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Will Putin Seize Crimea?
The Moscow Times ^ | February 24, 2014 | Josh Cohen

Posted on 02/24/2014 10:20:59 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

As the battle on Maidan ends with the defeat and humiliation of President Viktor Yanukovych, some observers have turned their attention to Ukraine's Crimea region with the following question: If Ukraine turns toward the European Union and the West, will President Vladimir Putin move to seize Crimea?

While Crimea is situated far from the drama of Kiev, it stands out as the only region in Ukraine where Russians are in the majority, constituting about 60 percent of Crimea's population. There is also a critical naval base at Sevastopol that the Russians lease from Ukraine. Sevastopol serves as the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, and it gives the Russian Navy direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. Russia has signed a lease agreement with Ukraine that allows its fleet to remain at Sevastopol until 2042.

For two centuries, Crimea was part of Russia, and to many Russians it is only through a strange quirk of Soviet history that Crimea is not part of Russia today. On Feb. 19, 1954, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, gifted Crimea to Ukraine as a gesture of goodwill to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukraine's merger with tsarist Russia. Not surprisingly, at the time, it did not occur to anyone that one day the Soviet Union might collapse and that Ukraine would again be an independent country.

Last week, one of Putin's leading advisers, Vladislav Surkov, visited Crimea and met Crimean leader Anatoly Mogilev, Crimean legislative Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, and Sevastopol Governor Vladimir Yatsuboi. The talks were followed up by a meeting in Moscow on Feb. 20 between Konstantinov and Sergei Naryshkin, the speaker of the State Duma.

Underscoring Russia's interest in Crimea, an unidentified Russian government official told the Financial Times on Feb. 20 that Russia was willing to fight a war over Crimea if Ukraine started to disintegrate. "If Ukraine breaks apart, it will trigger a war," the official said. "They will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia."

This viewpoint seems to reflect Kremlin thinking. At a 2008 meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush, Putin reportedly told Bush that Ukraine was an accident of history.

There is ample precedent, furthermore, to believe that if Putin and the Russian establishment believed that Ukraine was slipping permanently out of their grasp, then Russia would find a pretext to seize Crimea. Russia has made it amply clear that it considers the former Soviet Union to be a space where it sees itself having wide latitude for maneuver.

Russia has not hesitated to act militarily within the former Soviet Union, first in the self-proclaimed Transdnestr republic in 1992 and then in South Ossetia in 2008 during its brief war with Georgia. After the end of the war in Georgia, Russia became the only country in the world to officially recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. While Russia does not officially recognize Transdnestr, it has a consulate there, many of Transdnestr's citizens have Russian passports and the Russians provide a de-facto guarantee of Transdnestr remaining separate from Moldova.

If Ukraine turns decisively West, it may well find that it is forced to leave Crimea behind.

********

Josh Cohen is a former U.S. State Department official who was involved in managing economic reform projects in the former Soviet Union. He currently works for a satellite technology company in the Washington area.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: crimea; putin; russia; seize; ukraine
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1 posted on 02/24/2014 10:21:00 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Unlikely to be a seizure. More a very willing secession, since they are ethnic Russians.


2 posted on 02/24/2014 10:23:07 PM PST by Viennacon
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

there should be two elements of Ukraine to settle this issue

The same applies to the US


3 posted on 02/24/2014 10:31:53 PM PST by LeoWindhorse
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yes.

It wont be tagged as him seizing the AO. Nope. It’ll be tagged, both by his and our media, as Russia coming to the aid of an oppressed minority.

The Ukraine won’t sit still for it. The legit portion of The Ukraine, anyway.

It will then turn into a full blown civil war much in the form of the Spanish civil war.

Poland has already, more or less, declared for the western Ukraine. I suspect Hungry to do the same soon.

The EU will interfere in their usual passive aggressive, cowardly and mealy mouthed manner as well.


4 posted on 02/24/2014 10:33:21 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: Grimmy

Europe will write memos. It will not fight for the freedom of the Ukraine.


