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The Ukraine Mobilizes

March 2nd, 2014 - 4:02 am

CNN is reporting that Ukraine has called up its reserves.  ”The Ukrainian National Security Council ordered the mobilization as Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to dismiss warnings from world leaders to avoid military intervention in Crimea, a senior Ukrainian official, Andriy Parubiy, said. The news came as evidence mounted that pro-Russian forces were already in Crimea, an autonomous region of eastern Ukraine with strong loyalty to neighboring Russia.”

Senior Ukrainian leadership continues to express hope the crisis can be resolved diplomatically.  Nevertheless the pucker factor is increasing. For Obama as for Putin, Murphy rides again.

The potential for disaster was underscored by a Reuters story which reported Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk as saying Russian military action “would be the beginning of war and the end of any relations between Ukraine and Russia.”  That may be bluff. But feeding it is uncertainty about how far Russia may go.  Mary Mycio at Slate argues that geographic necessity may simply compel Putin to grab more than the Crimea.

To see why, just open a map. That narrow strip of land tethering northern Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland, called the Perokop Isthmus, is the peninsula’s lifeline. What’s left out of most Western analyses of Putin’s brazen military intervention is the Crimea’s complete economic dependence on the mainland, which provides nearly all of its electricity and water and about 70 percent of its food….

Most of the Crimea is basically a desert, with less annual rainfall than Los Angeles. It is impossible to sustain its 2 million people—including agriculture and the substantial tourist industry—without Ukrainian water. Current supplies aren’t even enough. In Sevastopol, home of the Black Sea Fleet, households get water only on certain days. In fact, on Feb. 19, when snipers were shooting protesters on the streets of Kiev, Sevastopol applied for $34 million in Western aid (note the irony) to improve its water and sewer systems.

The Crimea’s dependence on Ukraine for nearly all of it electricity makes it equally vulnerable to nonviolent retaliation. One suggestion making the rounds of the Ukrainian Internet is that the mainland, with warning, shut off the power for 15 minutes. It may not normalize the situation, but it could give Moscow pause. Of course, Russia could retaliate by cutting off Ukrainian gas supplies, but that would mean cutting off much of Europe as well. Besides, Ukrainians proved this winter that they aren’t afraid of the cold, and spring is coming.

Which is to say Putin will need a resource and buffer zone if he wants to slice up his neighbor. This, plus the changing demography of Crimea, occasioned by the return of the Tatars, who are connected with international Islam, guarantees that Putin will be making a downpayment on a subscription to trouble. “Not only are they [the Tatars] extremely well organized, they are Muslims with friends. Representatives from Russia’s Tatarstan region are already supporting them. Turkey, which controlled the Crimea for much longer than Russia ever did and has close ties with the Crimean Tatars, is watching. So are Chechen rebels. The Crimea could explode into bloodshed.”

Do tell. But what could be worse than Jihadis in Central Europe? How about Nazis with nukes?

The New Yorker sighs with relief that there are no loose nukes floating around. But Ukranian Svoboda party MP Mikhail Golovko says that defect will soon be amended. “We’ll regain our status as a nuclear power and that’ll change the conversation. Ukraine has all the technological means needed to create a nuclear arsenal – which would take us about three to six months.”

If that wasn’t enough, there’s the China angle too. The Diplomat quotes a Washington Times report that former “Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych escaped protests in his country last week with a state visit to Beijing, where he received China’s pledge to protect Ukraine under its nuclear umbrella.”

“China pledges unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the nuclear-free Ukraine and China further pledges to provide Ukraine nuclear security guarantee when Ukraine encounters an invasion involving nuclear weapons or Ukraine is under threat of a nuclear invasion,” said a joint statement on the pact.

China’s official media, including Xinhua and Global Times, touted the deal with the headline “China Pledges Nuclear Umbrella to Protect Ukraine.”

Ukraine and China also agreed they would not allow “the establishment of any separatist, terrorist and extremist organizations or groups, and any of their acts, to harm each country’s sovereign rights, security and territorial integrity.”

The video announcing the strategic partnership is here.  And there’s more. “Ukraine’s parliament called for international monitors to help protect its nuclear power plants on Sunday as tension mounted with Russia. Hryhoriy Nemyria, a member of parliament, said the assembly appealed to the signatories of a 1994 nuclear treaty that guaranteed Ukraine’s safety — including the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia.”  Readers will probably recall that one of those nuclear facilities was called Chernobyl.

What the Budapest agreement signifies — what the Chinese angle implies — are all uncertain at this point. But it’s safe to say the potential for disaster if the Ukrainian crisis is mishandled is pretty high.  The heat from the approaching fire is finally being felt through the high walls surrounding both Brussels and Washington. The elites are beginning to pay attention.  For some it will be their first contact with reality. May it not be their last.

