Sunday, March 2, 2014

“Trouble” in Crimea: A repeat of the 2008 Russian Invasion of Georgia?

Given that the recent “trouble” in Crimea was primarily due to the recent ousting of Ukraine’s Russian leaning Prime Minister Yanukovych, will this be a repeat of the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia?

By: Ringo Bones

The Western and Eastern parts of the Ukraine had always been politically at odds with each other since the disintegration of the Soviet Union back in 1991. The Western part of Ukraine is mostly populated by pro European Union and pro NATO populace while the Eastern part leans with Russia. Since the recent political unrest that eventually ousted the pro Russian recently ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych that lead to the deaths of at least 80 peaceful unarmed protestors when Yanukovych gave the order to shoot, ethnic Russians and Russian leaning Russians – especially in Crimea, home of the Port of Sevastopol - which has now resulted in the recent trouble that made pro Russian Ukrainians to occupy government buildings and raise the Russian flag in their respective Eastern Ukrainian strongholds. Given that Russian President Vladimir Putin already got the approval of the Russian parliament to send Russian troops to the Crimean port of Sevastopol in order to protect their interest – i.e. the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – will this be a repeat of the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia?

According to the current Ukrainian president Oleksandr Turchynov, there are allegedly 15,000 Russian troops roaming on the streets of Crimea due to the recent military exercise by 150,000 Russian troops and military hardware near the Russian-Ukrainian border. President Putin’s justification for the planned Russian military intervention in the Ukraine is primarily to protect the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol and to insure the safety of ethnic Russians and pro Russian Ukrainians in the Crimea. Ethnic Russians in Crimea – which has been under Ukrainian administration in 1954 despite being more of less autonomous from Kiev – had been afraid of a surge in Ukrainian nationalism that could eventually marginalize their language and culture ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union back in 1991. Strange given that Russia, together with the Ukraine, U.K. and the U.S. were signatories of the December 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum assuring the territorial integrity of the Ukraine would be violating it by willfully invading Crimea just to protect its own interests of protecting its Black Sea Naval Fleet stationed in Sevastopol. 

As of March 1, 2014, the Ukrainian military has been on its highest state of readiness after the Russian parliament gave president Putin the green light to intervene in Crimea to protect its interest since the ousting of pro Russian Ukrainian PM Viktor Yanukovych. Then President Obama’s National Security Team got in an emergency meeting in the White House at 1 in the afternoon D.C. time. The UN Security Council also held an emergency meeting over the Ukrainian / Crimean crisis as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stated that he’s gravely concerned over the escalating situation in Crimea. Whatever the outcome and given that Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council – Kremlin’s decision to escalate the crisis in Crimea could affect Russia’s stonewalling the UN’s recent peace efforts to end the  ongoing Syrian civil war, not to mention the Iranian nuclear deal. 

Are Authoritarian Regimes Around The World Cracking Down on the LGBT Community?

Though the big three offenders – Nigeria, Russia, and Uganda - have much more bigger problems than gay people just living out their lives in peace, will their respective crackdown on the LGBT community make their respective countries better?

By: Ringo Bones

It seems a bit odd that given their economies had improved since the first decade of the 21st Century that the governments of Nigeria and Uganda seems so suddenly decided to legislate draconian laws curbing the rights of their respective local LGBT – as in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – community. Given that in Nigeria and Uganda, there are much bigger problems than gay people living out their lives in peace – as in the country’s Al Qaeda affiliated Islamist militant terror groups like Al Shabab and Boko Haram – not to mention Uganda’s Joseph Kony and his Lord Resistance Army which has since became the cause célèbre of the United Nations’ campaign against child soldiers, will these governments’ resort to persecuting gays ever solve their much intransigent problems? 

While Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently stated his case that the LGBT community in his country is an “affront to traditional Russian values”, his country is also plagued by Al Qaeda affiliated Islamist militant terror groups that is already entrenched in the Caucasus Region. President Putin posing shirtless for the press will probably not likely to suddenly grab a Soviet era PKM machine gun, hop on a Soviet era BMP armored personnel carrier to storm into the strongholds of Caucasus Islamist strafing them with machine gun fire like a Russian version of Rambo – instead legislates laws to give the LGBT community a really hard time to live out their lives in peace.

Though many international aid agencies are threatening to cut-off aid destined to Uganda and business firms with a strong LGBT customer base are suspending their plans – at the moment to invest in Nigeria, a recent documentary directed by Roger Ross Williams titled God Loves Uganda had shown that radical right-wing Evangelical Christian missionary groups are the primary reason why the anti LGBT sentiment throughout Africa is on the up rise. One could wonder if Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is too much of a coward to tackle the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamist militant terror groups like Boko Haram and Al Shabab plaguing his country or of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni too cowardly to finally solve the problem of Joseph Kony and his Lord Resistance Army terrorizing the Ugandan countryside – or is persecuting their respective LGBT communities much politically expedient to do?