03.03.2014 10:55 AM

Ukraine: what would you do?

Wikipedia is a joke, but here is a bit found thereon that I suspect has been accessed many times in the past few days:

“When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the newly independent Ukraine had on its territory what was the third largest strategic nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. It was larger than those of Britain, France, and China combined. On June 1, 1996 Ukraine became a non-nuclear nation when it sent the last of its 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads to Russia for dismantling. The first shipment of nuclear weapons from Ukraine to Russia (by train) was in March 1994. In return for giving up its nuclear weapons, Ukraine, the United States of America, Russia, and the United Kingdom signed the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, pledging to respect Ukraine territorial integrity, a pledge that was arguably broken by Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea.”

So, the good news – if there is any – is that they don’t have nuclear weapons. But Russia has now clearly broken the treaty that led to Ukraine’s disarmament.

What to do? As you all know – and as I have written in the Pussy Riot and Sochi cases – I have long believed Putin is a loathesome despot, and a clear threat to the world. Now that his Olympics are over, he’s proving that in a dramatic and unambiguous way.

So what would you do, dear reader, if you were running things? None of the leaders we’ve got seem to know. So, over to you.

.

84 Comments

  1. Coelocanth_Jones says:

    Yikes, that’s a tough one. I really don’t wanna see armed conflict, but if that’s what it comes to, Russia’s been appeased far too long, kicking them out of the soon to be G7 won’t do anything stem the Second White Terror. If things do escalate any further it’s Ukraine that will bear the brunt of the conflict, that really puts into perspective whether or not a direct attack on Russian forces is.

  2. Paul Brennan says:

    As you stated many times Warren we shouldnt have gone to Sochi , now the paralympics are on there and the Russian paratroopers have invaded Ukraine. Rah rah the Olympic spirit

    Easy for me to say as I am not military but Putin will ignore all this verbal jousting but a military response is required as this guy isnt going to be done after his invasion of Crimea/Ukraine…

  3. Jeff says:

    Speaking of sports, and rewarding despots with international attention and celebration, guess where the FIFA World Cup 2018 is? Russia. Betcha FIFA doesn’t pull it unless the European governments agree to form an alternative 2018 World Cup.

    Can you believe that? The World Cup in Russia.

  4. Greg says:

    What to do about Ukraine, I’m not sure. But all this talk of nuking reminds me I could go for some microwave KD right about now.

  5. james Smith says:

    – First explain to the Chinese that the west has a lot more & better customers for their stuff than Russia does, & suggest that the Chinese condemn the action at the security council.

    – Get the west & China to require special visas for all Russians, and even more special ones for Government officials & Oligarchs.

    – Freeze and lien the assets of ALL the oligarchs & their front companies held in the west including UK soccer teams, Aspen Ski Chalets and Mega yachts in Monaco & Miami.

    – Let it be known that Russian firms will come under the same rules that the west used with Iran.

    • james Smith says:

      Oh, yeah, stop all automobile & automobile part shipments.

      • Swervin' Merv says:

        Reminds me of the old joke, James: “What do you call a dozen lawyers at the bottom of the lake?” A good start.

        What is needed is repeated public pinching of Russia. Economic (and political) sanctions that ratchet up every few days until the withdrawal. It took some time but economic sanctions got Iran to the table to negotiate limits on their nuclear program (whatever the final outcome).

        I hope that people calling for military reactions from the west are prepared to sign up their sons and daughters to die on the ground.

        (Yes, I do apologize to all lawyers offended by the above joke, especially Ukrainian lawyers now at risk of ending up at the bottom of the Black Sea.)

  6. tdotlib says:

    The most glaring thing to me is that Russia used ‘soldiers’ who have no identifying insignia. They’ve taken advantage of a lack of central leadership in the Ukrainian military to create confusion in a region that has a larger ‘ethnically-Russian’ population.

    The only real response is for Ukraine’s allies to live up to their treaty responsibilities and defend Crimea with force. My question is why now? What does Putin have to gain from pissing off every G8 nation and forcing NATO’s hand?

    I’m not really sure but I’m paying attention.

    • Sevastopol is about the strongest base the Russians own. Short of nuclear, it is simply not possible to take it by force. That is why it is so important to Russia For this and many other reasons force will fail to acheive the desired objective. I would generally advise against going to war when you are certain to lose, and in the process antagonise a nuclear power. Defend the balance of the Ukraine, yes, but actually invade the Crimea?

    • Eric Weiss says:

      Nobody is going to war to war with Russia to defend Ukraine. Period.

