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  1. #1
    scolairebocht scolairebocht is offline
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    Could the Ukraine crisis trigger WWIII, even a nuclear war?

    A number of leading commentators have raised the prospect of a wider WWIII scenario arising from the Ukraine situation, in particular John Simpson here: BBC article - What are the chances of a third world war? - Topic , although he only tentatively threw out the idea, and definitely here by Paul Roberts who was a former senior politician in the US: PressTV - Ukraine crisis portends apocalypse .

    Of course all this doom stuff centres on the question of what will Russia, with its huge nuclear arsenal, do now?

    Personally I cannot see her intervening militarily in the short term to put Yanukovich back on the throne in Kiev, for I think two reasons:

    1) Because they don't wish to offend the Western powers too directly I would guess. Remembering that the latter imposed sanctions on travel and foreign assets of the Ukraine elite during the crisis I don't think the Russian oligarchs would like that to happen to them. They are jet setting good lifers these days, they could do without the grief of such sanctions and they just don't care enough about Ukraine to put a damper on their lifestyle.

    2) If they were to intervene now Russia would be going up against the whole might of the population of Western Ukraine, which even for a large army is still something their military planners would I think counsel against. The point is that right now everybody in Kiev was in retrospect a strong supporter of the Revolution. Nothing succeeds like success, the protestors are now drunk with victory and everybody wants to be their friend, for Russia to now weigh in massively against them would make them the bad guys for evermore.

    No its more likely that Russia will wait and do very little in the short term. But the crisis might escalate beyond their capacity to control it.


    In particular the focus will now shift no doubt to Eastern Ukraine, to the large Russian areas (as can be seen on the above map) that were in many cases part of Russia until very recently. The Kiev government seems to be spoiling for a fight here by downgrading the right to speak Russian in the Ukraine and closing down the most popular party among Russian speakers and railing against 'seperatists' in places like the Crimea.

    So it seems quite likely to this observer that as the months go by - I do not see anything too dramatic happening in the short term - that Russia will be dragged into doing 'something' for the Russians in those districts. Possibly they will plan to send in some military support on the lines of say the Turkish intervention in Cyprus in the 70s or indeed like Russia did in Georgia a few years ago i.e. a very limited intervention designed to protect Russians and their property etc. It seems to be either that or bow out of the Crimea etc completely, and even in the 19th century they were prepared to fight a major war to hold onto it, Russian prestige could be thought to take too wounding a blow in that event.

    The next question is what will the government in Ukraine do then? Will they surrender these territories meekly or will they cry blue murder and call for the assistance of their new found Western allies to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine? I think it will obviously be the latter and thats when things get interesting.

    At which point the reader should become cognisant of some international treaties that were signed and negotiated during 1991-4 after the USSR broke up but before Ukraine had agreed to surrender its quite large nuclear arsenal. During that time the established nuclear powers of the UK, US, and later China, agreed to defend Ukraine with a nuclear umbrella in the event of another country threatening it with a nuclear offensive. On the surface it does seem clear then that this guarantee only kicks in in the event of the Russians threatening a nuclear strike on the Ukraine, which I don't think is likely, but in fact the Polish Foreign Minister ( https://twitter.com/Ukroblogger/stat...631872/photo/1 ) has just taken the trouble to remind the world of these guarantees because presumably he feels they are now relevant?

    Added to that we find that Ukraine is a member of some military alliances/agreements that may also carry with them some kind of mutual defence guarantees outside of the nuclear area, for example NATO's Partnership for Peace, CEEDEFCO and the Visegrad Group ( CEEDEFCO ).

    In short then Ukraine could end up being for WWIII what Belgium was for WWI, i.e. a neutral country with security guarantees backed up by the UK, and Poland for WWII.

    The nuclear issue arises because if the Western powers feel obliged to intervene in defence of the Ukraine (either because of the above security guarantees or because of political pressure now that they are so heavily identified as allies of the new government in Ukraine) they might find that only a threat of nuclear counterattack would be sufficient to cause the Russians to stop their intevention. It might seem that way to them because any Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine would be assisted by their dominance of air, sea, and land borders in that area, and the support of the local Russian population in that district. In otherwords the Russians couldn't be knocked out of that position by conventional military means so maybe some hothead in the West would raise the nuclear threat instead?

