Is Latvia Next?

A bit worrisome:

Last week, I warned that the next step for Russia after seizing the Crimea over the status of ethnic Russians would take place in the Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia. All it would take, I argued, would be for Moscow to foment unrest in those ethnic-Russian communities, antagonize the governments in both states, and then insist that Russia had to intervene to protect them. More than a quarter of the population in both countries consist of ethnic Russians, while in Ukraine it only came to 18%.

Now it looks like Moscow will skip over the unrest pretext and demand the right to act as economic protector  in Latvia…

Russia is claiming – probably correctly, to a certain extent – that ethnic Russians in Latvia (as well as in Lithuania and Estonia) are not well treated.  Given the absolutely cruel and brutal treatment the Baltic people suffered at the hands of Russians under the USSR, this is no surprise, at all.

All three nations are NATO allies and members of the European Union – if Russia challenges the independence of these three, small nations, then it is our bound duty to defend them, even up to war.  We’ll see how this plays out – but our weakness (and the military impotence of the European Union) is encouraging Russia to get aggressive.  Of course, this new pressure on the Baltic front just might be a blind…Russia will, as part of a “deal” officially back down on the Baltic States in return for our backing down even further on Ukraine.  We’ll see.

7 thoughts on “Is Latvia Next?

  1. bardolf2 March 10, 2014 / 1:49 pm

    Pat Buchanan’s analysis of current events

    “When Red Army tank divisions crushed the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956, killing 50,000, Eisenhower did not lift a finger. When Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall, JFK went to Berlin and gave a speech.

    When Warsaw Pact troops crushed the Prague Spring in 1968, LBJ did nothing. When, Moscow ordered Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski to smash Solidarity, Ronald Reagan refused to put Warsaw in default.

    These presidents saw no vital U.S. interest imperiled in these Soviet actions, however brutal. They sensed that time was on our side in the Cold War. And history has proven them right.

    What is the U.S. vital interest in Crimea? Zero. From Catherine the Great to Khrushchev, the peninsula belonged to Russia. The people of Crimea are 60 percent ethnic Russians.

    And should Crimea vote to secede from Ukraine, upon what moral ground would we stand to deny them the right, when we bombed Serbia for 78 days to bring about the secession of Kosovo?”

    While Russians only make up 18% of Ukraine they are 60% of Crimea, they are less than 25% in Latvia. Latvia is not historically Russian. Latvia belongs to NATO. And so on and so on. Completely different situations that shouldn’t be conflated. The US has a vital interest in protecting Latvia, as part of NATO and none in the Ukraine.

    • Count d'Haricots (@Count_dHaricots) March 10, 2014 / 5:02 pm

      Patrick J. Buchanan’s pedantic isolationist views on international relations have never been seriously considered any more relevant than his thinly disguised racist diatribes. I can understand why ‘dolf would want to cite Buchanan as some sort of authority; he has the same profile as the xenophobe Ron Paul.

      Hungary in 1956: a very bad example-as a land-locked country embedded in central-eastern Europe, the overriding US national interest is hardly redoubtable. Ike’s options were clearly limited by geography and existing current events. Offering humanitarian aid and relaxed immigration policies was the outer bounds of Eisenhower’s authority much to Ike’s regret.

      Vis-à-vis Czechoslovakia; since it was the armies of the USSR; Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Bulgaria involved in the invasion , and since Lyndon Johnson was preparing that very day for an announcement the following day of a limited nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union only a fool, a ‘dolf or Patrick J. Buchanan would fail to understand the significance of the date of the invasion or the nature of the country being invaded.

      Again, geography played a critical role in the Prague spring involvement.

      Better examples from the period ‘dolf is focused upon would be the US involvement in military and financial aid to Greece and Turkey. Prior to Soviet dominance in this region, (1947) through Truman’s Percentage Agreement is a successful model for the Crimea.

      As to Crimea’s historic ties to Russia; the screed conveniently ignores Crimea’s history as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. During the period from 1763 until 1917 (when apparently Khrushchev was in control, who knew?) Crimea was a Russian protectorate. Crimea became an Oblast, or Slavic State in 1921 and a Socialist Republic along with Russia and Ukraine in 1945.

      After the fall of the Soviet Union, Crimea became a republic joined with Ukraine.

      Latvia has as at least as much Russian history as Crimea; read up on the former country of Courland and the family Osten-Sacken. You’ll find reference in the Willy-Nicky letters.

      • bardolf2 March 11, 2014 / 12:53 am

        This a tough one to decide. The Count or Pat Buchanan. A person of zero stature, whose possible expertise is in academic accounting, a person whose concept of risk is whether to choose pinot noir or cabernet Sauvignon with a steak. Then there is a man who was in the White House with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan during the height of the cold war, who witnessed history first hand.

        Who to trust? A man who gets his history from the internet and some friends at work or a former presidential contender who defeated Bob Dole in New Hampshire?

        Basic math 50% of the people in the Crimea are Russians less than a quarter in Latvia. Of course the Neo-Nazi in the region are actually in the Ukrainian government. “Svoboda is a Neo-Nazi Party, Ukraine’s fourth biggest party holding 36 seats out of 450 in parliament. ” That alone should give the Count pause before beating the drums.

        I can’t understand the Count’s wariness to embrace the faction in the GOP that is war-weary. He comes from such a peaceful tradition.

      • M. Noonan March 11, 2014 / 2:27 am

        What is missing is the fact that the Crimea only became Russian after Stalin exiled all the Crimeans (Tatars). Now, as to whether or not that is something that can’t be fixed is another matter – but Russia’s claims to it are not self-evident.

  2. Amazona March 11, 2014 / 10:15 am

    “This a tough one to decide. The Count or Pat Buchanan”

    Seriously? This is a decision? Much less one that is regarded as “tough”? I guess for one invested in Identity Politics, Buchanan’s history might be compelling. For those who pay attention to what he says, not so much.

    My goodness, what petty sniping! Just a hint, here, dolf—one who has bragged about drinking zinfandel with brie is hardly in a position to get all catty about another’s wine choices. Oh, I know, it was not about wine, it was supposed to be a witty and scathing analysis of what the Count considers high-risk, but really, dolf, do try to keep your claws in.

    “Zero stature”? Meeeeowwwwww

    • Count d'Haricots (@Count_dHaricots) March 11, 2014 / 11:25 am

      You must understand ‘dolf’s confusion; he is more interested in poorly sourced alteration than fact.

      Whom (objective) to trust? He could ask my Russian cousins, they are not that hard to find. Of course, he will have to leave the mathematics monument to mental masturbation and tiresome tedium at his little college and waddle over to entomology where they study the real sciences.

      Latvia was actually in the Russian Empire whereas Ukraine never was. A preponderance of Russian speaking peoples displaced into Crimea is hardly an argument for forceful invasion of a sovereign nation. By that logic, Mexico should roll right into New Mexico or England into the US.

      An argument can be made for reuniting former Russian lands with Latvia, and has been.

      Or he could just explain how Khrushchev became the First Secretary of the Communist Party in 1917.

      • Count d'Haricots (@Count_dHaricots) March 11, 2014 / 11:31 am

        Also a little confused by ‘dolf’s magic math — yesterday Crimea was 60% Russian, today it’s only 50%.

        If we wait until the weekend the problem will resolve itself.

        But, what do you expect from someone that makes his living teaching remedial arithmetic at a high school with ashtrays.

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