  7. ABoucher says:

    Recommission the Diefenbunker

  8. frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    You were right about Sochi, and many of your viewers, myself included, were wrong…..Putin appears to be the new Stalin, and if I were some of the other former Soviet Republics or former Czarist Russian territories, Id be mighty worried right now…..

  9. Eric Weiss says:

    Kick them out of the G8, put on every embargo and economic sanction you can. Once the newly-minted Russian aristocracy start hurting, they’ll pressure Putin, or find a way to replace him. They are the real power base in Russia now.

    • Lance says:

      THIS! Plus nationalize every single Russian business interest.

      And military response is out of the question (at the moment, but lets not rule anything out). The militaries of the Western world are stretched way to thin and are utterly war weary. The UN would be next to useless militarily and otherwise and the Russians have a veto anyway.

  10. Tim says:

    I don’t see Putin as anything but as you’ve describe him, but I don’t see him doing anything here that the US wouldn’t do in a similar situation. Maybe not in quite as heavy handed a manner, but they would definitely be protecting their interests and their assets in a similar situation.

    The Ukrainian people have been dealt a bad hand, their leaders have shown themselves to be corrupt and incompetent on both sides, and now Russia has felt itself forced to intervene.

    A partition agreement before a civil war starts? Or a treaty spelling out Russia’s influence and interests in the region? The big heads are calling that Findlandization this morning. Hopefully there won’t be any more violence.

    But one thing I think is for sure, the citizens of the Ukraine aren’t going to figure much into whatever gets decided.

  11. What would I do? If we are talking about how should Canada react, there is not much to do but follow the lead of the actual guarantors of Ukraines territorial integrity. First thing is that I would recognise that Russia needs Sevastopol. Access to the Black Sea would be far more perilous without it, and without the Black sea, Western Russia has Only the Baltic and Arctic ports. That amounts to leverage. And an irreducable demand by Russia. Russia will undoubtedly argue that the Crimea never belonged to Ukraine, until Kruschev ceded it to the Ukraininan Soviet in the Fifties. The fact that they guaranteed Ukraines territory will be conveniently ignored. The facts on the ground are that Russia now possesses what they want. There is no way to militarily take the Crimea back, so any resolution must be diplomatic.
    If France, Britain, the US and NATO cannot honour their treaty obligations as guarantors of Ukraininan territory, then they will lose all credibility in the whole Russian sphere of influence (Former USSR and satelites). Since Russia has similar treaties with their former Soviet Republics and Warsaw pact neighbours, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of Russias neighbours are dusting of military defense plans right now, and re-evaluating the reliability of Russian guarantees. Since military options are not feasible for the Ukraine or NATO, and failing to secure a Russian climb down would be disastrous, then clearly diplomatic, economic and security sanctions are the only viable alternative. The stakes are pretty large, so the sanctions can likewise be pretty large. Start by freezing assets. Embargo Energy purchases. Take just enough gas to heat German homes, and no more. Russia is virtually dependant upon energy exports, so that is where to hit them. Ruble will tank, and the imports that Russia relys upon will become extremely expensive, or simply cut off. That will wake up a lot of ordinary Russians to the costs of rattling your sabre. Ultimately the goal should be to put Russian troops back into their bases, and ensure that Ukraine does not start treating their Russian minorities like shit. Hopefully without igniting a major European war.

  12. Mulletaur says:

    Putin gains his power from restoring ‘Russian pride’. Therefore, Russia and Russians must be treated like lepers, tightening the vice on them bit by bit until they start acting like civilized nations do. No more visas or immigration and no more international banking. And any assets held abroad by their kleptocratic leadership should be seized until Crimean independence is restored – they want to steal Crimea, we take their assets. No civilized nation should take part in any bilateral or international exchange that Russia participates in. Allowing our athletes to participate in Sochi was a very big mistake for which Ukrainians will now pay.

  13. Michael S says:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said. This according to the New York Times. Putin really believes that Kyiv is being run by fascist “Bandera” thugs. He really believed that Russians are in danger. He’s also afraid that a Ukraine in the west, like Poland, will join NATO. The first two are lunacy, the third fear is real, but it’s something that he himself is responsible for by his own actions. This is fear aggression against the west mixed with empire building.

    Some good advice here for the Ukrainian government: Stand up, but don’t blink.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ukraine-must-exercise-restraint-in-the-face-of-russian-aggression/2014/03/02/ba72c218-a252-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_print.html

    First, they should continue to exercise restraint in the face of Russian aggression: Don’t shoot first.

    Second, they should continue to make clear that there is no threat to Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Ukraine and that the new government in Kiev intends to represent and serve all Ukrainians. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov’s veto of legislation that would have demoted the Russian language is one concrete action to highlight.

