Historic High Jinks.

Preamble.

As Russia’s Special Operation in the Ukraine continues apace, not only is the Ukrainian government losing territory to Russian forces every day, but there is now very credible evidence of other possible operations being conducted against the country by other nations, these only adding to Kiev’s woes. This article will examine what we know and what may happen.

Swiss Comparison.

Before looking at what may happen to certain areas of the Ukraine, we have to look at the country itself, yet to do so, it would be opportune to first look at Switzerland.

For all the differences between the countries governed by Berne and Kiev, one similarly is the difference of peoples that exist in the two lands.

The people who have lived in what is today Switzerland, even in spite of some of the recent decisions made in Berne, are famous around the globe for their peace and neutrality. They want war with nobody and have a very strong sense of nationality. What is most surprising concerning this togetherness is that the country can broadly be divided into three distinct areas, these speaking either French, German or Italian. Some areas are bilingual, and one ought not forget the few areas in which Rumansch, Switzerland’s own distinct language is spoken. There are two important points to be noted from this however. The first is that whilst the country may be divided by language, it is absolutely united at heart. The second is that for all the differences that may exist between the peoples, a common mentality and centuries of cooperation are instrumental in binding a society together. With this examined, now we will investigate the Swiss cheese that the Ukraine has always been.

An Unwhole Country.

In contrast to Switzerland that has been its own nation for approaching a millennium, the Ukraine has had numerous visits from a number of invaders and occupants over the same period. Moreover, with its borders having moved to and fro as much as they have, this has meant that it has not existed as is until very recently, but the huge cultural divides within the country have led to the paradox that a huge percentage of its population have had more in common with the peoples other countries than with their own alleged countrymen. When we set this against the difficulties that have presented themselves over the last decade, we see a complete opposite of the situation found in Switzerland. The Helvetics have managed to meld different peoples within their own borders due to their common values, yet when one looks at the Ukraine, a common border has been drawn around very different people.

Historical Holds.

Recent headlines tell is that the Russian SVR (equivalent to the American CIA) now believes that Poland may launch its own invasion into the Ukraine, attempting to regain lands it lost centuries ago. When looking at the here and now of the situation, one must never forget the there and then, a great part of today’s Ukraine once being part of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. According to Moscow, Warsaw will carry out the operation under the auspices of ‘historical reunification’, this being possibly the least plausible excuse for western malfeasance since NATO was established all those wars ago. Moreover, the US has apparently stated that it would not intervene in any operation of this nature, yet would not object if ‘Poland and a group of countries’ occupied the west of the Ukraine. Whilst playing straight into the hands of Warsaw, it may well be that Washington now regards its Ukrainian operation as a failure, this being a manner in which at least some of the country can remain under its indirect control.

Operation Overload.

Should Poland attempt to at least in part re-establish its historical empire, this could not come at a worse time for the Ukraine. Recent days have seen Kiev’s armed forces not only attempt to conscript anyone who was not previously in uniform, but also send them east in order to fight the Russians. With Warsaw’s assault in the western half of the country and Moscow’s steady push westwards, a country with a real problem with nazis will find itself with fronts to both the east and west, just as the nazis Berlin did during the Second World War. Just to further complicate matters, Poland has been the corridor through which the West has transported many of the supplies that Kiev so desperately needs. With that gone, the Ukraine’s fortunes will rapidly go into a tailspin.

Not only is this incursion on the cards, but Transnistria is also under examination between Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine, creating a whole smorgasbord of possibilities, none of which augur well for the region.

Transnistrian Troubles.

The current situation in Transnistria was examined at length in this recent article, yet with the Poles going east, the Russians west, and possibly both Romania and the Ukraine against Transnistria, not only are things likely to go from bad to worse, but they could spill over into other nations, involving those who have nothing to do with current difficulties. The small size of Transnistria means that except in the case of massive Russian intervention, the country would be overrun in very short order, yet this is one of many areas in the region that has a history of partisan warfare that could spread unchecked. Whether the Romanian government would stop at Transnistria is a very interesting question, as are the rumors regarding possible incursions elsewhere along the Romania-Ukraine border as have been suggested by some. What is for certain is that the Moldovan government does not want and is quoted as saying that it simply cannot fight any war. How this would all pan out if Bucharest’s forces do move is still unknown, uncertainty being the only certainty at this point. No governments ought become involved in a war with a conflict already raging nearby, yet with Chisinau unable to fight and Romania possibility gearing up for a small conflict, public opinion in both nations may become pivotal in coming weeks. Should Kiev however attempt to push against Transnistria from the other direction, things could turn really nasty. Not only would Russian forces sooner or later push through Odessa oblast (state) until reaching Transnistria, but once there, this could potentially pit Romania, a NATO state, against Russia. Bucharest and Chisinau may wish to hit the little guy today, yet when the big boy from Moscow turns up, all hell could and may very well break loose.

Behind Closed Doors.

