Crimea votes to join Russia. And that…is that. Because as Mohamed Morsi and Viktor Yanukovych would fulsomely agree: Once a people have democratically spoken, America accepts their decision with stoic composure.
Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.
The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by Russian forces, formally under Moscow’s rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to find ways to pressure Russia to back down.
U.S. President Barack Obama took steps to punish those involved in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, ordering the freezing of their U.S. assets and a ban on travel into the United States.
The U.S. Navy announced a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, was heading to the Black Sea in what it said was a long-planned training exercise and not a show of force.
The Crimean parliament voted unanimously “to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation.”
The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea military base in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. He said all state property would be “nationalized”, the Russian ruble could be adopted and Ukrainian troops would be treated as occupiers and be forced to surrender or leave.
The announcement, which diplomats said could not have been made without Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval, raised the stakes in the most serious east-west confrontation since the end of the Cold War.
Russia said it would make it easier to give passports to native Russian speakers who have lived in Russia or the former Soviet Union. Putin has cited the threat to Russian citizens to justify military action in Georgia in 2008 and now in Ukraine.
You see, these are the gestures of comity that we Americans extend to fellow democracies: warships and frozen assets. Welcome friends.
And as for Putin’s action in Georgia: Yes, the large scale invasion and killing of your citizens is often deployed by tyrants as a pretext for defending their countries.
From wiki: During the night of August 7 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia. Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops into South Ossetia one day later, and launched airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper.
Far from seeking a diplomatic way out of the crisis, Putin appears to have chosen to create facts on the ground before the West can agree on more than token action against him.
Well America would never be so gauche as to create its own facts on the ground. And doesn’t Putin realize he’s on the wrong side of history? At least that’s what I tell my wife when sexual advances are declined: Honey, you’re on the wrong side of history.
French President Francois Hollande told reporters on arrival at the summit: “There will be the strongest possible pressure on Russia to begin lowering the tension and in the pressure there is, of course, eventual recourse to sanctions.”
Lowering the tension. What might possibly have such a moderating effect across the globe? What if America were to withdraw its proboscis from every orifice on the planet. Might that lower some tensions?
And though I am hopeless in naivety and gulled by even the shoddiest flimflam men, I must ask: Wouldn’t the portions of Ukraine that are overwhelmingly Russian be best situated in…Russia?
The new Ukrainian government has declared the referendum illegal and opened a criminal investigation against Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Askyonov, who was appointed in a closed session by the region’s parliament last week. The Ukrainian government does not recognize his authority or that of the parliament.
That opens the floor to a few impertinent questions, I think. Has the new Ukrainian government declared itself illegal and opened a criminal investigation into the leaders of the coup that deposed the former democratically elected president? Is the present government refusing to recognize its own illicit authority?
As alluded to in these pages yesterday, you’ll find more Hope Diamonds in McDonalds ice cream cones than actual working principles in politics.
A Crimean parliament official said voters will be asked two questions: should Crimea be part of the Russian Federation and should Crimea return to an earlier constitution (1992) that gave the region more autonomy?
“If there weren’t constant threats from the current illegal Ukrainian authorities, maybe we would have taken a different path,” deputy parliament speaker Sergei Tsekov told reporters outside the parliament building in Crimea’s main city of Simferopol.
“I think there was an annexation of Crimea by Ukraine, if we are going to call things by their name. Because of this mood and feeling we took the decision to join Russia. I think we will feel much more comfortable there.”
I support the Ukrainian nationalists wholly, up to the point they aren’t being used as Kosher cat’s paws. But this Tsekov’s point is obvious. Russians want to be ruled by Russians. Man would choose to live under a like tyrant than a benevolent alien. This isn’t human nature; it’s nature.
Earlier, Kerry also met his counterparts from Britain, Germany, Italy and France to discuss Ukraine and inform them of U.S. plans to sanction individuals and officials.
The White House said the order was “a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine”
America is going to sanction those involved in destabilizing Ukraine. So does that mean the heat and water get shut-off in the State Department? Obama has his checking account frozen? Please. Turn the hypocrisy down. It’s just too loud.
The European Commission has announced an aid package of up to 11 billion euros ($15 billion) for Ukraine over the next couple of years provided it reaches a deal with the International Monetary Fund, entailing painful reforms like ending gas subsidies.
And there will soon be many other painful reforms coming to Ukraine.
But until then, there is just America…and its sacred reverence for Democracy.