    Third, they should invite international monitors to patrol Ukraine’s eastern border, report on any hostile actions and reassure the international community that minorities, including Russians, are being treated fairly.

    Fourth, the new government in Kiev should bring in moderate politicians from the east, including members of the Party of Regions who have disowned Viktor Yanukovych, the president who fled last week.

    Fifth, the new government in Kiev should be willing to sit down with Putin in the presence of international mediators and discuss a return to the status quo ante or a mutually agreeable compromise, possibly based on enhanced autonomy for Crimea within a united Ukraine.

    At the same time, the US, and it has to be the US, needs to provide covert intelligence, financial support and even covert military aid, such as advisors and special forces, to the new Ukrainian government. If Russia invades “historical” Ukraine, Ukrainians will fight, and if they cross the Dneiper into western Ukraine the fight will be to the death, with hundreds of thousands of losses, a horrible, costly big war that will last half a decade, most of it in a guerrilla stalemate. There are a lot of people in western Ukraine that are hungry to kill Russians, and they have nothing, so they have have nothing to lose. Ukraine is also heavily armed, since most men (and women) were in the reserves and were allowed to bring home a weapon and ammunition. Ukraine is literally flooded with guns.

    Any move into Western Ukraine will eventually drag Poland into it, and with Poland goes NATO. Crossing that river may well trigger WWIII. Whatever happens Putin must be made aware of that.

    • Michael S says:

      I’d like to add this: The US needs to end the ban on it exporting oil and gas, such that western Europe can cut its dependency on Russian supplies. North America is going through a boom while production in Russia is in decline due to incompetence and corruption. It can’t be a threat either, it must be a long-term plan to stop feeding money to a corrupt regime.

  14. Arnold Murphy says:

    Well I don’t want to be censored here, I will be the devils advocate and hope CSEC and CSIS and CPC trolls are not under orders to put me on a blacklist. Its arguable Warren that the Putsch backed by the West to the tune of 5 billion led by fascist Nazi groups was first blood. Which, would by definition mean that the West violated the treaty in question, although you use the word pledge which needs clarification. The reaction the Russians have taken can be also argued are not hostile, rather precautionary and serve to protect Russian speaking Ukrainians who have definitively been identified for ethnic cleansing by these same Nazi fascists we supported. There can be no argument that statements to the effect of seeking nuclear armament to deter the Russians, are not exactly diplomatic. It can also be argued that the current government in place is illegitimate and the result of the Western backed putsch, that as in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood it may be an illusion of power more than an actual revolutionary change backed by the people. We can see through the Orange wave that there was a genuine embrace of the possibility of change, unfortunately the people of Ukraine were ill served by those governments. With the elected PM in exile, along with apparently in excess of 80 billion dollars missing from Ukraine’s coffers. This is defended as a measure to protect those monies from being accessed by the temporary government. So with Ukraine’s military and territory being split, as civil wars usually commence, it is questionable where the real power lies. Certain troop movements indicate a lack of interest on behalf of Ukrainian military members in fighting against there former comrades and the defection of the Navy commander to the Russian supported Crimean forces is indicative that those in possession of strategic knowledge of the area are making there beds with the Russians. Meanwhile the transparent interpretation of this by the temporary Ukrainian leader is questionable, as is his authority over the forces of Ukraine, an almost hesitant bravado exists as he tries his authority over these forces. I could see a military response being the disposition of power, that Ukrainian generals and commanders could respond to the putsch in kind. So what would I do? is still the question. If is I think a suitable succinct word to use. If, we had the wherewithal to enter a world war, if we knew the whole of the story instead of what are transparent propaganda produced by both sides, if the Ukraine and Russian people had all the information to make the right decisions, if the fascist nazi groups are really only a small fraction rather than a representative one, if Ukraine was in absolute peril, and there are more ifs and’s buts and maybe’s to come. What I would do, is I would take every diplomatic opportunity available, involve every stakeholder and party in the process regardless of my own personal or political stripe (ie. I don’t like Nazi’s and they really don’t have any redeemable value, but unlike them I will not target them for genocide. Nor do I embrace the Old U.S.S.R style of ethnic cleansing, but realize that the old U.S.S.R. is gone and Russia is far more open than it was during the cold war I was part of. The tensions have to be lowered, so we should not escalate the situation or threaten retaliation we cannot carry out, false friends and false hope again. We should let Ukrainian’s en-mass know we will be there when they have their domestic issues sorted out, that we will not as in the recent past with proxy regimes like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt try to govern them. The Ukraine does not need to trade one master for another, nor does the West have to buy loyalty or insinuate themselves into Ukraine. The facts are that Ukraine and Russia and Europe are highly interdependent and have the ability to resolve this issue diplomatically to the benefit of most parties. I am sure that allowing the fascist Nazi’s to carry out their threats is wrong, as would be allowing Russia absolute authority over Ukraine. But stabilization being the goal, the UN with a combined force could be put into action with the agreement of all sides, until a fair election determines the fate of the Ukraine. It may indeed end in a partitioning of Ukraine the creation of two smaller states within a larger country or two separate countries. But this would not mean war, it would mean we look at this as an amicable split which conditionally would involve long term trade negotiations to retain what access Europe needs to Russian oil and what Ukraine needs most, the stabilization of its economy. Arguably the destabilization of the economy is the bigger threat than the partisan divisions at play, because stability allows for diplomacy and for further engagement to create a lasting peace. Meanwhile, if we listen to hyper partisanship from either side, its like a domestic dispute and police will tell you if you get between two spouses often they both will turn on you. Being drawn into a confrontation of this scale is not for the weak, it truly would mean consequences world wide not just in the Ukraine. We must consider how quickly this could escalate, how assuredly there are consequences for all sides of saving face and of having their authority challenged. This is where politicians are best thrown to the curb, ie Baird, Harper, et company and replaced with diplomats. People who have studied, trained for, been involved in foreign relations for decades not minutes. People like Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Lester Pearson to name names. We need to stop the gestures that are sending a message of absolutes, because there are no absolutes in diplomacy, no one gets to make final decisions, everyone has to win somehow. That requires listening, talking, communication beyond partisanship. I would hold an all party special session in the house and senate, discussing this, and calling for suggestions as to who the whole of Canada’s government, opposition included considers worthy of such a diplomatic title. Among them I would suggest should be the Liberal MP who is currently on her own mission Chrystia Freeland who by all accounts is fluent and familiar with Ukraine and definitively should have been among the Canadian contingent in the first place. Its diplomacy or war, and having been to war in former Yugoslavia and seen the consequences of arm chair politicians including the present problems I do not consider war to be the first of options. So count me among the people who want the best for Ukraine, not necessarily what we want but what they need.

