Gates: Crimea is gone

posted at 8:01 am on March 10, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Is the Russian seizure of Crimea a fait accompli? Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that Crimea will not escape Russia’s grip, now that Moscow has it back:

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted Sunday that Russia will take control of the Crimea region of Ukraine during its political upheaval and suggested that section of the country is lost to Kiev and the Western world.

“You think Crimea’s gone?” “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked.

“I do,” Gates replied. “I do not believe that Crimea will slip out of Russia’s hand.”

What would stop them from annexing the peninsula? After all, the new local Moscow-dependent Crimean government will hold a plebescite in a few days in which the electorate will be asked to choose between immediate annexation and delayed annexation, with independence or remaining a Ukrainian province apparently not among the choices. The clear point of Russian intervention was to seize Crimea and secure their Black Sea bases of operation, and the historical claim of Russia on Crimea is significant even beyond the military bases.

It’s not as if the West has prepared itself to be a bulwark against a new era of Russian imperialism. We’ve backed down in Syria, Iran, and on missile defense of Europe and the US under pressure from Vladimir Putin, the latter of which Dick Cheney wants reversed. Gates himself in the same interview argued that defense cuts in the face of these threats send a clear signal of weakness and retreat, and in this interview bemoaned the fecklessness of drawing red lines and then ignoring them.

No one wants to go to war over Crimea, but it shouldn’t have gotten that far in the first place. Sending signals of weakness only tempts those who want to wield power in the absence of strength elsewhere.   But should we care about Crimea and a Russian takeover of a province that had been Russian for almost 230 years? Bloomberg’s Marc Champion argues that we should, in part because of what Russians have done to those who were Crimean before Russian control in the 18th century:

The Muslim Tatars have suffered repeated persecutions since the Ottomans ceded their peninsula to the Russian Empire, including an attempted genocide under Stalin. In 1944, the entire population was deported to central Asia and Siberia, and as many as half were killed.

There were no gas chambers or Bergen-Belsens, but the best way to understand the fears of the Tatars is to imagine them as if they were Eastern European Jews, under sudden threat of reoccupation by a Germany that had yet to recognize its collective responsibility for the Holocaust.

If that sounds like a stretch, maybe it is. But consider that in recent days thugs have daubed black Xs on some Tatar homes in Crimea, according to news reports, in a grim reminder of the way they were identified for the 1944 deportation. …

Few groups in the region need the protections and rights that Ukraine’s gradual integration with the European Union would bring more than Crimea’s Tatars. With the arrival of masked Russian gunmen, the closure of dissenting television stations and news media outlets, and the announcement of a preordained referendum on joining Russia, that prospect is fast slipping away. Berber’s elderly wife collapsed from shock when the referendum was announced, and she remains in the hospital. Young Tatar men have begun forming neighborhood watches, in their own version of a self-defense force. There is little, however, that they can do.

That’s certainly worth considering before we simply write off Crimea.

Update: In the worst name-switch evah, I wrote “Chris Matthews” when I meant Chris Wallace. I’ve fixed it … and upped my caffeine intake accordingly. Thanks to Resist We Much in the comments for the correction.


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Chamberlain didn’t care when Austria and the Sudetenland were gone. Look where that led.

Expansionist dictators like Putin never stop until they are STOPPED. And having grabbed Crimea with no consequences he’s not going to stop. Up next: Eastern Ukraine, if not the WHOLE Ukraine.

ConstantineXI on March 10, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Forgot to add: Putin has a 3 year window (sadly) with Obama’s ineptness in charge of the only power that could oppose him. That’s his opportunity to seize control of the entire former Soviet Empire and he’s going to take it…

ConstantineXI on March 10, 2014 at 8:07 AM

tells Fox News Sunday host Chris Matthews

Fox News & Tingles?

Ed needs more coffee. lol

Resist We Much on March 10, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Forgot to add: Putin has a 3 year window (sadly) with Obama’s ineptness in charge of the only power that could oppose him. That’s his opportunity to seize control of the entire former Soviet Empire and he’s going to take it…

ConstantineXI on March 10, 2014 at 8:07 AM

You mean Obama’s flexibility, don’t you?

