March 21st, 2014
What You Never Learned In School ... or On the News
by Washington's Blog, Washington's Blog
While Ukraine, Crimea and Russia are in the news, you probably don't know the background:
- Vikings founded Russia (they got around). They set up their capital in Kiev ... the current capital of Ukraine. (Vikings drank like fish, and the tradition continued: "Drinking is the joy of the Rus, and we cannot live without this pleasure". Funny but true: that quote was made by the ruler of the Rus people in 987 A.D. as an explanation of why they would not follow Islam, which prohibits alcohol. The next year, they went with Christianity ... which let them keep drinking)
- President George H. W. Bush promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that - if the Soviets broke up the Soviet Union and dissolved the Warsaw Pact - then NATO would not move into those former Soviet countries. This assured the Soviets that NATO would not encircle Russia. But Bill Clinton broke America's promise, and the U.S. has pursued a campaign of encircling Russia ever since.
- Jimmy Carter's highly-influential National Security Adviser - the architect of the plan to arm the Mujahadin and lure Russia into Afghanistan, later Bill Clinton's special emissary to Azerbaijan and Barack Obama's foreign affairs adviser, who was instrumental in moving NATO into the Warsaw Pact nations - argued in 1997 that Russia should not be allowed to regain control of Ukraine
- Ukraine is crisscrossed with natural gas pipelines (and much of the world's geopolitics is actually driven by natural gas):
- The former president of Ukraine was a corrupt jerk. But he was democratically elected. And the new guys are also jerks
- Crimea was a part of Russia for 250 years. The Soviet leaders did not ask the people of Crimea, Ukraine or Russia if Crimea should be transferred to Ukraine. They just did it by fiat order. Now, a huge number of Crimeans voted - much more than in any modern American presidential election - and they voted 97% in favor of rejoining Russia
- The U.S. spent more than $5 billion dollars in pushing Ukraine towards the West, and away from Russia
- The head of security for Ukraine at the time of the riots which overthrew the Ukrainian president alleges that the new Ukrainian government was behind the shootings by snipers which dramatically escalated the violence. On the other hand, the new Ukranian coalition accuses Russia of deploying the snipers. We don't know who was behind the attacks, but sniper violence has long been used as a tactic to disrupt peaceful protest - or to build momentum for "regime change" - and no one has yet proved one way or the other who the culprit was. Russia has called for an investigation into who was behind the violence.