These days, there is so much going on in the world of finance, geopolitics, and science, that it's impossible to keep up with, but this is a story that needs to be mentioned, especially since we covered recent news about Great Britain and China in our last News and Views from the Nefarium. Regular readers here know that my (high octane) suspicion and speculation is that the USA has been "shifting eastward" in its NATO basing to both to counter "Russian aggression" in the Ukraine, and, I suspect, for the more hidden purpose of keeping western Europe under its (currently insane) thumb by basing in the old cordon sanitaire of Poland, the Baltic States, and Romania, for the purpose of keep Europe and Russia apart, and to make interdiction of Russian energy supplies and other commerce between Europe and Russia much easier.
With that in mind, contemplate the current moves afoot in the Donbass region of the eastern Ukraine, where since the US-sponsored coup in Kiev, there has been fighting(this article shared by Mr. G.B.):
What is disturbing here is to contemplate the results of such a referendum, which only the willfully blind would believe would go Kiev's way, which which case, all eyes would be, once again, on Washington and Mooscow, and peripherally, on Paris and Berlin. For Mr. Putin's part, having established the precedent of allowing such a referendum in the Crimea, it would be difficult to ignore a similar call for readmission to Russia. While the strategic stakes are not as high as they were with the Russian Black Sea Flee's traditional base at Sevastopol at stake in the Crimean mess(and the clear US attempt to deny that base to Russia), theey are signifficant in that Russia will have to measure its response carefully with tensions as high between Washington and Moscow as they are.
There are other factors playing in the background here as well, both for Russia, and for the Ukraine. A return of the Donbass to Moscow's jurisdiction ccould perhaps excite similar moves and pressures against Kiev, particularly in the Ciscarpathian Ukraine near Hungary, and regions close to the old pre-war borders of Poland. Pro-Russian elements in Budapest might be tempted to welcome similar referenda in the Ciscarpathian, and such moves would, once again, probably inject Berlin into the process. If so, then - for those really paying attention - it could be seen as a confirmation of the surreal predictions and policies of the Madrid Circular that I outlined in my most recent book, The THird Way.
But on the Washington side of the equation, things are equally surreal, for having injected itself in the problems in the Ukraine - problems at least as old as World War One and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, if not much older - the neo-con lunatics driving American foreign (im)policy will be hard-pressed to avoid further escalation, for consider, no matter how hard Mr. Obama or Mr. Kerry might try to defuse the situation, any moves they make in that respect will summon the usual cries of the Obama Administration being "soft on Russia," (one can hear LIndsey Graham and John McCain even now).
Is there any room for our trademark High Octane Speculation here? Well, some, but not very much. But suppose, for a moment, that Russia manages to convince everyone that a referendum should be held under UN supervision, and that all parties will abide by it. That would, of course, "legitimize" the whole thing in pretty much everyone's eyes, except, of course, in Washington. So again, we're left without much wiggle room. Which leads us back to the Kremlin once again.The Ukraine appears to be headed for a crack-up, and is sustainable only by dint of Western military power in the region, and even that may not be enough.
My bet is the phone lines are burning between Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi. If they're on board, then Donbass is on the menu. And if that's the case, then the weakness of the US case and power in the region is exposed. And if that's the case, then those borders in the western Ukraine may be headed for yet another major revision fairly quickly.
See you on the flip side...