Sunday, March 2, 2014

Flash'd all their sabres bare

Richard Caton Woodville: Charge of the Light Brigade

The Crimea

The Crimea has had a long and convoluted history, a convoluted history that continues to this day. 

Yesterday's post was at the time it was written was intended to be a rather tongue in cheek warning about Russia and the Ukrainian situation.  It was, however, overcome by events prior to publishing, events that culminated in the Russian invasion of the Crimea.  An invasion that took place, at least according to the Russian foreign minister, on the pretext of an attack on the Crimean Interior Ministry.

"unidentified armed people who were sent from Kiev tried to take control of Crimea's Interior Ministry headquarters early Saturday in a treacherous provocation that induced casualties"

Now I call it a pretext simply because there is no corroborating evidence that such an attack ever took place.

Vladimir Krashevsky, a top official at the Simferopol-based division of the local berkut, or riot police, said there was no such attack by Kiev-allied gunmen on the Ministry of Internal Affairs building, where he gave an impromptu press conference Saturday afternoon. "There was no attack here and there won't be one," he said.
 Five people who live in the buildings next to the Interior Ministry in Simferopol that was allegedly attacked said everything was peaceful Friday night and they heard nothing.
There were no signs of struggle at the building complex—all the windows and gates remained intact—and pro-Russia activist militiamen stood outside with riot shields painted as a Russian flag. Alexander Shuvalov, the commander of the militia, which has been watching over the building complex, also said there had been no such attack. - WSJ 

In fact, nothing much was going on in Crimea at all that wasn't Russian or pro-Russian.

Impotence and Ineptitude

By all appearances, we've had another major intelligence failure as a Senate aide has reported that this past Friday's intelligence assessment was “Vladimir Putin’s military would not invade Ukraine”.

Obama's threats go unheeded and may have even backfired according to Yuri L. Vorobyov Deputy Speaker of Russia's Upper House, the Federation Council said Mr. Obama’s warning on Friday was a cause for Russia to act.

By saying that Russia would face “costs” for its policy with regard to Ukraine, U.S. President Barack Obama “crossed the red line and insulted the Russian people,”

Indeed, the best the administration can muster at this point is the  childish threat not to go to Putin's G8 party.

Russian Apologists

I've been amazed at the progressives, socialists, and liberals coming out in defense of Russian action in the Crimea.  It simply illustrates how out of touch they really are.  Who is Vladimir Putin? He certainly isn't a communist, nor is he a socialist.
Russia needs to develop a free market economy based on industry and middle size business as the growth potential of a resource based economy is exhausted.  Russia Today

But what is he? Nationalistic and authoritarian are two of the adjectives used to describe him.  The Russian propaganda line that the Euromaiden protestors are "neo-fascists"  is rather ironic, as Putin has been called that himself.  US economist Richard Rahn in the Brussels Journal called Putinism

a Russian nationalistic authoritarian form of government that pretends to be a free market democracy”, which “owes more of its lineage to fascism than communism;”

Putin introduced a flat tax rate of 13%, reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 24%, and small businesses can choose between a 6% tax on gross revenue or a 15% tax on profits. 

He has also been accused of being both a cronyist and a corporatist.  In essence, Putin is everything the left has accused Republicans of being for years. 

The reality

Russia is in the Crimea and there is little we can do about it.  Putin has judged us perfectly, neither NATO, the EU, nor the United States will go to war for the Ukraine.  We have no leverage, globally we need Russia more than it needs us.  We may make a lot of noise but our bark is worse than our bite. 

Make no mistakes, Russia is in the Ukraine for Russia, not for the Ukrainians, the Crimeans, or the ethnic Russians.

As libertarians, we here at Western Hero, stand with both the Ukrainians and the Crimeans for their right to self-determination.  Without doubt, the Russian occupation of Crimea is conducive to neither.  

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