World View: Henry Kissinger Says Vladimir Putin Wants a Way Out
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Henry Kissinger says that Vladimir Putin wants a way out
- Crimea's parliament votes to secede from Ukraine and join Russia
- United States and European Union apply sanctions
- India charges Kashmiri students with sedition for cheering Pakistan at cricket
Henry Kissinger says that Vladimir Putin wants a way out
Henry Kissinger is the most brilliant geopolitical analyst that I've
seen in my lifetime, so what he says, even when counter-intuitive, is
likely to be correct. He was interviewed on TV by Charlie Rose on
Thursday, and said the following:
"No Russian I've ever met finds it easy, or even
possible, to consider Ukraine a totally separate country. It was
part of Russia for 300 years. The history of Russia and Ukraine
have been intertwined for several hundred years before that. So
the evolution of Ukraine is a matter that moves all
As I described yesterday, Russia is claiming that there are no
Russian troops in Crimea, and that the Russian-speaking
troop-like people are really local militias over which Russia
has no control.
As I said, this is a blatant lie, as many reporters have spoken to
Russian soldiers in Crimea who SAY that they're Russian soldiers.
According to some estimates there are 16,000 Russian soldiers
Kissinger says that lying about the soldiers is cynical, but it's a
good sign, because it provides a way for Russia to back down.
Russia's president Vladimir Putin is going to suffer a major loss of
prestige over the Ukraine crisis, no matter how it turns out,
according to Kissinger, and Putin knows this. So far, Putin has done
what he was forced to do. But now, since he's said that there are no
Russian soldiers in Crimea, he doesn't have to issue a public order
for the Russian soldiers to evacuate. Instead, he can just allow them
to melt into the population. Although Putin will suffer some loss of
prestige from this outcome, it's not as bad as other scenarios,
according to Kissinger.
Kissinger also commented on Thursday's hour-long phone call between
president Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Kissinger said that he's
always advised presidents he's worked for not to talk to other heads
of state, unless their staffs had done a lot of preparation in
advance. "There's a danger when you put two egos together, and they
talk unprepared. If they disagree about something, then to whom will
they be able to appeal to get a resolution?"
Crimea's parliament votes to secede from Ukraine and join Russia
Just when everyone was hoping that events in Ukraine were beginning to
settle down, they took a dangerous new turn early on Thursday when the
Parliament of the Autonomous State of Crimea voted to separate from
Ukraine and become part of Russia. There will be a referendum on
March 16 with two questions:
The question that receives more "yes" votes will be considered the
"will of the people."
- Do you support the reunification of Crimea with Russia?
- Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Republic
of Crimea in 1992, leaving it as part of Ukraine?
The interim government in Kiev immediately said the vote was
unconstitutional, since regional governments can't vote to secede from
the nation. According to acting president Oleksandr Turchynov:
"This will be a farce, this will be falsification,
this will be a crime against the state, which was organized by the
military of the Russian Federation."
Any attempt for Crimea to secede from Ukraine would be rejected by
Kiev, and might trigger a violent confrontation between federal forces
and regional forces, the latter supported by the Russians.
Most commentators are predicting that because of the ethnic Russian
majority in Crimea, the choice to secede and join Russia will win the
referendum. However, a BBC reporter in Sevastopol said on air that
he'd spoken to a lot of ordinary people who said that they want
Russia's protection, and they want Kiev to protect their rights, but
they don't want to become part of Russia. He said that it's far from
certain that the secession side will win the referendum. Kyiv Post
United States and European Union apply sanctions
The sanctions that the United States and the European Union imposed on
Russia on Thursday were pretty meaningless. Certain meetings have
been canceled, certain individuals won't be allowed to travel to
certain places, and so forth. It was all pretty symbolic.
What's interesting is that an emergency European Union summit on
Ukraine that had been going on for several days would have ended on
Thursday with no sanctions imposed whatsoever, if it hadn't been for
the Crimean Parliament vote for secession. Leaders of EU member
nations that had rejected sanctions because they would just inflame
the issue further changed their minds, and the talk of the secession
referendum ended up galvanizing Europe's response. The symbolic
sanctions were approved, along with a statement that said that trade
sanctions would be employed if Russia escalated further. (No one
seriously believes that the EU would ever apply trade sanctions to
Russia, since Russia would retaliate, with devastating results to both
India charges Kashmiri students with sedition for cheering Pakistan at cricket
A group of Kashmiri students in an Indian university were charged with
sedition on Sunday when they cheered for Pakistan at a big
Pakistan-India cricket match, and then celebrated when Pakistan won.
The sedition charges, which might have resulted in 3-year prison
terms, were dropped on Tuesday, but other charges of "disrupting
communal harmony" and "causing damage to public property" are still
being investigate. However, the students have all been suspended as a
"precautionary measure" for their own safety, and have been sent home.
The suspension affects all 67 students in the Kashmiri community,
since no one was willing to identify the specific few students who had
The suspended students are saying that the damage to property was done
by the Indian team supporters, who vandalized their rooms. These
charges are not being investigated. Hindustan Times (India) and Tribune (Pakistan) and BBC
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