- Astrobiology highlights of 2018 Caleb Scharf, Life, Unbounded
- How the British constitution created the Brexit mess John McGinnis, Law & Liberty
- Government as a branch of culture Arnold Kling, askblog
- Russia moves to strangle Ukraine from the sea Christian Esch, Der Spiegel
- Don’t say that to me Stephen Cox, Liberty Unbound
- Misconceptions about religiously radicalized women Chelsea Daymon, War on the Rocks
- Ukrainian autocephaly Bruce Clark, Erasmus
- Why liberalism’s critics fail Deirdre McCloskey, Modern Age
- Lessons of the Westphalian Peace for the Middle East Andreas Kluth, Handelsblatt
- Is Democracy Dying? Francis Fukuyama (interview), Hromadske
- Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars Ted Galen Carpenter, American Conservative
- The Most Hawaiian Stephanie Lee, Coldnoon
In order for Putin to “pull out of” Ukraine, he’d first need to be in Ukraine.
The new republics which seceded from Ukraine are not in Ukraine.
Knapp brings up an interesting point that most geopolitical outlets and experts rarely consider (the Washington Post‘s Worldviews is a notable exception, as is Ilya Somin over at Volokh Conspiracy), and because of that these outlets fail to provide any depth or light to the world around us. There are three aspects of Knapp’s excellent comment that I’d like to hone in on.
The new republics
First, what are these “new republics” Knapp mentions? If you don’t count Crimea (wiki), which Moscow formally recognized in 2014, then the new republics that declared their independence from Ukraine are Luhansk (wiki) and Donetsk (wiki). Both polities are roughly 3300 square miles in area and house roughly 1.5 million people (you can get the exact numbers from the wiki links I provided above). Here is a map:
Alarmingly, both republics style themselves “people’s republics” and (less alarmingly) have aligned publicly with Moscow. Russia, by the way, has not recognized these “new republics,” for geopolitical reasons I hope to make clear below.
Russia does not like to recognize new polities (“republics”) because of its adherence to the ideal of Westphalia, which is state sovereignty (elsewhere at NOL Barry Stocker argues that the Westphalian ideal can be better understood as an early modern cosmopolitanism rather than state sovereignty). All throughout the Cold War Russia and China were staunch supporters of the Westphalian ideal (as were states in Africa and Asia that broke away from colonial empires), and they became even more so after the collapse of socialism in 1993. State sovereignty is the idea that states (“countries”) have sole control over what goes on in their own borders, and that any interventions of any kind, by any type of organization, needs to be approved by the state. It is called “Westphalian” because of the Treaty of Westphalia that was signed by a number of major and minor European states in the 17th century. The major states were able to maintain a balance of power and the minor states were able to assert more sovereignty over their territories than ever before because they were signatories of an international treaty. (Edwin van de Haar’s article in the Independent Review [pdf] on the balance of power as the most libertarian option available is worth reading, and is made stronger, I believe, by Giovanni Arrighi’s argument [pdf] that the balance of power led directly to the “capitalist oligarchies” that eventually pushed feudalistic institutions out of Europe beginning in the late 15th century.)
Russia, China, and other autocratic regimes prefer an international system that is respectful of state sovereignty because of the fact that this idea helps their governments to administer an amount of coercion on populaces that Western states consider immoral or rights-violating.
Why did Russia hint at recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk, but ultimately decide not to recognize them? Because the West has been recognizing separatist republics since the USSR fell apart, and it has done so in the traditionally Russian sphere of influence (noticeably carving up Yugoslavia at Serbia’s geographic expense). The West has not carved up post-Soviet space by simply recognizing the sovereignty of self-proclaimed republics, but also by incorporating these polities into the international system that it dominates. Russia wants to show elites (but not necessarily the public) that it is tired of policymakers ignoring Westphalian notions of sovereignty (which are enshrined in the UN charter that almost all recognized states have signed; when they sign it they get rent-seeking privileges, but that’s a story for another day…).
