The new government of Ukraine called an emergency session of its national security council on Saturday in the face of the Russian military’s seizure of Crimea, but the leaders are facing a grim reality: Their armed forces are ill equipped to try to reconquer the region militarily.
So what are they gonna do? Call in the Panzers from ‘Europe’? It’s been tried. The results were not encouraging. Look at a map, as a wise man once said.
Obie of course is blustering, to the extent that one can bluster in the impersonal voice, about ‘costs’ to the wicked Bear; but who exactly is going to impose them? And just how much attention will the Bear pay? I suppose a well-aimed peashooter might make a charging grizzly reconsider; but it would have to be very well-aimed indeed, and shot with a force of lung that seems well beyond the range of Obie’s professorial wheeze.
Here’s some funny stuff, from the same Times item:
the Ukrainian military was careful not to respond to a provocation that would excuse any larger intervention. The military — which has seen its top leader change constantly with the political situation — has also made a point of staying out of the internal political conflict in Ukraine.
The current military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Mykhailo Kutsyn, was named to the job only on Friday, after Adm. Yuriy Ilyin, 51, was relieved of his post after traveling to Crimea and, reportedly at least, having a heart attack. Admiral Ilyin had only been in the post for a short time himself, appointed by Mr. Yanukovych on Feb. 19 after Col. Gen. Volodymyr Zamana was fired for being unwilling to attack protesters in Kiev.
I particularly love the providential heart attack. I hope the dear Admiral is resting quietly in a nice naval hospital somewhere, between crisp white sheets, a glass of cognac not a million miles from his hand, solicitous flaxen-haired zaftig Slavic nurses attending to his every need….
Where was I? Oh yes. I imagine the Admiral watching the news, chuckling quietly, very glad indeed to be well out of this catastrophic folly.
The soldiers are always a lot more level-headed and realistic than the civilians. The sailors — perhaps I may presume to say, we sailors — even more so.
Steven Pifer, a former American ambassador to Ukraine now at the Brookings Institution, said that if Russian forces tried to move into eastern Ukraine, “there will be some Ukrainian units that will resist, and a flood of people from western Ukraine saying, ‘This is my chance to be my grandfather and fight the Communists.’ ”
Possibly, Your Excellency. Though I suspect if it comes to that, the flood will prove rather exiguous.