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by
Bryan Preston

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February 26, 2014 - 9:53 am

Putin has ordered a Russian military exercise right next to Ukraine.

President Vladimir V. Putin ordered a surprise military exercise of ground forces on Ukraine’s doorstep Wednesday, intending to demonstrate his country’s military preparedness amid tensions with Europe and the United States over the turmoil gripping Russia’s western neighbor.

Mr. Putin’s order applied to forces in western Russia and air forces across the country, and a separate order issued by Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu included unspecified measures to ensure the security of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in southern Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, a region that was a part of Russia until 1954 and is still heavily populated by ethnic Russians.

The Russian muscle flexing came as thousands of ethnic Russians demonstrated in Crimea’s regional capital of Simferopol, protesting the political upheavals in Kiev that felled the pro-Moscow government of President Viktor F. Yanukovych over the weekend and turned him into a fugitive.

“Crimea is Russian!” some screamed, as brawls erupted with rival demonstrators from Crimea’s ethnic Tatar population who support Kiev’s new interim authorities created by the Parliament.

Ukraine is primed for civil war. Russia is primed for building up its alternative to the European Union, the anti-democratic and Moscow-dominated Eurasian Union. Ukrainians tend to tilt west toward the EU; Ukraine’s ethnic Russians (about 17% of the population of Ukraine) tilt east toward Moscow. Ukraine needs a lot of money in aid and loans to bail its economy out. The EU is militarily weak and with the Obama administration now slashing U.S. defense forces to a level not seen since the end of World War II (as many of us warned in 2008 that he wanted to do), Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declaring the “end of American military dominance” as the administration ramps up domestic entitlement spending, the West won’t be in much of a position to do anything if events lead to confrontation. Weakness (and the perception of weakness) begets confrontation. Obama’s force cuts could end up encouraging Putin to act.

Putin is a nationalist autocrat, and he isn’t stupid. If anything, he’s opportunistic. He did not call this military exercise while the Olympics were still going on and made no aggressive moves while the eyes of the world were on Sochi. But he is moving now.

Update: Are you kidding me?

 

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
If we aren't the world's policeman, then who do you propose have the job:

The UN? If you are into underage sex rings I guess.
The EU? If you like technocrats and a collapsing currency I suppose.
Russia? Which we are defaulting to with this anyway.
China? If you prefer to "shift to the Pacific" for your tyrant.
The OIC? If you want The World Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice to keep us on the straight and narrow.
ALBA? We'll just pretend the riots in Venezuela aren't really happening.

Or would it perchance be Nobody? That is great if you are into ignoring reality, but back in the real world, politics has about as many issues with a power vacuum as nature has with a pressure vacuum, and somebody is going to step up as world police if the U.S. bows out.

Team America: World Police - the worst world policeman except for all the others.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's an ignorant response. The conflict in Ukraine could spark a whole lot of outcomes, most not involving any US military intervention. But there could be serious economic and geostrategic consequences. World War I started off from a much smaller event. If you're not interested in any of this, there are a zillion other sites to read. Have at them.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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Brian Preston, invert the picture and see what you think if Mexico had an uprising that chased out the democratically elected president then invited in the Warsaw Pact to put military bases and offensive weapons on the US southern border.

After being told that NATO would not extend into Eastern Europe and seeing NATO betray that promise what do you expect the Russians to do? Play the fool for the West? Don't you think the Russians see the West's NGOs and agents working through Poland into the Ukraine and the money flow from the West that is supporting it?

So the Eurasian Union is anti-democratic? What do you think the EU is? It's run out of Brussels by communists, marxists, and socialists, passing laws at their whim and disregarding the will of the people. If the people in the EU object in blogs they have been fined and/or put in prison.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

All the bits and pieces of the troubles in Ukraine leave me unsure as to the legal and constitutional underpinnings of what the hell is going on over there. For all the reporters looking for their big scoops, I haven't seen one that could really explain the situation in a cogent way.

So, I guess that kind of leaves me in the "coup" camp for now, not that I would ever really want to wake up in a camp with an affinity for President Putin of Mother Russia. But just because the coup, as in Egypt, goes in an emotionally or politically pleasing direction doesn't mean that the constitutional baby should be thrown out with the illegal bathwater.

And while so many pundits seem to be so sure of what Mr. Putin is after, I'd be a bit more cautious, maybe half a Ukrainian pie is just fine for now. So maybe this is not so much of a success as some are prepared to trumpet.

And is anyone else out there bothered by the vaunted European Union's involvement and behavior in this matter. I myself kind of see it as a bit of what used to be called "tax-farming" which is not on my list of things that I love. Real democrats those EU rulers. Sometimes, perhaps.

