In a comment on the situation in Ukraine I said:
The EU is repeating the mistakes it made in Yugoslavia and it’s getting the same results.
Apparantly, that’s not limited to the EU. David Goldman, AKA “Spengler”, calls for partition of Ukraine:
I’ve argued for years that partition is the best solution for Ukraine, which never was a country but an almalgam of provinces left over from failed empires–Russian, Austrian, Lithuanian, Ottoman–cobbled together into a Soviet “republic” and cast adrift after the collapse of Communism. Lviv (Lemberg) was a German-speaking city, part of Silesia; before World War II a quarter of its people were Jews. Jews were two-fifths of the population of Odessa.
A fifth of the population, mainly in the East, are ethnic Russians; a tenth, mainly in the West, are Uniate Catholics, who have a special place in Catholic policy since the papacy of John Paul II. Ukrainian nationality is as dubious as Byelorussian nationality: neither of them had a dictionary of their language until 1918.
The Ukrainians would probably dispute his assertion. The Princedom of Kiev was a major power from the 9th century through the 14th century. However, does a country not protected from its neighbors by natural boundaries, constisting of multiple ethnicities, some in the same ethnicity speaking different languages, some Orthodox, some Catholic ring any bells?
Russia never will permit the integration of Ukraine into NATO; were it to come to that, Russia would use force, and the West would stand by cursing. But Russia will settle for half a loaf, namely a Russian-allied Eastern Ukraine. Whatever we do, Ukraine will continue its slow, sad slide into oblivion. The diplomats have the dour duty of managing this decline with the minimum of friction.
The first sentence is quite correct. I’m skeptical of the second sentence but, unfortunately, Mr. Goldman produces no evidence in support of his opinion.
I think that quite to the contrary, Russia will not allow a former Soviet republic to join NATO or the EU except under the circumstance of Russia itself joining the EU. As evidence just take a glance at any Russian language newspaper. They’re full of saber-rattling and assertions that Putin is only waiting for an invitation to send Russian troops in to take control of the situation. The only part of that I doubt is that he’s waiting for an invitation.
The entire situation is being painted very differently in the Russian press than it is here or in Europe. Here there’s a major emphasis on human rights. In the Russian press the emphasis is on stability with a side emphasis on the Nazi past of Ukrainian rightwing nationalists. They think the EU’s views are entirely predicated on gas and oil and I think they’re right.