Escalating the Ukraine conflict: dangerous diplomacy

The Obama administration is now considering arming Ukraine with defensive weapons.

“With Russian-backed separatists pressing their attacks in Ukraine. NATO’s  military commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, now supports providing defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s beleaguered forces, and an array of administration and military officials appear to be edging toward that position, American officials said Sunday.”

a new report generated by a group of former senior American officials, including the former NATO commander Adm. James Stavridis, says the U.S. needs to ‘bolster deterrence in Ukraine’ by providing $3 billion in defensive military aid to the Ukrainians over the next three years.”

According to Samuel Huntington’s theory, “The Clash of Civilizations,” the best course of action at this juncture would be to sue for peace and let the natural partition of the country take place. Arming Kiev at this point will only escalate the conflict with no foreseeable positive results. In other words the west has lost this war. The time for arming and supporting Kiev should have been the summer of 2014 but Mr. Obama, like so many other opportunities lost in his foreign policy, has lost this also.

The fault line drawn between Russian and European civilizations according to the Clash of Civilizations

The fault line drawn between Russian and European civilizations according to the Clash of Civilizations. Ukraine is cut pretty much between where the front lines are now between East and West.

Recently, I wrote in “Islam’s Bloody Borders”   (http://bit.ly/17F1VlV)  the Ukraine, according to Huntington, breaks down along civilization lines pretty close to where the current sides are now calling western and eastern Ukraine. No secret though, eastern rebels are Russian Orthodox Christians and look to Moscow for leadership and alignment. Western Ukranians,  mostly Roman Catholic, want to align themselves closer with the EU. It is the perfect “clash of civilizations” paradigm.

I’m sure when Huntington originally wrote his essay back in 1992, he had no way of knowing about Barack Obama in the second decade of the 21st century. But, the president is integral in seeing this come to pass. Another president in another time would have stood Putin down.  Mr. Obama has played right into his hands.

The time for arming Western Ukraine and backing the Russians down has passed. Vladimir Putin has the upper hand and will use it.

For the administration to now arm the Western Ukrainians beyond weapons that would do more than stalemate the situation would be a disaster. It could risk widening the war to include Russia, Europe and the U.S., then a nuclear confrontation between us and them and it’s pretty much bye-bye world.

That’s all a little too risky for what’s at stake.

As it is now Western and Eastern Ukraine will be sniping at each other for generations. Other separations along those same religio-civilizational lines have shown not to be successful, but at least workable on some level. Israel-Palestine, India-Pakistan, and the grand-daddy of them Ireland, breaking down to the Catholic south and Protestant north.

These 20th century proto-clash of civilization markers are a pretty good indicator what to expect from East and West Ukraine for the rest of this century. They can’t live together as one country,  that is for sure. To allow the war to continue with a possible imposition on Western Ukraine being forced into submission to Moscow, is not an option.

The definition of victory needs to be reassessed here. A peace creating two Ukraines should be the goal. Western Ukraine should move into the EU camp while the east looks to Moscow.

In the end, a partition of the country might bring about violence from time to time which we should all deplore, but at least it will be kept local and our world will still be intact.

 photo at top courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

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