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

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

This morning’s key headlines from

  • 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 invadingCrimea, Ukraine’s acting head of state, Oleksandr Turchynov, said: 

They’re playing the Abkhazia scenario… 

I am personally addressing President Putin to stop the provocationand call back the military from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,and work exclusively within the framework of the signedagreements.

The “Abkhazia scenario” refers to Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia,after which Russia annexed two of Georgia’s provinces, Abkhazia andSouth Ossetia. Indeed, Russia appears to be following exactly thesame pattern that it followed prior to the Georgia invasion. 

President Barack Obama made a totally meaningless televised statementlate Friday afternoon: 

However, we are now deeply concerned by reports ofmilitary movements taken by the Russian Federation inside ofUkraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine,including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility inCrimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorialintegrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in theinterest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe. 

It would represent a profound interference in matters that must bedetermined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violationof Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereigntyand borders of Ukraine, and of international laws. And just daysafter the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it wouldinvite the condemnation of nations around the world. And indeed,the United States will stand with the international community inaffirming that there will be costs for any military interventionin Ukraine.”

It’s fair to say that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, who is guiltyof war crimes every day by shipping arms to Syria’s president Basharal-Assad who’s using them for crimes against humanity against his ownpeople, could not care less that Obama is “deeply concerned” or thatRussia might be committing “a clear violation” of international laws.Putin may well also believe that he’s a better judge than Obama ofwhat is and is not “deeply destabilizing.” However, President Obamadidn’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, OleksandrTurchynov, accused Russia of “playing the Abkhazia scenario,” he alsoalluded to a 1994 treaty: 

I also remind that the United States, Russia andGreat Britain are also guarantors of the national security ofUkraine… 

Because of Verkhovna Rada’s [the parliament’s] and my personalappeal, the United Nations Security Council is having a sessionright now. The whole civilized world supports Ukraine. 

We demand to stop the provocation, we demand to normalize thesituation. We’re sure that Ukraine will preserve its territory,Ukraine will defend its independence and any attempts ofannexation, intrusion will have very seriousconsequences.

The reason that the United States, Russia, and Great Britain are alsoguarantors of the national security of Ukraine is because they allsigned the 1994 “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances.” 

This memorandum was signed shortly after the breakup of the SovietUnion. The breakup left a collection of Soviet nuclear weapons inUkraine, and there was international concern about the proliferationof nuclear weapons. Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to removeall Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory and send them backto Russia. In return, Russia and the Western signatory countriesessentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity ofUkraine as an independent state. 

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

Here’s a philosophical question: Do treaties and memoranda betweennations ever mean anything? Or are they just political appliances tobe discarded by one side or the other as soon as they becomeinconvenient? RFERL

Burma accuses Doctors without Borders of bias towards Rohingyas

The government of Burma (Myanmar) has ordered the humanitarian agencyMédecins Sans Frontières (MSF – Doctors Without Borders) to ceaseoperations because of bias towards Rohingyas. The context is that inthe last three years, large mobs of Buddhists have massacred entireneighborhoods of Muslims in various regions of the country,mutilating, raping, and killing hundreds and displacing thousands fromtheir 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 RakhineState in 2012, near the border with Bangladesh. There have beenrecurrences, most recently in January, when Buddhists are alleged tohave massacred Rohingyas, killing 48. Burmese authorities have beendenying that there’s any problem at all, and they particularly deniedthat any massacre occurred in January. However, MSF confirmed thattheir medics had treated 22 patients near the site of the allegedattack, infuriating Burmese officials. This led to the demand thatMSF cease operations, presumably so that further massacres can occurwithout witnesses. 

Since the violence erupted in June 2012, MSF has provided care innorthern Rakhine, home to more than 1 million Rohingya, and they arealso present in more than a dozen camps for the displaced peopleelsewhere in the state. For many of the sickest patients, theorganization offers the best and sometimes only care, becausetravelling outside the camps for treatment in local Buddhist-runhospitals can be dangerous and expensive.

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

Nonetheless, some analysts try to find root causes for these genocidalurges. According to one analyst, Burmese Buddhists have a “siegementality” stemming from a scripturally unsupported but widelybelieved “prophecy” that Buddhism will disappear 5000 years after theBuddha’s passing. As 1956 is considered the halfway point, the beliefis that Buddhism is now declining irreversibly. 

In addition, the “siege mentality” is further supported among BurmeseBuddhists 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 thesecountries. So between the disappearance “prophecy” and beingencircled by huge foreign populations, it takes little imagination toconstruct a narrative where these three populous countries arescheming 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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