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Belmont Club

The Ukranian Crisis

February 27th, 2014 - 12:57 am

One of the most interesting backfixes on the crisis is provided by George Soros, who wrote just yesterday about the role he played in Ukranian events and his hope for a German-led dominion of Central Europe:

I established the Renaissance Foundation in Ukraine in 1990 — before the country achieved independence. The foundation did not participate in the recent uprising, but it did serve as a defender of those targeted by official repression. The foundation is now ready to support Ukrainians’ strongly felt desire to establish resilient democratic institutions (above all, an independent and professional judiciary). But Ukraine will need outside assistance that only the EU can provide: management expertise and access to markets.

Ukraine would thus open its domestic market to goods manufactured or assembled by European companies’ wholly- or partly-owned subsidiaries, while the EU would increase market access for Ukrainian companies and help them integrate into global markets.

I hope and trust that Europe under German leadership will rise to the occasion. I have been arguing for several years that Germany should accept the responsibilities and liabilities of its dominant position in Europe. Today, Ukraine needs a modern-day equivalent of the Marshall Plan, by which the United States helped to reconstruct Europe after World War II. Germany ought to play the same role today as the US did then.

I must, however, end with a word of caution. The Marshall Plan did not include the Soviet bloc, thereby reinforcing the Cold War division of Europe. A replay of the Cold War would cause immense damage to both Russia and Europe, and most of all to Ukraine, which is situated between them. Ukraine depends on Russian gas, and it needs access to European markets for its products; it must have good relations with both sides.

Here, too, Germany should take the lead. Chancellor Angela Merkel must reach out to President Vladimir Putin to ensure that Russia is a partner, not an opponent, in the Ukrainian renaissance.

One is almost tempted ask: what could go wrong? How much danger could there be in putting German and Russian interests in opposition in the Ukraine? In carrying out the ambitions of George Soros? For many years the single most important function that America played was to stand between the fuel and spark. That was the thankless role of the hegemon. To keep China and Japan apart. And so it was through all those decades until someone came to Washington convinced he knew better. But as President Obama put it so well, who needs a George Kennan?


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Top Rated Comments   
First, in answer to Peppermint's question:

>>>Belorus is smaller, with just 9.5 million people to Ukraine's 44 million (per wikipedia). I imagine the economic position of the two countries must be roughly equivalent, however--between East and West, agriculture, heavy industry, dependent on Russia for energy. Are there grievances there equivalent to those in Ukraine?<<<

There may be grievances, but no one to express them. Belorus is functionally still a Soviet Socialist Republic, with the government at all levels controlled by Moscow. It is not really independent.

As far as the Ukraine is concerned,the ball is completely in Putin's court. If they go ahead and take the Crimea, the damage done to the West as a whole will be minimal. But, mind you, it will help turn the Ukraine into the next Yugoslavia.

If they push through and go for the whole Ukraine [and now is the time to do it], reinstalling Yanukovych long enough for him to sign the country over to be reintegrated with Russia, it will have the potential to be a Sarajevo, and show that Russia has every intent of re-subjugating what they call the "near abroad". In neither case is there anything that could try to stop them other than the Ukrainian military. They will not succeed, but they have a history of guerrilla warfare against the Russians under whatever flag.

There is no possible help from the West. The EU cannot and will not fight the Russians until Russian tanks are investing Berlin. The US has dismantled its forces in Europe and is no longer capable of doing a REFORGER. And there is the detail that the US government is rooting for the Russians.

Not that it is our direct fight. Our major military goal should be getting our troops out of Afghanistan alive with as much equipment as possible. Our forces are functionally surrounded, and a major part of the surrounding force is Russian.

The only remaining course for the former Warsaw Pact countries and FSU republics who wish to remain independent is to arm up big time. And that includes such WMD's as they can acquire from any source. Countervalue deterrence. Because all they have is each other.

2014 is the Year of Consequences, when the vultures come home to roost.

Subotai Bahadur
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Although it seemed the right thing at the time, the stink of Slobodan Milosevic was not enough to justify bombing the Serbian population into penury. I suppose everybody was supposed to feel good that the poor, oppressed Muslim Kosovars were saved from those nasty Orthodox Slavs. To this day nobody from any administration admits that the Kosovar freedom fighters were actually imported al-Qaeda types. What we ended up with was the extra-legal trashing of Serbia's centuries old sovereignty for another Muslim state in Europe. How is that a good thing?