This is fairly straightforward logic on Moscow’s part. When the West supported Kosovo’s secession from Serbia (in defiance of Article 2(4) of the UN charter), Russia responded by supporting South Ossetia and Abkhazia breaking away from Georgia before annexing them. The interesting thing here is that Russia even mimicked Western use of force to back up its play. When the West supported Montenegro’s secession from Serbia (in defiance of Article 2(4) of the UN charter), Russia responded by supporting Donetsk, Crimea, and Luhansk breaking away from Ukraine before annexing Crimea. The interesting thing here is that Russia even mimicked Western use of force to back up its play. Both Russia and the West used minimal military resources to achieve their objectives, and both played the sovereignty card to back up their actions.
Western policymakers will never be able to bring liberty to Russia, and liberty will never be known by Russians if the rule of law is trumped by geopolitics. The West dominates the world’s international governing organizations. It has made the rules. It has drawn up the contracts. It has invited the non-West to participate. It has given concessions in order to gain the non-West’s support. So when the West breaks the rules it first outlined and drew up, the non-Western polities it convinced to join IGOs in the first place cannot be expected to take such rules seriously. The fact that Russia does play by the West’s rules, by taking seriously the claims of breakaway regions, suggests that the West has been in the wrong post-1993.
American media pundits and critical thinking
All of this leads me back to sensationalist headlines about nefarious Russian meddling in the American presidential election. Don’t believe any of that garbage. Firstly, look at how often American foreign policy pundits have been wrong. Just look! Amid the cries of Russian meddling in the Clinton-Trump contest you can surely hear the faint echoes about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Secondly, all good analyses of geopolitical affairs provide at least some bit of historical context to them. Does your foreign policy pundit use history as a guide? Thirdly (and lastly), when thinking about a country remember that most accounts will have a point of view that shadows the consensus found in the world’s political and financial centers, which are useful but will sacrifice important details in the name of efficiency (and efficacy).
American libertarians, of all the factions out there, realize this best. Unfortunately, until they can shake the isolationist dogma that has paralyzed the movement since the Rothbard era of the 70s and 80s, they will continue to be marginalized in contemporary discussions about foreign policy, either as token libertarians in a Republican administration or as token libertarians in the “anti-war” movement (I put “anti-war” in scare quotes because by now it should be obvious that this movement represents the Democratic Party [pdf], not an ideal; see, though, Michael Kazin’s excellent, if ultimately unconvincing, argument for a different take on the disappearance of the anti-war movement once Obama and the Democrats came to power). New republics, secessionist movements, and other endeavors of exit are often embraced by American libertarians because of their autonomist appeal, but if they don’t pay attention to how state actors view such movements, especially regional and global hegemons, they may end supporting some very nasty regimes in the name of liberty.
Well, it wasn’t so unsuspected, how many people want us to think. Over 60% of 30-35% of voted citizens were against euro-association with Ukraine. Ukrainian politicans traditionally speaking about “russian hand” and other weird stuff, russian trolls experiencing huge wave of a butthurt from their ukrainian colleagues in the political articles comment sections. Everything as always. I personally think, that NO is better that YES in this particular situation:
- Law base is poor. Ukrainian Government should rise quality of anti-corruptional laws and deal somehow with unempoyment.
- Donbass civil war isn’t over yet. And it’s like a red flag before EU bull’s eyes.
- Panama Papers and offshore scandal.
So, why NO is better, than YES?
In my own humble opinion, euro-association means “total victory” for Ukraine and an approvement, that Ukraine itself passed all the requirements of EU and “Maidan quest” is completed. I personally afraid that after association Ukrainian Government will forget about current problems listed above and citizens will live worse. Economical situation will get worse too. “Hey, people, what else do you want? We passed the association test and it by default means that everything is ok”. When first wave of total euphoria will come to an end, the understanding will come: for simple worker, or miner, or vaiter, etc. nothing changed. People suffered before – and they will suffer after. Dealing with unstable situation and unemployment, brother-killing war and corruption are the only ways to EU.