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Gates would have much more credibility with one of those cones that they put on dogs.

The real question here is this. Will the West back a free and independent Ukraine? Because if they will not, the entire country might as well cede itself to Russia, slap SSR behind their name, and go with the inevitable.

Happy Nomad on March 10, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Resist We Much on March 10, 2014 at 8:11 AM

headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk

fixed.

Ed Morrissey on March 10, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Ed, how can I get a “duplicate post warning” on my first post in this thread?

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Putin probably told Shuck-and-Jive, Horseface, and Stupid Power that Ukraine was controlled by a Jewish conspiracy.

northdallasthirty on March 10, 2014 at 8:16 AM

You mean Obama’s flexibility, don’t you?

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Obama calls it flexibility. I call it weakness.

ConstantineXI on March 10, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Ed, how can I get a “duplicate post warning” on my first post in this thread?

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 8:14 AM

…see post above yours

KOOLAID2 on March 10, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Russia has had in interest in the Crimea since the time of Peter The Great and Catherine the Great. It provides the only open year round warn water port Russia has west of Vladivostok. Russia was not going to give up control of it easily.

Sending signals of weakness only tempts those who want to wield power in the absence of strength elsewhere.

This is the problem and it it too late to do anything about it now.

Perceived weakness always, always invites aggression. If history teaches nothing else it teaches this. And yet the smartest President ever is either too stupid to know this, or he is egotistical enough to believe his weak rhetoric puts fear into the hearts of would be aggressors. The latter brings us back to stupid. We have a truly stupid President.

The Crimea is gone. It is a fait accompli. Russia will not give it up without a fight and no one will fight them over it except maybe some Ukrainians. It would be a futile fight.

farsighted on March 10, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Ed, how can I get a “duplicate post warning” on my first post in this thread?

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Your reputation precedes you!

Happy Nomad on March 10, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Perceived weakness always, always invites aggression. If history teaches nothing else it teaches this. And yet the smartest President ever is either too stupid to know this, or he is egotistical enough to believe his weak rhetoric puts fear into the hearts of would be aggressors. The latter brings us back to stupid. We have a truly stupid President.

farsighted on March 10, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Obama still thinks he can accomplish anything by reading some words off a Teleprompter.

If he hasn’t figured out by now after dozens of failures (and he hasn’t) he truly is a stupid, stupid man. We not only have an ignorant man in charge, he is unintelligent as well.

ConstantineXI on March 10, 2014 at 8:22 AM

The real question here is this. Will the West back a free and independent Ukraine? Because if they will not, the entire country might as well cede itself to Russia, slap SSR behind their name, and go with the inevitable.
Happy Nomad on March 10, 2014 at 8:14 AM

No, they will not, for a simple sequence of reasons:

1. Putin can cut off their gas supply through Ukraine.

2. Putin’s allies can cut off their access to the Persian Gulf.

3. Thanks to the Greens, Europe (particularly Germany) is incapable of generating energy any other way.

4. Export prices go up and Germany’s economy collapses.

5. With Germany’s economy gone, the rest of the EU implodes.

northdallasthirty on March 10, 2014 at 8:23 AM

That’s certainly worth considering before we simply write off Crimea.

No, it’s not Ed. We fought for Islam in Bosnia and Kosovo, the only things we got out of it were destroyed monasteries, a booming heroin trade in Europe, and White sex trafficking. Until Muslims in general develop an awareness of the humanity of others, we should not kill or die for theirs in the vain hope of reciprocation elsewhere.

abobo on March 10, 2014 at 8:26 AM

3. Thanks to the Greens, Europe (particularly Germany) is incapable of generating energy any other way.

4. Export prices go up and Germany’s economy collapses.

5. With Germany’s economy gone, the rest of the EU implodes.

northdallasthirty on March 10, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Funny that… The rise of the Greens Party in Germany was part of the “Red Dawn” scenario… Leading to the Soviet Union starting World War III:

Prologue/Opening Narration: Soviet Union suffers worst wheat harvest in 55 years… Labor and food riots in Poland. Soviet troops invade… Cuba and Nicaragua reach troop strength goals of 500,000. El Salvador and Honduras fall… Greens Party gains control of West German Parliament. Demands withdrawal of nuclear weapons from European soil… Mexico plunged into revolution… NATO dissolves. United States stands alone.

