Monday, March 17, 2014

Reoccuping the Whineland

Crimea's pro-Russian elements couldn't stop whining about their so-called oppression by phantom Nazis roaming the land preying on fine specimens of ethnic Russian Crimean womanhood. So now they get to enjoy their shotgun wedding with Putin. The Western response is not so far impressive enough to give Putin reason to pause his restoration of the empire.

I wrote that Russia's Putin could be holding off on annexing Crimea because he wanted to see the reaction to the referendum:

Or is Putin cautious (because other than nukes, his military is more bluff than reality) and waiting to see if there will be effective resistance to this move before moving on to the next step?

I've heard that if you want World War II analogies, Crimea is better thought of as the Remilitarization of the Rhineland. I'm fine with that. I'd already assigned eastern Ukraine the role of the Sudetenland while Belarus gets to be Austria.

That leaves all of Ukraine as rump Czechoslovakia and the Baltic States as the Danzig Corridor (to reach Kaliningrad).

Poland gets to be Poland again, I suppose.

If you want the pre-World War II analogies, however imperfect they are.

Anyway, if Crimea is the Rhineland, remember that Hitler held his breath as his troops took over, fearful that France would resist and ready to pull back if his troops faced resistance they could not defeat.

If Putin doesn't want to risk using his military that in no way matches the propaganda that puffs it into the 1945 Red Army reborn if he fears Russia might face resistance to his aggression, President Obama's speech this morning is an effective green light to generously accepting Crimea's request to join Russia.

UPDATE: The Russians say they will move fast:

Russia gave its clearest signal yet Monday that it plans to move fast to annex Crimea, defying U.S. and European threats of sanctions a day after a referendum in the breakaway Ukrainian region to secede passed handily.

The Moscow-backed leadership of Crimea wasted no time in formally asking to join Russia following the hastily called referendum in which 97% of voters supported becoming part of Russia.

"We will take care of our part quickly, quickly and responsibly," Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the lower house of Russia's parliament, told reporters in response to the Crimean parliamentary vote, according to local news agencies.

Russia will move defying threats of sanctions? I'd say they will move quickly relieved that they face just sanctions, clearly anticipating that the loss of Crimea is considered a done deal by the West. Who believed these limited sanctions would deter Russia?

It seems like just days ago that it was said that Russia might take a year to formally annex Crimea.

The story also says that Ukraine's army has taken up positions in southern and eastern Ukraine, whatever that means and for what it's worth.

UPDATE: More on the pre-World War II analogy by Garry Kasparov:

Vladimir Putin and the Lessons of 1938

He’s not Hitler. But we’ve got to stop him all the same.

Yes. Although to be fair to Hitler, in 1938 Hitler wasn't Hitler (as we knew him in 1945).

So who knows what Putin will look like in 7 years?

UPDATE: Oh, and I forgot to mention: Syria gets to be Spain.