Out of the 3 global security flash points in 2014 that I identified earlier (namely, Ukraine, Syria and Sino-Japanese face-off), the first to blow up is Ukraine.
Will Ukraine Be The Poland Of The 21st Century?
Situated between Russia and the parts of Eastern Europe tied to the EU and NATO, Ukraine is the bone of geopolitical contention. It is more than the size of Germany and England combined, almost as big as Germany plus Poland, and straddled on top of the Black Sea which reaches the Middles East and Turkish Asia in the south. With its 55+ million population, Ukraine’s eastern half is Orthodox Christian and Russian-speaking with heavy industries, including the most advanced weaponry technologies from the previous USSR; its western half is Protestant and Catholic and speak Ukranian, with lush agricultural lands and light industries that are decrepit. In the south hangs Crimea Peninsula, traditionally not part of Ukraine, but thrown in as an odd piece under Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed and fractured into pieces.
The current instability reminds one immediately of the famous geopolitical Crimean War of 1853-56 that pitted a rare alliance of England and France against Tsarist Russia, with E&F’s triumph putting a stop to Russian influence and shape the control of the Middle East under the West, as the Ottoman Empire faded. None of such Imperialist “glory” could have been wrought without the sacrifice of men — thus we have Tennyson’s famous colonial verse “The Charge Of The Light Brigade” and the glorification of the British soldiers : “… Into the valley of death, rode the 600…” And Rudyard Kipling’s reprise 40 years later : “…And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!
Fast forward to 2014, Ukraine is financially on the brink. Like Poland in the 19th century, Ukraine will likely be the ravaged country of the 21st century, being caught in the tug-of-war between its neighbors to the West and the East. Naturally, it may make sense for it to split into a few pieces. But politically, it is “too big and too strategic” to both the West and Russia to be allowed to break into pieces. Thus, the likely fate may be that experienced by Poland in the past centuries, tragic and never left alone, except to fail.
That the US is meddling in Ukraine will surprise no one. To comprehend what happened last week, it is sanguine to revisit reports of what happened 4 weeks ago, when one diplomat was famously caught saying “f**k the EU” in relation to “the projects in progress” in Ukraine:
Ron Paul offers an opposite approach:
Sadly, the turmoil for the Ukrainian people will not be brief.