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article imageOp-Ed: Russia delivers its own polar vortex

By Robert Weller     Mar 5, 2014 in Politics
Sevastopol - Is it 1938 all over again? Europe can't decide what to do about a power-hungry dictator who only wants a small part of a country with an ethnic Russian minority.
Unfortunately there are several newly independent nations that fit that description.
Will there be peace in our time?
The main difference between now and then is that the United States is not sitting on the sidelines, though some will say why should America care?
US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting Wednesday in Paris to discuss the Ukraine with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Armed gunmen forced the UN special representative to Crimea to leave, CNN reported, citing an ITV reporter who was with Robert Serry.
The most urgent pleas for help, other than Kiev, are coming from Poland. They can well remember how Hitler's Germany fabricated incidents to justify invading them, and the Soviets took what was left.
Europe is offering $15 billion in aid over the next two years, according to Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. Kerry says the US will buttress that with an additional $1 billion.
That is not quite half what Ukraine says it needs. It is not clear how avid foreign investors will be about spending money in a country that could be annexed by the new Russian empire.
Russia threatened sanctions against foreign investors if Europe or the U.S. impose sanctions on Moscow.
The Russian threat could result in the U.S. Congress lifting its ban of the export of natural gas. The U.S. is becoming the world’s largest energy producer, if it has not already reached that point.
"The Russian aggression on Ukraine's territory is having political and economic consequences. The presence of the Russian military on Ukraine's territory is having an extremely negative effect of Ukraine's economy," said Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Of course foreign investors are fleeing Russia too.
The idea of sending in international monitors to see if ethnic Russians are safe in Crimea is certain to be vetoed by Russia.
Ukraine can write off its Russian debt, just as Syria has already done, perhaps setting Moscow on the same course for bankruptcy that brought down the Berlin Wall.
The mainstream media has concluded Europe is impotent because it needs Russian gas, though there are big stockpiles and it is a warm winter.
France, just like 1938, is the main voice calling for action. Sadly, no one, particularly their British allies, supported them then.
"Let's start to initiate the path of dialogue, but at the same time, tomorrow there is an EU summit and sanctions could be voted tomorrow if there is no de-escalation," said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
One Russian response has been to begin testing new ICBMs, and violating the airspace of NATO-member Turkey. It recalls Russian Bears flying into Alaskan airspace and being turned back by American jets.
Also as in 1938, the Crimean peninsula is being portrayed in the Russian media as a hotbed of Nazi reactionaries, bent on harming ethnic Russians. The Washington Post reported not a single report of such activity has been reported, let alone confirmed.
It is only slightly more absurd than the 1,314 residents of Point Roberts, the tip of a peninsula that extends from Canada, claiming they are in danger of aggression from Ottawa.
Putin said the governor of Lutsk was tortured. The Post said he was doused with water.
Hitler presaged his plans in his book, Mein Kampf. Putin has said the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.
The lukewarm support for the US is partly a result of the invasion of Iraq in a futile search for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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