Territorial Integrity 135

I am inclined to think the concept of territorial integrity is overrated.  100 years ago, a guarantee of Belgium’s territorial integrity led Britain into the most disastrous of wars.  Thankfully for all the huffing and puffing about Ukraine’s territorial integrity, no outside power is going to be stupid enough to declare war on Russia.

The boundaries of states are accidents of history.  Ukraine’s certainly are.  There never had been a Ukrainian national state until 25 years ago, and the boundaries of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were never intended to define a nation state.  Indeed Crimea, which has never in history been ethnically or linguistically Ukrainian (it was Tartar before Stalin deported them), was only added on to the Ukrainian SSR within my lifetime for some obscure reason of Soviet politburo politics.

Rather than burble on about territorial integrity, the western world would do better to cut a deal with Putin wherein referenda on their future in Ukrainian provinces are held under international supervision with some degree of fairness.  Personally I very much want to see Ukraine in the EU, but not with a tail of Russian provinces who really do not want to be there.

Putin, of course, is a total hypocrite.  There is no doubt that the populations of Dagestan and Chehcnya had a genuine and settled desire to secede from Russia, and they have suffered Putin’s genocidal policies in consequence.  Putin is not acting from a belief in self-determination, but from naked Russian nationalism.  That is what is so amusing about the deluded left wingers supporting him against the nationalists of Kiev.

Referenda in the provinces of Ukraine, certainly.  But how about internationally supervised referenda in Dagestan and Chechnya as well?

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135 thoughts on “Territorial Integrity

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  • A Prole

    As the Ukraine is a combination of a russophile east and a europhile west and the Crimea is Ukranian only as the result of a Soviet accident, splitting the country would seem the right thing to do now.

  • ValuePlus

    I don’t think Putin is in any way on his own when it comes to totally opposite view of what is mine and what is yours. I don’t think you can name a single leader in all of history who is/was willing to give up territory just because logically it was not part of his/her state.

  • OrwellianUK

    To be fair Craig, Putin is not the only one who is being hypocritical here and it would help redress the massive anti-Russian stance of the Western media if you point out that there are no “Good Guys” in this affair, but simply the Realpolitik of ruthless State operators such as Putin and Obama et al.

    And to be even fairer, it’s not unreasonable to expect Putin to resist a US Puppet Government on his doorstep. Can you imagine the response if Russia or China spent billions attempting to destabilise the government of say Canada or Mexico in order to install their own puppet? Commentary about that very real double standard is what is completely absent from the Western Media whenever such international crises occur.

    Of course it should also be pointed out that one of the reasons there were such bitter conflicts in Chechnya and Dagestan is because of Western backed Terrorist Groups being used to destabilise those provinces.

  • Je

    The western world cutting a deal with Putin over Ukraine – that sounds very colonial. Do you mean something like the Munich Pact? Putin is a psychopath. He’s been appeased by this country already. Cameron’s government have been kindly covering up the Polonium attack here for them.

    I’ve been impressed by the Ukrainian politicians trying to defuse the situation and not play into Putin’s hands. I wish them well. Its not the West’s place to offer their country up to Putin.

  • N_

    Several leaders have sold territory. E.g. Denmark sold its Caribbean colonies to the US in the 1920s. In the 1980s there was talk (idle!) of Gorbachev possibly selling the Kurile islands in return for Japanese investment in Sibera. Had he ever been about to go ahead, the Russian armed forces would probably have vetoed the idea. The Rothschilds in London wouldn’t have liked it either.

    But the Crimea is different, for reasons that have nothing to do with national feeling or demography: reasons of the military balance of power. The Russian rulers are going to stay in the Crimea. Anyone who thinks they will leave, paving the way for the German-friendly Ukrainians to join NATO and for US warships to dock at Sevastopol is living in cloud cuckoo land. Russia will go to war to stop that. Not war as in Georgia, but war as in intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

    Everyone talks about the ‘single hyperpower’ today, just as ignorant people who don’t know much about the history of international relations repeat the ignorant line that the ‘cold war’ ended in 1989. I’m talking about people who probably never heard of detente or Apollo-Soyuz or SALT. The US-USSR cold war ended in the early 1960s, or, if you want to push things, the late 1960s. Then there was a bit of a half-hearted mini revival in the 1980s after the Zionists had wrecked detente. For what it’s worth, Fischer-Spassky happened at the height of detente, not the height of the cold war! 🙂

    The ‘hyperpower’ line is similarly ignorant. Russia still has several thousand nuclear warheads. Unlike the US ones, they don’t let Israeli companies ‘help out’ with their nuclear security either.

