Sunday, March 2, 2014

War and Peace

Matters in the Ukraine have reached breaking point; Russia is acting just as the USSR did – I think of the cynical and lying manner in which Stalin proclaimed peace while bloodily occupying the Baltic States, for example. That said, I think Ukraine might be well advised to let the Crimea go, since Russia is in de facto control there already.

How upsetting, to think that the pro-Russian President of Ukraine would turn tail and run, and those pro-Europe scum came suddenly to power! How upsetting – to the Kremlin, not known for fondness toward would-be overthrowers of authoritarian regimes.

The real danger comes if Putin (think Stalin, think Lenin, think Ivan the Terrible – Russian autocrats are all the same, just like those Russian dolls all nested inside each other) decides to take more than the Crimea: perhaps the easternmost Donetsk and Luhansk regions, to begin with.

After all, to the detritus of the old Soviet Empire (I mean Kaliningrad Oblast, between Poland and Lithuania), several puppet states "protected" by the Russian military have been added since the breakup of the USSR:
  • Transnistria, between Moldova and Ukraine: 4,163 sq km (protected since 1990)
  • Abkhazia, formerly north-western Georgia: 8,660 sq km (protected since 1992-3 and especially since 2008)
  • South Ossetia, formerly north-central Georgia: 3,900 sq km (also occupied since 2008)
  • Crimea: 26,964 sq km (de facto occupied as of late February 2014)
It appears the bear is getting hungrier.

May we expect ethnic cleansing, or just bashings and like cruelty, once the Crimea "overwhelmingly votes to reunite joyfully with the Motherland"? If I were a Crimean Tatar I'd be afraid.

Russia's government of course assumes that the European Union, the US and NATO are all as gormless and spineless as they have so far appeared; which seems a fair assessment. But hand-wringing will not scare away the bear, only a bloodied nose will. At least the Lithuanians have realised what's at stake, and have invoked Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

If NATO mobilised, and the US and UK declared they were willing to enforce, militarily if need be, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, a "piece of paper" signed also by Russia (perfidy again), which guaranteed the borders and territorial integrity of Ukraine against the threat of force – then Putin might draw back.

Then again, NATO might prove itself the loser in such a conflict, should conflict come. Or Russia. Who knows what may happen? And didn't something very nasty transpire in similar circumstances in 1914?

Do pray for peace:

Aña. Da pacem, Dómine, in diébus nostris: quia non est álius qui pugnet pro nobis, nisi tu, Deus noster. 
V/. Fiat pax in virtúte tua. 
R/. Et abundántia in túrribus tuis.
Oratio. Deus, a quo sancta desidéria, recta consília, et justa sunt óреrа: da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandátis tuis dédita, et hóstium subláta formídine, témpora sint tua protectióne tranquílla. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. R/. Amen. 
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccáta mundi, dona nobis pacem.
Regína pacis, ora pro nobis.
Ant. Give peace in our time, O Lord: because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God. 
V/. Peace be in thy strength. 
R/. And plenteousness within thy towers. 
Let us pray. 
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed; Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee, we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen. 
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace.
Queen of peace, pray for us.

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