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Crimea and Donbass are Not for Sale

June 08, 2015 17:59 0 655
Andriy Pekar, CrimeaInfo Imagine a situation. Someone attacks a man, wounding him and kidnaping his daughter and wife. Then the kidnapper offers a deal — he will release the man’s wife,...
Andriy Pekar, CrimeaInfo Imagine a situation. Someone attacks a man, wounding him and kidnaping his daughter and wife. Then the kidnapper offers a deal — he will release the man’s wife, provided the man doesn’t press any charges and lets the kidnapper get away unpunished with his daughter, free to abuse her in any way he likes.       That, minding some minor details, is what the deal Russia is offering looks like. It wants Ukraine to recognize its claims to Crimea in return for helping bring about peace in Eastern Ukraine and partially reestablish Ukraine’s control over the region.   When the unrest in Eastern Ukraine first started, there was a lot of speculation that this way Russia was trying to blackmail Ukraine into accepting the annexation of Crimea. Then the conflict escalated, while both civilian and military casualties have gone into thousands, making the idea of using the conflict for blackmail inconceivable. But the blood has started to dry and lately Putin’s supporters have been increasingly voicing the idea of exchanging the eastern regions of Ukraine for Crimea. For Russia it is a way to decrease the costs of the conflict, fight off the sanctions and save its face.   For Ukraine, unable to fight the attacker off or even stand straight on its own, the deal Russia is offering is not appealing at all, but its options are limited. Ukraine needs the police or the neighbors to come to its help. And that is where politics come to the fore, overshadowing the moral values. Protecting your personal (or national) interests is often more important than doing the right thing.   One may suggest the US — the local sheriff, using the earlier metaphor — convinces Ukraine to accept the deal. Washington has a lot on its plate — a sectarian unrest in the east side, some domestic violence issues of its own, the next elections (both metaphorical and literal ones), — so it may be in its best interests to avoid the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and resolve it peacefully.   There are two problems with this idea. Firstly, Russia has recently demonstrated its willingness to ignore agreements it has signed and break international laws in order to pursue its own agenda. There is no point in making concessions, if Russia is not planning on sticking to its end of the bargain.   Secondly, there is a major reason, why the US does not make deals with terrorists. Russia’s actions have compromised the whole international order. If Russia demonstrates again it can break laws and go unpunished, crime like that will flourish. And the next victim may be a lot closer to Washington. If it does not want Estonia or some other country to join Georgia and Ukraine on the list of Russia’s victims, deals like this one are out of the question.   Some people say that forfeiting Crimea is a small price to pay for peace. I say making deals with the devil never ends well.              
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