    @Craig – Bandera’s lot, the OUN, declared a Ukrainian state in 1941. Cf. the current regime in Croatia, which speaks of Croatian ‘independence’ in the early 1940s under the vile Ustashi, who sometimes got so carried away with massacring people that they annoyed the German Nazis. There are some similarities between Ukraine and Yugoslavia – religious ones. Not that I would push that comparison too far. The country kind of merges into Poland and one end and into Russia at the other.

  • Ben

    Following the unanimous vote for military action.. Obama skipped a briefing today on the matter.


    “The United Nations Security Council has met in New York. The Ukrainian envoy said: “This action by the Russian Federation constitutes an act of aggression against the state of Ukraine.

    “We call upon the Security Council to do everything possible now to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine. There is still a chance.”

  • Resident Dissident

    And what was the result of the last referendum on Ukrainian independence – including within the Crimea?


    Cutting a deal to hold a referendum under the present conditions where Putin is using the threat of cutting off gas/hikes in its price, where he sends in unbadged troops first and then gets parliamentary approval afterwards, where there are no guarantees of minority rights for those who are transferred to another country would just be a green light for every other tyrant in the world to behave in a similar fashion. And you really think that any referendum wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion? What on earth does “some” degree of fairness mean?

    And what do you think the effect of just quietly accepting such behaviour would be back in Russia (where Putin already has Navalny under house arrest with no access to the internet) or in how Russia is likely to behave to its neighbours and minorities within the Russian Federation.

    No we are not going to go to war with Russia – but there is a lot that we can do to make life uncomfortable for the regime – freezing their private bank accounts and overseas assets (most of which were robbed from the Russian people) might be a start.

    Yes territorial integrity may be overrated but then appeasement is even more so.

  • Macky

    A bit ironic asking for referenda in Ukrainian provinces, considering the recent talks in Kiev that ended with all parties agreeing to new presidential elections in December, return to the 2004 Constitution and release of Julia Tymoshenko from prison. Somebody obviously didn’t like that outcome, hence the mayhem & bloodshed that quickly followed it.

    I don’t think Putin is acting from “naked Russian nationalism”; think of the Cuban missile crisis, and remember that was a result of US missile being placed in Turkey, so the potential of NATO missiles anywhere so near Russian boarders seems to be very much a red line.

  • Frazer

    Lots of stuff on various web pages and news sites tonight..however I do not think that Putin will start an all out invasion of Ukraine…he is not that stupid..probably a scaled up deployment of Russian troops to ‘PROTECT’ Russian speaking peoples of Ukraine against so called radical elements in Kiev…maybe I am wrong and that Putin will throw the Soviet might against Ukraine to prove to Obama that Russia is now not taking a back seat…I watch the news with interest..

  • Resident Dissident

    “I don’t think Putin is acting from “naked Russian nationalism”;”

    And who has proposed to place NATO missiles in the Ukraine or suggested revoking the very long lease on the Russian navy’s base in the Crimea? And quite frankly in this day and age I don’t think geographical proximity is much of an issue given the likely range of missiles.

  • Ben

    Such synchronicity. Nikita was Ukrainian, made a gift of the Crimea; was a colleague of Berea under Stalin. The Cuban Missiles were a defensive move after the US placed nukes in Turkey and Italy.

    The West tickles the tail of the dragon of xenophobia with reckless disregard.

  • Macky

    ResDes; “And who has proposed to place NATO missiles in the Ukraine or suggested revoking the very long lease on the Russian navy’s base in the Crimea?”

