Crimea: The new candy floss?

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Let Crimean decide for Crimea. Let Ukraine be

 

Let’s establish some facts here first. One, Crimea was part of Russia till 1954 when it was presented to Ukraine by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Crimea has existed since as a semi-autonomous state but shares a historic and cultural umbilical cord with Russia.

Recall also that Ukraine itself since the Middle Ages was part of the USSR till 1990. Two, Crimea is surrounded by the Black Sea – Russia’s sole warm-water port. The importance this holds for Russia cannot be undermined. Three, Ukraine produces grain much needed by Russia. Four, the pipes running through Ukraine serve as Russia’s lifeline, carrying its natural gas to Europe! Five; ‘ethnic Russians still make up 59 per cent of Crimea’s population of 2 million, while 12 per cent are Tatars, according to 2001 census data’ (The Guardian UK, March 3, 2014). Six, Russia has a lease on the Sevastopol port till 2042. Ukraine gets a handsome $98 million a year for leasing of the Crimean naval base to Russia.

The temperature started soaring over Crimea a few months ago, NBC News claims: “Tensions spiked in late November when Yanukovych accepted a $15 billion loan from Russia and rejected a trade deal with the European Union. That move that infuriated the country’s opposition leadership, who had been pushing for a closer alignment with Europe.”

Ups and downs have followed (ups and downs can be seen depending on from where one is viewing the situational changes) including resignation of Ukrainian prime minister  with a strongly pro-Russian bent and Russia temporarily suspending funding to Ukraine. The last was the result of a coup d’etat, overthrowing Viktor Yanukovich and his government by protestors who stormed Kiev.Russian Parliament has authorized Putin to use military force in Ukraine under unavoidable circumstances – not only in Crimea. “The upper house of the Russian parliament has voted in favor of sending troops to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which would ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized” (Published March 01, 2014). However, Reuters reports, “President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he would use force in Ukraine only as a last resort, easing market fears that East-West tension over the former Soviet republic could lead to war” (March 5, 2014).

In a video released on the occasion of International Business Conference at Ukraine in WashingtonNational Press Club, Dec 13, 2013, “US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Nuland said: “Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government – all that is necessary to achieve the objectives of Ukraine’s European. We have invested more than $5 billion to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals.” Nuland said the United States will continue to “promote Ukraine to the future it deserves.” (Information Clearing House February 9, 2014). This is déjà vu. Remember Egypt’s ‘revolution?’

For Russia, the issue runs deeper. Ian Bremmer; specialist of US foreign policy and the Global Research Professor of the New York University tweeting on March 6thquote Kissinger, “The West must understand that, to Russia; Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.” I think he just about hit the nail on the head. Or to put in the right perspective; Kissinger did.Crimea was presented to Ukraine by Khrushchev. The purpose of this action was aimed at balancing out the fascists in Ukraine whose numbers threatened to unsettle and destabilize Ukraine. Sam Nejad, in an exceptionally well researched article writes, “When the Soviet Union was dissolved, there was a tacit agreement that NATO would not infringe close to the Russian border… Isn’t it curious that the western media does not mention anything about the close bonds between the peoples of that entire area, including Russia, Ukraine, and the Crimea?… That they will lose unhindered access to the open seas? That first strike missile is being placed within a few hundred kilometers of Moscow and other major cities… That is why the Russian government, not just President Putin, but the Russian parliament, has reacted so urgently and justifiably, to this latest threat to their very existence.” (Titled Ukraine: Woeful Ignorance or Willful Malevolence? Published March 2014)

The bigger picture has USA and Russia in a face off in Syria grappling for greater influence on the Middle East policies, Crimea adds to the confrontation. Unfortunately, very unfortunately, it is USA having admitted to have funded 5 billion dollars to “help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals.” No country funds another without expecting something in return. That is how this whole game of ‘strategic partnership’ is played, as also witnessed in Syria=and elsewhere.

The west wants to wean Ukraine away from Russia, knitting it closer to western nations. The west is ignoring the ties between Russia and Crimea. The west is ignoring the sentiments of population of Crimea. The west, unfortunately, is deliberately choosing to ignore history of Ukraine. History has proved, again and again and again; that imposing upon nations to achieve a certain given objective does not pay off in the long run. Egypt is a recent example. Condemnation of Russia from USA is being deemed by many as hypocrisy in light of approximately 50,000 killed in Iraq in an unprovoked invasion, the bloodshed that was caused when regime changed in Libya and the invasion of Afghanistan resulting in a war that has stretched to 13 years and continuing and now; USA’s open support to the opposition forces in Ukraine.