    • Piotr says:

      …nonsense!

      • Arnold Murphy says:

        then I suggest you and your children prepare to go over there to fight. I did my time, and it was against U.S.S.R. when it was a legitimate threat to the West. I can say with a good conscience this is not the same, and the fascist led nazi group is one I would never support One of my grandfathers is buried in Nijmegen the other two are in veterans cemetery’s and all three fought against Nazism. Also most Canadian troops are second and third generation troops with similar stories. Remember the uproar of the Marines over possibly having to serve alongside Al Qaida in Syria? Yes the same thing is going to happen if the Harper government keeps making gestures they can’t back up. I also don’t imagine under the current atmosphere and insurance scheme concocted by the government that many troops are really willing to risk their lives in a war they might have very legitimate conscientious objections to. So before warmongers and the military industrial complex corporations including those of the McKay family start rubbing their grubby little hands together hoping to sell more arms, I suggest they look around. Because this time around, sending them and their children is the option that I prefer.

    • smelter rat says:

      You make many good points.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      “It can also be argued that the current government in place is illegitimate and the result of the Western backed putsch, that as in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood it may be an illusion of power more than an actual revolutionary change backed by the people.”

      “We should let Ukrainian’s en-mass know we will be there when they have their domestic issues sorted out, that we will not as in the recent past with proxy regimes like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt try to govern them.”

      Not a fan of, but the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was democratically elected. The Military that took over and labeled them terrorists, is funded by the U.S.

    • Arnold Murphy says:

      At least one of my preferred diplomats came through, Madeline may indeed have succumb to senility with her taunt calling Putin delusional. http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/46dad868-a496-11e3-8466…

  15. james Smith says:

    Now that you allowed me to vent, I wonder if the grouchy reply of the West is just what Mr P is looking for. It will shore up his base at home after a so-so Olympics that was meant to be this spectacle of praise on Mr P. So let me re-cast my suggestions a moment – sanction the Ruskies, but only stuff that will make him look like the wind bag he is. . Mr P needs to larffed at. Make him the RoFo of World leaders, in fact, send RoFo as the west’s point man.

  16. Fred Webb says:

    Google Rhineland, Sudetenland, or Poland 1939 and you’ll see where this could go. Visa bans, freezing assets of all Russians in NA &EU should have happened last week. When it comes to the western leaders they have no balls and yes Warren was right about Sochi.

  17. SD says:

    We could invite Ukraine into NATO or at least have an agreement between NATO and Ukraine that allows for NATO troops on Ukrainian soil.