    Then it could be the slippery slope ala the summer of 1914?
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  2. #2
    JHB78 JHB78 is offline

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    Quick answer. No
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  3. #3
    odie1kanobe odie1kanobe is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by scolairebocht View Post

    The nuclear issue arises because if the Western powers feel obliged to intervene in defence of the Ukraine (either because of the above security guarantees or because of political pressure now that they are so heavily identified as allies of the new government in Ukraine) they might find that only a threat of nuclear counterattack would be sufficient to cause the Russians to stop their intevention. It might seem that way to them because any Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine would be assisted by their dominance of air, sea, and land borders in that area, and the support of the local Russian population in that district. In otherwords the Russians couldn't be knocked out of that position by conventional military means so maybe some hothead in the West would raise the nuclear threat instead?

    Then it could be the slippery slope ala the summer of 1914?
    Isn't going to happen because reality is no one in the west gives a toss about Ukranians enough to start a war on their behalf.

    Poland remembers the Ukranian Nationalists who performed a genocide on Poles in Ukraine in WW2, Romanians have really no great love for them.

    Countries boardering them fear a big influx of Ukranians just wanting to escape into Western Europe.

    The Tymoshenko supporters forget she was PM and had scandal after scandal attached to he name and a winnable election she was well beaten and she has been up to her neck in dodgy deals for decades.
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  4. #4
    Dame_Enda Dame_Enda is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by scolairebocht
    In particular the focus will now shift no doubt to Eastern Ukraine, to the large Russian areas (as can be seen on the above map) that were in many cases part of Russia until very recently. The Kiev government seems to be spoiling for a fight here by downgrading the right to speak Russian in the Ukraine and closing down the most popular party among Russian speakers and railing against 'seperatists' in places like the Crimea.
    I think one MP proposed banning PoR but as far as I know it hasn't happened yet and based on what someone posted here before the interim President may not support such a move.
    Quote Originally Posted by odie1kanobe
    Isn't going to happen because reality is no one in the west gives a toss about Ukranians enough to start a war on their behalf.
    I think that's probably true. But with major Russian pipelines going through Ukraine to Europe I think it should be higher on our priority list. The EU needs to secure its energy sources. An anti-Russian govt in Ukraine would reduce the Kremlin's blackmail potential.

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  5. #5
    gijoe gijoe is online now
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    Crimea is the bell weather. It has a 60% Russian population as well as the Black Sea Fleet and is Ukraines only Republic with its own Parliament. If Crimea secedes it is how Ukraine reacts to that will determine what happens. Putin is not stupid enough to fire the first shot, he will get the Russian population of Ukraine to rise up against Kiev and then intervene to protect them. That's how it will pan out.

    The Donetsk region is resource rich and the Ukraine would be a basket case without it if it peels away.
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  6. #6
    Who is John Galt? Who is John Galt? is offline

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    It'll more than likely end up with the country dividing along the lines of the two main blocks shown on the map.
    Part of eastern Ukraine was once part of Russia anyway.
    Let the people decide in a plebiscite and implement the outcome.
    No need for a war of any kind apart from the line straightening that will inevitably take place along the fault lines.
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  7. #7
    JHB78 JHB78 is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe View Post
    Crimea is the bell weather. It has a 60% Russian population as well as the Black Sea Fleet and is Ukraines only Republic with its own Parliament. If Crimea secedes it is how Ukraine reacts to that will determine what happens. Putin is not stupid enough to fire the first shot, he will get the Russian population of Ukraine to rise up against Kiev and then intervene to protect them. That's how it will pan out.

    The Donetsk region is resource rich and the Ukraine would be a basket case without it if it peels away.
    A civil war between pro-Russian Crimean's on one side and Crimean Tatars and pro-Kiev Crimean's on the other.
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  8. #8
    odie1kanobe odie1kanobe is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Who is John Galt? View Post
    It'll more than likely end up with the country dividing along the lines of the two main blocks shown on the map.
    Part of eastern Ukraine was once part of Russia anyway.
    Let the people decide in a plebiscite and implement the outcome.
    No need for a war of any kind apart from the line straightening that will inevitably take place along the fault lines.
    Lots of Western Ukraine was Polish, Slovak and Romanian..................
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  9. #9
    Dame_Enda Dame_Enda is offline
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    And parts of Russia used to be Ukrainian too.
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  10. #10
    parentheses parentheses is online now

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    Re the OP.-Have a read of this article by Justin Raimondo

    It looks like America is driving the world towards war

    A World of Trouble by Justin Raimondo -- Antiwar.com
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