John Kerry’s mouth is a danger to us plebes and rubes out here in the sticks. He said “Any kind of military intervention that would violate the sovereign territorial integrity of Ukraine would be a huge, a grave mistake. The territorial integrity of Ukraine needs to be respected.”
There is no discernable threat posed by either the Ukraine or Russia to ordinary Americans. Kerry’s capacity to create frictions or confrontations with the Russians is a definite threat to Americans. The game between Kerry and Putin is between two governments, the U.S. and Russia. It’s the equivalent of two gangsters having a spat and posturing with one another. Putin is more than posturing, however. He will use his army to hold Crimea. Over 150,000 troops are doing a “military exercise”. The option of splitting off part of Ukraine also remains open.
Hence, what Kerry is saying is already academic unless the U.S. wants to match Putin’s raise and call him by some concrete measures.
Kerry claims his warning is not power politics: “It is not a zero-sum game. We do not view it through the lens of East-West, Russia-U.S. or anything else. We view it as an example of people within a sovereign nation who are expressing their desire to choose their future. And that’s a very powerful force.”
Kerry’s argument about sovereignty doesn’t hold water because there are no objective ways of determining what borders justifiably constitute a state be it an existing one or a new one. Borders invariably rest on a number of factors that include military, political, geographical, resource, possession and arbitrary matters. There are no objective ways to say when such a state is legitimate or not, what the relevant nation is, and what people must be subject to that state and borders. Who decides these matters? How do they decide? What happens to people who do not consent to be governed by some state? Abraham Lincoln decided it by military means on a portion of this continent. If a new state forms, it often happens that it must confront breakaway movements within it and it’s against them. What sense does this make? If eastern Ukrainians by the usual murky means decide to break off from western Ukrainians who have by their murky means decided that this should not be allowed, what sense does that make in terms of such notions as consent of the governed, the rights of free association, or even simple consistency.
In other words, what Kerry is insisting on makes no sense in terms of Ukrainian people determining their own future. How does he know that the murky workings of consent are coincident with Ukraine’s current borders and its “territorial integrity”? Why don’t some subsets of Ukrainians have a right to promulgate their own governments?
Why should Kerry be sticking his nose into their business anyway and acting as if he knows what’s right for them? The only reasonable answer is that this Ukrainian matter is strictly and only power politics. Kerry cared less about democracy in Egypt and Syria! He doesn’t respect the unique kinds of Islamic republics that arise. This matter is strictly gangster Kerry talking to gangster Putin during a very real poker game. It’s entirely obvious that the U.S. wants Ukraine to be in the European proto-empire or actual empire, which is now called the EU (European Union). And he would only be playing this game if he regarded the U.S. as a partner, or a leading partner, in an alliance, joint venture and intermingling of the U.S. empire with the EU.
The only sensible way to understand the kinds of things that U.S. leaders like Kerry say about matters like these is in terms of the expansion of the U.S. empire. Their rationales in terms of “robust democracies” are hype.
Empires are prone to expand through thick and thin, pushing against weakness and testing opponents wherever encountered. Having disregarded the costly blunder that was Vietnam, the U.S. has pushed unsuccessfully in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lately it has sought low-cost means of pushing without taking over a country and without committing armies. It is using the method of outposts and advisory contingents in Africa. It is using drone warfare there and elsewhere. It has encouraged and used NATO forces. It has sought to train local forces. It has used special forces. In a number of countries it has employed NGOs to nurture unrest and revolution. The U.S. is a very active and pushy empire. However, it has some large and growing weak spots: its national debt, its deficit spending and its faltering economy. It also has growing dissent and dissatisfaction at home. One of its main components, Japan, has big economic problems.