В Санкт-Петербург пришло лето, и практически сразу же ушло. Третью неделю подряд идут дожди. Холодно – как будто поздняя осень, фермеры опасаются за свой урожай. Такими темпами скоро начнется листопад! В общем, холодное лето, на фоне которого огнём горят события последних недель, про которые я сейчас вам расскажу. В последнее время не часто пишу, так как работа на заводе и развитие собственного вебсайта требует много усилий. Ко всему прочему, я уже четвертый месяц усиленно учу норвежский язык.
Алые паруса. Это традиционный праздник моего города (я живу в Санкт-Петербурге), который собирает зрителей со всей России и даже из-за рубежа. Алые паруса – это праздник выпускников школ, который проходит после выпускных экзаменов перед началом экзаменов в университет. Он сопровождается народными гуляниями, концертами и массовыми мероприятиями с салютом. Главная особенность – в акваторию Финского залива и далее в реку Неву входит шикарный парусный корабль с алыми парусами (если вы помните, подобный образ использовался в повести Александра Грина “Алые паруса”, где героиня Ассоль ждала своего моряка – и дождалась), который символизирует достижение целей и завершение первого этапа обучения в школе. Фактически, выпускникам открывается дорога в жизнь, а корабль это символизирует. Учитывая ошеломляющую подсветку корабля – выглядит это просто потрясающе! В этом году событие также собрало множество гостей из различных регионов России и носило слегка политический подтекст, так как было сопряжено с празднованием возвращения Крыма в состав Российской Федерации. Но вообще это не политический праздник, просто в этом году так совпало…
Отмена постановления о разрешении на ввод войск в Украину. Как многие знают, при разрастании кризиса на Украине республика Крым и город Севастополь провели референдумы о независимости и пожелали вступить в состав Российской Федерации. 1 марта 2014 года президент Российской Федерации Владимир Путин запросил у Совета Федерации разрешение на применение вооруженных сил России на территории Украины при дальнейшей эскалации конфликта и появления угрозы гражданам России, которые проживают в приграничных областях, а также в самой Украине. Совет Федерации такое разрешение президенту предоставил, но по факту он им не воспользовался, чтобы в дальнейшем не усугублять ситуацию, к тому же кризис переместился на юго-восток в район Луганска Краматорска и Донецкой области. По факту президент обладал этим разрешением на применение войск для защиты граждан России. На днях президент предложил Совету Федерации отменить это разрешение, так как наблюдается определенный спад напряжения. Этот поступок должен послужить стабилизации кризиса в Украине и скорейшему разрешению ситуации. Правительство США и руководство Евросоюза положительно оценило этот шаг, так что ждем дальнейшего развития ситуации.
Укрепление отношений между Россией и Китаем. На днях был подписан очередной этап договора между российским “Газпромом” и их коллегами из Китая. Обе стороны готовы к расчетам и в российских рублях, и в юанях. Это очень важный шаг, который способствует укреплению дипломатических отношений между нашими странами. Одновременно с этим ряд китайских фирм инициирует ряд программ по строительству дешевого и доступного жилья для российских граждан.
В следующей части этой записи расскажу вам про некоторые другие важные события, которые успели произойти за последнее время. Оставайтесь на связи!
Elections are supposed to achieve social peace by providing a government that represents the people. But voting has not brought peace to Ukraine. Many people distrust the honesty of the elections, and many in Ukraine have disagreed with the policies of the government, both when policy favored association with Europe and when it favored association with Russia. The fact that many voters in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine favor union with Russia, or else independence, shows that many there do not feel well represented.
The election in Ukraine will not solve the governance problem, because it is just a continuation of the same system that some are rebelling against. Ukraine needs a new structure of government and democracy. The solution is to shift political power from the central government to the people as individuals. When a citizen of Ukraine holds power equal to that of all others, he will have nothing to rebel against.
Individual sovereignty can best be represented by a neighborhood council. The neighborhood should have a small population, such as a thousand residents. That is small enough for the people to personally know the candidates and for someone to be elected with little cost. The government of Ukraine can begin the decentralization by establishing neighborhood or village election districts. If the neighborhood population is a mixture of ethnic Ukrainians and Russians, and the people wish to have a council that is aligned with one of these groups, or other interests, then the residents may regroup their districts and have councils that best represent their individual interests. This is the level-one level of governance.
