Thursday, 13 March 2014

Thoughts on Crimea

There is not much to say. Except the American media has made Putin into a boogeyman. His face is literally on the major magazine covers from Time to the Economist. Putin is seen as single handily driving Crimea's drive towards its Sunday March 16th referendum. The upcoming referendum has Maidan protesters who remain the square and officials from the NATO countries grinding their teeth in anticipation. The Crimea vote will also set a precedent for other separatism movements in Russia, Chechnya, Daghestan, Tatarstan, if not South Ossetia and Abkhazia who remain de-facto independence. Ukraine still decries Russia's and Putin by extension actions as illegal and illegitimate. Their cries have been backed by the United States and NATO members.

Future Nations: Separatism in the World

The referendum also have implications for other separatist movements within Western Europe. This year in September, Scotland will hold its own referendum to declare independence from England and the wider UK for the first time in over three hundred years. Catalonia in Spain as well as the Basque Country has been boasting about possible referendums on independence. Catalonia's referendum on independence will take place later on this year too. Spain has been fighting for decades to keep itself territoriality united having experience wars and divisions over territory and complexities of regional vs. national identity. Once again Quebec, the French speaking territory of Canada is long overdue for a referendum. There is also Belgium with its double identities and parallel regionalism in Walloonie and Flanders that borders on separatism from time to time. Moldova, one of Ukraine's smaller and often overlooked neighbors is nervously watching Crimea. Moldova has also been trying to keep its small separatist leaning region of Transdniestria that also has Russian troops stationed in it under wraps. China, one of Russia's stronger allies has also been watching Crimea with caution. Chinese have dealt with a decades long Uighur separatist movement that has gone from being calm and in the background to launch deadly attacks in Beijing and Kunming on civilians. China like Spain has not tolerated any disruption to its territory unity ie its crackdown against Tibet even expressing its own indigenous culture fully to the rest of the world.  Crimea is a trendsetter for other separatist movements who will no doubt take it as a reference point for their claims to nationhood. 

From Quebec to Catalonia: Nationhood is in the DNA

Crimea no different from Scotland

Asia insulated from Crimea effect
The territorial disputes are many in Asia involve China, India, Japan, the US and probably half of the Asean nations for islands along strategic waterways or with crucial natural resources. There is also geopolitical power shift going on.

The World Map of Seperatism

All this is happening close to the 100th Anniversary of World War I.

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