Tag Archives: Ukraine crisis

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.

Real Politics, the Politics of Reality and Me

It is an interesting time for politics for those who have time and energy to keep up their interest in politics. This may include me sometimes more than others. What could be more compelling than watching the news and expatiating on is implications? Well quite a few things in point of fact. For me just now my father’s cancer has me well distracted from the problems with Obamacare, same sex marriage, the Afghanistan situation, the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the ongoing BP leak situation, the nightmare of water management in the country, the escalating tensions with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), the North Korean missile tests, the downsizing of the U. S. Army and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues.

My father has received results of a biopsy from an area where he had a previous cancer that there is cancer, that cancer has recurred or that it is present. I am sure Mom will post some news eventually. This afternoon he will meet with an oncologist and Mom will be with him.My father has had at least two full-fledged cancer surgeries and some treatments for each. My grandfather Chief Justice Frank W. Summers, his father died of cancer as did one of his two brothers and the other might well have done so had he not succumbed to other maladies of the same organs in which some have said cancer was starting. Many of our relatives and some of his siblings have had cancer.

My father has been blessed in the years since his first cancer to see his mission company and legacy grow and he is still deeply devoted to following the progress of both. He and my mother have celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. His mother was born in a hospital and he was close to his grandfather who was a physician. I have often heard him express gratitude for the medical and allied treatments and care he has received. For him there is no doubt that his work and family life have been extended by the efforts of his professional care community.

I hope that all will remember him in thoughts and prayers and if you see him or my mother will offer such sympathy and encouragement as you can find to offer. I went with my father to New Orleans several times when he was first sick with prostate cancer and since then my direct involvement has diminished over time. My father has also recently been diagnosed with a different health condition which may complicate all of this. He and Mom may choose to disclose more about all this at different times but those who know me know of his health struggles to some degree and it would not be right for me not mention it and pretend this is in any way my life. Nor is it a secret that he has struggled for a good number of years in the cancer arena with remissions etc. I am attaching a post I put on my blog when he went for the biopsy. The picture doesn’t frame well on FB but is better at the other site.


But although I am not holding a placard nor able to do what I might think fitting the problems with Obamacare but I am aware of the crises people are experiencing. All of the social, constitutional and political issues raised by  same sex marriage and the trigger happy federal courts in this country  are on my mind  — at leas most of the issues are on my mind. I am well aware of all the many blows to morale which are accumulating so that the next 9/11 attack would have vastly more impact on the USA. I am aware of all the obstacles to readiness and  recruiting in a crisis which are accumulating. It is in that context that I view the sense of surrender that can frame the evolving  Afghanistan situation. I am deeply aware of the dangerously the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the fact that minimum wage and Obamacare and social policy and migration patterns all feed this crisis. I am well aware of ten different trends I regard as potential threats revealed by or evident in the evolution of the ongoing BP leak situation.  The BP mess has me also more aware of the nightmare of water management in the country with issues form Eastern flooding to Western droughts, industrial abuses and the horror of the Bayou Corne/ Assumption Parish Sink Hole and Texas Brine.


I am well aware of the world we live in every day of our lives. I am aware of the North Korean missile tests,and the vast resources connected to that small part of the force they represent. It is a serious concern not in itself but as a symbol rallying many other forces. It concerns me.  So does the sense of strain I detect in many of our institutions and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Sure there are always bad times but they are also always threatening. Once must overcome them to survive.

But all of these real political concerns are not the most important factors we face. I hope to devote a whole post soon to the escalating tensions of the USA with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), .It is a reality that we can really mess this up. It is not a joke. There are in fact ten wrong answers for every passable one. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. Nor is all speculation created equal. My solutions seem radical to many but they are moderate in my view. We must chart a sound course and do so very soon or there will be bad and serious consequences.  In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues. But America has the resources to handle its crises — but not the luxury of a huge margin for error.

Again there will be more later. . . I hope.