For all of the possibilities mentioned, the last thing that either Poland or Romania want is for any future hostilities with Russia. The current political situation between all three is currently very tense, yet should there be any push from the West, it is safe to say that red lines will already have been discussed with Moscow. With a war currently under way after the US repeatedly ignored Russia’s demands and red lines, nations in the area are fully aware of what may happen should they cross the Bear. With that, there will undoubtedly have been the same communications with Romania as there have been with Poland, no party wanting to end up biting off more than it can chew. This will come as little comfort to Kiev, yet with the Ukraine already on the ropes it is inevitable that wherever other nations’ armies stop is where whatever is left of the Ukraine will start.

NATO in Knots.

The aforementioned operations do present a real problem, not only to NATO, but also its member states. The first issue is with Poland. The western world has banged on ceaselessly regarding Ukraine’s sovereignty, Kiev’s right to rule and the assault from the Russian bear, yet should one of the Atlantic Alliance’s own members do exactly as Russia has, this is going to look like sheer hypocrisy, not that this has worried either NATO or its members in the past. The difference today is that the leading headline in the post-Covid world has been Ukrainian integrity, and western leaders are going to have a very hard sell in not condemning Poland as it does just as Russia has. After spending nearly a year telling the world that Russia should stay out, even the greatest spin doctors in the world cannot but lambast Warsaw for its actions. Looking further south, we have Romania in NATO and Moldova as a wannabe, yet the territory in question was its own nation before either had attempted to cozy up with Brussels. Should they attack Transnistria, this is not defense, meaning that any dreams of Article Five are going to turn into a nightmare when the inevitable T-72s turn up on the horizon.

Only time will tell whether the headlines tell us that non-NATO Ukraine is the good guy, Poland and Romania are the bad guys or whether another variant of Covid will conveniently turn up to direct everyone’s attention elsewhere.

Risky Business.

There is another perspective to all this however. If both Poland and Romania decide to embark on their own Drangen nach Osten, do any lands they conquer become de facto NATO territory? Moreover, is this a plan whereby any Russian attempt to recover stolen lands an excuse to invoke Article Five? For all the madness of these plans, there may be nefarious aspirations on the part of those NATO states involved to involve the entire alliance when and not if Russia turns up. With that, one can be assured that the UK, France and Germany will consider this to be casus belli, yet other nations such as Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary may be rather more reluctant to involve themselves in someone else’s game of Russian Roulette.

Drawing a New Map.

For all of what may happen in the future, only a fool would say that there are not already new lines on the map. Just as with Crimea in 2014, the people will be given the choice as to their destiny in the lands already conquered by Russia, but as Moscow’s forces move steadily westwards, not only will the people living there come under Russian control, they will have a say in their destiny. Given the choice between a ruined Ukraine whose government and troops attempted to ruin them and a new republic giving them autonomy over their own affairs, as soon as the Ukrainian flag is down, the level of support for Russia and the opportunities it offers will soar. With that however, a pragmatic question arises.

Out but In or Out?

With a huge swathe of territory now in the hands of Moscow and inevitably a lot more to come, a huge percentage of those who had to face the Ukrainian leadership and their armed thugs will turn their backs on any idea of again being under Kiev’s rule. That then leaves two options; to either establish an autonomous republic such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia or to become part of the Russian Federation proper. This will be a very decisive issue amongst the millions who will eventually vote, some wanting autonomy with others yearning for the security that Moscow offers. In both cases however, this means that with these lands wrenched from Kiev’s (and therefore the West’s) grasp, they now have their future in their own hands, having left the western sphere that all but ruined them as a country.

Summary.

For all the accusations that the West levels at Moscow, it could very well be that certain western nations wish to play the same game. The fact that this is more a case of touché than truce is however going to be a big battle for the western media. Years of yarn have led the public to support the Ukraine without question, yet should one of its greatest supporters go rogue, and more importantly whilst the current conflict is on every front page, this will cause more than a few red faces in certain capitals. For all of the wrongdoing on the West’s part however, even its staunchest supporters are now admitting that Russia is succeeding in its efforts. This may very well be why the US is rapidly editing its script, Poland’s past giving it leverage in today’s troubles. For all of that however, there may be surprises for both leaders and their voters.

The first may be the fact that NATO may assert that lands conquered by member states are now part of the alliance, quite obviously with tacit approval from the US. This may look all well and good from the ivory towers in Brussels and Washington, yet should other nations be required to spill blood in order to defend what are effectively stolen goods, even more cracks than we have already seen may appear in European politics.

The second is that rather than being enslaved to Kiev or threatened by Moldova, the Ukraine or Romania, newly liberated peoples will be able to give the finger to their former oppressors now that their futures are in their hands. Whether they will wish to be part of the Russian Federation or running their own party is yet to be decided. For all the talk concerning the beast from the East, it was and still is an unwelcome guest from the West that has caused today’s changes. The map of Europe is changing before our very eyes, yet it is a reaction to western interference that will map the future ahead of us…

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