5 posted on 02/24/2014 10:40:30 PM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
On Feb. 19, 1954, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, gifted Crimea to Ukraine as a gesture of goodwill to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukraine's merger with tsarist Russia.

To Khrushchev it wasn't just a gift....He was trying to win a power struggle at the time, and he needed to win over the Ukrainians he ruled over as Stalin's appointed boss.

6 posted on 02/24/2014 10:44:59 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Crimean main anti-Russian element are Muslim Turkish leftovers, making between 10 and 15% population. It is enough to make troubles.


7 posted on 02/24/2014 10:51:29 PM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Jonty30
With a population of 45m, Ukraine doesn't need armed foreign intervention. It needs guns, ammo and food. The Crimea was a consolation prize - Russia's equivalent of reparations - for the deaths of millions of Ukrainians (including the Holodomor - its equivalent of the Holocaust) over the centuries while fighting against Russian absolutism. If Ukrainians feel strongly about the Crimea, they may end up having to fight for it. However, I think the likelihood of a Russian intervention is low, because Ukraine's large available population of fighting age males means a Ukraine determined to hold on to the Crimea could inflict hundreds of thousands of casualties - over time - on Russian forces, including tens of thousands of dead.
8 posted on 02/24/2014 10:52:39 PM PST by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Kenyan bastard’s weakness and cowardice practically invites a Russian attack and has brought us to the verge of World War III.


9 posted on 02/24/2014 10:53:58 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Zhang Fei

>>(including the Holodomor - its equivalent of the Holocaust)<<

Not again...


10 posted on 02/24/2014 10:54:08 PM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Jonty30

F the EU.


11 posted on 02/24/2014 10:55:27 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: cunning_fish
Not again...

That's correct - a strong, self-reliant Ukraine will never again have millions of its people deliberately starved to death by Russian overlords.

12 posted on 02/24/2014 10:56:45 PM PST by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: Zhang Fei

>>>That’s correct - a strong, self-reliant Ukraine will never again have millions of its people deliberately starved<<<

Really hope for that, but I was mostly referring to Holodomor myth you have brought up.


13 posted on 02/24/2014 10:59:23 PM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Viennacon

Pretty much.....that part of the Ukraine would prefer
to remain Russian. If such a partition could be arranged
peacefully then so be it. Putin however is not particularly
subtle. Things could get ugly if they don’t go his way.


14 posted on 02/24/2014 11:08:58 PM PST by nvscanman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hard to believe Russia would let Crimea go. They didn’t expel the Tatars en masse for nothing.


15 posted on 02/24/2014 11:11:11 PM PST by Argus
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They have already hauled up the Russian tricolor and taken down the Ukrainian flag.

The new authorities in Kiev are more bent on seeking revenge than in working for national unity.

Moscow would not mind if Ukraine split up and for most Russians the NovoRossiya has always been part of the Motherland.


16 posted on 02/24/2014 11:13:56 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Same issues as Georgia.

Half pro Russian or transplanted Russian Nationals...Other half wants independence and there is also a religious aspect.

This is all far from over..and even when victory is declared by one side or the other, it’s still not over..


17 posted on 02/24/2014 11:17:33 PM PST by Cold Heat (Have you reached your breaking point yet? If not now....then when?)
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To: Jonty30

“Europe will write memos. It will not fight for the freedom of the Ukraine.”

That’s, basically what I meant.

Add to it, though, that the EU will invent some way to blame the Russian atrocities on the US, while demanding that the US “do something!” to fix it.


18 posted on 02/24/2014 11:22:28 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: Zhang Fei

Stalin’s famine affected Russia as well, especially the Kuban valley. If we are going to talk about Stalinist crimes, you should also look at what Stalin did to the Crimean Tatars. The crimes of a Georgian communist are no reason to force Russians and Tatars to be slaves to Ukraine. Ukraine should have self-determination and so should Crimea and eastern oblasts like Luhansk.


