It would be better if nations acted in the global interest and not in the national interest. Realism, neorealism are immoral in theory and in practice. Understanding President Putin’s desires to prevent the loss of Crimea within his sphere of influence and the Black Sea fleet is essential in avoiding untoward escalation of this crisis between two nuclear powers with the capacity to obliterate human life on this planet.
Yalta Crimea Conference in February 4-11, 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin. F.D.R. would die within two months. The Crimea was part of the U.S.S.R. Ceded to Ukraine in 1954.
I blame the N.A.T.O. enlargement policies of the post-Cold War presidents from Bush I to Clinton to war criminal Bush II. The end of history as some predicted with the demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991 and the breach of the Berlin Wall in Germany were used by the United States to continue its strategic madness of containment of Russia. In pursuit of gratuitous hegemonic empire, new nations in the former near abroad joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. N.A.T.O., a terrorist organisation established in 1949 to feed the nuclear arms race and protect the so-called inner-German border should have disbanded: true peace should have come to Europe. Not merely the absence of war, but a true peace based upon not enlargement but extending the “Common Market,” “European Community” concept all the way to Vladivostok should have materialised. Russia appropriately construed that its imperial demise was used by the imperialistic forces in Washington to increase its eastward penetration of the continent. The Cold War ended only in Russia thanks to President Gorbachev; it continued unabated in Washington and its acolyte capitals from London to Berlin.
Ukraine represents, therefore, one of the few areas of influence that the Russian Federation still possessed in the near abroad or its former republics. The continued containment of Russia was used by the west through N.A.T.O. as a post-cold war hegemonic battering ram bringing western forces closer to the Russian border with accompanying insane ballistic missile defence systems. These events are the precursors to Russian penetration of Crimea and possibly areas of eastern Ukraine as well. The sixty-one year old Vladimir Putin is no angel to be sure; he is a homophobe, suppresses groups such as Pussy Riot and I am sure, as does the sinister N.S.A. spies on his citizens. Leaders of great powers rarely are interested in freedom except as a ruse to deny it for aggressive purposes. Yet President Putin has determined that a line has to be drawn in Crimea where western penetration in the post-Cold War period will be resisted.
Yet aside from geostrategic analysis, there is the legitimate competing principal of self-determination. If a majority of Ukrainians (Russians) in the autonomous region of Crimea and in eastern parts of Ukraine desire independence and an alignment with Russia, that needs to be respected. Many sections or regions of nations chafe at a lack of sovereignty: Scotland will have its vote; Quebec has had theirs. While the United States during its civil war did not permit secession, an argument can still be made that sectionalism should trump nationalism and that regional self-determination that varies with the central authority of a nation should be respected. I doubt if the planned referendum in Crimea will result with a popular sentiment to support the Ukraine Maidan movement with closer ties with the European Union. Given that fact, Russian efforts to insure that the vox populi in Crimea will be respected could cast a far different light on the outcome of Russia’s intervention into Ukraine. Will western media present the Russian viewpoint or merely cast this as a puerile test of wills between Putin and President Barack Hussein Obama.