"You've seen a range of troops massing along that border under the guise of military exercises, but these are not what Russia would normally be doing. It may simply be an effort to intimidate Ukraine, or it may be that they've got additional plans. And, in either case, what we need right now to resolve and de-escalate the situation would be for Russia to move back those troops and to begin negotiations directly with the Ukrainian government as well as the international community." -Barack Obama, March 28, 2014
What is this? President Milquetoast suddenly grew a set? Obama's position two weeks ago was to avoid publicly acknowledging that those "self-defense forces" in Crimea are just Russian troops without insignias and to limit his talk of repercussions to loose mentions of sanctions and isolation. Now he's directly calling Putin a liar, and demanding he move back troops on his own territory. Either Barack patched finally things up with Michelle regarding that Danish woman he was flirting with, got laid, and now feels like a badass; OR something has shifted significantly in the arena of international relations. Before we go there, let me point out a few other about-faces this week:
- The UN voted on Thursday to declare the Crimean Referendum illegitimate. It may seem purely symbolic and even insulting that an international body tells a specific disputed region whether their referendum counts, but regardless this is a colossal collective slap in Putin's face replacing the UN's attempts to pander and negotiate with him in previous weeks.
- Ukraine's interim government just replaced its Defense Minister. He was asked to resign and did so, acknowledging that his dovish policy of moving Ukrainian troops off Crimean bases and letting Russia take them was out of line with what most of Parliament and most of Ukraine wants. The new Defense Minister is a hard-ass that is calling for massive military build-up, volunteer corps, and foreign investment in weapons and Ukrainian defense. Whatever you think of this policy line, it seems to be far more consistent with the interim government - so why did they take a month to sack the guy that was out of line with it?
- Former Svoboda Party Parliamentarian turned Nationalist guerilla vigilante Oleksander Muzychko was shot dead in a firefight with Federal police earlier this week. While the accounts vary and I don't pretend to know which is accurate, there is no doubt in my mind this was an extra-judicial execution and NOT a botched arrest attempt. Not all Nationalist politicians are murderous psychopaths calling for genocide and apartheid; and as stupid and counter-productive as draconian border policies and one-language-only laws are - it's not safe to compare politicians that call for them to Hitler, Bandera, and so forth. In the weeks since the revolution; the interim coalition including the Nationalist Svoboda Party has been reasonably calling for unity rather than bickering over what language to print government documents in. Meanwhile, Muzychko and his splinter group of vigilante morons have been roaming around the countryside with rallying cries of "kill all the Kikes and Mascals [a Ukrainian slur for Russians]". This presented a huge political problem; as what can generously be called "journalists" from Putin's State-run media consistently reported on the actions of these lunatics, cherrypicking them as representatives of mainstream Ukrainian thought. Many of the imbecilic "tinfoil and chemtrails" alternative sources in the West even begun to republish those reports as legitimate. I'm certainly not going to shed a tear over the death of that anti-Semitic, Hitler-apologizing piece of shit, and we can talk about extrajudicial executions another time. The point here is that Muzychko was always a political nuisance and the interim government always had the capacity to take him out; why did they suddenly decide to do it now?
The answer to the 'why now?' regarding all these about-faces is very simple. The IMF and Ukraine's interim coalition finally reached a deal this week regarding an $18B loan for Ukraine to rebuild its economy, bring its exports up to EU health standards, and develop its national defense. I've been saying for weeks that one of the reasons the West backed Ukraine is need for a new borrower in their international Ponzi scheme known as the Troika. Sure, Ukraine will never be able to pay off these loans and will end up with economic and political devastation like Greece, Italy, and Cyrpus in a few years - but international bankers never think that far ahead. They can now sell Ukrainian debt futures to offset insolvency threats from similar toxic loans made to the above list of countries, and investors will be less spooked, bringing some temporary stability to the global economy. Holding off on actively defending Ukraine from Putin's aggression was likely little more than a bargaining chip to pressure the interim coalition into loan terms that favor the Troika, and once they agreed - the West promised to turn a blind eye to the extrajudicial execution of the guerilla leader and a coordinated defense effort.
If you're reading this and thinking I'm defending Putin or taking Russia's side in the conflict, you're merely choosing to interpret it that way because you want to. FUCK Putin. None of the West's dirty globalist banking antics justify his domestic repression of free speech, his military occupation of part of a foreign country, and his incessant and intelligence-insulting lies to everyone from his wife to the global community. Counter-aggression aimed at toppling that dictatorial piece of garbage is perfectly fine with me in a moral sense. It's just that Western governments are doing it for all the wrong reasons - reasons that will backfire in the next decade making a bad global economy worse.
There are no good guys. I continue to advocate a non-interventionist foreign policy, because this situation demonstrates for the millionth time that we can never trust our politicians to intervene in a way that actually serves our interests as citizens. But, at least this situation now stands before us crystal clear; and now that no one has any incentive left to pander to him - Putin's end is just around the corner one way or another.