It’s pretty obvious that not many people understand the facts of this Crimean crisis. Our ‘expert’ foreign correspondents are either being bulldozed into writing nonsense by their sensation-seeking editors, or are as naïve and ignorant as their writing makes them look. Obama is stuck in a Cold War time warp, aided and abetted by the bouffanted but otherwise unremarkable Kerry; and Cameron is as ever short of the necessary neurons to think it through for himself.
So here are the facts. The Crimea was Roman, Tartar and Ottoman until 1783 when it became part of Russia. If you recall, we fought the Russians for it in the 19th century. My commando artillery battery won its honour title at the battle of the Alma, plus the nickname “Black Eight” after its white horses and the gunners had fired so many rounds that they were burned black by gunpowder residue. There was also that cavalry charge bigged-up by Tennyson in his “Charge of the Light Brigade”.
But in 1954 Soviet Premier Khrushchev decided that a massive dam project would be better administered by Ukraine. As the Crimea was part of this scheme, to considerable debate (and some perplexity) he handed Crimea over to the Ukraine government so that they could be held accountable for the entire project.
This is how things were done in the Soviet Union at that time. The hydroelectric power and water were vital for the overall economy, and in any case, being part of Ukraine would make no difference as the Soviet Union controlled everything.
Roll forward sixty years, and Ukraine had become one of the third-most corrupt countries in the world – along with Columbia and Brazil, described by US diplomats as a “kleptocrasy”. The President-but-one, the blonde nationalist Yulia Tymoshenko was dying without medical treatment in jail on corruption charges. Politicians have been regularly poisoned; Yushenko the third President survived TCDD poisoning (the toxic component of Agent Orange) during his election campaign.
And then the current President was run out of office by a revolution. Like everyone else including the revolutionaries he was corrupt. About all you can say about him is that he had been elected.
The Crimea has been an autonomous republic with its own president since 1999. There is no Russian invasion. Russia has the right to keep troops there. It has now voted (96.7%) to become part of Russia rather than Ukraine – retaining its independent republic status.
In the meantime, Obama and Kerry’s empty rhetoric is lighting fires in the already volatile Ukraine. They seem stuck in an anti-Russian, post Cold War groove. They need to get out of this rapidly – or at least just shut TF up.
If this leads to terrorist activity in the Crimea, and subsequent military action by Russia, for once Putin will not be at fault. The more they blather and posture, the stronger and more sensible he’s going to look.
If other Russian minorities elsewhere look at this and start agitating for their own ‘independence’, it’s Obama and Kerry who will be to blame.
STOP PRESS!! US Vice President Joe Biden flies to Europe to reaffirm NATO support for Ukraine and the new government in Kiev. Oh dear…