I see much of the same today. The stink attached to Putin makes Russia the enemy whatever the circumstances. Crimea was part of Russia for centuries until 1956 when Khrushchev for some reason tossed it to Ukraine. There are centuries of connection between Ukraine and Russia too. Maybe blood and earth don't mean much to us but they sure do for the people living in those ancient lands.

The big media to-do now is that we are supposed to hate Putin and Russia because Putin is tight with the Russian Orthodox Church in promoting ancient Christian values contra Western Europe's fixation on abortion and homosexuality as important societal values. The narrative is that: (a) Putin/Russia is tsarist reactionary, and (b) Putin/Russia is neo-USSR. That those are contradictory assertions means not a wit to either journalist or professor.

I think it a huge mistake for Kerry et. al. to pummel Russia to score a few political points while the Iran cauldron is boiling away and while we still have troops in Afghanistan.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe we could arrange a swap? Give Soros to Putin in exchange for Yanukovich. Both deliveries to be made at 10,000 feet.

The Mount Whitney has to run away, ugly as the image is. Turkey has been on the other side ever since 2003. She certainly does not have our back, except to plunge a knife in it. Who can the Ukrainians count on? Poland, Finland and maybe Rumania, Albania and Croatia do not make a war winning coalition. The Black Sea is becoming a Russian lake and the Eastern Med may not be far behind.

The American people have no idea how vast our strategic collapse has been. The tragedy is that this was all avoidable. The mathematics was on our side. Bush had Putin boxed in and the Islamists and Iranians on the run. He had built a winning coalition and was nursing the Europeans into a stronger role. China is financially and demographically over a cliff. If we had just held the line we would have been poised for a new American century. Now we stand self eviscerated as the world burns.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (129)
All Comments   (129)
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Mitt Romney had it right about Russia being the biggest geopolitical threat to Europe and the west, which Obama mocked. Prescient. However BC readers already get it.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Apparently the international Left is finally getting ready to go full Nazi.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Soviets don't have to 'take the Crimea by force', they already have it.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Russia is never as strong as or as WEAK as she appears to be." Old adage that proves itself to be true over and over again. Our "post modern" world is may actually be going "back to the future"....all the way to 1914.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
VLADIMIR PUTIN YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

If you dare order Russian troops to invade pro-Western, freedom loving Ukraine you won’t be getting off so easy like Assad did when he defied Obama by killing civilians with WMDs. That’s a mistake he won’t be repeating as he can’t afford the humiliation. To your lasting regret they’ll be hell to pay if you cross the red line on military intervention. What will Obama do? Punish you within an inch of your life by replacing the current US Ambassador to Russia with retired gay congressman Barney Frank, or openly gay football star Michael Sam. Checkmate! Don’t underestimate the man.

Click www.apollospeaks.com for more.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
BC Alexis said "Kiev was once the capital of could be regarded as the first Russian state – the word “Rus” refers to Viking overlords. The “Rus” were Slavic in the same sense that Normans were French.

Putin needs to keep in mind that there is a term of art for a pissed off Viking...

BERSERKER

Let him fuss and fume on his side of the border. But

KEEP OUT!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pootie Poo needs to remember the example of Finland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Finland_during_World_War_II
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doesn't anybody in France regard it as arrogant when Americans claim they “won” World War I or World War II, never mind that each ally contributed to a common victory? Charles de Gaulle claimed in “Vers l'Armee de Metier” that France won the Great War. It didn't matter to him that World War I was won by a massive alliance that France was only one part of. Even within “French” ranks, Senegalese and Arab Algerians fought – they were hardly French. Then, there were Chinese laborers. Among the soldiers, Britons, Canadians, Australians, Romanians, Americans, Serbs, Greeks, Italians, and many more fought in that war – a war that Charles de Gaulle claimed that France won.

So yes, Charles de Gaulle was arrogant. It helps to read his actual writings rather than react with a Pavlovian reflex of French chauvinism, defending every action of de Gaulle as if he were some kind of deity. Although Franklin Delano Roosevelt's attitude toward de Gaulle was counterproductive, to the point where FDR's hostility toward him rallied French sentiment behind de Gaulle, Charles de Gaulle underestimated pro-French attitudes in the United States and overestimated pro-British attitudes in the United States. His talk of a so-called “Anglo-Saxon” conspiracy did more to promote anti-French attitudes in the USA and cement Anglo-American relations than anything that a British politician could have ever done.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
that's the first time that someone refers to de Gaulle as saying that "France won the great war", meaning alone (?) don't you think that you're extrapolating what he said?