  18. Kick them out of the G-20

  19. david ray says:

    1- delete all the selfies the athletes and (gag) Aubut took with Putin at Sochi. A week ago we were all atwitter about the gold medal game and a week later all hell breaks loose. Coincidence? Inconceivable.
    2- Trade Bush and Cheney for Putin and let him fly all the bankers to a gulag in Vladivostok as in VLADisvostok where they can defend themselves armed only with a laptop with an Armani logo.
    3- Control of the money controls the gun. Control the gun you can get anything done. Already happening.
    4- Give Baird and Harper and the other Con assholes their own reality show. Call it “Blowhards” where idiots pander to special interests and issue threats to other leaders. Put in on the comedy channel.
    5- Tell Obama and Kerry to stop with the line in the sand rhetoric. It’s silly and redundant and deadly.
    6- It’s all dick waving mine is bigger than yours bullshit. Let women solve the situation which they can do a thousand times better.

  20. G. Mcrae says:

    I don’t have the answer, but I can tell you what I would not do – make jokes about it. The further the situation drags on in Ukraine, the less of a leader JT looks.

    • KP says:

      What the fuck does Justin Trudeau have to do with this? Ukraine is beyond cheap talking points. Dick.

    • david ray says:

      We need jokes a lot more than a non sequitur. JT indeed.
      for example.
      two cannibals are eating a comedian when one says to the other “does this taste funny to you?” see don’t you feel better already.

    • Terry Quinn says:

      Give your head a shake

    • smelter rat says:

      Oh please, JT is not even peripherally involved. This is Prime Minister Shithead’s show, speaking of looking less like a leader.

      • Eric Weiss says:

        JT says he wants to be PM. It’s reasonable to ask what he would do in this situation in Harper’s place.

    • If you want to go all partisan on us, you may want to consider the wisdom of an unpopular Government that fails to bring the opposition in on the most serious foreign policy file they have EVER faced. The Harper has led with his chin. An all party delegation would have carried considerably more weight than rushing in with a transparent message tailored for domestic consumption. Which is what the Canadian response looks like to ANYBODY with the brains to parse the facts. The correct response would have been to recall our Ambassador to Russa ‘for consultation’, then call an emergency meeting of the house. For Parliament to unanimously pass a resolution condemning Russian aggression, and to offer actual real money and moral support to the Ukraininan Parliament. It would have been as easy as falling out of bed to demonstrate a unified Canadian response that had actual consequences.

    • david ray says:

      Let’s skip the bullshit.
      Nobody here or anywhere else gives a rat’s ass about Ukraine. or Syria, or Darfur, or Iraq, or Car, or Somalia or Zimbabwe or Juarez or Haiti or the Congo or Rhanda or a thousand other shitholes you thank God you don’t live in. the reality is “the hell with tomorrow we’re living for today. If you were ready to seek justice you would be marching on Ottawa demanding where the 1.2 billion that was wasted on the G20 went to. You rant here because it’s safe and until I see more than a dozen people fighting for the homeless or the sick or the elderly or for the missing first nations women who are slaughtered and left by our roadsides or a thousand other injustices you could be fighting right down your streets then I call bullshit on your caring about this media induced event.

      we’re comfortably numb
      till the grim reaper comes
      because we all sold out.

  21. Terry Quinn says:

    The west will not beat Putin with either military force or sanctions.
    I believe the path to making him more humble maybe in helping to organize the many dissidents in his own Country. This can be done in many many ways with the west providing support in the background, so to speak. Sanctions on top of some insurrection can help topple him.

    • Swervin' Merv says:

      … when our own “dissidents” in Canada and the U.S. can’t even be effectively organized and protected against state surveillance?

  22. dave says:

    Russia dismantled Warsaw Pact and USSR, and saw NATO not only continue on, but edge closer to Russia’s western borders and engage militarily south of Russia. they have to notice that. I think there is opposition to Putin’s party and power in Russia, and it might be ok to avoid tempting those opposition groups to unite with Putin’s government to defend mother Russia from the west…again.

    I cannot figure out the legitimacy of the self appointed governors in Kiev. They look to me to be a different group than those moderates(what seemed to me to be moderates) who lead the street protests. I think that the west, making a financial grab for Ukraine has more to with this than they are letting on. The shrillness of our western politicians feeds my suspicion.
    (The past several weeks I have thought ironic our western polticians going to Kiev and blathering on about how there should be no foreign interference in Ukraine. It was just bizarre to me.)

    Yanukovich’s party ran on a non alignment platform. I do not not if his group was more corrupt than the group they replaced. but his government first rejected some increased financial ties with Russia, then rejected closer ties with the west, the latter leading to the recent street protests.

