea, and currently has control of it. I'm thinking it's unlikely whatever Ukrainian government/forces remain after their recent revolution will wade into an all out war against the former USSR. Looks like Crimea just voted to join Russia, too. So I'd consider that one 'in the bag' for the Russians, unless somebody wants to get violent over the matter.

Bigger questions remain...

Will Russia try to branch out from beyond the traditionally Russian-leaning Crimean peninsula and go for the rest of Ukraine? 

On what level - beyond press conferences and sanctions - will Western nations intervene?

Definitely many possible scenarios for very, very bad escalation of conflict here. Apparently, the Ukraine gave up their nukes in '94...but, doesn't take more than a little bit of bad book keeping to keep a few of those things around. Russia and EU countries have 'em, as does the U.S...bringing us back to the good ol' Cold War days.

What do you think will happen?


  1. While this instance is very high profile and its getting a lot of attention, this sort of thing actually happens all the time. China is constantly just taking over territory it likes as a show of force and dominance. Vietnam recently lost several islands to China--no one much cared or noticed except the Vietnamese. And of course Russia frequently does the same thing. Annexing little bits of land here and there, against the wishes of smaller weaker countries. No one really steps up to them because 1) the smaller countries they are picking on can't and 2) the West doesn't really want WWIII over bits of territory no one really cares about. The Chinese and the Russians don't really care about the land their taking either--they are just flexing their muscles. This a bigger and more significant chunk of land than is typical but besides that its nothing out of the ordinary.

    Communist and Communist-like countries are all about national pride and showing off the power of the central government. I highly doubt they would do anything too serious--like invade all of the Ukraine or try to conquer Eastern Europe. They want to act tough, demonstrate their strength, and drum up some "patriotism" back home. War is the health of the state. We do the same thing. Whatever your feelings are about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a big reason we went in is we hadn't had a war for a little while and the hawks were getting restless.

    As far as countries like Russia and China go--the best offense is a good defense. Build up a strong military here in the US--missile defense, submarines, a healthy nuclear arsenal etc. And btw--a big part of that is reducing our national debt, which is most certainly our biggest threat to national defense. The point is the chaicons and the ruskies need to know, beyond all shadow of a doubt, that we would annihilate them in any direct confrontation and come out unscathed and victorious. And that's a realistic goal to shoot for if we weren't so preoccupied with a steady flow of liberal garbage. And then in smaller and indirect confrontations---like now with the Ukrane--we'll have a much better bargaining position. Countries will think twice before doing something we don't like. As of now we are spread way too thin trying to police everyone with a turban, way way way too in debt, and way too weak as a country. Hence the ruskies won the day and we are left whimpering with our tail between our legs.

  2. I'm not surprised to see Russia's reaction to the crisis. They already have plenty of trouble from the Chechens, having another headache to deal with is not wanted. A civil war in country adjacent to the Russian border means plenty of refugees fleeing the country - not good (Imagine Mexico going crazy(ier) and civil war there - wouldn't the U.S. intervene ? Heck yeah they would - we have plenty of illegal traffic from that side already.

    Not a lot we can do. Russia owns a lot of U.S. debt and selling that off for spite would not be good. I understand that Russia supplies Europe with natural gas so getting that shut-off would be bad for them.

    All in all, Russia pretty much will do what they want, they hold a lot of cards and Putin is ruthless, especially when pressed.

    1. Not exactly same as situation with Mexico. Ukraine was part of Russia for thousand years (heck, Kiev is the first capital of Russia!), and its territory was much smaller, but extended during reign of USSR by "gifts" from USSR leaders to solve logistical issues. Major part of Ukraine genetically, ideologically and lingual are Russians, rest are minorities from neighboring countries plus Jews and Tatars. Ukrainian language is just old Russian language (from times before 20th century modernizations) with local dialect plus multiple adaptations from German, Polish, Hungary, Hebrew etc, most of which was introduced AFTER fall of USSR just to assert themselves as ideologically separate country with own language and culture.
      So actually even mass migration and refugees from Ukraine not that bad to Russia because they can be instantly integrated to Russian society at title nation.

    2. Counterpoint - trouble with integrating Mexicans into the U.S. ? Heck, we're falling all OVER ourselves integrating them into the U.S. even now. Not only fast track citizenship, but states like Kalifornia provide all sorts of services to the Latin American community. They aren't interested in becoming Americans - they hold onto their countries ideals in their hearts. Many of them even refuse to make any effort to learn our language.

      You do make a good point about Ukrainans already ready for switching to Russian citizenship. Where these new citizens work and live - that will be an interesting experiment.

    3. Ukrainian people already largely know for legal, illegal and seasonal migration to Russia to work at hard works like building construction, so large amount of fresh immigrants may be used in construction of new houses and apartments (to solve their living place issues) there are also a lot of vacant places at different factories at Russia, while a lot of Ukrainian specialists are unemployed at home, because most companies and factories are idle or razed.

