World View: Russian Troops in Ukraine Raise Fear of 'Abkhazia Scenario'

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russian troops in Ukraine raise fear of 'Abkhazia scenario'
  • Ukraine's president invokes the 1994 'Budapest Memorandum'
  • Burma accuses Doctors without Borders of bias towards Rohingyas

Russian troops in Ukraine raise fear of 'Abkhazia scenario'

With Russian warplanes and over 2,000 Russian troops now invading Crimea, Ukraine's acting head of state, Oleksandr Turchynov, said: 

They're playing the Abkhazia scenario... 
I am personally addressing President Putin to stop the provocation and call back the military from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and work exclusively within the framework of the signed agreements.

The "Abkhazia scenario" refers to Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia, after which Russia annexed two of Georgia's provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Indeed, Russia appears to be following exactly the same pattern that it followed prior to the Georgia invasion. 

President Barack Obama made a totally meaningless televised statement late Friday afternoon: 

However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe. 
It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws. And just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. And indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."

It's fair to say that Russia's president Vladimir Putin, who is guilty of war crimes every day by shipping arms to Syria's president Bashar al-Assad who's using them for crimes against humanity against his own people, could not care less that Obama is "deeply concerned" or that Russia might be committing "a clear violation" of international laws. Putin may well also believe that he's a better judge than Obama of what is and is not "deeply destabilizing." However, President Obama didn't take the opportunity to set any more red lines. Politico

Ukraine's president invokes the 1994 'Budapest Memorandum'

At the same time that Ukraine's acting head of state, Oleksandr Turchynov, accused Russia of "playing the Abkhazia scenario," he also alluded to a 1994 treaty: 

I also remind that the United States, Russia and Great Britain are also guarantors of the national security of Ukraine... 
Because of Verkhovna Rada's [the parliament's] and my personal appeal, the United Nations Security Council is having a session right now. The whole civilized world supports Ukraine. 
We demand to stop the provocation, we demand to normalize the situation. We're sure that Ukraine will preserve its territory, Ukraine will defend its independence and any attempts of annexation, intrusion will have very serious consequences.

The reason that the United States, Russia, and Great Britain are also guarantors of the national security of Ukraine is because they all signed the 1994 "Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances." 

This memorandum was signed shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The breakup left a collection of Soviet nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and there was international concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory and send them back to Russia. In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. 

Turchynov's point is that this agreement is now being violated. 

Here's a philosophical question: Do treaties and memoranda between nations ever mean anything? Or are they just political appliances to be discarded by one side or the other as soon as they become inconvenient? RFERL

Burma accuses Doctors without Borders of bias towards Rohingyas

The government of Burma (Myanmar) has ordered the humanitarian agency Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF - Doctors Without Borders) to cease operations because of bias towards Rohingyas. The context is that in the last three years, large mobs of Buddhists have massacred entire neighborhoods of Muslims in various regions of the country, mutilating, raping, and killing hundreds and displacing thousands from their homes. ( "3-Oct-13 World View -- Buddhist violence against Muslims in Burma/Myanmar continues to spread"

The massacres originally targeted Muslim Rohingyas in Burma's Rakhine State in 2012, near the border with Bangladesh. There have been recurrences, most recently in January, when Buddhists are alleged to have massacred Rohingyas, killing 48. Burmese authorities have been denying that there's any problem at all, and they particularly denied that any massacre occurred in January. However, MSF confirmed that their medics had treated 22 patients near the site of the alleged attack, infuriating Burmese officials. This led to the demand that MSF cease operations, presumably so that further massacres can occur without witnesses. 

Since the violence erupted in June 2012, MSF has provided care in northern Rakhine, home to more than 1 million Rohingya, and they are also present in more than a dozen camps for the displaced people elsewhere in the state. For many of the sickest patients, the organization offers the best and sometimes only care, because travelling outside the camps for treatment in local Buddhist-run hospitals can be dangerous and expensive.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, these kinds of ethnic hatreds often spring up during generational Crisis eras, and they eventually lead to a massive crisis war. 

Nonetheless, some analysts try to find root causes for these genocidal urges. According to one analyst, Burmese Buddhists have a "siege mentality" stemming from a scripturally unsupported but widely believed "prophecy" that Buddhism will disappear 5000 years after the Buddha’s passing. As 1956 is considered the halfway point, the belief is that Buddhism is now declining irreversibly. 

In addition, the "siege mentality" is further supported among Burmese Buddhists from being surround by large, populous countries -- China, India, Bangladesh -- with a combined population of over 2.7 billion, with a large-scale influx of migrant workers from all of these countries. So between the disappearance "prophecy" and being encircled by huge foreign populations, it takes little imagination to construct a narrative where these three populous countries are scheming to swallow up the country through demographic pressure. AP and BBC and RSIS

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, Abkhazia, Georgia, South Ossetia, Vladimir Putin, Budapest Memorandum, Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, Doctors Without Borders, Burma, Myanmar, Buddhists, Rohingyas, Muslims 

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