Everybody in the last thread was recalling the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea, but Tennyson’s cadences seem altogether inappropriate to the madness of the moment. Perhaps its better to recall another piece of verse connected with the region which occurred some 20 years later, during the Russo-Turkish War.  The verse written for that occasion was called “Abdul Abulbul Amir” and it seems to fit the antics of Murphy so much better.   The rendition below is by Frank Crummit.


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Top Rated Comments   
"You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext." John Kerry, Secretary of State

Was he talking about Iraq or Libya?

Obama, Kerry, Hagel, Clapper, Susan Rice, Cameron and Merkel. Can we rely on the only adult in the bunch to keep the buffoons from fighting among each other to get face time so they can preen and screech about how tough and moral they are?

The Crimea is a vital, strategic interest for Russia. Acknowledging that simple and obvious fact would be a good starting point for any diplomatic solution. Denying it or ignoring it is a sure-fire way to maneuver yourself into a place that nobody wants to be. I think that Merkel and Putin understand the stakes, and that Putin/Russia cannot stand down under any circumstances without assurance of Russian control of Crimea.

If that assurance comes more sooner than later we're all good. If Obama et al keep goading the Ukrainians with false promises they have no intention of ever keeping then who knows.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
"NATO ally Turkey"

You're kidding, right?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are idiots everywhere but you can increase or lessen your exposure to them. One reason to avoid a life of crime is that it necessitates associating with criminals. All else being equal criminals are more likely to be defective in some way than the general population. In fact even the greatest criminal mastermind finds himself dependent at critical moments on people who can be described as lunatics or idiots.

Obama is a grifter. Soros Putin and most of the politicians strutting stages large or small are criminals, and possible sociopathic predators. Michael Bloomberg observed that the New York City Council consisted of people who could not get a job.

Perhaps public life was always infested with people of low quality but Gresham's Law seems to have driven anything that could be called a Statesman off the stage to a greater extent than in past crises. The US was able to rally against the Nazis and then win the Cold War because former isolationists, like Senator Vandenberg, supported the vast expenditures and commitments involved. That took leadership and statesmanship. Where in public life do we see people of that stature today?

Without regard to the rights of Ukrainians or ethnic Russians or industrial tax and environmental policies for Europe or the former Soviet territories it is important to remember that bad people are relying on bad tools to force facts on the ground. Beyond the "Fog of War" this means that worst case scenarios are going to happen.

Given the occupation of the White House by forces that are actively hostile to peace and prosperity what can be done with the tools available? Could Red State governments institute policies, like military training and procurement, and trade and financial support of allies, in the absence of or in defiance of the federal government?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (88)
All Comments   (88)
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To Kiev flies our botox Prince Charming
Capitan of yacht how-to tax-farming
with plans to restrain
and bamboozle Ukraine
with beaucoup savoire faire so disarming!

===
http://www.wnd.com/2004/10/27207/
`
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is not lost on me that the Obama administration basically announced that they were gutting the US military to use the money to buy off more union constituents. That must have been the signal that Russia and China were waiting for. At this point I am fine with the regime destroying the economy. It will be that much easier to drag the political class out by the scruff of their necks and give them an old fashion send off doing the dance on the end of a short rope from a tall light post.

They can destroy the whole thing and barricade themselves because when the 10's of millions get pissed off enough the only thing they can do is flee or die. Naturally I hope they do not flee. The Ukrainians have shown that an ensconced leadership can be tossed out. I do not fear of an invasion from Canada, they are welcome nor Mexico, they are already here.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
So it looks like a far worse result than Russia taking over could be their fate: Muslims taking over. Turkey could use the instability to "come to the aid of the Tatars" and start taking over what they lost when Eastern Europe threw off the yoke of Islam. I wouldn't be surprised at a final takeover of Cyprus and an invasion of Greece (which is teetering on a precipice right now, and has lots of Muslim foreigners buying up land on the border) while they're at it.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
About 12% of Crimeans are Tatars; they're not taking over anything. And I doubt that Turkey wants the Russian Black Sea fleet to pay a visit like it did in the Crimean War.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Russian army and air force would kick the crap out of the Turks and would probably have no shortage of Greek and Serbian volunteers itching to come join the fight before they'd completely mopped the floor with Erdogan's demoralized, purged at the top military. They are only doughty fighters on their own home soil (as at Gallipolli) and have crumbled everywhere else.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that the "endgame" for Ukraine is partition, because a great number of people in the East and Southeast will not be ruled by non-Russians in Kiev. Putin wants to keep Sevastopol as a warm water port for the Black Sea Fleet. This much is obvious to any informed observer.

Europe is a welter of conflicting shouting, and will not organize to resist unless the US leads. Could you imagine Bundeswehr armored formations passing through Poland? Barry is playing golf and fundraising for the Democrat party, where his priorities are. There is no organization or leadership in the West. Merkel will cut her own deal.