    Crimean legislature is planning a referendum in a few weeks on increased autonomy for Crimean region.

    Suppose through UNO we could get the three vultures, EU, USA, and Russia to stand back, and have three neutral mediators, say from India, Brazil, and South Africa, bring together the various interest groups in Ukraine to allow those interest groups to work out their way forward.

  23. MississaugaPeter says:

    The majority of citizens of Ukraine elected Viktor Yanukovych president in 2010. In the runoff vote he got 12,481,266 votes (48.95%) vs Yulia Tymoshenko 11,593,357 votes (45.47%) vs Against All 1,113,055 votes (4.36%) vs Invalid 305,837 votes (1.19%).

    Eastern and Southern Ukraine voted for Yanukovych and Western and Northern Ukraine voted for Tymoshenko. Wherever the Russians make up a predominant part of the population, Yanukovych got more votes. Wherever Ukrainians make up a predominant part of the population, Tymoshenko got more votes.

    Yanukovych got as a percentage, more votes than Stephen Harper in any of the elections he won. Yes, democratically elected folks become tyrants all over the world.

    Like every country in Europe and the world, depending at what point of time you choose, the territorial borders have changed from century to century to century (and decade to decade to decade). When the Soviet Union broke apart, the Ukraine Soviet Republic stated intact, even though large chunks of the country had Russians (vs. Ukrainians) as a majority.

    The Russians will SPLIT the old Ukraine Soviet Republic in two. I am shocked this has not happened earlier. If the West does not accept it, expect World War III. The West will accept it begrudgingly. Face it, NATO and the EU have gone farther east than anyone could have imagined 40 years ago. And it is a good thing the West has gone that far east. The Russians can’t accept it going any further.

    Harper and the West (including Europe) will do what is necessary to appear defiant, but there is really nothing they can do without World War III. And most folks will not push for World War III to keep the old Soviet Republic of Ukraine intact.

    As a happy fan of the Olympics since I was young, I find it very sad and ironic that the Olympics were used to invigorate national pride before territorial expansion (re: 1936 Berlin Olympics). The Russians did not do this before the Olympics since they did not want a boycott like at the 1980 Moscow Olympics (which was as a result of them moving into Afghanistan in 1979).

    Anyone suggesting that China join the West against the Russians, just doesn’t understand China. I am sure the Chinese were informed this was on the horizon when their leaders were in Sochi with Putin.

    With a weak U.S., and China onside with the Russians, I predict that this will be the first of many moves that Putin makes (if he is not assassinated) to bring back more of the Soviet Republics under Russian rule.

    Sad but true, the best the West can do is accept a SPLIT Soviet Republic of Ukraine. The west and north will be the new Ukraine (and will lean to the West, EU). The east and south will be something Russian-run.

    • It is not likely that China will come to an understanding about Russia taking over the Crimea. China will never ever recognize the interference of any power within the recognized borders of another state.ESPECIALLY not to safeguard any given ethnicity. As far as China is concerned, annihilating 100% of the native Tibetan population would simply be an internal matter. Ditto for whatever the Unkraine may have in mind for their Crimean territory. And China is never inconsistant with this stance. Any accomodation with Russia over the Crimea would expose China to similar interference. Russia is claiming that China ‘agrees with them’ over the Crimea, but I would rather rely on the Chinese response emphasising legal framework and internal dispute. Note that the legal framework would be the treaty between Russia and the Ukraine. Note also that the internal dispute is internal to the Ukraine, NOT Russia.:

      China’s Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its Web site Sunday evening condemning what it called “recent acts of extreme violence in Ukraine.”

      Spokesman Qin Gang urged “all parties concerned in Ukraine to resolve their internal dispute within the legal framework, and earnestly protect the legal rights and interests of all Ukrainian people to restore normal social order as soon as possible.”

    • Mark says:

      Ukraine cannot be easily split. This is a huge misconception.

      The media has been lazy and too often presents Ukraine as being cleanly cleaved in half by ethnicity, language, and voting patterns. Take a look at this horribly inaccurate map (from the Telegraph), it’s no wonder people think there is this ready-made border between the “pro-European” in the west and “pro-Russian” populations in the east. That general trend from west to east does exist, but there is no clear delineation where attitudes and language preferences change. This are not a case of “two solitudes”.

      In contrast to that crummy Telegraph map, here is a map of Russian ethnicity in Ukraine (from 2001 census, the most recent available). The highest concentration of ethnic Russians is in the East, that’s clear. But even in the highest-concentrated area the population is still at least half ethnic Ukrainians (Crimea is the exception, which is one of the reasons it was a relatively easy target for Putin). So half the population you’re going to “give” to Putin is ethnically Ukrainian?

