Last week, by grisly coincidence, two horrible tragedies occurred at once.
One saw a packed passenger jet shot out of the sky over rural Ukraine, probably by Moscow-armed pro-Russian separatists. 298 people were killed, 30 of them children. The other saw a defenceless slum-city the size of the Isle of White, already half-flattened by weeks of aerial bombardment, invaded by one of the most technologically advanced armies in the world. Even before Israeli troops entered Gaza, their air offensive had already killed 259 people, 39 of them children, and injured nearly two thousand.
Russia appears to have invaded neighbouring Crimea, the historical region currently part of the Ukraine. It’s opprobrium a go-go in the West, as the leading lights of liberal democracy compete to see who can pile the most macho condemnation on Vladimir Putin, the man who, presumably, gave the order.
Geopolitics quickly polarises people. The mainstream media less-than-subtly slides behind the economic and strategic interests of the United States, while even among well-meaning leftists there’s a tendency to uncritically back anyone who the West is currently lecturing, no matter how authoritarian and/or anti-democratic. For the casual observer, this can make it difficult to understand what the hell is actually going on.
Last November, Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych suddenly pulled out of a deal that would’ve seen his country forge closer links with the European Union to make one with Russia instead. This wasn’t very popular in the West, whose leaders almost immediately started chafing for his removal.Continue reading “Digested: What’s Going On In Crimea?”→