The current crisis in the Ukraine is probably the most dangerous military and foreign policy crisis since the end of the Cold War in 1991, and potentially the most dangerous foreign policy crisis since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Let's get down to basics, and see what's going on here.
THE DANGER IN ANTAGONIZING NUCLEAR RUSSIA
There are two nations that have the ability to completely devastate the planet with nuclear weapons. One is America, the other is Russia. Russia has the ability to reduce America to a smoldering heap of radioactive rubble in about 45 minutes. That's a serious situation. President Obama has repeatedly insulted President Putin of Russia. He has repeatedly disrespected Russia. Recently, he chattered away about how he thought Russia was just some sort of regional power. This is very diluted and very dangerous thinking. Russia is a thermonuclear superpower - let's just repeat that point - that can completely obliterate America.
Since the end of the Cold War, we are told - and this has never been totally verified - the American and Soviet, now Russian, nuclear weapons arsenals have been taken off the hair trigger. It's less significant than it sounds, because the weapons can be reprogrammed in about 15 to 20 minutes. But they have been taken off a hair trigger, in other words, they're not immediately programmed to hit each other's cities. If the situation in the Ukraine deteriorates, that could change.
UKRAINE: AN ARTIFICIAL CREATION
Now, let's get down to what's actually going on in the Ukraine, cutting through political rhetoric and lies and absurdities, and getting down to reality. The current state of the Ukraine is a completely artificial creation. It was originally created by the German invasion and occupation of the Ukraine in World War I and then after World War I, the Soviets took over and expanded the borders of the original province of Ukraine to include areas that had never had anything to do with Ukraine, specifically the eastern areas: areas like Kharkov and Donetsk. So, it's very important to understand that the Russian areas of the Ukraine have no historical heritage of being part of the current state of Ukraine, and the current state of Ukraine is a completely artificial creation. Now, an even more absurd situation was that, for political reasons, to gain support in a power struggle in the Kremlin, Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 transferred Crimea to the state of Ukraine. Again, this has no logic in any kind of historical record, and so on.
HATRED BETWEEN UKRAINIANS AND RUSSIANS ON BOTH SIDES
Now, we won't get into all the ins and outs of politics and intrigue in Ukraine, but let's go over some basic points. In the 1930s, Stalin introduced agricultural policies in a reign of terror that murdered millions of the Ukrainian people. So the Ukrainian people have some very important and very well justified long-term reasons to hate the Russians. So, there's an enormous legacy of anger, violence and bitterness. Now this was compounded by the fact that when the Germans invaded in 1941, a lot of the Ukrainian people hated the Russians - very understandably - so much that they sided with the Germans. On the other side, the Russians lost 17 million people in World War II at the hands of the Germans, and by the way, did most of the fighting to defeat Germany. America lost over 300,000 people on both fronts. Again, Russia lost 17 million people. So, that fact needs to be kept in mind. So the Russians have some tremendously deep emotions about World War II that are also well justified. Putting all this together, this is a very dangerous situation, with a lot of ferociously angry and bitter emotions on both sides.
Now, the situation in Crimea, which seems to have stirred up a whole lot of hostility in America, is a situation that should not have stirred up a whole lot of hostility in America. The majority - overwhelming majority - of the people in Crimea did not want to be part of the new Ukrainian state that the West helped bring to power, and Crimea is absolutely vital to Russia's national security as a naval base. So, this A) was not a great threat to anybody, and was a vital issue to the Russians. President Obama, and dragging along a rather motley coalition and a not very enthusiastic coalition of European states, has escalated this whole thing to a very dangerous confrontation, which is not in America's best interest.
THE STUPIDITY OF ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ON UKRAINE
There can be few things stupider than to respond to the crisis in the Ukraine by a series of economic sanctions, since the entire world economy right now is kind of a house of cards. It's a very unstable affair, and the structure of the world economy, particularly since America has a net minus of $4 trillion in terms of global debt, public and private debt, America's heavily dependent on world capital markets: translate, it's probably not a great idea to start tampering with those capital markets for political reasons. But that's precisely what Obama is doing. Also, Russia can shut down a good part of the economy of Western Europe if it wants to retaliate by turning off the gas. So, this is precisely the area where the West should not be confronting Russia.
A DEMOCRATIC, PEACEFUL SOLUTION FOR UKRAINE
What to do: we want to propose a truly amazing idea that America theoretically should believe in, which is democracy to solve this. there should be a UN plebiscite for the whole country as to whether the Russian areas of the Ukraine want to remain under the control of the highly unstable government imposed by the West by billions of dollars of aid and so on, whether the Russians really want to be a part of that government in light of the bad feelings between the Russians and the Ukrainians. It would be very understandable that the Russians would not want to be part of that government.
NEO-NAZIS IN UKRAINE
AND OBAMA'S ESCALATION OF A BAD SITUATION
Now, another issue of the American-supported government in Kiev is the presence of neo-Nazis. This has been whitewashed by certain elements of the American news media, but in light of the appalling atrocities committed by the Germans in the Ukraine in World War II, this is a very legitimate concern of the Russian speakers in the Ukraine. There is only one way out of this, which is a plebiscite. Obama seems to be continually escalating this in the economic area, but providing very little in terms of military aid to the government in Kiev. This is a a road to disaster. If President Obama is so concerned about the situation, he should consider putting troops, or a fleet of F-16s, or military factors that could deter a Russian invasion into the Ukraine. His idea that he's going to escalate this into an economic war is something that could bring down the house of cards American economy, and the European economies. It could also very seriously damage Russia. The business of targeting individual Russians, well that's really just juvenile. That's a vicious and juvenile way to behave, for a major country to behave.
The key issue here is to de-escalate the situation, which is going to be very difficult, because Obama has put his credibility on the line for a series of absurd redlines, and the situation is continuing to deteriorate. So, what this needs is some leadership from the Americans, and some leadership from Russia, where they would agree that there would be a UN-supervised plebiscite, where the different parts of Ukraine could vote as to whether they wanted to be part of the highly unstable government in the Ukraine that has been set up.
THE WEST'S INABILITY TO HELP UKRAINE FINANCIALLY
A further point that should be understood is that the Ukrainian government needs about $30 billion, at least, in the next two years simply to stay afloat. Now, Putin had offered a reasonable approach to the Ukrainian government before the Americans helped overthrow it, to provide a serious amount of cash. The EU proposal was a joke. The original EU proposal was a joke. No Ukrainian government would've accepted that. So, without the Russians providing money, it's very hard to see how this works from an economic point of view. We are particularly troubled that the economic witch doctors, the same incompetence who produced the fiasco in Greece and other places are going to Ukraine to slash pensions, and all sorts of other things like that.
THINKING ABOUT REAL SOLUTIONS AND A REAL FUTURE FOR UKRAINE
This is not going to end well, and we are asking some tough questions of put up or shut up on the part of the Western powers, of where is the money? A year or two from now, where is this of government in Kiev going to be? Is it going to be struggling with an economic crisis? The Foreign Secretary of England inadvertently blurted out the truth, that without serious amounts of Russian money, the West is not going to provide the cash, and the whole situation is going to collapse. So, all this is not very good, and it needs to be de-escalated. It needs to be de-escalated with a UN-supervised plebiscite. That's the solution to the situation.