Ukraine

If This Isn't a Russian Invasion of Ukraine, What Is It?

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World Economic Forum

Damn, the border situation is getting bad. Mexico just sent around 200 mysterious, mostly empty cargo trucks across the border and into Arizona. They promise it's "humanitarian aid," though Gov. Jan Brewer has been insisting for 10 days that without Red Cross approval, such action constitutes an invasion. Mexico assures that it really just wants to help, but past events suggest otherwise: Mexico already seized New Mexico, but we've declared that water under the bridge, since a lot of New Mexicans speak Spanish and historically it was their turf. And now, in Arizona, there's evidence that Mexico has been helping the militant drug cartels wreak havoc for months. Some cartel members have admitted to being mercenaries, and there are satellite images with evidence of rockets being launched from Mexico into Arizona, and most recently a column of those Mexican military vehicles guarding the trucks entered Arizona and battled with its forces.

Why is the world so hesitant to admit that this is an invasion? Is it because Arizona is geopolitically small potatoes, and not stepping on Mexico's toes is more strategic?

Of course, none of this is actually happening along the southern U.S. border, but it is happening right now along the border of Ukraine and Russia.

Sweden's foreign minister claims that the trucks are "following units of [Russia's] 76th Airborne Division, " but that hasn't been confirmed by other sources. Radio Free Europe reports on the trucks, which are allegedly being driven by trained military personnel:

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said 90 trucks had entered Ukraine without agreement or participation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in violation of agreements between Ukraine and Russia.

"We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine," Ukrainian Security Service chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko said in a separate statement to journalists. However, he said Kyiv would not use any force in an effort to avoid "provocations."

The trucks began to move shortly after Moscow accused Ukraine of creating "artificial demands" and warned it not to try to halt the convoy, which Kyiv has voiced concerns could be used to supply pro-Russian rebels with weapons.

"All excuses to delay the delivery of aid to people in the area of the humanitarian catastrophe have been exhausted," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The Russian side has decided to take action. Our convoy carrying a humanitarian cargo is starting to move in the direction of Luhansk," it said, referring to a provincial capital held by the pro-Russian separatists.

The ICRC, whose participation was meant to assuage Ukraine's concerns, said it was not escorting the convoy "due to the volatile security situation."

"We've not received sufficient security guarantees from the fighting parties," the ICRC said on Twitter, adding that the Red Cross team in Luhansk had reported heavy shelling overnight.

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The New York Times meekly pronounces: Russian Trucks Cross Border Without Assent of Ukraine. "The United States and its European allies have warned that any crossing of the border by Russian military vehicles, even under the pretext of protecting the aid convoy, will be regarded as an invasion," explains Andrew Roth of the Times, but won't himself say "duck" despite all the quacking and waddling going on.

The Guardian: Russian Convoy Crosses Border Into Ukraine Without Permission. The paper calls the convoy's action as "controversial," as if it were a Miley Cyrus concert and not military action.

By contrast, The Interpreter, which has expert policy analysis from the Institute for a Modern Russia and regularly sympthazies with Russia, writes:

There are perhaps no good reasons left to trust the Russian narrative on Ukraine. …

Why would Russia stop the inspections? Why would they not allow the Red Cross to take control of these vehicles? Why would the vehicles be mostly empty (Russia's explanationmakes little sense and contradicts their statements that hundreds of tons of aid are on the move)?

War is foggy and Russia has deliberately obscured facts about its assault on Ukrainian lives and independence for months in order to make it all the foggier. None of this is to say that any other nation must come to Ukraine's defense, but it is wrong to pretend that today's border crossing is not part of a Russian invasion. 

UPDATE: "Russian artillery support — both cross-border and from within Ukraine — is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces," says a NATO official, according to another Times article. NATO has condemned the convoy's unapproved action.

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  1. Why is the world so hesitant to admit that this is an invasion?

    It took Reason quite some time to get to that point itself. I’m glad you’re finally there, but perhaps you already know why people are reluctant to call out the Russians, since you were reluctant yourselves?