      Similarly for voting patterns, here is a more detailed map of the Presidential result of 2010 (that saw Yanukovich defeat Tymoshenko). You can see the East-West gradient here again, but you’ll note that big swath of light red and blue down the middle where populations were almost evenly split on who they voted for. Where are we drawing that line again?

      Finally language. Here is a map of Ukrainians whose mother tongue is Russian. Most in the East, we know that. But where do you think you draw the new border amongst those regions with 30%, 40%, 50%? Okay, maybe you think you know. Then look at this even more detailed map showing native language broken down into smaller districts (blue=Ukrainian, red=Russian). The Russian language is concentrated in very small areas (also you can see again why Crimea was an easy target!)

      So basically, Crimea was easy to cleave off of Ukraine because of geography, and ethnic and linguistic and political patterns. But try to split any of mainland Ukraine into two and you’ll be facing a very ugly, messy, and protracted war (think Chechnya or Balkans or the like).

      As mentioned by many above, I think Crimea is a fait accompli. EU/NATO direct military intervention is not an option, because it just boils down to nukes vs. nukes in the end. Avoiding the direct military confrontation will (and should) also prevent any offer of NATO membership to Ukraine. The pressure on Putin and Russia needs to be diplomatic and economic. Targeting their natural resource sector and the oligarchs is a good idea. But the aim can’t just be to squeeze and humiliate Putin. He’s invested too much in his strong man persona to accept anything that looks like a defeat (ie. how do you think we got to this situation). He takes this personally. So whatever the diplomatic solution, it will need to be something that allows Putin to save face in some way, that he can spin at home to look like a victory, even if he’s eventually withdrawing troops from Ukraine.

      So either that, or WWIII.

      • Sinclair says:

        Wasn’t it Ignatieff who called the Ukrainian “little Russians”, and he said he was more attached to his Russian father than his Scottish-Canadian mother? He was more Russian and American than Canadian…. sorta like “Son of Quebec” Trudeau who said he would work for an independent Quebec rather than live in a Harper Canada.

  24. smelter rat says:

    Freeze the assets of the oligarchs and you squeeze Putin.

  25. Stanley says:

    Ukraine is gone. Putin will never cede the Crimea to the Ukrainians, never! If Ukrainians sabotage gas and oil pipelines feeding Russian energy to western Europe, the Russians will overrun Ukraine and clean out the saboteurs with extreme prejudice. Western Europe will simple stand back and accept the Russian solution.

    Ukraine is bankrupt because their politicians are totally corrupt and have stolen Billion$$$. It’s just Ukrainian history repeating itself when Russian aristocracy sold out the region to the Russians, centuries ago, just to enrich themselves. You can’t trust Ukrainians to take care of each other because there is no altruism, only peasant dancing, food and drink unifies them.

    • Stanley says:

      Correction: “It’s just Ukrainian history repeating itself when Ukrainian aristocracy sold out the region to the Russians,…..”

  26. M. Fitzgerald says:

    Baby, just keep doing what your doing: “Putin is a loathesome despot, and a clear threat to the world.” – I honestly haven’t heard it stated any better than that. The ability to simply see clearly is all important. Dare I say, having come from mass, a portion of our gaze should be on the Crucified Christ; despite the somewhat massive problems with religion atm (indeed, Putin justifies his attacks under Russian Orthodoxy) sacrificial love is still the most potent force on earth against tyranny.

    Incidentally, I don’t think Putin cares about the G8 – he didn’t even make an appearance at the last summit. Also, China has leased 10% of Ukraine’s farmland for fifty years; the CCP are backing Putin and would love to see a puppet state in Ukraine. Remember that when loading up on plasticware at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart (Martin Sheen narrated a good documentary on this). As Parnell proved, boycotts can be a powerful force…

  27. Al says:

    WHEN PUTIN VISITED THE CANADA PAVILION AT SOCHI OLYMPICS WE SHOULD HAVE HELD HIM HOSTAGE !

  28. Iris Mclean says:

    And of course, our “differently abled” Olympic heroes are about to start sliding down hills in Sochi.
    Go Canada Go!!

  29. Piotr says:

    Can you imagine a PM Justin Trudeau making impassioned declarations about the Ukraine? I can’t. BTW, where is Justin… changing diapers and playing with the kids?

    • smelter rat says:

      Speaking of diapers, shouldn’t you go change yours?

    • Sinclair says:

      Justin and Mulcair were going to announce a Papineau-Outremont axis-led coalition until the Ukrainian mess happened and threw a wrench in their gears. Mulcair floated the idea of a coalition a couple of weeks ago to prepare for the coalition negotiations but that is now on hold. Justin was rehearsing his lines explaining the justification for a coalition and eventual merger. Damn those Ukes and Ruskies!!