In the Russian language, “Soviet” means “council”. The Soviet Union was supposed to be a union of elected councils, and there was indeed a structure of bottom-up multi-level soviets, but in practice, the Communist Party ruled top-down. Ukraine should resurrect the old Soviet system, which actually derives from the 19th-century anarchist concept of associations of voluntary communities. The Bolshevik slogan was, “All power to the soviets!”, but instead they perpetuated the dictatorship of the proletariat, usurped by the party oligarchs.
The power of the neighborhoods has to be constrained by a constitution that recognizes and enforces natural rights. In most countries, constitutions that proclaimed liberty have failed to be implemented, mainly because the structure of mass voting facilitates plutocracy, with policies that transfer wealth from workers to the moneyed and landed interests, resulting in poverty that gets remedied by trickle-down government welfare.
But with the bottom-up system of genuine soviets, the government would much better represent the people, and constitutional rights would be more strongly protected. As the level-one councils elect level-two regional councils, and these elect the supreme soviet or national parliament, the structure would prevent the usurpation of power from the top. The president would be elected by the parliament and easily dismissed if the people are dissatisfied. Any council member could be recalled by the council that elected him.
Decentralized government gets hampered by centralized tax collection, such as an income tax or value-added tax imposed from the central government. Decentralized governance is suitable to decentralized public finance, and the source of public revenue best suited to local power is the tapping of the area’s land rent or land value. Taxing wealth and investment invites capital to flee, hide, or else it shrinks from the burden. But land cannot hide, and it does not run away, nor does land shrink when taxed. Revenue from land-value taxation can be applied by the level-two councils, with revenues sent to both the level-one and level-three governments.
Ukraine needs two things: better governance and strong economic growth. The replacement of the current complex of market-hampering taxes by taxes on land value and pollution would give the economy such a comparative advantage that investment would pour in, wages would rise, the government would be able to pay off its debts, and the economic misery that fuels much of the unrest would be replaced by an economic joy that would eliminate the economic motivation to join Russia.
With small-group voting, the residents of eastern Ukraine would have their own local Russian-speaking councils, and probably ethnic Russian level-two councils representing some 25 thousand persons. The constitution of Ukraine should devolve most government services to the level-two councils, including local security, education, and public works. The ethnic Russians would no longer feel alienated from the government, and the government of Russia would find it difficult to control the local governments, because the council members would come from the people.
As to the situation of takeovers of government buildings in eastern Ukraine, the national government should surround them with walls of troops while establishing new centers of administration in other guarded buildings. But a lasting solution needs to replace the current government with councils that people feel represents them. The one good thing about the old Soviet Union, the bottom-up multi-level system of soviets, was the element that was most discarded without any debate. Ukraine: bring back the soviets, only this time, make it “all power to the people” as individuals and their chosen councils.
Друзья, думаю что для вас не секрет, что вчера состоялась многосторонняя встреча между представителями Украины, России, ООН и кого-то еще в Женеве. По итогам встречи были приняты некоторые договоренности. В частности, стороны пришли к соглашению, что украинский кризис должны решать сами украинцы своими силами без помощи России и Запада. И дураку понятно, что сейчас идет противостояние между Россией и Западом через Украину, у кого яйца крепче (BALLS, not EGGS!). Противоположные взгляды на кризис пока что не дают нам придти к компромиссу. Во многом этому способствует и информационная война в СМИ, которая сталкивает лбами братские народы на потеху сетевых троллей и всяких маргинальных элементов общества.
В ближайшее время Украина должна наладить многонациональный диалог между регионами страны и разработать новый план конституции, который дал бы расширенные полномочия автономиям, утвердил статус русского языка. Неспокойный юго-восток Украины, который длительное время был территорией России, и лишь в 19-каких-то годах стал частью Украины нужно успокаивать не силой, а через диалог.
Я уверен, что только через диалог можно добиться прогрессивных результатов.
