Tag Archives: Crimea

Crimea is Annexed: What is Next and How did We Get Here?

With issues like those raised by the events that have been unfolding in Ukraine and Russia in the last month one can ask how to evaluate the relative importance of these events to the United States of America, the European Union and the West.  Crimea has been annexed by the Russian Federation and that happened far from me and though I know people almost everywhere there are people Ukraine is far from any center of my network. Even more so one could ask what these events as political facts have to do with me.  There are always connections of course and those will not always be revealed here.  I who blog and most of you who read perhaps live and act mostly very far from Ukraine. My television reception out here in the countryside  probably prevented me really following the Olympics in Russia very well and that was the most significant connection to Russia that most of us have had in a while. The Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games have been somewhat overshadowed by geopolitics. Last time Russia hosted the Olympics the USA boycotted the games.  It is in that context that these  events unfold.

I am typing this on the first day of spring in my hemisphere.  I have been busy trying to get the lawn and garden into order. Tonight I plan to hear my sister speak at the cathedral of the diocese in which I live. There is always a great deal going on in this world and certainly in the many small worlds which share the geography.  I myself may well be in as bad a situation in terms of the cross section of health, well-being and financial prosperity as I could ever have wished to or feared experiencing when all the overall factors are weighed. Yet the total significance of the Ukraine and Crimea crisis is great enough to get me blogging about it repeatedly.



That is not my only post nor even particularly close to my only post on the topic.  Not only have I included it with other topics but I have blogged about it directly a few times. Here and there in previous posts a reader will find what I have to say about it. But it is important for us to be aware of the tensions that run through the world.

I have no doubt that the future is going to be a future in which defining exactly what the USA will need in terms of assets, what it can afford and how they should be deployed will be more challenging to determine.

I support the brave people seeking their way forward in Ukraine. I am sure that it must be a painful thing to lose Crimea. However, it is a hard road to complete the transition to national autonomy and they will have to make adjustments. Hopefully the US and Europe and other players will find ways to invest in their future.  They can play a valuable role in the further development of the larger region.

I wish I could do more than think about them but I do think about them most of all. It seems we will possibly progress from the status quo as it is now. I think that is probably the reasonable supposition.  But I will be watching and will post here when my views and level of information may have changed.

Crimea has been annexed by the Russian Federation. The questions the world will face now that Crimea has been annexed by the Russian Federation cannot be answered without remembering the transfer from Russia to Ukraine was made when they shared one United nations representative.  In the coming days, months and years we will have to support Poland, the Baltic states and others and we cannot let the fact that Crimea which is a vital naval asset for Russia and populated mostly by people who feel Russian,  speak Russian and want to be part of Russia has been annexed by the Russian Federation.  Crimea raises larger issues but it is also unique and we must remember that even as regional issues  continue to come into focus.

Crimea, Ukraine, Russia and the West

There is a referendum on the sixteenth of March to determine what the voters of Crimea prefer for their future. Of course it appears Russia has control of the site of these elections and likely will interfere in their elections. It is also likely many Russians in Crimea would vote to become part of Russia anyway. It is even more likely they would want to have some autonomy from any somewhat anti-Russian government in Ukraine.

I have blogged a bit about this evolving situation.  Here are some links to my posts earlier on throughout this crisis:



Russian troops are on the Russian borderlands just off of Ukraine’s Eastern border and North of the Crimean Peninsula. What role they will play under every set of circumstances is not clear. There are also many reports of increasing violence in the protests in Eastern Ukraine. So it is in that context that I am posting this:

It may be time for a new point of view. For me some things have not changed, America does have an interest in preserving international law –  but that seldom is less clear and compelling over other interests than it is here. The Ukraine government is becoming legitimate but it is not clearly legitimate and was less so when the crisis started so its legal rights are less clear. In addition, Crimea is vital to Russian interest and the natural gas pipelines are vital to Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. So people are not inclined to be held back when real arguments can be made that they are not under valid restrictions.

Things have evolved since I began posting. The strategies employed by all so far seem to have prevented war thus far. But as specified above Russian tanks and troops are at the border of Ukraine and Crimea is voting in a referendum on its status vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine on the 16th. What will happen next?

The West and Russia have generally denounced each of the two claiming heads of government and regimes as not legitimate. The USA seems to insist on Russian withdrawal from Crimea and denounces the referendum. However, the US Congress has stalled even the billion dollars in aid to Ukraine. We have deployed resources in the region but I neither condemn nor endorse that use of resources. I also understand the reticence of Congress. This is not an easy situation.

I recently wrote eslewhere that “One useful mental exercise for any crisis is to imagine what one might do, urge and agitate for if one were a pure dictator over a country such as has never existed perhaps and could truly do what ever one wishes.” I think that is right, and one often sees that there are no easy solutions.

In that case and acting for your country what might you do? For many of us around the world we could leave this to Russia and Ukraine. But is that realistic for the EU or even for the USA?

