The West’s honeymoon with Russia – formerly known as the “reset” – is over.
March 17, 2014
I first started writing these articles because I saw our government becoming more and more like the corrupt Russian controlled government that I saw while living in Ukraine for nearly two years, and felt that unless there was a change in administrations in the 2012 elections, that the world would become a much worse, more dangerous place to live. Now it has.
Crimeans were dancing in the streets last night, celebrating their reunion with the “motherland.” But the honeymoon will soon be over.
Crimea’s desire to reunite with Russia is nothing new. They’ve been complaining about it for years, blaming their woes on Kiev, even when Putin’s puppet, Yanukovych, was still in control. Right now Crimeans may feel like the beloved bride of Putin, but they are in really deep doo-doo. Putin’s real desire is her prettier sister to the north.
Crimea has little to offer as a peninsula. It gets over 75% of its energy and water, and probably even more in revenue, from mainland Ukraine. It is mostly a tourist area that mainland Ukrainian’s visit each summer. Crimeans just lost the majority of their income. Russia will now have to supply this wasteland with jobs, electricity, gas, and water. For what? A few summer peaches? For a military base? Russia already had that, and they’ll spend far more to support Crimea than they paid in rent for their military base. Crimea will drain Russia dry.
Putin has his sights set on all of Ukraine if he can get it; Eastern Ukraine if he can’t. His means is to propagate the idea that Western Ukrainians are nationalist Nazis, and that most in the east of Ukraine want to be with Russia. This is ludicrous propaganda. My in-laws live in south eastern Ukraine, speak Russian, and are happy with their lives. Most of those in the east of Ukraine are happy to be Ukrainian, yet still have many good friends in Russia. Putin must divide to conquer, and this is what he is trying to do in Eastern Ukraine. Many so-called protestors asking for Putin’s protection are actors, moving from town to town in Ukraine. This was established when reporters photographed the same woman going from town to town, using a different name in every town. Many in Russia are also protesting Russian occupation in Ukraine, but state controlled media in Russia deflates the number of protestors (from 80,000 to 5,000).
My wife and I love all of our friends, Ukrainian and Russian, but to be perfectly blunt, our Russian friends are somewhat aggressive. As a general rule, they tell instead of ask. It is cultural, and it is normal to them. Still, our Ukrainian friends are not this way. Many Ukrainians have grown weary of the pushy (did we ban that word along with “bossy") nature of the “Moscowli.” They will tolerate it in their personal relationships, but it becomes unbearable to have Moscow control their government, too.
Things are tough in Ukraine, but now they will be a lot tougher, because truth is, Putin is a jilted lover. He was happy to let Ukraine continue as things were, as long as he had political control of her. But if he can’t have her, no one will. He will abuse and destroy the country before he lets her associate with the West.
As far as the West’s honeymoon with Russia (formerly known as the “reset”), it is over. Whatever we may have had before is gone. Whatever Putin’s rationale for what he has done, he has decided not to allow the global community to be a part of it, or to even monitor it. Whether he has changed or has just shown his true colors – the world has just become a very different place.
So, Crimea, did you think about this:
1) You’ve lost your source of income. Ukrainians will find other places to vacation, instead of the cigarette-butted, broken pivo-bottle infested, black sand beaches of Sudak and Yalta. And Ukraine and the West will buy their peaches from someone else.
2) You’ve just become a welfare state, a dependent of mother Russia who herself has dire financial problems. Russia will not be able to prop up its markets forever by buying its own bonds and currency. If it can’t sell its oil to Crimea, Ukraine, and Europe, it is doomed. All it will have left is poor patriots with nothing left but nationalistic pride and the need to make war to get what it needs to survive. You and your sons are drafted.
3) Mr. Putin doesn’t play well with the other children, and now no one wants to play with you either. If truly meaningful sanctions are imposed in the future, you’ll get to participate in them, right along with your motherland.
4) You’ve just become little more than a military base, a staging area for Putin’s conquest, also making you a primary concentrated military target should the West decide at some point to militarily stop Putin’s advancement. You will have NATO’s missiles lining your border, aimed at your shipyards and military bases.
I don’t say these things to be harsh, but only out of deep concern. I had hoped that the USA and Russia would work together to solve world problems rather than making more. Now I am not simply concerned for my country, but also for the peace of the world. Mr. Putin will advance quickly to annex all of Ukraine if he can, or at least the East of Ukraine if not. The USA and the world does not have time to wait till 2016 to get a real president, instead of a pretend president. It’s 1938 all over again.
Perhaps the greatest president we’ve ever had (you know, the one who said, “Mr. G, tear down this wall.”) was a celebrity that became a politician. Perhaps the worst president that we’ve ever had (you know, the one who said, “Tell Vlad I’ll have more flexibility after the election.”) is a politician who wants to be a celebrity. Personally, I liked the one who gave orders instead of taking them.
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