Sunday, March 16, 2014
How can a new Cold War make such a big difference for the American prospects as said in the last post? Two reasons:
1) The mentioned possible Sino-Russian alliance, a true Eurasian union.
2) A new Cold War would imply or reintroduce a clear demarcation line between the blocks. Without this line, as was the case till now, the American influence has just ever increased unnoticed through IT dominance, the media in general and immense cultural radiation. Given a clear political borderline, this gradual infiltration will not go on unnoticed. This influx could therefore actively be limited in the part of the world dominated by the competing powers. Even though this limitation is difficult in an already globalized world, it may succeed to a certain extent, and at least there will be a more conscious awareness about the influx. Alternatives in IT and culture will be put up, in the cultural sphere perhaps inspired by Orthodox Christianity and Confucianism?
In conclusion the end fight will be much more confrontational and carried out in the open (but probably not in a directly military way) instead of being a gradual proces of infiltration.
BUT the scenario described in this comment as a possible result of the Crimea crisis, is an extreme one. In the globalized and interdependent world it is more likely that we will end somewhere between the present condition and the described extreme scenario.
Also no matter the possible gains in territory and global power for Russia, the price for the whole of the world including Russia in terms of economy and imternational cooperation is too high. Putin should refrain from officially annexing Crimea and indeed from going further. It would be completely irresponsible. It is time for compromises.
There is probably also a limit for Chinese support. After thousands of years with frequent insurrections, the very historically minded Chinese will not risk damaging the economic prospects through a new Cold War for fear of social unrest.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Update on the Crimea analysis
Right now it would seem as if the hawks in America have taken command of the public, political and government opinion towards Russia.
This opinion is guided by a typical American combination of lack of updated knowledge of the world outside with the will to power and domination. People think as if the Cold War still was a fact. As if the USSR had not lost and Russia had not been humiliated by loosing large territories inhabited by Russian speakers.
A comparison between Russia and Putin with the USSR and its Communist leaders is out of proportion. And comparing Putin with Hitlerr is simply grotesque! Nazi Germany was acting aggressively as part of an unlimited expansion. Russia is acting defensively in reaction to the West in a political and cultural sense threatening to take over a directly neighboring country housing an important naval base. The situations would be more comparable if a weak and defensive Germany had occupied Heligoland, because the UK had aided the Frisian islands to independence after WW1 -Germany keeping its naval base on Heligoland - and then supported an anti-German revolution here. And certainly Putin is not a Nazi or even a Stalinist or a Communist!
Of Course the Americans are cheered by West European idealists and East European countries wanting revenge for Soviet dominance.
No matter what possible economic and energy delivery considerations lie behind, the cautious among the European attitudes is now to be applauded.
If it is really the case that the official American policy and actions are now ruled by the right wing, then this could risk being a crucial turning point, perhaps the most important international development since the fall of the USSR, a turn to the far worse what concerns world relations.
It could herald the beginning of an era of high international tensions and conflict setting us decades back. Russia and China could become allied more closely in response to exaggerated Western or rather American pressure and arrogant belief in its right to rule the rest of the world. A new Cold War between the West and an alliance of Russia and China could follow. A fight between military and economic giants through proxy- and internet wars.
I have earlier stated that the USA is about to win the end fight in the Western civilization. But opposed to Russia and China in a united front, this is by no means obvious!
Also for the here and now the consequences could be difficult to contain with the economic interdependencies in the globalized world. No one can afford sanctions and the resulting trade wars.
And what about the ISS?!
Everybody, also Putin should caution before we get so far. A de facto completely independent Crimea nominally staying within the Ukraine may be the best solution.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Of course the EU and the USA should critisize Russia for its actions in Crimea. But except for some fools in Europe and some hawks in America this criticism should be ritual only. Fortunately sudden economic considerations with respect to trade with Russia force the fools to react cautiously! The major problem may be US republicans who still live in the Cold War. They react like the Europeans in strong condemnation of Putin, but do it because of power interests and not the idealism of the Europeans.
The fact is that the difference between the former Yugoslavia and the Ukraine is minimal. In both cases the same magnitude of heterogeneity. Both had or have the same internal political distance between pro-Western and anti-Western political forces. Like Yugoslavia the Ukraine has a similar mixture of ethnicities and religions: Catholics, quasi-Catholics, Ukrainian Orthodox,Russian Orthodox and Moslems. And what may be most important: In both countries there was or is a division line between two different cultures or civilizations. In Yugoslavia Oriental vs Western, in the Ukraine Russian vs Western.
In Yugoslavia NATO did not hessitate to assist the division along such lines. Of course the Ukrainians have not commited the same genocide and ethnic cleansing as the Serbs, but still the divisions in this country are strong enough to allow a splitting up.
The Western powers should let Russia aid Crimea to independence from the Ukraine. This peninsula has always been Russian and was only by accident given to the Ukraine in Soviet times. It has the only major Russian naval base to the South. What would the Americans do if a left-wing Ecotopia in the west broke away with all American naval bases along the Pacific coast?
Russia has already been pressed too much with the breakup of the USSR loosing large areas inhabited by Russians.
The West would be well advised not to press Russia further. Let it get Crimea. Pressed more there is a danger of a real new Cold War. A Russia with its back against the wall could become very strong in a desperate defensive resistance.
And Russia would be well advised to be satisfied with Crimea. Taking more would give uncontrollable international tensions and also reduce the proportion of Russian-speakers in the Ukraine and thus reduce the chance of Russia later getting more control over the rest of the Ukraine as the mood here changes for economic and cultural reasons.