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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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March 13, 2014 - 10:03 am
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Yesterday Putin is reported to have said that he regards the dissolution of the USSR as “illegal.” The actual legality of all that is irrelevant. The USSR never cared a whit about international law, and neither does Putin unless he finds it useful for thwarting U.S. aims or pursuing his own. The statement that the dissolution of the USSR was illegal provides the logic for invading Ukraine and possibly other former Soviet republics after that, wherever there might be a Russian minority to protect — or a Moscow goal to pursue.

A longstanding goal of Russian foreign policy has been to use the nations of eastern Europe as buffer states between itself and the rest of Europe.

Today comes a New York Times report that Putin is massing Russia’s military forces near Ukraine, under the guise of military exercises.

MOSCOW — Russia’s Defense Ministry announced new military operations in several regions near the Ukrainian border on Thursday, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany warned the Kremlin to abandon the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries or face diplomatic and economic retaliation from a united Europe.

Putin does not care about epithets and does not appear to be intimidated by the possibility of economic retaliation. He does not care if Merkel thinks his policies don’t belong in this century. It just doesn’t matter to him.

In Moscow, the military acknowledged significant operations involving armored and airborne troops in the Belgorod, Kursk and Rostov regions abutting eastern Ukraine, where many ethnic Russians have protested against the new interim government in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, and appealed to Moscow for protection.

A day after a deputy minister denied any military buildup on the border, the Defense Ministry released a series of statements beginning early Thursday that appeared to contradict that. They outlined what was described as intensive training of units involving artillery batteries, assault helicopters and at least 10,000 soldiers.

The operations confirmed, at least in part, assertions by Ukrainian leaders on Wednesday that Russia was massing forces, as well as amateur photographs that appeared to show columns of armored vehicles and trucks in a border village called Lopan, only 30 miles from the Ukrainian city Kharkiv. One statement announced that another 1,500 paratroopers from Ivanovo, east of Moscow, had parachuted onto a military base in Rostov, not far from the Ukrainian cities Donetsk and Lugansk.

Appearing before Parliament on Thursday, Ms. Merkel criticized Russia’s actions in some of her toughest language to date, declaring that “the territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be called into question.”

Too late. Putin has already seized Crimea without firing a shot and has engineered the referendum that will see it formally annexed to Russia. Ukraine’s territorial integrity has been more than called into question.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, it will not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine,” she said. “We, also as neighbors of Russia, would not only see it as a threat. And it would not only change the European Union’s relationship with Russia. No, this would also cause massive damage to Russia, economically and politically.”

Such as? So far the U.S. and Europe are talking about travel bans and other sanctions. Putin appears to be laughing those off.

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All Comments   (16)
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28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Geopolitics is never about just one thing. Why did this brush fire start in Kiev. I know about the corrupt government in Kiev, but I don't think there is any non corrupt government in the world.

Geopolitics evolve around energy, and money, not spreading Homosexuality, and paganism. So, I think there is something much deeper going on, and I think it involves Syria, and the birth of region 4 of the WTO.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Four NATO countries share a land border with the Ukraine: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. NATO members Latvia, Estonia, and Norway share a land border with Russia. Seems to me that the US should be making clear our support for these allies.

Rand Paul raised an interesting issue for Russia and the Ukraine. Take the areas with large Russian population out of the Ukraine and the remaining people who want closer ties with Europe win every election. Even removing just Crimea from Ukrainian elections tips the power balance away from Russia. Russia gains political control around its warm water naval port in exchange for losing a buffer state between it and the EU.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seems to me that the US should be making clear our support for these allies.

Operative word is should.

Subotai Bahadur
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thus we see the bitter fruit of Obama's transformed America. Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind...may God forgive us for last year's vote.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
McCain wants a war with Russia and/or China. He is mentally damaged, probably from being tortured in Hotel Hanoi. He wants revenge.

Obama is disgusting and I can attack him all day. But asking for McCain is insanity.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
This can't be any good.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, you know Larry, once Putin has swallowed Crimea, he'll be satisfied and we'll have peace in our time.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why would we expect anything from European social democracies? They flubbed the diplomacy leading up to the Great War, failed to stop Hitler, and went to social democracy, which is simply a milder sort of statism than Communism. See http://clarespark.com/2011/04/09/jean-francois-revel-and-father-mapple/, all about how weakly the West resisted the Soviet Union. Nothing has changed.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clearly, we aren't going to do anything but jaw about it, so, are the massive armies of the Continent massing to thwart the Russian Bear? Will the Dutch send both companies or leave one at home to keep looters out of their barracks? Will the French drop their weapons a third time? Will 'Marching through Georgia' become the Red Army's new theme song?

This isn't going to end well....
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Putin is anything like his predecessors he won't rest until he has the English Channel view for his front yard.

28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nope. They're waiting for their whipping boy to come and help. And it just isn't going to happen.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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