19 posted on 02/24/2014 11:29:13 PM PST by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: Viennacon

The West should abandon its obsession with keeping a disparate people together within borders set by foreign colonial powers, and not by the people themselves. Crimea and eastern Ukraine should have a fair vote, and if a supermajority (say 60%) want to secede, they should be allowed to do so.
US policy has been schizophrenic, promoting the breakup of Yugoslavia, while insisting that Bosnia and Herzegovina remain as one country. Then wanting Kosovo to split from Serbia while not letting its Serb parts remain in Serbia.
In each case, US sided with Muslims, who are not known for liking compromise or living peaceably with other religions.
Eritrea Muslims didn’t want to live under Ethiopian Christians, so that’s OK.
And somehow we let South Sudan free to fight among themselves.
Iraqis are still killing each other because we tried to make one nation out of three. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia (Somaliland) should be broken up into uncivilized parts and half-civilized parts. Libya and Syria, too. Maybe I’ll move to the Republic of Texas.


20 posted on 02/24/2014 11:36:21 PM PST by Rainier1789 (My Constitution has a 2nd and 10th Amendment)
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To: rmlew

I tend to take a different tack on such things.

Russians, as individuals, I take as individuals. I’ve liked some I’ve met and disliked others.

But I see Russia as a threat. And I see Russia as a threat that wishes to grow to an even greater threat. I see a Russia with an ego that demands it be taken seriously as a threat, so is fully prepared to behave in a manner destructive to us.

Therefore, I stand full and four square against anything that would increase Russia in scope or power.


21 posted on 02/25/2014 12:01:19 AM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: Rainier1789

Secession? What’s THAT?

Oh yeah, a right acceptable in every place on earth, except in the USA.

/s


22 posted on 02/25/2014 2:46:00 AM PST by ReaganGeneration2
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To: Viennacon

Well....there’s one interesting issue. It’s the eastern side of the country that would be mostly Russian in interest. ALL of the Russian natural gas lines....run through the western sector. So, there’s some serious thinking going on here. It’s best to go in....get corrupt with the new guys, and pretend things are ok with a friendly EU and a new gov’t...while building up the old corruption cycle. There’s too much at stake here to screw things up.


23 posted on 02/25/2014 2:59:46 AM PST by pepsionice
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To: cunning_fish

The Tartars have been getting pretty noisy in Crimea too


24 posted on 02/25/2014 3:01:56 AM PST by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: Jimmy Valentine

I was talking about them.


25 posted on 02/25/2014 3:03:08 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Grimmy

“It will then turn into a full blown civil war much in the form of the Spanish civil war.”

Could be. The unknown is which way will the Ukraine military go? And, will it align one way or the other in total or will it split along ethnic lines? Stay tuned this is gonna get nasty....


26 posted on 02/25/2014 3:27:29 AM PST by snoringbear (E.oGovernment is the Pimp,)
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To: dfwgator; 2ndDivisionVet; gandalftb
gifted Crimea to Ukraine as a gesture of goodwill to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukraine's merger with tsarist Russia.

However, the Treaty of Pereyaslav was not what the Russians are trying to promote:
On January 18, 1654, Khmelnytsky signed a unilateral oath of loyalty to the tsar of Muscovy (now Russia). Khmelnytsky expected the oath to be bilateral, with the Ukrainians swearing loyalty to the tsar and the latter promising to protect them from the Poles and to respect their rights and priviledges. But Buturlin [Muscovite delegate] refused to swear in the name of his monarch, arguing that the tsar, unlike the Polish king, was an absolute ruler and that it was below his dignity to take an oath to his subjects. ...Fearful of losing the tsar’s aid, [Khmelnytsky] agreed [to the terms].