  3. Crimea citizens not yet voted, referendum will occur at the end of the March. Result of the vote may lead to several outcomes:
    1) Extended autonomy from central government
    2) Becoming separate country
    3) Join Russian Federation

    I don't think Russia itself will try to manipulate other regions of Ukraine, because it will require to extend military presence beyond pseudo-legal line. But right now several regions of east Ukraine plan to make similar to Crimea referendum

    Concerning intervene from Western world to this conflict I don't think it will go beyond some sanctions and overall verbal disapproval like it was in 08 with war in Georgia.

    While Russian leader(and all world leaders) pursues his own interests, not law, justice and humanity principles, he still have more legal rights to do what he do in Ukraine than any Western country and he already helped to maintain peace in Crimea by introducing his military presence. He stopped intervention of west Ukrainian activists (which happens in other parts of country, where is no Russian army present) and calmed unrest of local Tatar community in Crimea which may otherwise lead to bloodshed.

    P.S. I'm Russian citizen living in eastern Ukraine, I'm not big fan of Russian or Ukrainian government, but i'm totally against that coup d'etat which happened in Ukraine.

  4. I think Russia will end up annexing Crimea, possibly by the Crimean's voting themselves to become a Russian Republic, and there will be little international response beyond economic sanctions and some general finger wagging. Putin saw an opportunity to annex some more territory and went for it, but I doubt the Russians will go beyond the eastern Ukraine. The Western powers, including the US, are simply too disorganized and distracted with internal issues to render much of a response (remember Obama's "decisive" action in Syria). But some kind of Western military response to the situation is not really called for unless Russia tries to grab the rest of the Ukraine, which I doubt.

    The real issue is how the Syrian situation last year and the Ukraine this year have boosted Russia's confidence in making decisive actions in affairs beyond their borders. The meek response from Western countries could be making for a more belligerent bear that will create more serious problems down the road.

  5. From the imagery (propaganda?) I've seen, it seems like a fair amount of Crimeans welcomed the Russians coming in.

  6. Unfortunately, we really cannot say anything about it. We do not have the moral high ground, anymore.
    Our Pres planned on bombing Syria, 'cause he felt like it. Our Pres is supporting those who are trying to overthrow the Egyptian government. We overthrew Libya.
    So, The Russians have the same right, and ability, to interfere whenever they want to. It works both ways.
    I also don't think our Pres has the guts to stand up to Putin, in any sort of fight. Putin is well aware of how weak our Pres is. Putin also knows that we have gone through a political purge of our generals.
    I expect Russia to, at least, take back Crimea. It also would not surprise me if Russia put sanctions in place against us.

  7. I still fail to see why this is an issue the US needs to consider. The countries decided on independence from the USSR when it fell, then they themselves fell due to following the ways of the USSR and the fact that there is no real industry to support the political graft and social decay. The people are wanting stability and Russia has that, at a price.

  8. PineslayerMarch 06, 2014

    Where is the EU in all of this? Weak. If they weren't so spineless we wouldn't have to stick our nose in every fight. We have been underwriting world security for too long. How do we stop doing that and still stay strong? Is that even possible? I am soo sick of all this crap I feel like pushing the big red reset button myself sometimes. Sometimes it is really tough to think positively about humans, except for this group :)

    1. The problem is the German coalition government needed the Green party to get in power. Their demand was to close down the German Nuclear power plants. During the transition to renewable energy Germany came dependent on Russian gas thus killed German political decent. France too had major orders making helicopter carriers for Russia.

      Then here in Britain all the Russian wealth is poring out of Russia here, the government is scared if sanctions it will put UK back into recession just before the general election in 2015.

      It stinks but there is little Europe can do. The biggest hope is the russian youth who are increasingly rebelling against Putin and want to be more European. I believe what happened in the Ukraine will happen in Russia in next few years and people will overthrow Putin

    2. Excellent and hopeful analysis.
      I work for a company that makes and ships millions of barrels of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, as well as other refined products, to the rest of the world, much of it to Europe where it is called EN590. As oil production increases in the U.S, for the foreseable future due to super efficient fracking technology maybe that will help with Western Europe get the Russian Bear's clawed paw off their neck Shipping Liquified Pertoleum Gas (LPG) in volume is more problematic.
      As fracking technology becomes more common world wide like in Africa it might help for the EU to expidite things like pipelines and exploration/production. I've not seen any projected runouts for futrue production affecting European demand and consumption, increased production by the rest of the non Russian world can only help the cituation. I do know there have been many Americans showing the Saudi's/Egyptians how to frac in the not to distant past.
      Putn is a nationalist pineing for the past "glory days" of the USSR. He needs to be overthrown. To me he looks like a dictator not an elected official who has been in power for far to long. "Power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely"

