Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ukraine Really is a Forgotten Crisis

 Let's not forget that Ukraine gave up a lot of nukes and for their faith in paper guarantees got invaded and partially dismembered by Russia.

In a pessimistic article about avoiding war over North Korea's nuclear program, the author notes the problem from North Korea's view of the negotiated end of Iraq's and Libya's WMD programs followed by Western attacks for regime change:

What’re the odds that a revived dialogue, of however many parties, is going to lead to complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of the North Korean nuclear program? They’re brutally long. The North Korean regime has made clear, citing the cases of Libya and Iraq, that WMD dismantlement has previously been an invitation to intervention by external powers.

In the case of Iraq, Saddam's regime wasn't attacked because it gave up WMD. It was attacked because it refused to stop pursuing WMD.

As for Libya, the Khadaffi regime wasn't attacked because it gave up WMD. It was attacked because during a civil war the regime looked like it was about to go postal on rebellious civilians.

If North Korea agrees to give up nukes, does North Korea plan to cheat on the deal or massively oppress their people?

Oh wait, North Korea has done both. So for completely different reasons than the author intends to convey, negotiations with North Korea really are futile.

But on the terms of the author, there is a very good example that isn't being made: Ukraine.

Ukraine actually did give up nuclear weapons (inherited during the break up of the USSR) in an explicit exchange for safety from invasion by a neighbor--Russia--and guaranteed by America and Britain.

Ukraine gave up their nukes and a decade or so later Russia invaded Ukraine, taking over Crimea and continuing to fight for the eastern Donbas region.

One wonders if Russia would have invaded if Ukraine still had nukes.

Honestly, while the Crimea operation with an obvious Russian invasion might have been considered risky, the Donbas method of an atro-turfed insurrection would have been plausible.

Nobody would have speculated about Russia trying to take over large chunks of Ukraine, however, as that would have prompted a small nuclear strike by Kiev perhaps on Ukraine's own territory against a Russian-occupied target. But it is hard to say because Russian nukes might have deterred Ukrainian use of nukes.

Or maybe nukes just deter use of nukes in any scenario short of national extinction.

Anyway, I guess that obvious example of WMD disarmament gone wrong didn't come to mind despite being exactly relevant to the issue in question.