One Cold War Warrior Wants Us to Stop Overreacting to Crimea


David P Goldman who writes the Spengler column for Asia Times

David P. Goldman, writer for Asia Times online

PJ Media published an article with an interesting take on the Ukraine situation. The article titled, “The West’s Ukrainian Folly: Wisdom from an Old Cold Warrior” was written by author David P. Goldman, economist and author. His article includes a conversation with an “old warrior,” a Dr. Bailey.

Goldman writes, “all the trade and financial leverage is on the side of Russia, not the West”, and he makes a good case for it.

He reminisces about the days when we didn’t waste time going on about sanctions and used “clandestine methods to sabotage its natural gas exports and other key functions.”

He said that his mentor in geopolitical affairs, a Dr. Bailey, predicted the downfall of communism in 1987 and the method to be used – military buildup and economic competition. That was quite a remarkable prediction and sets him apart and it got my attention. Most believed it impossible.

Dr. Bailey believes the outcry from the West over the Russian seizure of Crimea is beyond the pale especially given the provisional Ukrainian government is the product of a coup d’état.

Khruschev illegally transferred Crimea to Ukraine in 1953. It was a mistake that he said that is being corrected.

The ludicrous weakness of the sanctions applied are being taken as such by the Russians.

Russians have much more leverage over Europe than the reverse because Europe couldn’t survive two months without the oil and gas exports while Russia would only lose $7.5 billion in revenues. The freezing of assets is pointless since Russian officials are prohibited from having assets abroad.

Our weak sanctions were followed by Putin withdrawing $100 billion in US Treasury bonds. Europeans have three times the assets in Russia as Russians have in Europe. Trade is similar. Trade and financial leverage are on the side of the Russians.

Reacting this way to Russia’s takeover ensures no Russian cooperation on any agreement with Iran. Israel only has two options then  –  “attack Iran’s nuclear facilities militarily, which Defense Minister Ya’alon now says he is reconsidering, or take the defensive measures necessary to make sure that Israel is prepared if and when Iran succeeds in miniaturizing its nuclear weapons.”

Crushing the Evil Empire of Communism requires us to take into account the interests of Russia. He said, “The Republican mainstream mistook Tahrir Square for Lexington Common, and then mistook Maidan for Tahrir Square. If only we were rougher and tougher, it is claimed, Crimea would be free today. That is just plain stupid; there is no possible state of the world in which Crimea would not be Russian. We had some ability to influence the terms under which it would be Russian, and we chose the worst possible course of action, namely open hostility combined with impotent posturing.”

He says we will get something like what we got in Egypt. Ukraine’s economy is busted and the West has sent the IMF in as it did for Egypt. It’s a “formula for chaos,” he says. Putin won’t invade, all he has to do is wait for Ukraine to collapse and then set the terms.

We’ve dumbed down our power he concludes.

On March 1st, Goldman – Spengler – wrote this for PJ Media:

“There isn’t going to be a war over Ukraine. There isn’t even going to be a crisis over Ukraine. We will perform our ritual war-dance and excoriate the Evil Emperor, and the result would be the same if we had sung “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” on a road trip to Kalamazoo. Worry about something really scary, like Iran.”

“Ukraine isn’t a country: it’s a Frankenstein monster composed of pieces of dead empires, stitched together by Stalin. It has never had a government in the Western sense of the term after the collapse of the Soviet Union gave it independence, just the equivalent of the family offices for one predatory oligarch after another–including the “Gas Princess,” Yulia Tymoshenko.”

Spengler has recommended a partitioning of Ukraine into pro-Russia east and southern Ukraine and pro-West northern and western Ukraine which lines up with their very different pasts. Ukraine has existed as it is now for a relatively short time.

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I don’t agree with some of this but he makes good points. What do you think?