Monday, March 3, 2014

The Question of Crimea

The Ukrainian crisis has sparked the usual media frenzy intent on inciting hysteria.  And there is nothing as likely to get a good round of public hysteria fired up than the old bugaboo of Russian imperialism and military bullying.

It might be worthwhile noting that world military powers have a solid record of occasional military incursions within their self appointed spheres of influence whenever they think it appropriate.  The Brits did it throughout the empire for several centuries.  We Americans have been known to use a little muscle in a variety of Latin American countries now and then.  So it's not a purely Russian thing.  It's something big, powerful countries do to protect what they say is their legitimate sphere of influence.

In the case of Ukraine, the news reports that about sixty years ago Khrushchev transferred Russian Crimea to Ukraine, and that the region was never integrated or assimilated into Ukrainian culture, society, or loyalty.   Assuming the reports are accurate, the question I keep asking myself is why would he have done that?  The only answer I can come up with is that he wanted to establish a strong and loyal Russian foothold in a region that he knew to be independent minded.  If you are ruling the USSR that might make some sense.  If the USSR has disintegrated, and its former member republics want little to do with mother Russia, it is bound to break down sooner or later, and so it has.  

So, if the Russians want Crimea back, and the Crimeans want to go back, and the Ukrainians don't much like the Crimeans anyway, why don't the rest of us relax and let this thing work itself out?  Maybe you have some thoughts on why that's a bad idea.  Maybe you know a lot more about the region than I do.  After all, what I know is what I read in the papers, and that's always problematic.  There is one caveat.  Just because Putin is a jerk on so many levels is not a reason for us to get involved.

1 comment:

Bill D. said...

Thank you for saying what many of us are thinking. This is not another "Cuban Missile Crisis." Sometimes it's best to let nature run its course.