Okay peaceniks, let's talk about what's going on in the Ukraine

Things are happening fast, so perhaps my description will be out of date by the time you read this. The Ukraine underwent a relatively peaceful* revolution, chasing the pro-Russia president out of the country and establishing an interim revolutionary pro-West government. 

One house of Russia's national legislature just authorized the use of military force to protect what it sees as Russian interests and to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Crimea region.

Peaceniks chant "What if they gave a war and nobody came?" Well, then of course you wouldn't have a war, but a war isn't a party you can just not go to if it's being brought to you.

I'm not going to get more specific. I'm just inviting a discussion of the situation going on in the Ukraine. What should be done? What COULD be done?

* People have died, but it's nothing like some of the other conflicts going on now or happening in recent years around the world (Egypt, Syria, etc.)..

Tags: Crimea, Russia, Ukraine

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@Gallup's Mirror

Not to mention the harsh lessons they learned  the last times Germany and France thought Russia would be easy picking and tried to invade them.

Nothing new here, but what interests me is this. Doesn't Putin love pretending like he's a real tough hetero dude, what with his honorary judo ranks and insistence on showing his naked upper body? Why doesn't that closeted, tough guy just settle the matter in the ring with Vitali Klitchko? I'd actually watch that on TV without yawning!

Russia pounded Chechnya deep into the ground when it revolted for independence. And now Russia asks the world to respect the wishes of the people of Crimea. lol

An independence referendum is meaningless if the region is being occupied and the referendum is organized by an outside menacing force.

You should have told that to America and Nato when they were in Kosovo.  Except there the people had no vote in their independence and Nato was bombing them at the time.

Would Crimea joining Russia not actually be in the best interest of those living in Crimea. Even before all this trouble broke out Ukraine's economy was failing and far worse than Russia's, so joining Russia would be economically beneficial to them. Not to mention Ukraine is about to be sold out to the IMF and they will demand austerity and sell off Ukraine's natural resources for a fraction of what they are worth. Just look at what happened to Greece. There is also the fact that  the  majority of Crimeans do not even  consider the new government legitimate and want to join Russia. Lastly there is some worry about  the neo-Nazi's who have gotten into power in the new government including Deputy prime minister, minister of defence and minister of police and prosecutor general.. Ontop of that it really did not help that the  new government came into power and decided that their most pressing concern was banning Russian as a second language. The only reason it failed was because it was vetoed by the prime minister.

I agree that those in power are vehemently against this happening in general but an argument can be made that America and NATO opened this can of worms in Kosovo.

""The court considers that general international law contains no applicable prohibition of declaration of independence," Judge Hisashi Owada, president of the ICJ, said in the clear majority ruling delivered in a cavernous hall at the Hague-based ICJ."

"the adoption of the declaration of independence of the 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law  because international law contains no 'prohibition on declarations of independence'

Could you imagine America doing any better if put in a similar situation? Say it was Moscow funding significant amounts of money into opposition groups in Mexico while Russia's  top politicians hand out cookies and encourage rioters whom end up violently toppling the corrupt but US friendly Mexican  government replacing it with a pro Russian one . Knowing America  there would have been bombs flying by now if Russia tried that. And yet Russia's reaction to this happening to them  has been remarkably restrained considering the US was prepared to start WW3 over Cuba.

Let's not overplay the idea that the great powers put a lot of value into consistency, unless it favors their goals. That goes for the US as well as Russia. Big country or small, attaining your goals and promoting your interests is the top value, not complying with international law. The US, at least, is frequently disadvantaged with trying to at least appearing to play the Good Guy role.

But don't kid yourself, if some foreign power were to cut off a supply line of something necessary for the functioning and/or competitiveness of the US economy, the answer wouldn't be, "How much will it cost us to get XYZ back?" It would be boots on the ground, drones in the air, or whatever was needed. The electorate wouldn't stand for less.

How interested do you believe the American people are in making sure the government complies with international law? 

Usually, it's not worth it, so international law is followed.

Which is why it doesn't happen...usually.

The Arab oil embargo of 1973 did severe damage to the US and European economies.

Not serious enough and, I suspect, the government knew that Arab greed would prevail in the end. They could see it was an episode, not a permanent change, thus not worthy going all in militarily.

The Bush administration's odyssey into Iraq was illegal but at the time most Americans supported it anyway.

I don't think support of the American electorate had much to do with umbrage over the transgression of international law. It had to do with a couple things: First, an unprovoked attack on a reputed ally; secondly, the presence of an expansionist intruder on the border of an even bigger ally, Saudi Arabia; and, third, a revulsion at the idea of a big country bullying a relatively helpless one.

However, a lot has happened since then and the people have, at least for now, lost much stomach for sending troops anywhere.


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