In 1999, US lead NATO forces undertook military operations against the former Nation of Yugoslavia in order to halt the systematic genocide of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Ultimately, the solution to the state sponsored terrorism perpetrated by Slobodan Miloevi was to divide the territory into several smaller sovereign nations. With that in mind, US opposition to independence for the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which fueled the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia, appears to be hypocritical. When is it acceptable to split a country apart to solve conflicts is a question that must be asked.
The Ukraine Crisis and Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian territory Crimea represents Russia’s response. Russia’s very traditional answer appears to be whenever a nation is stronger than its neighbors, i.e. might makes right, and it serves the strongest nation’s interests. In the eyes of Russians, the US has a similar philosophy, yet fraudulently claims to believe in the sovereignty of weaker nations. Truthfully, US history does provide examples of the US acting like a traditional power in regards to seizing foreign territory solely for its own interests while it has been hypocritical as American values shifted toward supporting the sovereignty of weaker nations.
On the other hand, the United States offers democratic freedoms to its own territories and respects the sovereign rights of its allies, even if it can be overly aggression in how it asserts its interests. What the United States will not do is allow the integrity of its own homeland to be eroded by domestic and foreign forces of sedition. Once a territory elects to become a member of the United States of America, the People living within that territory do not have the right to undermine US sovereignty or deny their fellow citizens ownership in that commonwealth State.
Even though Crimea is culturally more Russian than Ukrainian, it is still a territory of Ukraine, unless the Ukrainian People and the Crimean People decide through a legal and legitimate democratic referendum to part ways. After all, the Putin government cannot decide the US paid too little for Alaska in 1867 in order to justify an invasion of the United States. It is also the reason the United States supports its Asian allies in their defense against China’s territorial claims in the South and East China Seas despite the potential for war. Similarly, if China were to reassert its historic claims to resource rich Siberia and far East Russia, Russia would call a foul on Chinese aggression.
That said, it is certainly within the interests of the United States, Europe, and Asia to support China’s efforts to free territory seized by Russia in the Eighteenth Century. Not only could support of China’s historic claims be used to defuse rising tensions between the US and China by facilitating a diplomatic settlement where China agrees to share the waters and resources of the East and South China Seas, it would also help diminish threats of war between Russia and the West by unifying the world against Russian aggression.
Clearly, it is within China’s interests to access new natural resources, acquire much needed space for its population, avoid conflict with its neighbors, and stop a potential nuclear war. At the very least, China may be able to force independence for the territories in question and eventually secure access to all the resources it will need in the future.
Although justified by Russia’s argument favoring the partitioning of Ukraine, US principles do not necessary support splitting up Russia, just because it is in US interests to do so.
Looking at the Kurdish territories within Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, the abuse of the Kurds, as well as the conflict between those who want to maintain the current borders and those who want to build a Kurdish Nation, reveal a historic injustice and strategic error of judgment. Not only are Iraq and Syria thoroughly incapable of governing Kurdish territory at this time, the reality that the Kurds are the only reliable ground forces willing and able to push back the Islamic State makes it wise to support a Kurdish state for a deserving People. Given political instability in Turkey and Iran’s rogue behavior, the Turkish and Iranian Kurds will soon look to join with their Iraqi and Syrian brothers. That likely geopolitical shift will occur at some point in the future, but whether it is a peaceful or violent transition is far from certain.
Just as the United States supported the breakup of Yugoslavia in order to resolve an ethnic conflict that had rendered the political system incapable of governing a Country, the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds need that same support now. If the Turks cannot assimilate the Kurds into their government and nation as full citizens, they must be willing to secede control over their Kurdish territory or fight an ethnic war, which could result in genocide and the loss of NATO membership benefits. In the case of the Iranian Kurds, it is easiest for the US to support Kurdish separatists, but it is Iran’s authoritarian rule and destabilizing policies that legitimize US support.
If the Russian government is going to oppress its own People, which is an increasingly common theme of the Putin government, and use its vast resources to destabilize the world, the US has a legitimate interest in supporting Chinese efforts to free their old territories of Russian dominance.
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