The ham-handed way American diplomats go about their craft is usually just a source of amusement. For decades, American rulers have been content to beat the stuffing out of third world nothings, rather than mixing it up with the big boys like Russia and China. It’s been mostly a waste of men and money. It has also sapped the strength of the military. Otherwise, it has not caused that much trouble for Americans or anyone else, other than the third world target. That may be changing with the reckless and stupid way the Obama administration has handled Ukraine. The story from a while back is a good example of the amateurish way the American deep state interfaces with the world.
The Russians have very real interests in Ukraine. They also have very strong emotions about the place. They are not going to stand by as America peels away another layer of their defense against creeping liberalism. They certainly are not going to let their access to the Black Sea get blocked by a bunch of yahoos from western Ukraine. That’s why they have moved to take Crimea and inched the world closer to a very dangerous confrontation.This may be a game for the ruling class fops in the state department and the administration, but it is serious business to the Russians.
The Ukraine has a respectable military force. They have roughly 700 main battle tanks at the ready and 60,000 ground forces. To put that in perspective, the Russians have 360,000 military personnel spread over the whole of their country. If the Russians seize Crimea, Ukraine may feel they have no choice by to send in their tanks. This is how things get out of hand. Anyone familiar with European history knows it is small sparks that have started big fires. Deliberately causing an international crisis by meddling in Ukraine is deeply stupid. That’s how Americans play the great game, which why we should not be playing it.
The Ukrainian nationalists in the streets have done one thing. That’s made clear they can and will force the politicians to flee. If you are a Ukrainian politician right now you understand that and will appeal to the nationalists. It is pretty safe bet that the nationalists will not be OK with the Russians seizing the Crimea. That is true today. It was true last month. It was true a year ago. As we saw with Georgia, nationalist pressure can have unintended effects. The Ukrainian pols, faced with the mob and a Russian army to their south is going to face the Russian army. This is not terribly complicated, yet American and European diplomats have pursued a policy that makes this more likely.