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25 March 2014


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William R. Cumming


I would argue that any so-called Nation-State that cannot defend its borders and/or airspace does not qualify as a Nation-State for the following reason!

Assuming wars and international relations are not things and concepts of the past today with many threats from sub-state actors to innocents [what I label terrorism] [and I don't exclude threats to innocents from nation-states both within and outside their borders and airspace but that is for later post and comments] and with the nuclear world now about to be discussed again at the Third Conference on this issue, the concept of what is a Nation-State deserves the most critical thinking in a modern world ruled largely by autocrats and oligarchs.

By by Ukraine. I know you miss free flowing steppes and horses but that world long gone. Wilsonian Self-Determination gone with the rise of Globalism IMO!


A map of where they speak Russian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Idioma_ruso.PNG

It looks like this is a fact that will be important over the coming months.


A map useful to this discussion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ribbentrop-Molotov.svg


The Germans have always, even in World War I, coveted the rich black earth of Western Ukraine. Will it eventually come to that?

Babak Makkinejad

Well that is fine and well but let us take it to its logical end:

Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and parts of France must be ceded to Germany.

Poland will disappear again.

And so will Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, and a few others.

Greece will be incorporated back into Turkey; I should imagine?

And there would be a North American Union from the Arctic Circle to the Colombian border.

In Central Asia there would be a single state: Uzbekistan which would include southern Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kirghizstan, and possibly Tajikistan.

Afghanistan and Iraq will disappear also and so would Yemen, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar.

Lebanon and Jordan will be gone as well, incorporated into the new Sham Republic.


The idea will never fly because of where it came from, even if these countries want their piece of Ukraine, as Zhirinovsky is considered an over the top extremist. More important, there are rather few Poles or Hungarians left in Ukraine now, because of post 1945 "population transfers." Irredentism tends to be fueled by such peoples fearing persecution, rather than "historical memories" and there just isn't enough fuel. And finally, the fears of a handful of Poles left in Ukraine (the only group worth mentioning now and there aren't that many of them) probably aren't worth it for the Polish state if they cost the goodwill of the US...although, admittedly, Poles seizing Teschen from the Czech alongside the Nazis was completely overlooked in 1939.....

Robert C.

If the US endorsed German reunification, how can we be critical of this?


It will be attractive to their own Zhirinovsky's. Will be most interesting to hear the cries of "Hypocrits" from the Russian side if they are dumb enough to seriously entertain taking this bait.


Let me know when Poland gets its 1939 borders back and the Germans recover East Prussia.

Zhirinovsky is being Putin's useful idiot, since Putin can't get away making such ridiculous claims. This is just theater of the absurd for the moment.

William R. Cumming

WP! Very interesting graphics! Can you find one for German as of 2000?

William Herschel

One thing is clear, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Just as a first hypothesis, I would say that Ukraine is crawling with Russian Special Forces in plain clothes.




Col. Lang wrote on the day before Putin’s speech that we would soon know what Putin was up to. Now we know and there is no way the genie can be put back into the bottle. A new cold war type stasis is in the making or the end is nigh.

Prognostication is risky. Notwithstanding the high likelihood of failing to see something obvious, here is how I see the future for the next few years or so. Bets anybody?

My prediction is that by June 30 or soon thereafter, the eastern border of Ukraine will be 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop line. No serious battle will have been fought by the Russians in securing their positions. I fear to predict what will be happening on the centennial of the guns of August 1914. Stupidity and incompetence too often shape history. As you said in one of your blog entries, "We shall see."

Here is the foundation for my prediction:

My thought is that Putin must act very quickly along the lines suggested by Vladimir Zhirinovsky or he will be humiliated at his home. If he waits, the countervailing forces of the West will figure out how to match his plays. If he stops in the vicinity of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop line, he can claim at home that he has won and has restored "Soviet" honor.

Like in 1914, it is not to strong who start terrible wars, it is the weak. It is the weakness of the strong that they have a weak ability to respond to the acts of the weak without causing a disaster. The strong are often run by fools.