Because of the conflicts that later developed between Russians and Ukrainians, the interpretation of the [Pereyaslav] treaty that brought their two countries together has been the subject of frequent debate among scholars. The issue is complicated by the fact that the original documents were lost and only inaccurate copies and translations have survived. Moreover, the Russian archivist Petr Shafranov has argued that even these copies were falsified by the tsar’s scribes.
http://www.brama.com/ukraine/history/pereyaslav/

Now, when we are into numerology, why not go back a further 600 years:

The main religious issue by the early 1000s was the makeup of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed, which had been around since the 400s, stated that the Holy Spirit “proceeded” or came out of the Father. Yet the idea developed within the European Christian community that this needed to be changed. Using such verses as John 16:13-15, Galatians 4:6, and Romans 8:9, those in Rome decided to add the phrase “and from the Son” when describing from where the Holy Spirit came. This is known as the “Double Procession,” that the Holy Spirit comes out of the Father and the Son.

The Christians centered in Constantinople disagreed with this and did not want it added to the Creed. Those in Rome did not reject the new phrase. By 1054 both the Roman church and the Constantinople church had “declined communion to the other,” in effect excommunicating the other. This was due do the regional differences mentioned at the top, but mainly to understandings of how God works and who gets to decide.

So began a new era of Christianity. For 1000 years the Church had been one, now it was two.

http://www.christiantimelines.com/1054.htm

But, as dfwgator wrote the real reason was a bargaining chip in the power struggle in Kreml.

27 posted on 02/25/2014 3:30:06 AM PST by AdmSmith (GCTGATATGTCTATGATTACTCAT)
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To: sneakers

bttt


28 posted on 02/25/2014 3:33:44 AM PST by sneakers ( Quinn: "Liberty is the solution to the human condition.")
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To: pepsionice

The gas lines are Russia’s ace in the hole. They essentially have a silver bullet to any situation with those. Putin has his hands on the valve and unlike the Saudis, is more than willing to turn it on a whim. We could wield similar influence in our own region, but unfortunately thanks to the libs, our resources remain unused like dry buckwheat.


29 posted on 02/25/2014 4:54:25 AM PST by Viennacon
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If he’s read Clancy’s last novel, he might just do that.


30 posted on 02/25/2014 4:56:08 AM PST by Daveinyork
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“They will lose Crimea first [because] we will go in and protect [it], just as we did in Georgia.”

I knew it!


31 posted on 02/25/2014 5:03:22 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Not until after the West pours millions into the country to help its economy.

Why rob a bank that doesn’t have any money???


32 posted on 02/25/2014 5:07:20 AM PST by Uncle Chip
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To: Viennacon

If Ukraine doesn’t just hand it over, there will be a separatist movement, like Ossetia, created by Russia to goad Ukraine into conflict. Then Russia can ride in as protectors as they did in Georgia. The question, will Ukraine spring the trap like Georgia did?


33 posted on 02/25/2014 5:07:36 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: rmlew

And so should Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.


34 posted on 02/25/2014 5:11:13 AM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: dfwgator
gifted Crimea to Ukraine as a gesture of goodwill to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukraine's merger with conquest and occupation by tsarist Russia.

Fixed it for you
35 posted on 02/25/2014 5:13:51 AM PST by Kozak ("Send them back your fierce defiance! Stamp upon the cursed alliance! To arms, to arms in Dixie!)
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To: Grimmy

Exactly. It’s the same with China. It doesn’t matter if they are nice people or not, like homo/don’t like homo etc. Some people don’t get it.


36 posted on 02/25/2014 6:04:39 AM PST by Grzegorz 246
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To: Rainier1789
Maybe I’ll move to the Republic of Texas.

Come on. We've got room.
37 posted on 02/25/2014 7:15:02 AM PST by SpinnerWebb (IN-SAPORIBVS-SICVT-PVLLVM)
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To: Grimmy
it's not that simple. Russians are the majority in Crimea -- the actual number is 77%, not 60%

Also, the true natives like the Tartars and Greeks were kicked out in WWII by Stalin in a mass deportation, completely changing the demographics

The greeks in particular had lived in Taurica for nearly 3000 years until Stalin came along

38 posted on 02/25/2014 7:57:47 AM PST by Cronos (Obama’s dislike of Assad is not based on Assad’s brutality but that he isn't a jihadi Moslem)
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To: Grimmy
But I see Russia as a threat.

To whom... socialist Europe? The Muslim Califate? Al-Qaeda? Pedophiles?