In that abstract sense of a mental exercise  I believe I would have decided long ago that Russia must keep Crimea if Ukraine goes free of her real authority and the Crimean majority supports it. I don’t think we can move troops into the region but perhaps we could bend a few rules to help the populist militia feel and be more authentic even helping lots of hunters flying into Ukraine from the west and leaving their weapons behind.  Ukraine will have to offer Russia very generous pipeline concession, in the short term at least. I thin we should urge them to extend  full pardon for regime members choosing to go into Russia and whom Russia accepts. I would urge Ukraine to set up a relocation authority for Ukrainians in Crimea to come North and Russians in Ukraine to go to Crimea if they choose. I would support Poland and Romania in creating treaties, trade assurances and cultural missions. I would seek to explain how the law is full of messy issues in this case.

Somehow the US seems to be  in a position where it must assure top level Russian officials that invasion of the rest of Ukraine would provoke serious repercussions over time and I would increase military aid to countries West and South of Ukraine. Would that work out well? I cannot be sure.

It may be that what is happening now is better. However, it does not feel good. Pushing Ukraine to harsh rhetoric, calling for Russia to quit breaking the law with no explanation of the complexities and not getting Ukraine aid are all depressingly undesirable to my view. Would you care to discuss some options? Do you believe war is possible — and can it spread — and when?

I feel far from where I would like to see things going right now. Blog posts like this by private parties are risky and thankless enough. But there is no reason to pretend that our system does not rely on such media. These discussions have always gone on. In a sense they are a political dead-end for someone in my position more often than not. But they do provide a a part of the public discourse for which the USA has always been known. So I feel compelled to blog here. I also hope for a bteer result than can be reasonably expected.

Strength, Security and the Future

Is the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea largely a show of strength? Who is showing strength to whom? Does Syria matter intensely and greatly in all this are is that just another small piece of a world wide puzzle which is likely never to be completely assembled? Our security in the United States and the security of many others around the world depends on many questions besides these. There are so many reasons to be concerned that I will not discuss in this blog. I just spent much of the week dealing with a death of the grandfather of two of my nieces and a nephew. Another former colleague and friend in a limited sense is in the hospital having lost most of her physical functions in a sudden injury. I never lack for reminders of how fragile human strength is in the individual.  It is far from everlasting in nations and states.

This is the author of this blog. I am standing beside the stone boat in the Summer Palace in Beijing.

This is the author of this blog. I am standing beside the stone boat in the Summer Palace in Beijing.

I am more aware than usual of the limits of my own strength. My father is lying abed with a painful foot and ankle  now and my only living grandfather (or grandparent for that matter) is bedridden and has been for years.  But this post is not about my own struggles with my health or those of my ancestors. This post is more about the strength of the United States of America in 2014. Strength is a fairly broad term to use to describe a set of qualities in a man, community, corporation, athlete or country. The quality of strength desired and measured differs from on type of strong being which is measured to another.

My immediate  family vacationing on False River before my cousin Severin W. Summers III was killed in Afghanistan. That was the site of the last long conversation we had about war, honor and family and peace.

My immediate family vacationing on False River before my cousin Severin W. Summers III was killed in Afghanistan. That was the site of the last long conversation we had about war, honor and family and peace.

It also differs in a variety of ways that depend mostly on who is doing the measuring. What is the truth about American strength right now? What is the truth about other problems we might face? What is the truth about whatever my own views of a way forward might be? These are questions I might try to raise in this blog that relate to more specific questions about our role in Ukraine and Crimea for example.

What can be done to help the Ukrainians who seek to move forward the process of transforming their society into an ever more positive and prosperous regime without creating impossible conditions for Russia? Can America admit that there is questionable legitimacy in the rump parliament and revolution government? Can the US admit Russia cannot place Crimea in such uncertain hands and most Crimeans may well want a Russian Crimea?

Yes secession of Crimea for a real independent Ukraine perhaps more federal than this one could be the answer. They will have to work with Russia on the issue of natural gas pipelines to Europe.  But America needs to protect its borders and solvency as well as to maintain its military heritage. I am not sure how much we can do in Ukraine. We must do something but  be honest with Ukraine that the more they want ties with us the less that can be done for Crimea. Truthfully this applies to the EU and it is the EU more than the USA that Ukraine is now courting.

I have in this blog many proposals to change America. But war with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula is not in any plan I have. I believe there is a role for America. But it is a dangerous game and nobody will come out looking like a superhero. The more Western we make Ukraine the more Russian Crimea must be because at some point we have to stop pretending international law is something we always observe and obey. Because some fairness is necessary.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

This is not an easy time but it is a good time to promise oneself and commit oneself to the cause of a strong secure America with a future. To some degree we all face the facts of living in an age where strength in nuclear warheads deters less than some thought it would. Yet we also face the fact that our country must survive each challenge along the way — even as we seek to reach heights of excellence.

Strength requires wisdom to manage. I myself have both strength and weaknesses and each have caused me their own sets of problems. America has many problems past this one. But this is a serious issue. We are trying to really impose our views on the borders of Russia in a very open and confrontational style. I hope that all of this is being handled well.