It is all a shame that Putin, in his domestic weakness, had to resort to the evil genie of external aggression to prop up his power. Though the talking heads will talk about economics and national interests, this gambit is not really about economics or trade, it is about the exercise of the will of a nation personified by its leader. Now that Putin has tasted the apple, he cannot quit until he has consummated his lust, lest he be deemed by his backers or himself as impuissant. As Russian history has shown so many times, taking Ukraine is now a matter of personal survival to Putin. If he fails, he will die or be killed. I believe he will act decisively--he has no other choice.

My fear is that the Gift (German for poison) of the Neocons keeps on giving and their hubris and failures of judgment will create Armageddon. The U.S. is often a strong power run by fools. I do not think the West will mount a military response and I do not think nuclear weapons will be used. Hopefully, there are some heads who can prevent disaster.

From my perspective, the matter of Russian ethnic honor is of prime importance to analyzing the current state of affairs in Russia. One should not discount the extent to which honor controls events. Matters of honor have caused many historical miscalculations. Our own Civil War would never have been fought without the predominance of issues of the Honor of the South. Objective minds, then easily predicted that the North had massively more industrial might, money, and population than did the Southern states and that the Confederacy had little chance to defeat the Union. Had issues of honor not been at stake, Brig. Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard would never have fired that first shot at Ft. Sumter on that morning in April, 1861. The guns of August 1914 were presaged by the honor-and-glory-seeking visions of Wilhelm II creating a huge war machine in competition with his British and Russian cousins. The rise of Hitler and the resulting war initially arose partly from the roots of the German myth of Dolchstosslegande. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stabbed-in-the-back_myth Too often, history has shown us that the acts of nations are fundamentally the personal acts of the potentates.

Now, Putin is the legend maker who is creating the linguistic code to support the reclamation of the Soviet Honor. Humanity has not changed. Putin is now a prisoner of his own social myth making.

Right now the West simply has no intellectual remedy for the Soviet resurrection myth. It has insufficient will to oppose it. Sanctions will not stop the mythical idea. Honor trumps economics. Economic sanctions are not a barrier. In mythical terms, resistance from outside opposition only steels the resolve of the true believers and justifies bolder action.

The West will do nothing against Russia militarily if Putin stops at Zhirinovsky’s line--for now. The West's immediate ability to impose direct opposing force on the ground in Ukraine is too weak and the economic consequences in the West too large. While mythic causation is ascendant in Russia, economics still is ascendant in the West.

In his speech last week, Putin commented that the Neo-con’s actions in Ukraine were, “unprofessional.” In his mind, I think that Putin may think that what he is about to do in the Ukraine is the "Professional" response to the unprofessional actions of the West.

Instead of being professionally sensitive to the possible red lines of Soviet sentimentality, the Neo-cons galloped off to exercise their irrational dreams of making all of the world a democratic realm subservient to Western Powers. The Neo-con’s action were a fundamental breach of the tacit understanding of the post-Soviet order agreed to between Washington and Gorbachev in the 1990s to reserve some middle-ground, semi-neutral territory between Russia and NATO-EU. Now, even Gorbachev supports Putin’s expansion into the Crimea and the Ukraine. The mythical power of the dream of Soviet resurrection is immense and is not to be ignored.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky proposal may be a rational response to the Neo-con’s unprofessionalism. Putin may be justified in having a professional belief that leaving western Ukraine to flounder at the expense of the West while annexing the eastern part will function as that new neutral ground which will be allowed by the West without significant cost to Russia.

In the short term, the West has too much investment in Russia, too much need Russian raw materials, and is too dependent on Russian energy to resist to powerfully. The U.S. is also too vulnerable due to its necessity to have access to Afghanistan from the North.