Прошло несколько месяцов с начала конфликта на Украине, и русский народ потихоньку учится жить в новом изменившемся и продолжающем изменяться мире. Неопределенная геополитическая ситуация и санкции США уже начинают сказываться на жизни простых граждан. Потихоньку растут цены, государства продолжают обмениваться мелкими вредительствами, запрещая продажу тех или иных товаров, которые якобы “не соответствуют законодательству”. В основном это касается продуктов питания из Украины, и частично из Польши (там действительно какие-то проблемы с бактериологической безопасностью продуктов). В остальном же для рядовых граждан мало что изменилось. Не считая спада в экономике, рост которой к концу 2014 года прогнозируется всего лишь на уровне 0,4% и уменьшения кредитных операций (люди сами боятся брать кредиты, потому что не знают, что будет в мире через месяц), наблюдается отток зарубежного капитала из наших банков. Основные усилия банковской системы России направлены на поддержание рубля, который значительно потерял в стоимости в связи с последними событиями (около 10%, если не ошибаюсь). Рост мировых цен на нефть, неясная ситуация с украинским долгом по российскому природному газу а также внесение в санкционные списки США нескольких важных предпринимателей из России подорвали основу рубля, но в целом ситуация стабильная, хоть и с негативным прогнозом. В городах “империи зла” все спокойно, люди живут как жили и занимаются своими обычными делами: работают, отдыхают, посещают концерты и мероприятия, выставки, общаются в skype. В наши края постепенно приходит весна. В этом году она задерживается. Уже середина апреля, а у нас все еще достаточно холодно. Хотя возможно это компенсируется теплой зимой, которая была в этом году. Довольно много говорят о политике. В основном простые люди сходятся на мысли, что западная пропаганда очень сильно демонизирует образ президента России, и как следствие – в умах простых американцев, европейцев и азиатов распространяется неверное представление о “злых русских”. Хочется вспомнить одну русскую поговорку “не суди человека по его одежде, а суди по его поступкам” (i don’t know how your google translators will translate this, so i provide my own translation: “don’t judge someone’s clothes – judge his deeds”). Далеко не все русские являются империалистами, коварными захватчиками, которые спят и видят, как бы отхватить от Украины очередной кусок. Подавляющее большинство – такие же люди как и вы, запутавшиеся в войне пропаганды и желающие, чтобы вся эта ситуация с Украиной поскорее разрешилась. Берегите себя!
- Ukraine and BRICS from historian Daniel Larison at The American Conservative
- The Sympathy Problem: Is Germany a Country of Russia Apologists? By Ralf Neukirch at Spiegel Online
- You Don’t Know the Best Way to Deal with Russia from economist Bryan Caplan over at EconLog
- The Right to Self-Determination in International Law and Practice by political scientist Jason Sorens (PhD, Yale) over at the PileusBlog
There is a distinct preference out there, for solving our differences of opinion with the Putin gangster state “through diplomacy.” An elementary explanation is sadly in order here.
Diplomacy refers to one party explaining to the other with polite words how much harm it could do to that other party. And then, the second party takes its turn explaining to the first how much damage it could do to it if it really wanted to.
Once everyone understands concretely the other party’s capacity for evil, the parties get together to arrive at a compromise that minimizes the evil that either party does to the other. That’s in successful diplomacy. Diplomacy often fails however. In 1939, Hitler and the Brits were talking to each other until the exact eve of the invasion in the west.
So, in this case, diplomacy only has a chance of succeeding if doing severe harm is on the table in a credible manner. No perceived credible threat, no diplomacy.
Does anyone really believe that you can talk softly, talk sweet reason to Putin and that he will come to his senses and begin acting nice at last?
Another thing: As everyone knows, Obamacare is foundering. I am beginning to believe it’s a blessing in disguise. Whole young generations who really needed it are learning why Big Government is bad even when it’s trying to act nice. One of my young liberal friends is in the process of making a U-turn, I think. I don’t give myself the credit, much as I would like to. Mr Obama did it. My friend has a new bumper sticker on his car that says: “Obama- Dick-Dick.” That’s in Santa Cruz County so, it takes some courage. At least, he does not care a bit if his car is scratched! (My, that’s was evil and sly; I already feel a little ashamed!)