anyways, since I canrecall the context in 1914, the African and asian colonies were part of France, even if some subjects were hold as sub French, anyways, it seems that the Maghrebin were held in respect since France built the first Mosquee in europe for thanking their war effort, and each nation that participated into the war have a marble in Paris

Sorry to tell you but the Italians, the Serbs, Romanians... weren't fighting in the french front but in the Balkans and most likely the Austro-Hungarian Empire

It also help to read Delano writing to De Gaulle (or rather to a intermediary, since he hated de Gaulle), for understanding de Gaulle responses

Of course de Gaulle knew of what the anglo-Saxons were able and of what they were aiming at, making of France a american colony (ever heard of "Amgot"? and of the fake money that the US launched in france, that no french wanted to use !

oh and of the dollars brought back in NY with a Fregate for exchanging them with gold?

But it's rather because he fired out the NATO offices from France that French bashing became hot in the US (hey imagine that the Nato underground cells were conspiring against him and the communists in France, the "Petit-Clamart" temptative to kill him? a Nato cell coup !



42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps it isn't arrogance for someone to regard Americans and especially American cowboys as nothing more than cannon fodder. Perhaps one is supposed to expect that American cannon fodder for European wars is the natural birthright of every Frenchman, Belgian, and Briton alike. No, there's nothing arrogant about that attitude if it comes from an Arab, a German, a Russian, or a Chinese Communist either. If Europe needs to be defended, it's “isolationism” for the United States to avoid such a responsibility. If America needs to be defended, Europeans have made their views very clear over the past twelve years – American soldiers exist for defending Europe, not the United States.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
sorry, but if you check the WW1 and WW2 casualties, it doesn't seem that the american casualties were the most numerous, and if it wasn't because Stalin was winning on the eastern front, I wonder if you'd come to our rescue in WW2, cuz good ol Hitler was fighting the commies, and who subsidied Hitler ? the american banks and corporations that helped him to build his army (Ford, General electric...) documented !




42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kiev was once the capital of could be regarded as the first Russian state – the word “Rus” refers to Viking overlords. The “Rus” were Slavic in the same sense that Normans were French. That said, the Mongol invasion disrupted Russia and turned Ukraine into a wild frontier – the very word “Ukraine” means “Frontier”. It is a frontier not only between east and west, but more importantly between north and south – specifically Christianity and Islam.

Kiev's historical memory includes loyalty to Poland-Lithuania and later to Muscovite Russia. Institutionalized nationalism in Ukraine seems to date from the early twentieth century. In contrast, France, England, and Spain have solid institutional memories and a keen sense of “nationalism” based upon the dialect of the royal court. In comparison, Italy and Germany are neophytes. Ukraine has even less institutional memory of nationhood than Italy and Germany and definitely less than Poland.

There is no chance that Ukraine will have anybody like Charles de Gaulle because men like him only arise within strong military traditions with vivid institutional memories. Although de Gaulle was definitely intelligent, albeit annoyingly arrogant, his ideology was a product of his military environment. Although “Vers l'Armee de Metier” is definitely worth reading as a commentary on how the automobile reduces strategic depth, it is also worth reading as an illustration of his tactless grandiosity.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
funnily only Anglo-saxons find de Gaulle arrogant and grandiose, not the chinese, not the arabs, not the Germans, not the French... I wonder why

ahahah
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The kind of statesman Ukraine needs is someone who can charm his neighbors and major powers. Conventional military genius doesn't count in Ukraine as much as diplomatic talent. Indeed, the ability of Ukraine to repel a Russian invasion will depend at least as much on loudspeakers as bullets – Ukrainian victory depends upon convincing Russian troops to go home.

The linguistic divide between Ukrainian and Russian is like the divide between German and Dutch – it exists, but it is not as stark as the divide between French and German. Or between Hungarian and its neighbors. This, in turn, shapes the nature of the warfare, which would look more like a civil war than a normal nation-against-nation kind of fight.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
a Janukovych opponent MP says that the EU helped to settle a neo-nazy government in Kiev

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1di876_ukraine-un-putsch-neonazi-pousse-par-l-otan_news?start=3#from=embediframe
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Left fascists have been going on like this for awhile now, prepping the world public for the coming conquest of the Ukraine by Russia. Once again a sovereign European nation is overwhelmed and crushed by an aggressive fascist state while the rest of the world impotently watches.

So much for "Never Again."
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I heard Soros bet big, really big, against Ukraine a few weeks ago, as he did against the British Pound and Thai Baht.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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