39 posted on 02/25/2014 7:58:21 AM PST by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)
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To: goldstategop
The new authorities in Kiev are more bent on seeking revenge than in working for national unity.

I fear the Banderaites will take control in Ukraine.

40 posted on 02/25/2014 8:00:40 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: Viennacon

You answered my question. If the majority population of Crimea is Russian, and they think they should be part of Russia, it’s going to be difficult for Ukraine to hang on to it if they turn away from Russia.

Not impossible. But I doubt Ukraine is going to go to war with Russia to keep it.


41 posted on 02/25/2014 8:29:51 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: snoringbear; Grimmy
This will not be a civil war. There is no ethnic difference between Ukrainians and Moscowites. Both are eastern slavs and their languages are somewhat mutually understandable.

They separated due to quirks of history: Kievan Rus was destroyed by the Mongols and the Moscowites were under Mongol influence, the Belarusyni in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (where they were the administrative and lower class) and the Ukraine was initially no mans land and then added to the GDL and finally under Polish influence

the war would be one between states -- the centralist Moscowite state or the divided Ukrainian

42 posted on 02/25/2014 8:43:16 AM PST by Cronos (Obama’s dislike of Assad is not based on Assad’s brutality but that he isn't a jihadi Moslem)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That very Tsarich of Vlady do something like that


43 posted on 02/25/2014 9:05:25 AM PST by SevenofNine (We are Freepers, all your media bases belong to us ,resistance is futile)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hagle and Herr Obozo will downsize our army, weaken our Navy and may be do away with our Air Force.

Then, Herr Obozo and Kerry will defend the gays and Muslims in that area. After that, Herr Obozo and his pal Kerry will draw more red lines like they did in Syria and other places.

Putin will ignore the so called Red Lines. He will treat their naval base and port like we do Gitmo.

We will then probably see the Ukraine area divided into two camps, Muslim and other minorities in one area, and then the majority into a Russian state in the other area.


44 posted on 02/25/2014 10:13:05 AM PST by Grampa Dave ( Obozo Care is a Trinity of Lies! Obozo Care is probably a serious Black Swan event.)
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To: Grimmy
Russia population 140 million, US 340 million, China 2 billion. Russia has a huge border to protect.

Russia is a democracy since 1990. It is a "Christian" nation. Conservative in values, pro marriage, pro life, anti homo sexual propaganda.

We need Russia now more than we did during the 2nd WW.

It's arguable that Putins' Russia is on track in protecting and promoting western culture to be dominate world wide. While Obamas' America actions are resulting in just the opposite.

To Obama's credit, he stopped building missile sites in Poland, yielded to Putin in Syria, and is now, so far, not taking sides in the Ukraine.

45 posted on 02/25/2014 11:06:37 AM PST by duckln
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46 posted on 02/25/2014 11:20:19 AM PST by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
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To: Jimmy Valentine

“The Tartars have been getting pretty noisy in Crimea too”

Well, those Tartars had better not get too saucy! ;)


47 posted on 02/25/2014 4:31:39 PM PST by Frank_2001
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Of course Putin will act to “protect” the naval base at Sevastopol/Crimea, under the pretext of preserving the treaty they have with the Ukraine.

Or, he may just march in like Hitler at Danzig and take it.

Who’se going to oppose him? Obama? Hagel? Kerry? -The “Three Apostles of Appeasement”?

Oh, maybe Obama will send in Hillary on her broom to wag her boney finger at Putin and say “Tisk, tisk”.

I won’t even speculate what kind of finger Putin will give back to Hillary but she won’t get a thrill out of it.


48 posted on 02/25/2014 6:23:59 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Yes, for the same reason that the USA would not want to let a strategic base split away.
49 posted on 02/26/2014 5:30:15 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: MadMax, the Grinning Reaper

We’ll send in Pussy Riot.


50 posted on 02/26/2014 5:42:07 AM PST by InvisibleChurch (http://thegatwickview.tumblr.com/ http://thepurginglutheran.tumblr.com/)
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