The biggest political story of the week just past almost completely flew under the radar. The Biden-led coalition helping Ukraine to defend democracy finally came out with a definition of Ukraine.
For months the public relations and press people, in particular, have danced around what exactly comprises Ukraine. Last week the definition became clear and crucially it includes Crimea. In 2014 Russia invaded Crimea, the West failed to come to Ukraine’s aid, and the Russians have illegally occupied it ever since. Putin appears to have gone a step too far and/or the current Western leadership realized the errors of its or its processors’ ways coming to Ukraine’s and democracy’s aid this time.
I think most people, myself included, expected Russia to make quick work of Ukraine. Almost a year into this war – and make no mistake, that is what it is – the Ukrainians, with significant western aid, are more than holding their own. Had Russia achieved a quick win Crimea would have been a negotiation chip in any settlement agreement. A likely settlement would have included Russia keeping Crimea and in addition some bordering territory. Assuming the war continues on something resembling its current course such a settlement is unthinkable. In fact, it is difficult to see Ukraine agreeing to any settlement that did not entail Russia leaving all of Ukraine including Crimea.
There will be many twists and turns before this conflict is resolved. Keeping the western alliance together and strong is the major factor especially in view of the House Republicans being Putin’s allies. (Witting or unwitting is my only question.)
Putin is engaged in a tactic he purloined from Hitler. Hitler employed the Blitzkrieg against the English in World War II hoping to break their moral and have them turn against their government effectively surrendering to him. Putin is involved in an all out assault against Ukrainian civilians and their infrastructure with much the same goal. To date it appears that he miscalculated the reaction of the Ukrainian people. As with the British of World War II, it has only stiffened their resolve.
I’m going to draw a parallel here for my American readers. I, and most Americans, agree with the core principle of the Castle Doctrine. Basically, it upholds a resident’s right to defend their abode (castle) with a firearm. If someone invades your home, for the most part, I would hold you harmless if you shot them in the defense of it. Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. By extension of the Castle Doctrine, Ukraine has the right to use force to defend (and in this case retake) Crimea. That always has been Ukraine’s policy; remember its been fighting basically a military stalemate with Russia over Ukraine since 2014. Now it is also the alliance’s policy.
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