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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 19-Mar-2014
19-Mar-14 World View -- Putin gives angry, nationalistic speech annexing Crimea to Russia

Web Log - March, 2014

19-Mar-14 World View -- Putin gives angry, nationalistic speech annexing Crimea to Russia

Putin's spokesman signals plans to invade eastern Ukraine

This morning's key headlines from

Putin announces the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation

Putin giving speech on Tuesday
Putin giving speech on Tuesday

In a speech to the Duma on Tuesday, Russia's president Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will annex Crimea.

"In order to understand why this choice was made , it is enough to know the history of the Crimea, and know what Russia means for the Crimea and what Crimea means to Russia.

There is ancient Chersonesos there, where Holy Prince Vladimir was baptized. His spiritual struggle - an appeal to Orthodoxy - predestined common cultural values and civilizational framework that will unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In the Crimea, there are graves of the Russian soldiers, with whose courage the Crimea was taken into the Russian state in 1783. The Crimea is Sevastopol, a legendary city of great destiny, a fortress city and the birthplace of the Russian Black Sea Navy.

During all these years, many citizens and many public figures have raised this issue, saying that the Crimea is a native Russian land and that Sevastopol is a Russian city."

One might almost have sympathy for Putin's arguments if the Crimean referendum hadn't been conducted under gunpoint of a Russian invasion, with Ukrainian supporters beaten up or locked up, justifying the Russian invasion because some Russian citizens were being attacked by Nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Russophobes. By Putin's logic, Turkey could invade Germany because some Turkish citizens have been attacked by German neo-Nazis. In fact, by Putin's logic, any country whose citizens are attacked by any terrorists in any other country has a right to invade that country, to "protect its citizens" from "the terrorists."

I would have more sympathy for Putin, but my opinion of him is strongly colored by my overwhelming disgust by the situation in Syria, and Putin's support of Bashar al-Assad. As I've said in the past, it's like the TV show "Criminal Minds," which dwells on scenes of rape, torture and mutilation. But al-Assad and Putin are performing "Criminal Minds" scripts on an "industrial strength" scale, bombing innocent women and children with barrel bombs, sarin gas, and any other heavy weapons al-Assad can get his hands on from Putin, in his campaign to exterminate all Sunnis in Syria. Al-Assad is a war criminal, and Putin is also a war criminal for supplying weapons to al-Assad.

So when I hear war criminal Putin say that he's going to protect Russian citizens from "terrorists" and "neo-Nazis" (i.e., Ukrainians), it takes me back to the beginning of the Syrian civil war, and I feel we're going down the same path. And so do a lot of other people. Pravda (Moscow) and Tauric Chersonesos

Furious Vladimir Putin expresses contempt for the West

A furious Vladimir Putin made it pretty clear how contemptuous he was of Western politicians, in Europe and the U.S. It's well known that Putin believes that the European Union and President Barack Obama lied to him several times, particularly in the context of the Libyan war in 2011. (Not hard to believe.) Russia and China abstained on the vote for a no-fly zone in Libya, based on the promise of no military intervention which, Putin believes was a lie.

As I wrote in 2011 (see "22-Apr-11 News -- Russia seeks to cripple Nato through Libya United Nations politics"), Russia adopted a policy of using the United Nations Security Council to cripple American and Western foreign policy. Putin has been incredibly successful with this policy, by vetoing one Security Council resolution after another, even resolutions mildly criticizing Bashar al-Assad.

So today we're seeing the culmination of Putin's successful policy. Western foreign policy is crippled by Putin's policy, but Putin invades Crimea with no Security Council resolution.

In his speech on Tuesday, Putin clearly expressed his utter contempt for the West:

Like a mirror, the situation in Ukraine reflects what is going on and what has been happening in the world over the past several decades. After the dissolution of bipolarity on the planet, we no longer have stability. Key international institutions are not getting any stronger; on the contrary, in many cases, they are sadly degrading. Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right. They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle “If you are not with us, you are against us.” To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organizations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall.

This happened in Yugoslavia; we remember 1999 very well. It was hard to believe, even seeing it with my own eyes, that at the end of the 20th century, one of Europe’s capitals, Belgrade, was under missile attack for several weeks, and then came the real intervention. Was there a UN Security Council resolution on this matter, allowing for these actions? Nothing of the sort. And then, they hit Afghanistan, Iraq, and frankly violated the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing the so-called no-fly zone over it they started bombing it too.

There was a whole series of controlled “color” revolutions. Clearly, the people in those nations, where these events took place, were sick of tyranny and poverty, of their lack of prospects; but these feelings were taken advantage of cynically. Standards were imposed on these nations that did not in any way correspond to their way of life, traditions, or these peoples’ cultures. As a result, instead of democracy and freedom, there was chaos, outbreaks in violence and a series of upheavals. The Arab Spring turned into the Arab Winter."

Putin is saying something I've said many times before in the context of a Generational Dynamics analysis. The survivors of World War II created the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation (Green Revolution), and other international organizations not only to prevent a new world war, but also to end poverty and starvation and to improve health. Only WW II survivors could accomplish these things. But today, with the WW II survivors gone, it's almost impossible to accomplish anything by compromise. The only thing -- the ONLY thing -- that works today is military force. Washington Post

Putin's spokesman signals plans to invade eastern Ukraine

Two weeks ago, Vladimir Putin promised not to "consider" annexing Crimea. That promise was broken within two days.

In his speech on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin said that Russia has no plans to invade eastern Ukraine. But his spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, was interviewed on the BBC on Tuesday, and said in effect the opposite (my transcription):

"First of all, we do expect some measures from those people who are calling [themselves] the Ukrainian government.

And we do expect western community backing those people to take effective measures in order to protect those people living in the eastern regions of Ukraine. Because at the same time, we're receiving reports about clashes in Kharkov, it's an east city of Ukraine, in eastern region. So there are clashes and sounds of gunfire, and also some reports about one or two people being wounded. Those clashes between military gun men and fighters extremist coming from western regions, so we do expect Ukrainian government to protect Russian population. Otherwise Russia simply cannot stay without reaction. We will have to react. We will have to protect Russians, and those Ukrainians living there."

A careful reading of this statement reveals that it contains all of the elements and rationalizations for a Russian invasion of east Ukraine:

In other words, Putin is going to use the violence in Kharkov as an excuse to invade eastern Ukraine, and will blame it on the "Western community" -- the United States and the European Union.

There are many people in Poland, Estonia and Moldova who believe that once Putin is finished "protecting Russians" in Ukraine, he'll move on to their countries. With the U.S. and Europe distracted by the possible war in eastern Europe, China may choose this time to move on the islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

Report: Chechnya terrorist leader Doku Umarov is dead

Doku Umarov, the Chechen leader of the Caucasus Emirate, has been responsible for several major terrorist attacks in Russia, including bombings at the Moscow airport in 2011 and on the Moscow subway in 2010. In addition, he called for terrorist attacks at last month's Sochi Olympics. A jihadist website says that Umarov is dead, and will be replaced by Ali Abu Mohammed. The report cannot be independently confirmed, and there have been several previous reports of his death, those is the first time by his sympathizers. CNN

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Mar-14 World View -- Putin gives angry, nationalistic speech annexing Crimea to Russia thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Mar-2014) Permanent Link
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