  30. james Smith says:

    Well, here’s another idea:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43PpM6hTbG0

  31. Iris Mclean says:

    It’s almost funny listening to Harper’s blubbering outrage.
    Maybe a ban of Smirnoff vodka in Canadian liquor stores would get Putin’s attention.

  32. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Have Ukraine request immediate NATO membership. Then ratify it in a New York minute. Follow that up with a naval blockade of Crimean ports and waterways. Shades of Kennedy that worked last time. That should prove we mean business — or else. Anything they put up in Crimean airspace, shoot it down.

  33. Bruce A says:

    Great Powers have their sphere’s of influence. Have the Americans ever gotten anything right? The military response to 9/11 is a disaster. Political problems require political solutions. Showboating for votes isn’t helping. Poke the Russian Bear and it’s going to bite. Viktor Yanukovich was democratically elected and we’re backing a coup. It’s time for Western politicians accept that the approach is juvenile and destabilizes the planet.
    Ditch the grade school idealism for realpolitik.
    The Ukraine is bankrupt and when the IMF moves in it’s going to be a mess. Sitting down and talking is going to resolve this.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/it-is-the-west-not-russia-that-has-behaved-recklessly-in-ukraine/14736

    http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/chaos-in-kiev-a-mess-made-by-the-west/14693

    http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/02/28/022814-eric-margolis/

    http://scotthorton.org/interviews/2014/03/02/030214-ray-mcgovern/

  34. e.a.f. says:

    None of the countries are going to go to war with Russia over the ukraine. Should they, well right now, NO. It would only cause death and we have certainly seen enough of that. The Ukrainians have not fired any shots and no one should. If there were a war it would be an urban war. Have a good look at Syria. Do you want the same thing happening in Ukraine. Now it might be argued that prior to 1991 the Crimea was part of Russian territory. Perhaps, if it would avoid war, let them have it. Of course it may well be that Russian speaking Ukrainians want to stay with Russia, in that case, everything east of the River could wind up with russia. it might simple be better to partian the country. Have a vote, have the U.N. supervise and those parts which do not want to be part of western Ukraine can do what they want. Its easier and cheaper than war.

    The Americans aren’t exactly in any position to lecture Russia or did they forget Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Some of the super powers need to mind their own business.

    On the other hand it would be good to know how much land Putin wants. Does he want all the land which was previously part of the USSR back? Most likely. Putin is deeply rooted in another century. He is also short. he was not happy about having to ask to join the G8. He had to ask if he could attend. once he had his foot in the door, he thought he was back. Once he had the Os, as far as he was concerned, he was back and he is staying where he is. he will think nothing of crushing any opponents. Do we want people killed over it? That is the question: How many people have to die before the matter is settled. In my opinion not one young person. if there is going to be a war, it can only be fought by those over 70 and lead by each countries president. I always thought that would work best in any war.

    Trade embargos may work, however you need to be careful. it is one thing to not buy their vodka. it is another to refuse to sell them medical supplies. Just to let Putin know, we are not amused, let Ms. Merkel have a chat with him Europe needs their oil and gas. They don’t have another ready supply. Now they could carefully look for another, but do we expect them to upset their economies so we in North American feel vindicated. Not so much. What can be done, is not hold events and meetings in Russia. Putin will be pissed off and it sends a message. When you talk about siezing or freezing assets, remember that game can go both ways. it is frequently the little things which count in life. No more imports of Russian vodka, no more imports of Russian caviar. Perhaps visa requirements for some. Putin is not going to listen to Obama. Putin doesn’t like him. Canada is a joke in Putin’s view, forget about us. No, it might be best if some of the European countries have a chat with him and leave the room quickly before he has a chance to reply.

    Definetely no war, no loss of young lives. Keep the rehtoric to a min. because talking about Putin just gives him the idea he is important.

  35. Paul Brennan says:

    wow..if politicians say nothing they get hammered, if they speak up they get hammered, what should Harper have done…

  36. Sandra Johnston says:

    Is Justin on paternity leave from the HoCs QP, because he was again missing from his place as leader of the Liberal third party. Instead, a stately Goodale asked many serious questions about the Ukraine and the PM thanked him for his questions. Also Mulcair was in PQ today and concerned over Ukraine and Russian relationships.

    Justin was conspicuously absent and ably replaced by Ralph Goodale, who I must say looked quite prime ministerial.

  37. Paul Brennan says:

    Ralphie , prime ministerial? gawd how far have we fallen anyway

  38. Gordon says:

    Bring them here.give our family farms a good shot in the arm.

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