Putin must know that if he delays, he will not succeed. The Ukrainian anti-Russian government is already rounding up the resistance and suppressing pro-Russian activities. In short, at the present when Western resolve and power is weak, Russia must act very quickly to foment a "demand" for unification with Russia by the Russian speaking Ukrainian provinces. My prediction is that this fomentation is now going forward at full throttle. Putin will get and accept the demand. Fundamentally, the game is over except for the actual Anschluss.

In the longer term, if Putin does not act quickly to annex the Russian speaking eastern Ukraine, the West will continue on its destabilizing Neo-con phantasies and develop effective countermoves to prevent the fulfillment of the resurrection myth. If he does act quickly, the West will do little other than continue its impotent sanctions.

Times have forever changed. From the moment the first steps to annex Crimea were taken, a new reality was created that will define much of the next few decades. The dream of bringing Russian into the West was just a glint of now crushed hope. Like a cheating husband who promises he will never to cheat again, the West will never trust Putin again. The states of the Eastern Front on WWII have too strong a memory of living under the Soviet shadow to see Russia as anything but a mortal threat as long as Putin rules.

Putin's actions will have profound military and economic consequences. A new arms race has started. Russia will be economically isolated and stagnated from the globalized world for a long time. China and the U.S. will be strengthened from the lessened economic competition from Russia. Ultimately, the peoples of the Russian Federation will be the biggest losers.

NATO will bolster the defenses in the Baltic States, Romania, and Hungary all of whom have absolutely no desire to re-enter the Russian sphere. One gets a clear impression from reading the German press (the only other language I can read) and the reader's comments to those articles that those states are freaking out, afraid. They are weak and cannot defend themselves from Russian aggression. They are not certain of the NATO guarantees.

The eastern EU is already supplicating for defense support. Economically, the EU will develop energy independence from Russia and western investment and commerce Russia will slowly wither. The U.S. position will strengthen because it should now be able to demand more Euro payments in tribute to subsidize its defense services and to purchase its defense materiel. The U.S. should not step up to defending the EU for free!

Are my bloviations accurate? I do not know. As Col. Lang has said, “We shall see?


Richard Armstrong

Mr. Cummings,

Mr. Cummings,
The end of the nationstate is not going to be caused by indefensible borders.
It's going to be caused by trans-national corporations, like Exxon. Exxon's CEO recently said "nations come and go, but Exxon will always remain".

And let's face it, what nation currently has the capability to tell Exxon what to do or how to do it.

Our government is very much under the control of these transnational corporations. Our politicians and our government lobbied very hard for NAFTA. NAFTA hasn't benefited a single American. Only international corporations have benefited from NAFTA. The same will hold true for the proposed Pacific trade union.

Politicians talk a lot about how drilling in America and building pipelines that leak across America will help ensure American energy independence. Bull hockey. Petroleum is sold on a national market. Oil drilled in the United States or Canada is not held in reserve for the US. We could pump every drop of oil out of American territory and there is no force available to keep that oil in America. When a country cannot defend its national resources, then it is no longer a nationstate.

If another country had attempted to steal American natural resources we would consider that an act of war.

But it is hard, if not impossible to go to war with an international conglomerate. Especially since, through political contributions, they now own our government.


All they need now is the recipe for Victoria Nuland cookies. Why again do we need to defend a country we never needed to defend for 238 years? What the hell has Ukraine (or Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia or even Georgia (Republic of) even done for the US?


Wikipedia is great!




Cynical moi: What's the money angle in all this? Who wants to produce natural gas to grab the EU market currently pipelined through Ukraine? Does anyone know who those players are? That's the pea under my mattress.

William R. Cumming

Thanks BABAK! Perhaps a map with your possibilities? Don't laugh but the board game RISK goes through updates!

David Habakkuk


Can you produce a single shred of textual evidence -- or indeed any other kind of evidence -- in support of this analysis?

Babak Makkinejad

As long as the trans-national corporations do not have their own armies, what you predict will not come to pass.

David Habakkuk

William Herschel,

Did you read the BBC report you quote:

An extract:

"We will avenge ourselves on [Interior Minister] Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother. The shooting of Sashko Bily is a contract killing ordered by the minister," said Roman Koval of the Right Sector in Rivne region, quoted by the Ukrayinska Pravda website."


Putin could buy Crimea from the Ukrainians. (And also buy constitution changes allowing Ukraine's east greater autonomy.) There are probably countries willing to financially back him if he proposed that kind of transaction. Something like that may happen after the Ukrainian elections.

David Habakkuk



What Zhirinovsky says has rather less relation to what Putin is likely to do than what McCain says has to what Obama is likely to do.

As to what Putin is likely to do, as 'b' noted on 'Moon of Alabama' earlier this month, the evidence suggests the Russians think their least worst option is regionalisation.

(See http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/03/ukraine-us-pulls-back-agrees-to-russian-demands.html )

Whether the Western powers would agree to the kind of regionalization the Russians have in mind is, of course, a moot point. Moreover, if Ukraine disintegrates into chaos anything could happen.

But so far at least no evidence whatsoever has been produced for the common assumption that Putin is hell-bent on following up the annexation of Crimea with the annexation of other parts of Ukraine which belonged to the Russian Empire.



Allot of what you say is true, however it is the lack of backbone of politicians like Mr. Obama, who completely failed to hold BP accountable after the disaster with their oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. All he had to do was tell the SEC to freeze their stock sales, the TSA to put all their executives on the no fly list and the FBI to arrest a few VPs. Hell, all he had to do was make a speech on a Friday at 5 saying that's what he's doing come Monday. They'd have coughed up allot more than one quarter's profit to get out of that.

Norbert M Salamon

The revenge killing already started in Ukraine. It will increase in speed, most are scared of the criminal element in the so called government and its supporters. Whether we call it accidental suicide [newest claim] or outright assassinations [for the dead can not give evidence] does not count, as neither does it count if it is carried out by Russian Special ops, or from the other side.

The money the gas and the oil is not there to replace even part of Russia's exports to EU/NATO [sans US]. Nor is there the time. [recall that the big western oil companies did not find much oil, notwithstanding extreme amounts spend in the last few years and most are loosing their shirts in Bakken].

Whatever foolish politicians and bankster say, Ukraine is going down the tube economically. Mr. Putin only has to wait a few months, and Greece will appear as Heaven to most Ukrainians.

Then comes the usual result of US interference in foreign lands: failed states Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, Yemen, Libya with Syria on the doorstep. '

While this is going on Mr. Putin is building another oil and another gas pipeline to China, where trade is in Rubles and Yuan.



An interesting view, though the only place I see a Soviet Resurrection myth is in the MSM.

Vladimir Putin does not want to incorporate Ukraine into Russia, but wants a stable, practical government that can fulfill its responsibilities. Crimea is a different story due to its history, its strategic value as HQ for the Black Sea Fleet and majority Russian population. The Russian troops currently massed on the border of Ukraine are to provide a warning to the Bandera Brigades about overstepping the lines and for psychological pressure on Kiev and the West (the collective freakout must be providing them with a treasure trove of intel through signal intercepts etc.).

In today's episode of Neo Madness, the Ukrainian Defense Minster was dismissed and replaced, while Acting President Turchynov announced that he would withdraw Ukrainian troops from Crimea. Which is good because a Right Sector leader was shot down by police for alleged "Mob Links", so as this western civil war (don't think the armed Right Sector is going to let this pass since they were the muscle behind the coup) gets underway, Kiev will need the leadership and forces to hold on to power. This why Russia won't get involved unless seriously provoked, they will let the current government collapse of its own contradictions.

As for bets, will Prime Minster Yatsenyuk last as long as Alexander Kerensky before he dives into a car, heads to an airport, and flees to his safety perch at the Brookings Institute? Because of the cruel vicious and nasty temperament of the Right Sector, I am leaning towards the under.

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