Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Ukrainian Revolution

Some thoughts from A Conservative Blog for Peace:
So a mob has overthrown the elected government in the Ukraine, a move at least passively supported by the U.S., whose media talking heads are cheering for the rebels. The U.S. wants to weaken Russia by taking the Ukraine away from it and putting it in the EU. As LRC's Michael Rozeff says, neither Russia nor the Ukraine are threats to America; they're not Communist anymore, remember? Anyway, as happens with American-driven coups, the results might not be what the U.S. government wants. Good. It seems these are anti-Soviet right-wing nationalists, culturally conservative Slavs like the Russians.

American opinion from those who care seems to be that liberals, neocons, and well-meaning conservative Catholics support the rebels, remembering the Cold War and the heroic Ukrainian Catholic Church surviving underground for 40 years. Real conservatives like Putin's Russia, non-Communist and anti-liberal. I like Russia too for those reasons, but really this calls for common sense. The eastern and southern Ukraine are historic parts of the Russian heartland; let them go back. I would have counted Kiev as Russian too but apparently they want independence. That's their business. I fear for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, whose home is the far west that Stalin stole during World War II, as they're outnumbered in a secular country with a big Orthodox minority; not sure if they'd fare best in one independent Ukraine or in their own country with Lvov as the capital. (Read more.)
 UPDATE: Putin declares war. To quote:
Why is Putin doing this? Because he can. That's it, that's all you need to know. The situation in Kiev—in which people representing one half of the country (the Ukrainian-speaking west) took power to some extent at the expense of the Russian-speaking east—created the perfect opportunity for Moscow to divide and conquer. As soon as the revolution in Kiev happened, there was an unhappy rumbling in the Crimea, which has a large Russian population and is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It was a small rumbling, but just big enough for Russia to exploit. And when such an opportunity presents itself, one would be foolish not to take it, especially if one's name is Vladimir Putin.

We didn't think Putin would do this. Why, exactly? This has often puzzled me about Western analysis of Russia. It is often predicated on wholly Western logic: surely, Russia won't invade [Georgia, Ukraine, whoever's next] because war is costly and the Russian economy isn't doing well and surely Putin doesn't want another hit to an already weak ruble; because Russia doesn't need to conquer Crimea if Crimea is going to secede on its own; Russia will not want to risk the geopolitical isolation, and "what's really in it for Russia?"—stop. Russia, or, more accurately, Putin, sees the world according to his own logic, and the logic goes like this: it is better to be feared than loved, it is better to be overly strong than to risk appearing weak, and Russia was, is, and will be an empire with an eternal appetite for expansion. And it will gather whatever spurious reasons it needs to insulate itself territorially from what it still perceives to be a large and growing NATO threat. Trying to harness Russia with our own logic just makes us miss Putin's next steps. (Read more.)


Damein Zakordonski said...

The use of the term mob is characteristic of how Kremlin backed new agencies saw the demonstrations. This, unfortunately, is where a great deal of conservative and libertarian pundits have been acquiring their information on the situation. This is apparent as even in the Russian spelling of Ukrainian cities as used by the blogger above.

The blogger's knowledge of Ukrainian history, even regarding its ecclesiastical aspect is very much dependent on Russian sources (as if Kyiv ever belonged to Russia in any sense other than by through military occupation, as belonging is a term that suggests some sort of mutual desire and not a forced cohabitation due to circumstance). Much as the scandalous agreement by Vatican authorities not to condemn communism at the Second Vatican Council placed the Ukrainian Catholics in limbo and reduced their status as merely a pawn, many of these self styled conservative Catholics pay little heed to the attempts made by the former regime to silence and strip the legal status of the UGCC (whose many properties have yet to be returned, by the way) as this would somehow disrupt ecumenical dialogue with the Moscow Patriarchate.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you for your insights, Damein. The blogger in question tends to be pro-Russian so it is good to have your insights!! I do like what he says about American interference.

PV said...

Dear Elena, thank you for this post. It appears that my previous comment got lost in the cyberspace. So here is what I would like to say about the Russian government: not much has changed since Stalin. Like in those times the State only matters in Russia. And that State knows only to grab and to expand. The Westerners (some,many) do not understand how Russia functions. They do not understand that the Russian State is a brutal State incapable to learn from past mistake, a kind of Moloch always hungry. You cannot reason with such a monster, and it is foolish to expect mercy. It will always do what it wants to do and can be stopped only by force or it will stop by itself if it gets exhausted. May God have mercy on the people of Ukraine!

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you for your insights, PV!