Given that my primer on last summer’s Syria situation was one of my most popular posts and yet least liked, I thought I would seek to keep my readers misinformed as to what is going on with the whole Ukrainian geopolitical crisis that is so dominating the first five or six minutes of American newscasts these days. (And just so you know, I will attempt to do so without any obvious lame jokes mentioning that Ukrainian pipelines supply Russian natural gas to Europe; that is, that the primary Ukrainian industry is passing gas.)
Just so there’s no misunderstanding, when I say ‘geopolitical’ I mean it in the classical sense: that is, ‘geo’ as in ‘small Chevy’ and ‘political’ as in ‘what everyone hates more than aspic.’ And when we apply this term to the Ukrainian crisis, we get more confusion than a 2000 Dade County ballot. This is because nobody knows exactly what is going on due to a decided preference for beer.
As you can see from the map below, Ukraine is one of the largest blue countries in the world and is shaped like some sort of flexing snow monster. It has an excellent whaling industry just off its northern coast and much like Iceland, holding it is the key to dominating Europe and getting extra armies.
This is perhaps why Russian President Vladimir Pootin’ is so keen on changing the name of Ukraine to Mykraine. Either that or having a ‘The’ placed in front of it as in, “I think I will vacation at my villa in the south of Russia. You know, ‘The Ukraine’.” In fact, it used to be called ‘The Ukraine’ through much of its state-imposed famine years as part of the Soviet Union. Perhaps you also remember it from Chernobyl fame.
So what’s all the hubbub, Bub? Well, once Ukraine declared its independence, there were a string of disputed elections wherein the European-leaning factions of Yanukovych battled against the Russian-leaning factions of Yushchenko and they leaned on each other by each accusing the other of leaning on one another. Times were lean.
Then along came the Orange Revolution (which was more of a spray-tan really), Yulia Tymoshenko, and the return of Viktor Yanukovych, who then flip-flopped and became Russian-leaning, which sparked protests led by Vitaly Klitschko. There were violent responses from the formerly European-leaning now Russian-leaning Yanukovych government, followed by escalation and the ousting of Yanukovych and Prime Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko (replacing them with Oleksandr Turchynov and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, respectively) because the Ukrainian people seem to favor Europe over Russia, except in Crimea where they favor Russia over Europe, which is also in Ukraine but just voted to join Russia.
Throw in the Budapest Memorandum and China threatening to call in our debt and you now see why this whole situation is like a shopping trip to IKEA :
“Honey, will you pick up a beige GARNITYR to go on the new MOLGER?—not the KVARNVIK, but the GARNITYR. And another FÄRGRIK…They’re in kitchen supplies next to the FINTORP after you go through bedding and take the shortcut through lighting and go backwards toward textiles on the left.”
Bottom line is that Pootin’, still stinging from childhood mockery about his name being a slang term for farting, is amassing troops and posturing and exploiting ethnic tensions and maybe doing a little invading on the side (but not really) in order to “protect Russian citizens” and ensure Ukraine does not refuse his offer of protection—much like Hitler did when he invaded Eastern Europe in the 30’s to defend Germans and Reagan did in the 80s when he invaded the Ford Motor Company to save all the Granadas.
He hasn’t gone so far as unfriending Pootin’ yet, but in response, President Carter—I mean Obama—displayed considerable post-election flexibility by expressing his “deep concern” and going so far as to order the possible preparation of potential mayhap sanctions because Russian military intervention was “a violation of international law” when everyone knows that only the U.S. is allowed to do that. President Carter—I mean Obama—then really stuck it to those meanies by cutting up their Visa cards and suspending the U.S.’s upcoming participation in meetings preparing for the G-8 summit. He also gave Ukraine a billion dollars of Chinese credit, and perhaps most ominously, threatened to “hold Russia directly responsible.” All this and all we really have to do is send over T.J. Oshie to puck him in the five-hole.
Such actions harken back to when Russia invaded Georgia a few years ago and President Carter—I mean Obama—made similar unwavering statements, but later backed off when he realized Georgia was a red state he was better off without.
This past week Secretary of State John Kerry was sent to Kiev by President Carter—I mean Obama—with specific instructions to bring back some of that delicious breaded chicken. The Ukrainians were surprised to see him and asked, “Why the long face?” Haha! Just kidding. The mission was actually to get under Pootin’s skin because Kerry likes to pronounce his name ‘Poutine’, partly as an insult and partly to naturally exhibit his aristocratic East-coast upper-class pretension—because that’s what Jengjis Kahn would do.
In short, we again find ourselves on the verge of World War III with Russia who is our natural sworn enemy. They are our natural sworn enemy because they do stuff that violates principles of human freedom and makes us very angry—things like use military force within the borders of sovereign countries and spy on their own citizens and determine what they can and cannot purchase and have laws that allow them to be detained indefinitely without charge and limit their religious freedoms and redistribute their wealth according to crony capitalistic principles and…um…Hmmm.
Okay, it may not exactly be clear why they are our natural sworn enemies. But in the big scheme of things who cares? We have beer.
*For a much simpler explanation, please refer to the ‘No Caption Required’ widget at the bottom of this page.