Crimea – a powder keg
Crimea has become a powder keg that could blow up in nuclear war, as Ukraine demands Western help in taking it back from Russia.
Hello, this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. This is Friday the 3rd day of March in the year of our Lord 2023. I will be talking about the most dangerous powder keg in the world right now. That is the Crimean Peninsula where Russia has its Black Sea Fleet and where Ukraine has desires of reconquest. Crimea has very important strategic interest to both sides and is therefore a powder keg that could explode in nuclear war.
The significance of Crimea to Russia
I know that I talk about World War lll and nuclear conflict a lot. But I am not the little boy who cried wolf because there is a real wolf out there right now.1 Crimea, as Vladimir Putin has said a few times has more than military importance to Russia. Militarily it is home to Sevastopol Naval Base which is Russia’s only warm water base, and it provides Russia with a naval route from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean and from there into the Persian Gulf. It also has the military significance to Russia of preventing the West from using it to stage intermediate range ballistic missiles as part of its plan to surround Russia.
Crimea has spiritual significance to Putin as he has said quite often. It is the location of the Baptism of St. Vladimir who converted to Christianity and then brought the religion of Orthodox Christianity to Ukraine because he was born in Kiev, and then to all of Russia. That was around 987 and at that time there was no Ukraine and Russia because it was just Russia.
History of Crimea
Without going into the entire history, it is important to note that in 1783 Catherine the Great took Crimea back from the Ottoman Empire where it remained until the death of Stalin in 1954. Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev decided to cede it to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine. This became independent after the Soviet fall in 1989 but was then a Russian state. So he knew Russia would still control it. In 2014 after the fall of the Pro-Russian government in Ukraine, Russia recaptured Crimea.
So, Crimea is important to Russia for reasons I have stated, but it is also important to Ukraine. The capture of Crimea would mark the end of Russia as a great power. It would be a crushing and humiliating defeat that Putin could not possibly survive. Russia would no longer have a presence in the Black Sea and would no longer be a threat to the Ukrainian ports and it would make future Russian attacks much more difficult. It would follow then, that the entire Russian Federation would be weakened to the point of possible disintegration.
Drawing the lines at Crimea
Undersecretary of state, Victoria Nuland, yes, she’s the one from the Nord Stream Report, is now saying that the U.S. is supporting Ukrainian strikes on Crimea, which drew a stern reminder from Moscow that the Crimean Peninsula is a redline the crossing of which will have consequences. Zelensky in a news conference, said that Ukraine is preparing a large operation for the de-occupation of Crimea. I pray that U.S. leaders are unwilling to continue poking the nuclear bear, but evidence is to the contrary.
It seems that Vladimir Putin is just as determined to maintain Russia’s position as a great power as the West is determined to end it. It is hard for a Westerner to understand what Crimea means to the Russian soul. For example, during the siege of Crimea by the French, British, and Turks in 1854-55, and the Germans and Romanians in 1941-42, the Red Army lost more men than the U.S. has lost in all its wars in its entire history. Here is a comparison that makes Crimea’s importance easy to understand. From an unknown Russian,
In the last resort, America would use nuclear weapons to save Hawaii and Pearl Harbor. And if we have to, we should use them to save Crimea.
What makes it a powder keg
So, Crimea presents the greatest threat of nuclear catastrophe that humanity has faced. Greater than the Cuban missile crises, yes because the two sides are already at war. Furthermore, there were no international powers encouraging The U.S. and the Soviet Union to escalate and launch those missiles. Kennedy made a very wise and mature decision to remove U.S. strategic missiles from northern Turkey where they could be seen from Russia on a clear day, and Khrushchev removed them from Cuba. Nuclear brinksmanship yes, but the players were wise, and they cared about survival. Not so in today’s struggle.
This war is very difficult to understand, and it is extremely difficult to learn the truth about what is happening. Battle lines are always fluid and changing from day to day. That is what the term fog of war means. In addition to the fog of war problems which obscure the battlefield, propaganda is as intense as ever. Reporting on the war by Western media seems to be completely controlled by the U.S. government. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it seems that way to me. It is hard to find any information about who is winning this war. There is so much propaganda to benefit the Ukrainian side that I look to other sources such as Al Jazeera, Russia Today, and here in America, Colonel Douglas Macgregor.
Colonel Macgregor tries to make sense of this
Colonel Macgregor was instrumental in the tank battles that destroyed the Iraqi Revolutionary Guards during the first Gulf War. In fact he was almost National Security Advisor at one point in his career. He provides experienced and useful information about conditions on the battlefield. And like me, he wonders about the U.S. interest in one of the never ending Eastern European conflicts.
The only reason must be the U.S. desire and intent to maintain a unipolar world by whatever means necessary. To see what I mean by that just look at the Project for a New American Century. Google2 that or go to the project’s website to get the picture. Or you could read Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book, the Grand Chessboard, for the best explanation. The effort to surround, isolate, weaken, and disempower Russia is a central part of that effort. But it is failing in many ways.
