Tag Archives: Ukraine

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.

Union and Secession and Identity

Almost nothing is ever permanently resolved in politics. Scotland may soon leave the United Kingdom (it may also not do so) that has been one of the most settled unions in modern and late medieval history .In the South of the United States of America one of the issues one grows up with is what to call the war fought between 1860ish and 1864ish. There is a spectrum of answers: The War of the Rebellion, The Civil War, The War Between the States, The War for Southern Independence and The War of Northern Aggression are the chief choices. I am proud of an in touch with my own Confederate heritage and I seek to honor it in many ways. However, while I seek constitutional change my ancestors were secessionists and I am not I seek to preserve the Union. Secession is not the part of the past I want to make alive today. Scots currently feel it more and more likely that independence is necessary. I commented on “The Lords of the Blog” about this and other issues:


10/02/2014 at 3:57 am
Lord Soley,

It would be a tedious process difficult to prove to your readers or yourself to show my family connections over millennia to a sizable number of crucial uniting and dividing number of processes of creating and dissolving unions. I think clearly there can be unintended consequences. While it does not seem likely Europe and a separate UK would go to war in a generation it might happen in bit longer time. Clearly the UK benefits from the ties to the great diversity of human and other resources in Europe and the UK.

Perhaps your compatriots who want to leave wish it for many reasons. However, the chief may be a concern about where this is all headed. Clearly the European Common Market has evolved a great deal and is headed in certain direction. My Acadian ancestors migrated to the New World and abandoned their deep network of roots as an existing society around La Rochelle because the modern era was destroying the union of Languedoc–”Paix(s) des Coutumes” and Languedeouil –”Paix(s) des Lois” which was how they saw France. After much bloodshed it seemed the way to preserve who they were into the future. They and my ancestors who may or may not have been qualified to be in the Cincinnati sought independence from a British Empire which was centralizing after a great victory in the previous world struggle against France. The failed attempt to achieve an independent Confederate States of America attracted my ancestors and their friends because it seemed the only way to preserve a recognizable facsimile of the future they intended when they joined the Union. In my case this theme goes much further back in time.

You are I believe of a party and ideology which seeks broad and global change and adaptation most of all. I do not mean you are always reckless or ill-advised. But if you wish to communicate with those who wish to leave seek to answer how the changes they foresee can be true to the reasons their ancestors in ideas, beliefs and blood agreed to the unions in the first place.

Whether I could have been a great success if I had behaved very differently I do not know. But at nearly fifty I seem to have paid a high cost for certain choices of priority but feel I had little choice. I would imagine the relevant groups you are addressing feel much the same way. For them a real risk of ceasing to be Scot or British is not endurable if they can do anything to stop it.”

Greece is a tiny shadow of what it once was for centuries but it emerged from total eclipse as a political unit. Israel with Hebrew as an official language is another such miracle. The world evolves continually and its maps evolve continuously. I cited the Ukrainian revolution in an earlier status update and wish that nation the best as it struggles forward. The truth is that Western Ukraine has a larger portion of its heritage who are of old Greek diaspora stock from the Byzantine Empire mixed with Slavs than the Eastern Ukraine. But Ukraine’s western people are more likely to be Greek Catholic Uniates with Rome or Roman Catholics while the East is more Orthodox in Union with what is left of Christian Byzantium through Russian Orthodoxy or elsewhere. But they are more Ukrainian than anything else and have a nation together. On my Facebook list I am honored to have had (and still seem to have thought there names do not tag here) some of the leadership of the Sons of Confederate Veterans such as Michael Givens, Chandler Givens, Tom Hiter and Frank Powell III. They have a fraternity which allows differing views on how independence relates to current Confederate heritage and I do not know what their personal view are, but members do support the USA while it endures. The Scots would keep the British Monarch as Queen of Scotland which she already holds as a title.

So what would the issues be? Well, here are some raised rather well.


“Likely questions
Areas the Committee are likely to cover with the witnesses include:

What legal principles should govern negotiations for Scottish independence in the event of a “yes” vote?
Is the timetable of independence by March 2016 realistic? What impact will the timing of the UK general election in May 2015 have on this timetable?
What legal measures would be needed to allow negotiations to take place?
Who would negotiate for the remainder of the UK and to whom should they be accountable?
What would happen if the two negotiating teams could not agree on an issue?
What would be the status of the 59 MPs for Scottish constituencies in 2015–16?
What impact would Scottish independence have on the work and membership of the UK Supreme Court?”

I post this rambling discussion to stimulate thought and inform. But not to make too much any single part of it.