March 28, 2014

A Putrrhic Victory?

The Spectator has an interesting read by Newsweek’s former Moscow bureau chief, Owen Matthews, who tells us not to worry. In the long run, Putin's actions in Crimea will not be to Russia's advantage.

In a nutshell, Crimea is a worrisome carbuncle on Ukraine's backside. Cut it off, get your political and economic systems fixed and the Ukes will be a lot better off. And please, stop already with the mail order bride scams.

[...] Let Crimea go: it will be the making of Ukraine and the end of Vladimir Putin. Without Crimea, there will never again be a pro-Moscow government in Kiev. Ukraine will have a chance to become a governable country — a strongly pro-European one with a Russian minority of around 15 per cent. Putin will have gained Crimea but lost Ukraine for ever. And without Ukraine, as former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski famously said, ‘Russia can no longer be an empire.’

[...] Thanks to Putin’s rash decision to occupy Crimea, not just the EU but its most powerful members — notably Germany, the UK, France and Poland — realise that supporting Ukraine is no longer about handouts but principle. Countries that strive towards European values — and suffer for it — should be rewarded and protected. Angela Merkel, the European leader who knows Putin best and is usually the most conciliatory towards Russia, told the Bundestag last week that he was ‘on a different planet’. Brussels has hurried to offer an amended Association Agreement; the US has backed a generous bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

[...] What’s more, in taking Crimea Putin has made himself a hostage to Kiev. Putin’s main economic leverage is that he sits on Ukraine’s gas pipelines: but now Kiev sits on Crimea’s road, rail, water and power. And unlike the gas wars that the Kremlin launched against Ukraine in 2005 and 2009, which cut off Moscow’s European customers, a Ukrainian blockade of Crimea will hurt only Crimeans.

There's a lot more here.


WoFat said...

The Russians and their close pals have long thought that they were special. It is another world. Let them have each other.

LL said...

It depends on how much of Ukraine that Russia annexes. They may take the bulk of the South which would link Crimea to Great Russia.