Doesn’t sound that farfetched these days, does it?

And a United States standing alone with a Barack HUSSEIN Obama leading it isn’t standing at all.

ConstantineXI on March 10, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Until Muslims in general develop an awareness of the humanity of others, we should not kill or die for theirs in the vain hope of reciprocation elsewhere.

abobo on March 10, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Won’t happen until they have another “prophet” who is nonviolent, respectful of others that doesn’t engage in pedophilia.

Hmm… Sounds like accepting Christ to me?

ConstantineXI on March 10, 2014 at 8:30 AM

No, they will not, for a simple sequence of reasons:

1. Putin can cut off their gas supply through Ukraine.

2. Putin’s allies can cut off their access to the Persian Gulf.

Of course, a brave Ukrainian freedom fighter with a couple of sticks of dynamite ca do the same thing.

Racistanyway on March 10, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Next to me – Benoit

I like this song

I really like this

thatsafactjack on March 10, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Sorry…disregard ^^^^ lol! was doing a tutorial for a friend ;)

thatsafactjack on March 10, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Gates doesn’t seem unhappy about it.

crankyoldlady on March 10, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Remember kids, Obama and his family were off on a golf vacation on your dime while this is developing.

Murphy9 on March 10, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Update: In the worst name-switch evah, I wrote “Chris Matthews” when I meant Chris Wallace. I’ve fixed it … and upped my caffeine intake accordingly. Thanks to Resist We Much in the comments for the correction.

:-)

If it had been Tingles, he surely would have found a multitude of ways to play the race card during the interview. Sort of along these lines:

‘Secretary Gates, you worked for two Republican Presidents and criticised Our Noble, Brilliant, Young, Black President™ in your recent memoirs, which unquestionably you wrote because you hate the facts that there is a Black Man In The White House and he gave you orders that you had to follow when, quite obviously, you believe that white men should never be dictated to by descendants of slaves (or slave-owners and sellers in the case of President Obama, but whatevs). Everyone realises that Republicans are racist, sexist, xenophobic homophobes so, undoubtedly, you guys only care about Russia’s ‘uncontested arrival’ in the Crimea because it allows you to take cheap shots at our beloved Dear Leader, who isn’t just the smartest man ever to occupy the Oval Office, but the most intelligent human being ever to walk the Earth.

**mumbles under breath: I’m getting that old-time tingle up my leg**

As far as the Muslim Tartars or any Ukrainians that recall the Holodomor are concerned, they should just shut up already and be grateful that the Old Motherland, whose ‘pivotal experiment’ with the glorious and egalitarian model of Communism – which only failed, by the way, because of American Imperialism and arrogance – even want to welcome them back into the fold. The very fact that Russia wants to include Muslims and Ukrainians proves how diverse and tolerant its society is – unlike our country.

All of those in the Crimea should just be happy that the suicide-bombers, terrorists, traitors, and white supremacists known as Teabaggers and the American Taliban, who want to burn all Muslims and gays alive in ovens, didn’t invade them.

**production assistant runs to wipe the spittle off of the camera lens**

Now, Secretary Gates, while you are here with us this morning, would you care to opine on the speech made by that House N3gro, Dr Ben Carson, at CPAC or tell us whether you support the leftist professors at Rutgers University, who are protesting the announcement that the Auntie Thomasina and war criminal, Dr Condoleeza Rice, will give this year’s commencement speech? Huh? Huh?

We know that you and your ilk love your ‘tokens’ and you should be forced to explain why you guys pretend to like black people like Carson, Rice, Sowell, Williams, Cain, Love, and West. You’d better believe that we on the tolerant, diverse, and mainstream side can see right through you – all the way to your inner Simon Legree!’

Resist We Much on March 10, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Remember kids, Obama and his family were off on a golf vacation on your dime while this is developing.