The Obama administration is not releasing figures the citizenry has a legitimate interest in knowing, such as: How many who signed up are also paid up? How many of the new sign-ups were without health insurance before? What is the net gain – if any -in insured people who did not join publicly supported health insurance?
Refusing to divulge these figures has only one purpose. It’s to impede the opposition. That’s already Fascism. Not gathering these figures when you can and when you know some part of the public wants them is also Fascism. (Fascism is not an epithet, it’s political description. (See: “Fascism Explained” and others on this blog. )
ObamaCare was a dishonest venture from the first. If it had not been, its first act would have been to make all health insurance available across state lines so as to maximize competition between insurance companies. If any Republican lawmakers had resisted, it would have been a blood feast for the Democratic Party. Large-scale buddy capitalism is also part of a classical Fascist program.
[Editor’s note: the following is a short essay by Payam Ghorbanian. Payam was born in Tehran, Iran. He got his bachelor of science in Engineering from Zanjan University in Zanjan, Iran. He has been participating in liberal political activities and he was involved with some think tanks in Iran. He is doing research in the field of international relations and Iran’s foreign policy as an independent activist. He is now living in San Jose, California.
I am excited to post his thoughts because of their potential as a conduit for intercultural dialogue and exchange. I have left his essay largely intact, but did break up some of his longer paragraphs for clarity’s sake. Thanks to Payam for taking the time to write this.]
One of the worst Persian attitudes, which really makes me upset, is that we really like make everyone feel pleased and at the same time we are trying to make our friends, our families member, and finally ourselves feel proud. This seems to be just wasting of time and even sometime more than wasting. It really holds us back from being flexible and being more focused just on our life.
The fatal mistake in terms of power games is taking one step back because of pacifying your enemies. I remember these fatal mistakes occurred during Mr. Khatami presidency (1997 – 2005) and it seems that it is going to happen again. During that time reformists tried to please everyone. Liberals, communists, and extremists could fit in themselves in what they portrayed for future of Iran. The goal of “let’s get together” is just useful for the specific action and in a limited time not for unstable country like Iran. We are not taking the issues for the country like Switzerland. In fact, you cannot just chant when your enemies are ready to die for their sinister goals.
Mr. Rohani and his consultants during last month just tried to convince the middle class people that they are so preoccupied about what he has promised during his presidency campaign. Rohani also said: “… I have never forgotten what I had said to my people but you should understand; there would be a prolonged way with unforeseen obstacles that we have to pass it through together…”. However, this is not the way that people of Iran are thinking and believing at this time. The fact is that the imprisonment of leaders of green movement has been lasting up until now and there are still so many political prisoners in prison. In fact the pace of executions is still through the roof and opposition can be called easily sedition.
All of these issues just mean that the new government and the new goals of basis changes have not been acknowledged by the powerful organizations that live in the parallel world of responsibility. These groups of extremists can take any action whenever they want without taking any obligation and no one has the authority to prosecute them. They are not supposed to be questioned and on the other hand, no one knows who they really are. I call them “Undercover Occupants” which means obviously they are connected to somewhere but where exactly this department of power is remains the question that no one has the answer of. There are always lots of rumors which they are the members of Basij militia or some religious departments but it is still in denial.
Four years age, in 2008, during the rebellious days of Tehran, these undercover occupants attacked The University of Tehran. So many students were injured and finally the supreme leader commanded the “Supreme National Security Council” to get involved and back them off. They also tried to condemn in public during the chairman of Islamic parliament (Ali Larijani) speech. In fact Ali Larijani is so close to the supreme leader! These undercover occupants were also involved in occupation of the embassy of the Great Britain in Tehran, which caused the big collapse of foreign policy for Iran. I can count thousands of these nonsense and non-logical movements which sometimes caused the supreme leader’s reactions. Occupants recently confronted president Rohani and actually went up against him after he got back home from New York. They criticized him that he was not authorized to talk to president Obama and that he put country down.