John Kerry is going to Kiev tomorrow. Maybe they will keep him, for as much good that he can do. I hope he has his magic hat.

I recall the beginning of the movie "The Battle of Britain", when the BBC voice says "The battle for France is over, the battle for Britain is about to begin.."

I don't know if Putin will go for all of Ukraine (actually asking for trouble there, as the natives in the West will resist much), but you wonder where he will push hard next? The supine Obama Regime has no clue what happened, why it happened, or what will happen next. It's happy hour.

And it all begs another question, as to whether this will rouse the American electorate, or whether it is bread and circuses all the way down? Will enough people care about this, or will the people again be willingly bamboozled by the sweet lies of the Media and the Democrat -Republican Corporatist axis? Hillary, now more than ever?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ironically most of the Polish Army's core armor is now over a 100 secondhand (but I assume still very effective) Bundeswehr Leopard tanks. Not sure if they're Mark I or II.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
--about an hour's worth of tanks, at Kursk in 1943.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well Luddy Barsen my friend I don't see any monster tank battles in this one. But there could be a lot of T-90s popped by Milan anti tank missiles that just happened to fall off the Polish Army truck should Putin foolishly drive for the Dnieper. I don't see that happening, he's won an easy, thus far bloodless victory in the Crimea and the worst he can expect from a Crimean Tatar intifada is bad press. The problem with rolling tanks into Eastern Ukraine from a purely military perspective is where do you set the defensive line? And can you trust your E. UKR newly citizenship-granted Russian deputized force to patrol that perimeter? People forget Ukraine is still a Texas-sized country and the landmass the Russians have thus far occupied is about equivalent to several counties around Houston.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many electrons have been spilled asserting that the Budapest Memorandum means nothing because it was not ratified by the Senate. The State Department publishes a series entitled "Treaties and International Agreements Series" or TIAS. There are binding agreements that have not been submitted to the Senate for ratification as treaties. For example every time an army officer signed an agreement to purchase fuel in Germany that was a binding agreement on the US. The scale matters and the authority of the party acting on behalf of the US matters but the principle is the same. Treaties ratified by the Senate have the effect of Constitutional amendments in binding US domestic law. There have been efforts to say that treaties could only have that power when enacted by a subsequent law by the full Congress including the House of Representatives. An amendment to that effect was offered and failed. As things stand now the Secretary of State, acting as a Minister Plenipotentiary authorized to enter into binding agreements, can commit the United States to defend another country. That commitment may not impact on American domestic law without subsequent congressional action but the pledge itself is meaningful. It is reasonable for the Ukrainian government to claim that the United States is bound to protect their territorial integrity given that diplomats authorized to act in the name of the United States made that pledge. Failure to act and act effectively would have costs for the United States. Credibility is like credit worthiness. As your word becomes suspect the cost of future actions or loans increases. The specifics of how we would act, whether by impounding Russian assets or denying visas or lending money or military equipment of using force against the aggressor is not spelled out and is a matter for the US Congress and Executive to act on.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"China further pledges to provide Ukraine nuclear security guarantee when Ukraine encounters an invasion involving nuclear weapons or Ukraine is under threat of a nuclear invasion"

Exactly what does "an invasion involving nuclear weapons" look like? Exactly what is a "nuclear invasion"? This is stuff and nonsense. China will do nothing, it can do nothing. They are not a factor. China’s pledge to "protect Ukraine under its nuclear umbrella.” was political theater, nothing more.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Ukraine crisis has now become front page news in the Sydney Morning Herald. Not on the foreign page, but on the front page.

I think people are finally scared and certain quiet is settling in on the public mood. They are waiting for the card to turn over, hoping for the best.

>The once-hopeful Arab Spring has staggered into civil war and military coup. China is stepping up territorial claims in the waters off East Asia. Longtime allies in Europe and in the Persian Gulf are worried by the inconsistency of a president who came to office promising the end of the United States’ post-Sept. 11 wars.

Now Ukraine has emerged as a test of Obama’s argument that, far from weakening American power, he has enhanced it through smarter diplomacy, stronger alliances and a realism untainted by the ideology that guided his predecessor.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ukraine-crisis-tests-obamas-foreign-policy-focus-on-diplomacy-over-military-force/2014/03/01/c83ec62c-a157-11e3-9ba6-800d1192d08b_story.html<;

37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
So if Putin moves on the eastern Ukraine, thumbing his nose at the west and gets away with it as he surely will... might China decide that its finally time to take Taiwan back and perhaps even get some payback from Japan? Is it not now a matter of when, rather than the previous, perhaps? Who will stop them? Not Obambi.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, one would expect nations to follow their own best interest and nationalistic desires, with zero consideration of any "world policeman" waiting in the wings. Where once the wrong move could bring the 7th fleet to your backyard, today, it is entirely certain that even if the USN deploys ships in response, that it really means nothing.