Secretary John Kerry called the Russian troop intervention in Crimea “an incredible act of aggression.”Kerry also said that the United States and its allies would consider asset freezes, visa bans and trade penalties if Russian troops continued their incursion in Crimea.’ (Washington Post March 2, 2014) What about the induction of 3 former Soviet Republic entities and 9 former Warsaw Pact states into an alliance that is definitely anti-Russia, if one may ask the Secretary Kerry?  ‘The European association agreement which provoked the Ukrainian crisis also included clauses to integrate Ukraine into the EU defence structure.’ (The Guardian March 5, 2014)

OK guys, you in the western block, give the rest of us a break. Notwithstanding the layers of media hype, this is not adding up. Take away the layers and there appears the western desire for greater global expansion. The undue intervention may blow the situation into our communal faces. Bad idea! Stop treating Crimea as the new candy floss. Let Crimean decide for Crimea. Let Ukraine be. External interferences to mould situations according to the desire of powers fall flat, historically speaking!

29 COMMENTS

  1. From a legal point of view, based on United Nations and Ukrainian law as the basis, Russia is on the wrong side of the issue. Just as Israel in case of West Bank, Turkey in case of Cyprus, India in case of Kashmir, Argentina is case of Falklands, USA in case of Iraq and many more well known international episodes. Relatively speaking however, if other countries, especially USA are going to ignore international law whenever their interest are at stake, then Russia has more than enough justification (as stated in your article) to annex Crimea. It will still be illegal, but far less illegal (if there is any such thing) to do so. There is no greater moral justification than to come to the rescue of your brethren facing death and danger, even if that means breaking the law. What goes around comes around and the West must now accept that Russia will be able to argue its actions with sufficient precedent as justification. And therefore the cycle of breaking international will continue.

  2. Ethnic Cleansing had been the way USSR to create demographic imbalance. In case of Crimea the Tatars were the targeted ethnic group http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/11/world/meast/sau
    If it is taken as the reason than the Georgia, and Latvia and two other neighboring States also are on the wrong side
    Secondly the economic considerations alone does not allow one country to trample another country sovereignty…
    I my view let the total populace decide the fate of their country, If that be the case than as per Mr. Mahmood Kashmiri, Palestinian. Similarly will the Russia allow chechians and Dagistan to exercise same right

  3. Best diplomacy is to strike and act. One action is more than billion words and hundreds of useless United Nations Resolutions. Putin did it and he is Hero. Now he is controller of Mediterranean.
    USA got wrongly involved in Gulf War.
    They had missed the last bus….
    For instance we have Kashmir as we took it. U N failed. We exploded Atomic device that is it.

  4. Excellent!

    Áine Carvill
    Current Affairs & News
    Spirit Radio – Passion for Life

  5. A well researched paper, supported by facts and figures to make it easy to understand the crux of problem for a layman. Well done and keep writing, Madam.

    Ajmal

  6. Nicely analysed.Majority of the nations in the world seek for peaceful co-existance.The others have mean objectives of statehood.

  7. Yes agree on let Crimean decide Crimea, but not with the help of USA. Good analyse the situation of this region.

  8. An interesting and timely analysis.The way the EU at the behest of US and NATO was making inroads in Ukerain ,it was a matter of time ‎before a confrontation was to take place.The media superiority and influence of the West not withstanding the ground realities and the ethnic division in Ukeraine is headed towards a Division of Ukeraine and misery and bloodshed in the region.Unless EU backs out ,which is not likely the response from Russia and Russian speaking Ukerainians may give a real rude shock to the EU and US for which it is not fullly prepared due to its unchallenged status for the last over two decades.
    Regards.
    Satti.

  9. An interesting and timely analysis.The way the EU at the behest of US and NATO was making inroads in Ukerain ,it was a matter of time ‎before a confrontation was to take place.The media superiority and influence of the West not withstanding the ground realities and the ethnic division in Ukeraine is headed towards a Division of Ukeraine and misery and bloodshed in the region.Unless EU backs out ,which is not likely the response from Russia and Russian speaking Ukerainians may give a real rude shock to the EU and US for which it is not fullly prepared due to its unchallenged status for the last over two decades.

  10. What an excellent piece of writing……. i think it would clear our views on the issue!!!

  11. Moral of the story is that you cant dupe Ukrainians… if you do they all rise like one….. Historically Crimea was also a part of Turkey and now the Turks have a claim over it too..

  12. By ignoring historical, geographical and demographic facts, USA and EU are miscalculating their chances in Ukraine, Crimea and entire Eurasian region. Eurasia will be a center of conflict in months and years to come, with 'West' having literally no long-term gains, primarily because of a such a large backyard that Russia has. The best way out for EU and USA would be to retreat and focus more on North Africa and core Middle East. They should forget Black Sea and save Mediterranean Sea….

  13. I can't agree more than what Dr. Sohail Moni has stated. One time naval blockade/ support of gaza ports by black fleet Israel is doomed. Peace can return to Palestine. Inter Muslim Brotherly States can begin to fight for supremacy. Turkey has enjoyed with Israel too much.

  14. Dear Ms Yasmeen Ali,
    I have enjoyed your article on Crimean crises. I admire your study and understanding of the subject.

  15. Two things have happened. First: Elected governments have no legitimacy any more. Mob rule gets blessings from the democracy-mongers of the past.!Second : Cold War is back. Weak Third World countries can breathe a sigh of relief. They cannot be swallowed up by the Big Powers at will.

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