Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Crimea; Oh Crud

Too often we worry about what is best for us, individually, without worrying about what may be best for everybody.

Yes; I'm thinking about Crimea, Ukraine and Russia.

The whole Western world is considering sanctions and putting troops on alert because of the Russian invasion of Crimea and possible Ukraine.

Russia has publicly stated its reasons for the invasion; to protect the predominantly Russian speaking people in the state. Country? Protectorate? Provenance? Territory? What exactly IS Crimea?

I have been kidded because I collect old Encyclopedias. I do for two reasons: One; I hate to see any book get sent to a landfill, and two; they don't change. What ever they said 30-40-50 years ago, they still say.

 So I drag out my 1968 Edition of the Gospel; The Encyclopedia Britannica. Apparently Crimea has been what amounts to historically, constantly under attack. Settled in 1000 BC by the Cimmerians, they were conquered by the Scythaes 300 hundred years later. The Greeks showed up in 500 BC, who gave way to the Romans in 15 BC, except for the areas under control of the 'nomadic hordes'. In the 10th Century AD a Prince Vladamir of Kiev took over, but very shortly later lost Crimea to the Kumans and the Taters, who lost out to the Turks in 1475.

Here's the part that starts to sound familiar: in 1774 Catherine the Great (of Russia), forced the Turks to recognize Crimean Independence, and 9 years later she annexed the Crimea Peninsula into Russia. Sound familiar?

Well, except for the 9 years part. Putin only waited about 9 minutes.

The New American Encyclopedia, from 1957, adds that Crimea became a republic in 1917- during the Russian Revolution- but in 1921 was annexed back into Russia. I think I am seeing a pattern here.

The Funk & Wagnalls from 1975 adds that Crimea was conquered by the Goths in 250 AD; and by a series of other invaders: the Huns, The Khazars; the Byzantine Greeks; The Kipchaks and the Genose for the next 1000 years.

For anybody still reading who hasn't had their eyes glaze over, what does this mean?

Well; although Crimea has existed as a land mass for thousands of years, very few of those years were as an independent country. And a very significant portion of the last 200 was as a territory of Russia.

Does that mean it should still be a part of Russia? Hell no; not unless it wants to be.

Which brings us to Sunday's vote. 75% of Crimea's voters want to rejoin Russia. I would put a lot more faith in this vote if every street corner hadn't been occupied by an armed Russian soldier, but still.

The entire Western world is up in arms over something that the citizens apparently voted for.

So now the question becomes one of International Incident versus Civil War.

And do we get involved in that Civil War. Has Russia? Hard to tell.

What is best for Crimea and her people? For the Ukraine? For Europe? Russia? The USA? How about adding Caucus Georgia? How will the Russian success in Crimea affect their somewhat fractured Independence?

Lots and lots of questions; very few answers.

Who do we look to for those answers?

For a couple of generations, it was Washington DC.

Oh crud.

No comments: