Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

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As tensions rise in the Black Sea, the Turkish Navy sails

March 19, 2014

Ukraine lies along the northern edge of the Black Sea, and the Crimean peninsula, with its naval bases, dominates that portion of the sea.  Turkey, however, controls the entire southern rim of the Black Sea along with the Bosphorous and Dardenelles straits that control the egress from the Black Sea to the wider world.  Russia’s Black Sea fleet, today as in centuries past, must contend with Turkey if it seeks to project power beyond that inland sea.   So, as tensions rise with Russian annexation of Crimea and massing of troops on Ukrainian borders, the Turkish Navy has set sail . . . for Africa.

In the days of the Cold War, Turkey was seen as the formidable anchor of NATO’s southern flank; in recent years, Prime Minister Erdogan has embarked on a mission of “neo-Ottomanism,” which seeks to reclaim Turkey’s role as the predominant regional and sometime world power. Erdogan may see these ambitions more closely aligned with current Russian practices than with the West.  Meeting directly with Putin early in the crisis, Erdogan reportedly received serious concessions about the treatment of Turkic Tartars in the region, possibly in exchange for Turkish closure of the straits to Western warships.   Perhaps, then, the continuation of the African mission is yet another signal that Turkey has no inclination to aide the West in any campaign against Russia.

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Putin’s Eurasianism

March 3, 2014

I have posted several times on Eurasianism and Russian geopolitical thinker Aleksander Dugin.  Students of either are unsurprised by Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.  Dugin has always seen the world as a contest between land and maritime powers, and the contemporary world as a contest between Russian-led Eurasianism and Anglo-American Atlanticism.  Ukraine is and always has been a core geopolitical interest for Russia, and she was never going to meekly allow that nation to simply walk away from Russia and become a member of The Atlantic Alliance.  The current crisis, or something like it, would be fully anticipated by Long Cycle Theory as a part of the Coalitioning phase.

Writing at National Review, Bob Zubrin has a brief but acceptable review of Dugin’s theories.  Read it, and the various posts I have made on Dugin and Eurasianism, to get a handle on the deeper geopolitical meanings of the current situation.

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Ukraine threatens to close Russian gas pipeline

September 14, 2011

From Natural Gas for Europe:

Ukraine on Wednesday fired another salvo to Russia, seeking a categorical assurance from the latter
and the European Union on the need for maintaining the existing transit system to pump Russian gas to
Europe, failing which it may be scrapped.

The measured caution came from a spokesman for Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in the wake of the
recent launch of the Nord Stream pipeline project that bypasses Ukraine and links Russia and EU via
the Baltic Sea.

“Since Russia is constructing pipelines bypassing Ukraine, Ukraine needs to get a clear answer as to
whether Russia intends to continue using the Ukrainian gas transit system,” Azarov’s spokesman said.

“And if Russia is not going to use it, its maintenance will not be profitable for Ukraine, necessitating its
decommissioning or use elsewhere,” he said.

Urging a response from EU, the spokesman said ” If Ukraine stops the operation of its gas transit
system, it’ll be a very high risk factor for Europe and the EU (member states) need to speak out on
their plans for the Ukrainian gas transit route.”

more

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Georgia and NATO . . . outlook not so good

May 17, 2010

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is preparing to embrace a new strategic concept for the coming decades.  Today, its “Group of Experts” delivered a report that will likely form the core of that concept, although it has yet to be formally accepted by the Alliance and its members.  Media outlets in Georgia and Eurasia believe that the report embraces a fairly rapid admission of Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance, but I am not so sure.  The report reads to me like it hedges on the question of membership for the Black Sea states, and in fact leans towards keeping the two nations as “partners” and, as such, co-equals with Russia in their relationship to NATO.  Personally, I am in favor of extending the alliance to the shores of the Caspian, with Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan admitted as soon as possible, but my take from the report is that the “experts” are too cautious to tender a full invite even to Ukraine and that Georgia is out of luck and Azerbaijan is not even in the conversation.