I rarely comment on politics, I watch the news, I read the websites and I ponder what is going on, but I rarely comment. This however is somewhat different.
The confrontation between the West and Russia over the annexation of Crimea has the potential to lead to war, and that’s something I personally would prefer to be avoided. The possibility of escalation stems from the fact that the West fails to realize that Vladimir Putin actually doesn’t give a shit what the West thinks.
He needed to secure the Black Sea, and he has done that. He’s happy.
Banning certain Russians from entering the US and Europe has been met with a similar response from the Kremlin, and the tit-for-tat games will continue until there is nothing left to bargain with and the muscle flexing starts.
What Russia has done is no longer the question, it’s what Russia intends to do next, and what the West as a group plans to do about it. I’m not implying they have acted correctly either politically or morally, but they are there, embedded in Crimea, and they are not going to leave unless someone physically ejects them. That bit of the game is over unless the troops go in.
Rumblings from the Kremlin are that they are dissatisfied with Estonia not allowing Russian to be used as a first language by Russian speakers…a very similar statement to the one it made about Crimean citizens of Russian ethnic origin. Are they going to do the same there?
The tiny sliver of land called Trans-Dniester, formally part of Moldova, is waiting to see if it’s Black sea shoreline will be strategically important to Russia.
Economic sanctions may well backfire, Russia could refuse to pay back the US dollars it holds and turning off the gas tap to Europe would cause a few waves, especially if Putin waits until winter is approaching. Russia is a major importer of European goods, but it could easily transfer much of that trade to China. not paying it’s debts to the US would also leave it with a hefty chunk of money to invest in manufacturing and engineering on home soil.
The G8 is at the moment no more, and that in itself does not bode well. will it continue as the G7, who knows?
Ukraine is getting cosy with the EU regarding military exercises, though our spineless UK leader David Camerloon refuses to be drawn on the input the UK will have. BP (British Petroleum) have close ties to Russian energy firms and the UK government would prefer not to damage those interests.
Germany is also quiet, it needs the massive amount of gas it gets from Russia each year and is trying not to rock the boat too much. Europe as a whole does not have the domestic fuel security that the US enjoys, and this could have a baring on their next move.
The first military deaths in Crimea have not started a military escalation at this point, but once again tensions are mounting as Russia puts it’s mark on Ukraine military bases in the disputed peninsula.
I can’t imagine that Russia will be able to cope with Ukraine leaning towards the West. With Crimea now officially part of Russia, and with more than half of Ukraines northern territory bordering Russia, having the Ukraine in bed with the West is not something Putin will be happy about.
And while all this is happening the politicians continue to play their games, I wonder who will blink first?
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.