A while back I predicted—not that I’m a political savant or anything—that Russia wouldn’t be satisfied with Crimea, but would go for Ukraine as well. Most people thought I was wrong, and I hoped I was, too. But I just got this email bulletin from CNN:
Secretary of State John Kerry said today that Russian forces and special agents are behind what he called the “chaos” in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours. Kerry described the developments as “more than deeply disturbing” and said they amounted to what could be a “contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea.”
Pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings in the cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv on Sunday. Rebels occupying Donetsk’s regional government building Monday declared a “people’s republic” and called for a referendum on secession from Ukraine to be held by May 11.
The U.S. Navy warship USS Donald Cook is scheduled to enter the Black Sea no later than Thursday as part of the latest U.S. military effort to demonstrate support for Eastern European allies concerned about Russia’s troop buildup, two U.S. military officials said.
This is like Hitler’s Austria all over again. Putin wants his Lebensraum (or rather, Ehrenraum), and I still predict that eastern Ukraine, at least, will be Russian within six months. Putin will incite enough unrest in eastern Ukraine that enough people will clamor for Russian occupation, and there will be enough trouble, that he can simply invade to “quell the unrest.”
But, as I said, I hope I’m wrong.