Murphy9 on March 10, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Thou shalt not criticize the Black Preznit

/Racissss

Key West Reader on March 10, 2014 at 8:49 AM

As far as the Muslim Tartars Tatars

FIFM.

Resist We Much on March 10, 2014 at 8:54 AM

“You think Crimea’s gone?” “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked.

“I do,” Gates replied. “I do not believe that Crimea will slip out of Russia’s hand.”

And that’s the issue. We hold our breath and watch Russia’s hand to see what will slip out, and what it gets to keep.

Because, “Foreign Policy.”

Liberty is wearing mom jeans and trying to find the best low-calorie yogurt promoting regularity.

Axe on March 10, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Putin against Obamama? It’s Obamama, the Duke Of Cool Largo I’m talking about. Yes, Putin has won a few battles–Crimea, Syria, Iran, trade,economy, world prestige, etc but the Duke of Cool Largo’s got a Magna cum Laude JD degree from Harvard Law School, looks sharp in $1000 suits and makes witty remarks on Oprah. The Duke of Cool Largo will prevail!!1

MaiDee on March 10, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Liberty is wearing mom jeans and trying to find the best low-calorie yogurt promoting regularity.

Axe on March 10, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Activia imho.

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Liberty is wearing mom jeans and trying to find the best low-calorie yogurt promoting regularity.

Axe on March 10, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Don’t forget the arugula! It’s what the poor and oppressed eat!

Resist We Much on March 10, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Thanks for the news flash, Gates. Try to stay up to speed on these fast moving events, ok.

Kissmygrits on March 10, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Don’t forget the arugula! It’s what the poor and oppressed eat!

Resist We Much on March 10, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Don’t forget lobster and Waygu beef!

ladyingray on March 10, 2014 at 9:26 AM

The Muslim Tatars have suffered repeated persecutions since the Ottomans ceded their peninsula to the Russian Empire, including an attempted genocide under Stalin. In 1944, the entire population was deported to central Asia and Siberia, and as many as half were killed.

There were no gas chambers or Bergen-Belsens, but the best way to understand the fears of the Tatars is to imagine them as if they were Eastern European Jews, under sudden threat of reoccupation by a Germany that had yet to recognize its collective responsibility for the Holocaust.

Huh? So we’re supposed to give a crap about Muslims? And comparing Muslims to Jews is absurd.

WhatSlushfund on March 10, 2014 at 9:31 AM

No, it’s not Ed. We fought for Islam in Bosnia and Kosovo, the only things we got out of it were destroyed monasteries, a booming heroin trade in Europe, and White sex trafficking. Until Muslims in general develop an awareness of the humanity of others, we should not kill or die for theirs in the vain hope of reciprocation elsewhere.

abobo on March 10, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Agreed.

Kaffa on March 10, 2014 at 9:57 AM

The Soviet Union went bankrupt. The USA lent a hand and then decided to elect a communist, American hating puppet since everything was just perfect, except the USA. Now, Russia with the help of capitalism and peaceful decades is back to claim what it has always wanted. The timing is perfect since the USA is broke, in an endless war to support Islam internationally and is focused on the really important issue of falling in love with homosexuality.

Hening on March 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Finally…someone who will admit the truth. The Ukraine/Crimea thing is (think having the internet and total instant communication in the time of the Titanic) analagous to noticing the iceberg 300 yards ahead and discussion how (or if) to avoid it. Useless discussions, because the event is already set in stone (well, in the case of the Titanic, water).

If you want a useful discussion, talk about how we can punish Russia, set up alliances with the other threatened countries (i.e., how to convince them it is a good idea, that we really intend on following through on our promises, and how we then can make those promises a reality, given our precipitous financial condition)that will keep further incursions by Russia at bay.

Haven’t heard much about that side of things…and that is where the concentration should be placed.

TKPedersen42 on March 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM

I agree that the Ukraine is next, but disagree we can blame it all on Obama. Remember that Bush did squat while Putin flexed his muscles.

Faramir on March 10, 2014 at 3:51 PM