Monday, March 17, 2014

The Crimea Plebsicite

Crimea held a plebiscite yesterday on joining the Russian Federation. Crimea announced a 89% turnout with 96.77% voting for annexation by the Russian Federation. The numbers don’t add up. 12% (243,400 under the latest Ukraine census) of the Crimea’s 2 million population are Crimean Tatars, the historic inhabitants of the Crimea Peninsula. The Tatars are Muslims of Turkish ethnicity. About ½ of the Crimea Tatar population was executed or deported between 1917 and 1933. Stalin and Beria deported the remaining Crimea Tatars on May 18, 1944 to the Uzbek Republic and other areas. The Tatars did not return to their homeland until 1991 with Perestroika and Ukrainian independence. The Crimea Tatars would not vote for Crimea annexation by Mother Russia. They dread, are in living fear of, the Russian takeover of the Crimea. If they abstained from voting, the turnout would have been less than 89%. If they voted, the yes vote would have been substantially below 96.77%. The exit polls showed a 97% affirmative vote, which corresponds to the final tally. Either shows exit polls in Crimea are more accurate than in the United States or the vote was rigged. The exit polls were taken under the watchful eyes of Russian soldiers. These are not objective exit polls. The non-Russian Ukrainians also would not have voted to leave the Ukraine. Nor would have the Crimean Catholics, whose religion is not recognized in the Russian Federation. The plebiscite was a farce. The Crimean farce is equaled by the Obama Administration response. The interim Ukrainian Prime Minister visited President Obama at the White House last week. He asked for arms for the weakened Ukrainian army. The Obama Administration offered MRE’s, the military’s ready to eat meals. The Administration was worried that supplying arms to Ukraine would be viewed as a provocative act by the Russians. The Obama Administration was worried about provoking a bully. Therefore it would practice appeasement. Then came the Administration’s response to the plebiscite: sanctions. There’s a saying: don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Don't bring MRE's to a gunfight. Bringing paper sanctions is even less advisable. The sanctions announced by the Administration consisted by freezing the American assets of seven of President Putin’s associates and denying United States visas to them. The response to these essentially meaningless sanctions was expressed by one of the seven: “Comrade Obama, and what will you do with those who have neither assets nor property abroad? Or didn’t you think of that?” President Johnson is reputed to have said: "Grab them by their balls, and the hearts and minds will follow." President Obama apparently believes that if he grab's President Putin's cronies (cronies - not cojones), Putin will follow. Not even their businesses, just their non-existant personas in the United States. An increasingly weakened President Obama promises stronger sanctions if Russia seizes more of the Ukraine. President Putin is hardly shaking in his boots. Russia will seize more. The Crimea’s gas, electricity and water come from Ukraine. Russia will not allow Ukraine to cut these off. Territory versus meaningless sanctions: What will President Putin do next?

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