They are just like the people who think the mission of possessing of sacred goal is on their shoulders, no matter what would be the responsibility. When they think there is a threat they just interfere. I heard some of them are the presidents of the industries who occupied the manufacturing companies of Iran after the revolution and also the business men who could take advantage of governmental economic rent during these 35 years; therefore, they should be concerned about their positions when the wind of change flows.The undercover occupant groups really remind me of the Nomenklatura category inside the Soviet Union
Obviously President Rohani has decided to discard his goals about his domestic policy for a while until the nuclear issue and sanctions are still on the table. He really thinks being triumphant in talks between Iran and 5+1 can help him precede his domestic policy inside the country. However and on the flip side, the extremist members of the Islamic Parliaments and some members of the Revolutionary Guard put their total vigor to not let him proceed. The upcoming parliament’s election and economical situations will be so important for the players of this poker table. The supreme leader has not taken a side yet which is so meaningful in Islamic Republic of Iran. As I have heard, during this year the economic situations in Iran are getting better. The hope of better future has still long way to be cultivated but people are still hopeful to upcoming talks. These are all proofs that show us having better relations with powerful countries will help you to have better chances. We are not living in the separate worlds and our planet is so combined that being isolated just deprives you not anyone else.
Last month, foreign ministers of European countries and especially Mrs. Ashton had several meetings with foreign minister Zarif. Mrs. Ashton recently went to Iran and talked in person with Mr. Rohani. She had also a meeting with some political prisoners and their family members, which dragged the undercover occupants to the front of the Austria Embassy where that meeting had occurred. They were claiming who let her to talk to the “Fitna” followers, the name which they have been using for naming oppositions in Iran during election in 2008. After while the extremists in parliaments called up Mr. Zarif and the Minister of Intelligence and Security. They asked the same question that undercover occupants had asked before.
One of the recent issues which might partially help the extremists inside Iran for improving their positions is the issue of Ukraine. The commander of IAF (Iranian Armed Forces), Hassan Firuzabadi, clearly shows respect to what Russia has done inside the Ukraine and Crimea. He also said the vandals just pulled off the coup and it was not the process of legitimate transactional and transformational leadership. Now they believe the most newest powerful country just pops up and subsequently the consolidation of 5+1 is fragile right now so there is no need for retreating at this time which I think it could be somehow the fact that the United States and the NATO don’t want to respond literally to the Russia and president Putin in order to force them back. Finally the internal battle inside Iran would go on and this battle would demonstrate the balance of political groups, the supreme leader and the Revolutionary guard. It could be one of the effective occurrence for Iranians.
Look at the Kaliningrad Oblast. It used to be Prussian Koenisberg, an important detail: Many Germans still feel for it, like Russians for Crimea. This is one part of Europe toward which the Germans might loose a little of their current prudent cool and cooperate.
Find Kaliningrad on the map.
It’s a small Russian exclave on the Baltic. It’s entirely sandwiched between two NATO members that are also members of the European Union, Lithuania and Poland. It must have some military value because it’s the headquarter of the Russian Baltic Fleet.
Kaliningrad has no direct land links to the rest of Russia. Sea links are along the shores of unfriendly to very unfriendly countries. I don’t see why it would be difficult to apply an on-and-off siege to that territory. I don’t mean that the West or the US should actually attempt to starve its about one million people. I am thinking cutting off the water intermittently, for example. Perhaps a few US warships could cruise off Kaliningrad with all guns carefully covered. We should be able to cause enough unpleasantness there to stampede part of the civilian population. We might just let Russian sailors there lead lonely and even more drunken lives than they do now.
After the gobbling up of Crimea, making it difficult for Russia to staff its isolated western outpost would be a worthwhile goal. Even giving high Kremlin officials a few bad nights of sleep would be better than nothing. Letting bullies get away with anything is always a bad idea. It’s like asking for more bullying in the future.
I don’t know why no one is talking about it, not the Obama administration, not the Republican opposition, not the supine press.
Are we that pathetic or merely ignorant?