So, yes. We should expect China to advance in their near abroad, N. Korea to be aggressive towards S. Korea, and so forth around the world. Perhaps Pakistan takes a more aggressive stance towards India (direct or asymmetrical). The only considerations would be economic and the prospects of military success. The Putin-Obama doctrine has shown the world that "possession is 9/10ths of the law".

However, China now has many options apart from a direct attack on Taiwan. For example, why unleash a shooting war on Taiwan when a complete sea/air blockade would bring Taiwan to her knees in six weeks without firing a shot. Would the US Navy under Obama attack units of the Chinese Navy? Not damn likely. Would Taiwan attack PRC forces, when the negotiating table is open for business? China could offer Taiwan carrots to go along with that stick, i.e. Hong Kong like autonomy, economic incentives, while Taiwan avoids a war they would lose and prospects of 100's of thousands of Taiwanese deaths . The PRC is now free to maneuver because they can be certain Obama will not oppose them in any effective way.

The best reason to expect a move on Taiwan is the deniability factor. "Why no, China is a peaceful nation which would never attack another peaceful neighbor, but Taiwan is sovereign PRC territory. In fact, the fact that we've waited for over 60 years for the secessionists to return to the motherland demonstrates our good will. We're simply offering our brothers in Formosa full partnership and a glowing future without the troubling foreign meddling of the past. etc. etc."

Now, China advancing on Japan brings both a shooting war plus much higher risk of economic consequences to China's worldwide trade. I just don't see that happening until after consolidation of Taiwan and the maturing of the ROC Navy. In fact, you might see just the opposite, i.e. China willingly coming to the negotiating table and giving Japan what she wants in turn for eliminating US Bases, repudiating defense treaties, and pledging to maintain her commitment to non-nuclear defenses. Why not coop Japan, thus opening the door wide to dominating the rest of Asia. It just makes more sense for China, and reduces risk of impact to trade.

Obama has created a brave new world where imperial powers can now think the formerly unthinkable, soon to be followed by new alliances and military actions around the world. It's 1914, or perhaps 1904, or even 1890. Anything is gloriously possible in today's world, made doubly exciting by the possibility of even small organizations gaining access to NBC/WMD's and effective delivery systems (drone aircraft).
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn't specify but agree with the priorities you cite regarding China. Though denial always remains, Taiwan has to know that some accommodation with China will have to be made. Given the historical animosity, whether China will make Taiwan a Hong Kong style offer remains to be seen but given the realities, it's probably the best solution. Same thing applies to Japan, though in Japan's case, IMO first some real humiliation seems highly probable, before China might suggest the 'conditions' she could offer Japan.

Yes, drone aircraft launched from container ships off our coasts, armed with tactical nukes seems eminently possible. Thanks for the new nightmare, I hadn't previously considered it. Brave new world indeed, brought to us by the liberal "useful idiots" who voted in this abomination of a President.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been thinking that PRC would make Taiwan an offer of 'one country, two systems' they couldn't refuse for some time.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's really a fait accompli, and has been ever since the pro-mainland party has institutionalized in the Taiwanese body politic. Mutual trade grows steadily and profitably. Only the sagging medal mules of the PLA senior command stand in the way of more formal integrative agreements.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't bet on the Japanese being able to keep PLAN marines off the Daiyous, which China will probably take within weeks.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"A Shaken EU Makes No Real Effort to Confront Russia Over Ukraine" -- WSJ. The capitals of Europe have gone from complacent to panicked in 48 hours. 'No common response', etc.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's hope they get it together in the next few days. It makes me nervous that the horrible Kerry is going to Kiev. I wonder if our embassy staff there is any good.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...a faithful Ukrainian military"


Ukraine's New Navy Head Denis Berezovsky Defects After Just One Day On The Post

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-02/ukraines-new-navy-head-denis-berezovsky-defects-after-just-one-day-post
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just took the time to read Mary Mycio's piece. LIving in an arid region, and having traveled in Crimea myself, I kept wondering where all of this purported water infrastructure was. I never saw anything of the scale to take water through the mountains into Sevastopol. Looking around I finally found information about the North Crimean Canal which carries irrigation water from the Dniepr delta to the collective farms in the steppe on the north slope of the Crimean mountains. Not exactly the strategic bottleneck that Mycio describes.
There is a Chinese proposal to develop commercial ports at Sevastopol and Kerch, but nothing like "5% of Ukraine."
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
China is the unseen player in all of this. Even RT was reporting Ukrainian concerns about the sheer amount of black earth the Chinese were looking to lease in Ukraine (I assume mostly in the eastern parts) prior to the EU negotiations breaking down.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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