Even though it seems to be heavily into "mergers and acquisitions" mode, I'm still having a hard time seeing the European Union as anything close to a "white knight" especially in view of its brow-beating of the Swiss for their referendum vote to limit immigration which apparently flies in the face of its "free movement of people" ideology. It may be a large part of their culture that the Ukrainians are kissing off when they accept the EU's embrace. The EU may be less despotic, but it still will want its way and political and economic shenanigans are not beyond its pale.

P.S. I originally posted this several days ago and it seems to be holding up pretty well.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please tell Vladimir I will have more flexibility after the election ...
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is considerable cause to see the EU and the Kremlin in a poor light.

I submit that the best route forward is for Russia to be part of a second Byzantine Empire. That way the emperor can deal with the squabbling that tends to take place. The other members would be Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Cyprus.

Yes, whoever hold debt of these countries will receive less than 100 cents on the dollar, but that price is miniscule compared to perpetuating the status quo.

Furthermore, another player would be on the scene to deal with the pogroms meted out on Christians from West Africa to Indonesia.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Didn't this same thing happen in Georgia after the last Olympics? Putin got a nice shiny pipeline, now he wants a warm water port.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Russia also massed troops along the border with Georgia, prior to invading...
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a test of EU clout as well. The Europeans seem to think every country in what Russia calls the "near abroad" wants to be part of Europe, just because they get included in the European equivalent of American Idol programs sometimes. Technically, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and the Baltic and Caucasus countries are in Europe. This contretemps will show what wishful thinking it is that the geographical technicalities mean anything.

France, Germany and Italy are even less likely than Warrior Boy Obama to do anything other than wave their hands in the air and shriek if Putin's tanks roll into Kiev.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
no, in !france we just think that Ukraine defense ain't our sphere of influence, and we aren't going to interfer within its conflicts with Russia, that could also revert with the EU too, as it seems that the Ukrainians easily revert to one side or another, depends on the governments mafiosi mendates

http://europeansting.com/2014/02/27/how-to-test-if-kievs-maidan-was-an-authentic-revolt-or-a-well-planned-operation/
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Euros are absolutely d***less. Just think "Srebrenica" and the argument is over. They at least had the military strength to solve Slobo's empire-building venture in their own "back yard" in the 1990's but they sat on their hands and screamed for several years for Clinton to go and do something.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
oh the Balkans wars were ignified by the Soros and alikes that subsidied rebellions
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Russia itself is partially in Europe too; if they didn't have Siberia, they wouldn't be in Asia at all. But Siberia is 77% of Russia in terms of size.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, duh. Does anyone out there think that Vlad is afraid of Caesar Augustus Obama? Yeah, I thought not. The Crimea is one of the most strategically important pieces of real estate in Europe as far as the Russians are concerned. They are prepared to go to war to keep it.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Things may not be what they seem. 1938! provocation in Austria, in the Chek Republic. troops on the border. Who is really behind the riot in Kiev?
Does it matter? Did it matter that the world gave into a bully in '38'?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Brzezinski
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
And? We should care about the Ukraine exactly why? We are not the world's policeman or babysitter.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
If we aren't the world's policeman, then who do you propose have the job:

The UN? If you are into underage sex rings I guess.
The EU? If you like technocrats and a collapsing currency I suppose.
Russia? Which we are defaulting to with this anyway.
China? If you prefer to "shift to the Pacific" for your tyrant.
The OIC? If you want The World Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice to keep us on the straight and narrow.
ALBA? We'll just pretend the riots in Venezuela aren't really happening.

Or would it perchance be Nobody? That is great if you are into ignoring reality, but back in the real world, politics has about as many issues with a power vacuum as nature has with a pressure vacuum, and somebody is going to step up as world police if the U.S. bows out.

Team America: World Police - the worst world policeman except for all the others.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
BZ - that's the problem with isolationists they think the U.S. can simply withdraw from the world's stage and thus the world will leave us alone. That might have been sort of true in the 18th and 19th centuries but it sure as hell ain't today. Even a piss ant country like Iran can send a ship to the shores of the U.S that could possibly have a nuclear or biological weapon. Our best defense IS to be the worlds policeman.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's an ignorant response. The conflict in Ukraine could spark a whole lot of outcomes, most not involving any US military intervention. But there could be serious economic and geostrategic consequences. World War I started off from a much smaller event. If you're not interested in any of this, there are a zillion other sites to read. Have at them.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, calling people names is so mature. Who do you work for? And do they know you insult your readers? Maybe we should ask them.

As for WW1, it started with a lot more than the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. There were decades of buildup. Ferdinand's death merely moved up the timeline.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
He didn't insult me, but then I'm not ignorant.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Russian minority lives predominantly in the area bordering the Black Sea. A Ukrainian Civil War gives Russia an excuse to annex some nice ice-free ports, potentially leaving the Ukrainian speaking territory land locked.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/12/09/this-one-map-helps-explain-ukraines-protests/
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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