Sanctions were supposed to destroy the Russian economy and isolate Russia from the rest of the world. But sanctions appear to have caused more damage to the U.S. economy and those of Western nations than Russia’s. For example, Russian oil and gas revenue is higher than it was before the war. China and Russia buy all the oil that Russia can send to them on its fleet of 600 tankers. Sanctioned countries are working on and will reportedly soon have work around systems in place to avoid being shut out of SWIFT which is the international settlement system.
Sanctions also helped fill the powder keg
The only thing the sanctions appear to have accomplished is to heighten international tensions and conflicts and make the U.S. appear to be an international bully using its world reserve currency status to bully others into compliance with its wishes. So, if the sanctions have failed, then who is winning the war? It is very hard to tell because nothing coming from the U.S. can be believed. We know for certain that Russia is pounding the Ukrainian army and its infrastructure with missiles from North Korea and drone technology from Iran and Turkey. One thing does seem clear, however, and that is that if the sanctions are failing or have failed, and the Russians really are winning on the battlefield, then only one choice remains for the U.S. leaders and that is to escalate the conflict by sending more and better weapons.
If that is true, and it seems to be, then how can the whole world be lined up behind the U.S. supported Ukrainian side? You are correct in your reasoning that both things cannot be true at once. The truth is that only the U.S. and its NATO allies are all in on Ukraine. The rest of the world, except for U.S. supported Japan and South Korea, are openly trading with Russia in defiance of the sanctions. Even India, trying to play both sides in every conflict, buys Russian oil in clear defiance of sanctions.
There is another way that this war against Russia the U.S. is fighting has damaged U.S. security. In addition to debt and forced confiscation of the labor of American citizens, is the dangerous depletion of American munition stockpiles. It takes years, not months or weeks, to replenish stockpiles that have been depleted. Many munitions plants in the U.S. have been closed since the fall of the Soviet Union over 30 years ago. They can restart, but in years not months. Remember when the U.S. lost its Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor? It replenished even greater, but it took two years to do so.
Is it worth it then? Is it worth robbing hard working Americans and putting the U.S. in a dangerously depleted state all to preserve one of the world’s most corrupt regimes? Obviously, there is more to it than that. The U.S. has set itself on a course to surround and isolate Russia. It is now in the process of doing the same thing with China. It is hard to see all this maneuvering and come to an honest opinion about it. Because if you are like me, you will never see your views expressed in the American media. Americans just seem to buy into or go along with whatever prevailing groupthink seems to be dominant at the time. The media presents the “facts” to us as the government delivers the “facts” to be presented to the American people.
An instructive, and sad, example
Perhaps I’m just rambling now, but I see it every day in my law practice. If you talked to the average person in what the old news shows used to call man on the street interviews you would probably find a deep interest in many things, but not much real knowledge of history, economics, and government. Let me give you a real-life example from last Saturday from my city of Memphis. My wife and I were driving back from an early trip to the office when passing through one of the city’s busiest intersections we encountered a demonstration.
This demonstration was not a riot and although the people were quite enthusiastic about their cause, it was well disciplined. There were signs all expressing support for Ukraine and there were many Ukrainian flags to go with the signs. My wife was driving so I had a chance to pay close attention. I noticed that all the people were white, which might be unusual in a 70% black city. The other thing I noticed that I found unusual is that they were almost all white women, and mostly 20 and 30 somethings. There were a few white men, but not many. My estimate is about 25-30 people in two groups split on each side of the street.
Waking up to the bias
I was left to wonder how much they know about Ukrainian and Russian history or the history of Europe for that matter. Perhaps I’m wrong and those people were not victims of mindless government propaganda, but instead were well educated in the current conflict and they just wanted to express support for the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Putin’s brutal war of aggression. Perhaps, but I doubt it.
Reports show that Americans are currently very concerned about political bias in news coverage. That comes because of the biggest story in many years. Which is to say, Seymour Hersh’s story about the U.S. blowing up the Nord Stream Pipelines. Not a peep from the media until finally, yesterday The Washington Post printed the story. But no investigation of the allegations. What major media outlet will present a balanced, impartial look at the Ukraine War? The warmongers have spent trillions, getting the U.S. into pointless, unwinnable wars. But maybe, just maybe people are getting sick of paying the price.
Finally, folks. Who will utter a kind or even impartial word about Russia or Vladimir Putin in the U.S. media today? No one. And since the U.S. President views Putin as the devil, I suppose that makes me advocatus diaboli, the devil’s advocate.
At least that’s the way I see it.
Until next time folks,
This is Darrell Castle.
From CastleReport.us; appears by permission.
1 He reminds your editor more of the little boy who pointed and said, “But the Emperor has no clothes on!”
2 Google is not a verb. Your editor prefers the Brave search engine, which now has its own AI “Summarizer.” Follow this link for a truly excellent summary of this dangerous organization. Dangerous, that is, to human liberty and even to the lives of all Americans, military and civilian alike.
Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer, 2008 Vice Presidential nominee, and 2016 Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at castlereport.us
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