    With a “pro-Western” Ukraine, all that is potentially possible.

    ResDes; “And quite frankly in this day and age I don’t think geographical proximity is much of an issue given the likely range of missiles.”

    The US seem to think differently; they quite like short-range nuclear missiles, the attraction I guess is in the description/name.

  • Ben

    I’m a little surprised Craig hasn’t made the Sevastapol/Tartus connection. Those ports are strategic to others not of Russian sympathies.

  • fool

    Russia have learnt the lesson of Afghanistan when they went in before the olympics.

  • fred

    “And who has proposed to place NATO missiles in the Ukraine or suggested revoking the very long lease on the Russian navy’s base in the Crimea? And quite frankly in this day and age I don’t think geographical proximity is much of an issue given the likely range of missiles.”

    I think the missiles concerned would be defensive missiles there to neutralise the Russian nuclear capability. America has good defences against Russian missiles, Europe is still very vulnerable unless Russian missiles can be intercepted quickly.

  • Systema

    This is like a special episode of Ow! My Balls! starring Ken Adelman. First Putin puts him in a can opener and he has to tap the mat in Syria. In retaliation, the old buzzard achieves his lifelong dream of knocking over the Kievan Rus, and he winds with the Exclusion Zone.

  • Ben

    How capable is Russia’s military overall?

    It’s moderately competent. It’s not at the level of the American or British or German military, but it’s better than in the 1990s. The [Russian] military is good at bullying small neighbors, but it would not be effective against NATO. It would not be able to defeat China.


    Vlad is a strutting peacock, and as you may know, making oneself look larger is a trick the animal kingdom uses when confronting a foe. His bragging rights hearken from an earlier time in the Soviet. I don’t think he’s crazy enough to believe his forces can prevail, but I think he would rather die than appear weak. That, in itself, makes him dangerous.

  • fred

    “How capable is Russia’s military overall?”

    They did pretty good at Stalingrad.

    Doesn’t do to underestimate them.

  • Ben

    “They did pretty good at Stalingrad.”

    Moisin Nagant, from house to house, yes, but that was how long ago?

  • fred

    “Moisin Nagant, from house to house, yes, but that was how long ago?”

    Only 70 years.

    Like I said, don’t underestimate the Russians.

  • Black jelly

    Obama is a tool of the Synagogue of Satan, EVERYTHING he says is pre-meditated spin and fake. The real issue is what is this strange force that makes a nuland and an anon at this blog entirely in sync without any commo? It must be Satan !

  • Clarence

    Unusually weak and ignorant analysis by Craig – more like something you might expect to read in the Guardian. As Pepe Escocar says in Asia Today, the timing of this planned event is all to do with Syria.

  • Black jelly

    @Ben after your ISON digress your CIA slip is showing even more ! Where is your partner in crime?

  • craig Post author


    If you mean this article http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-05-280214.html by Escocar it is puerile. The notion that NATO are orchestrating events to kick the Russian navy out of Sevastopol is ridiculous. NATO has no fear of the Russian Navy – which can’t actually get out of the Black Sea unless NATO lets it – ever heard of the Bosphorus? The plain truth is that if NATO wanted, it could sink the entire Russian Black Sea fleet in ten minutes. That would of course be suicidal as Russia could retaliate in other ways. But the Black Sea fleet is a dead letter and an irrelevance, except as a motivator for Putin.

    The problem is that many on the left will ever accept any analysis which does not simply say “Western evil bastards, Putin heroic defender f freedom”. Anything else is “ignorant”.

  • Herbie

    Truly remarkable state propaganda piece from the BBC:

    “What in many ways is so remarkable is how predictable Russia’s behaviour has been; straight from the post-Soviet play-book.

    It has involved a combination of political rhetoric (talk of threats to Russian minorities, orthodox religious sites and so on), threats of economic pressure (the imposition of new customs duties at the Russian-Ukrainian frontier), and overt military action at least in the Crimea with key installations and government buildings seized by troops in unmarked uniforms whose weaponry, vehicles and behaviour marked them out as regular service personnel taking their orders from Moscow.”


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