  9. American initiated sanctions against Russia will have more of an effect magnifying U.S. weakness to the rest of the world than any other goal they hope to accomplish. Our "accomplished" Sec. of State has rightfully pointed out Putin's Hitler like logic for the Crimea invasion, but so can any freshman or sophomore in high school studying causes of WWII. And so can the Poles. The apparent real reason for the invasion is the warm water port in Crimea. As long as Putin controls the on/off valve for the majority of western Europe's oil and gas, forget any support for sanctions from them. Who can blame them, when the only people this president will reliably support/protect are those protecting him i.e. corrupt officials in the IRS, DOJ, oh and any enemy of israel, like Iran. Sanctions have really worked for Europe and the U.S. against Iran. This is why foreign policy acumen is such an important qualification for presidential candidates. It is also why a free press that possess integrity is hand in glove to a survivable democracy. Rachael Maddow and her ilk will spend an inordinate amount of time going after Chris Christi (whom i am no lover of) and the bridge thing, but the Benghazi , Fast and Furious, IRS, scandals are mocked, or given lip service at best. Apparently it is more important to follow Dem talking points and protect their champion in the white house than to honestly investigate the causes of the deaths of American's who died trying to protect U.S. in Benghazi or on the U.S./Mexico Border. It would require integrity and balls for Maddow to investigate the other scandals. One she does not have. The other, wish as she might, she never will have. The next move I see as a possibility is Putin going into Estonia or China moving on Taiwan . Why? Whats to stop them, The only Foreign Policy move the POTUS seems to be capable of is attempting to buy people off, bow and scrape, or do nothing. The POTUS has projected a kinder gentler U.S.. One that has been acknowledged by Putin. Ronald Reagan where are you. Until a presidential candidatl truly stands up with a backbone and adheres to real conservative policies both fiscally and diplomatically the U.S. is like a winged dove slowly augering into the ground. Dove get eaten. We need to be who we are, eagles.

    1. There is a great Youtube video showing Bald Eagles in Alaska keeping a very large Brown Bear/Grizzly in check. There was no fight, Didn;t have to. That bear weighed the consequeces and ran. The Bald Eagles were obviously confident in what they were capable of, as they kill predators exponentially larger than them. Those eagles had the ability and will. There is a lesson here.

  10. The above mentioned presidential candidate will have to be elected. Hitler established an extreme nationalistic pride. The Sudetenland annexation was justified based on German speaking people being persecuted by the Czechs. The German people went for it. One bite at a time, first Georgia now Ukraine. What next. Neville Chamberlain.

    1. 0 square foots of Georgia was occupied by Russian Federation. They helped to liberate territory of a country which was gifted to Georgian SSR by Stalin, which was free country with different people.

    2. Neville Chamberlain
      Before quoting the Fox news of Neville Chamberlain I'd like to remind you of the experiences of the British and European powers in the 1st world war. Its fine looking back at history in hindsight but you have to remember just 20 years before a large proportion of Europe young Adults were wiped out during the war. The scars were deep, the pain great and no Prime minster at the time could beat the war drums.

      On a far smaller scale was what happened in both Vietnam and Somalia and the effect on the US population for foreign interventions.

    3. Cerainly that generation in Europe was lost much like the US in the American Civil War. The State of Mississippi's largest expenditure in the year following 1865 was for artificial limbs. While I do recognize the reluctance, doing the right thing is most often the hardest thing. Principles will get you into trouble but they can also be the guide post that avoids trouble. i am no hawk but if history has taught us anything it is taking care of things at the onset is more desireable than fighting a world war and cleaning up the mess.

  11. PineslayerMarch 06, 2014

    More fun and games...


  12. Right on Pineslayer. Crimea is nothing compared to the Chinese claime of a huge territorial chunk in the China Sea. It is truly the Elephant in the room. These claims effect shipping lanes and international commercial flights, not to mention the oil and gas rights. The real aim is to project power in the Pacific to get at the untapped oil and gas fields. Makes sense from a monetary and strategic stand point to. Rrecent agreements with the Russians make it appear that the Chinese are looking to prove a bigger point than lighting up a Vietnamese fishing vessel. That international incident which is coming will test the current administration. Or not. Sec of Def Hagel has opted to reduce the size of the military to PRE WWII levels. This calls into question the Doctrine of being able to fight a two front war. The only nation in the world able to check the growing military machine that is China will shoot itself in the foot. Not only that it apperantly will not have the political will to do it.

  13. riverriderMarch 07, 2014

    their natural gas and oil lines run thru ukraine propper so there is no doubt putin will move when the time is right for him. follow the cash as always. they had to pay ukraine tariffs and were at their mercy. putin will move to secure the lines just like georgia and chechnya.