    1. And when you gaze long into an invasion the invasion also gazes into you?

    2. Uh, reason is composed of individual writers who take individual positions. Why are you asking Zenon this as if he’s responsible for other writers?

      1. I still hold Matt and Nick responsible for Weigel’s horrible (vote for Obama and only Obama) coverage of the 2008 election…so I am going to give it a pass.

      2. I know, I know. But no writer at Reason was willing to call it an invasion for weeks and weeks. So allow me to clarify:

        Reason has a number of writers who were reluctant to call out the Russians. Why don’t you ask them?

        1. Because Reason does not employ any elected officials who represent their countries in foreign relations?

          1. What does that have to do with asking your colleagues why they were so slow to call an invasion an invasion?

    3. I referred to the invasion of Crimea as an invasion on March 17, the day after the fraudulent vote to secede:

      “Today, echoing the action in Crimea before the invasion, Ukrainska Pravda reports that 50 armed members of a so-called ‘Anti-Fascist Committee’ wearing symbols of the Russian military are setting up roadblocks in one eastern region.”

      https://reason.com/blog/2014/03…..kraine-rus

    4. A few more times I called it an invasion even earlier in March:

      https://reason.com/blog/2014/03…..hip-war-in

      https://reason.com/blog/2014/03…..lution-may

    5. Preach it MegaloMonocle.

      Reason has folks making money off of and contributing to Putin’s propaganda. It’s pathetic and shameful.

      Putin is an anti-libertarian authoritarian gangster who should be overthrown. Furthermore, Reason should actively start fundraising to finance the defense of Ukrainian sovereignty, which ultimately will help Ukraine get back the Crimea.

      Liberty must be defended with guns. Reason knows this and should lead the way in defeating Russian revanchism in Ukraine.

      1. Zenon Evans has been one of the few at Reason to speak to the reality of what has been going on. I will say this.

  2. As if the world didn’t get a free preview of this in Georgia, 2008.

  3. Why bother with the semantics of the situation if you adamantly refuse to consider doing anything about it?

    1. ^this

      Why should it matter if it is aid or an invasion to anyone but Ukrainians? Don’t like the trucks? Ukrainians should Seize them, inspect them and confiscate them, but don’t look to other countries to deal with it.

    2. It’s not an invasion, it’s a kinetic military action.

  4. Why is the world so hesitant to admit that this is an invasion?

    Mutually Assured Destruction

  5. It’s been obvious to some of us from the very beginning, and not, as Reason not-so-subtly hinted at the time, because we long for the glory days of the Cold War.

    I hate to put on my foil hat here, but given Putin’s neo-Soviet aspirations, and the USSR’s well-known tactic of bankrolling opposition movements in the US, I can’t help wondering why certain people over here were at such pains to defend Russia’s increasingly ridiculous story about why it did what it did.

    1. “I can’t help wondering why certain people over here were at such pains to defend Russia’s increasingly ridiculous story about why it did what it did.”

      Who would that be?

        1. That link goes back to this page.

          1. It goes to a specific comment.

            1. Oh, for pete’s sake! A link to the troll SM in answer to:

              “I can’t help wondering why certain people over here were at such pains to defend Russia’s increasingly ridiculous story about why it did what it did.”
              Who would that be?

              OK, my mistake. Yes, some trolls end up here with wacky theories.

    2. and the USSR’s well-known tactic of bankrolling opposition movements in the US

      The US did the same thing in the USSR.

      Of course the US also bankrolled ISIS so there is that.

      1. “Of course the US also bankrolled ISIS”

        Cite, plz

          1. Captured Iraqi stuff originating from US sales (they bought the HMMWVs from us, we were moving to MRAPs) does not equal “bankrolled”. “Bankrolled” connotes active giving and support.

      2. Of course the US also bankrolled ISIS so there is that.

        That’s a goddamn lie but I’ve come to expect that from you and those like you, as well as the red herring about US support of opposition in the USSR.

  6. The United States and its European allies have warned that any crossing of the border by Russian military vehicles, even under the pretext of protecting the aid convoy, will be regarded as an invasion

    Why the fuck are the US and Europe saying anything?!?!?

    Oh wait I forgot Obama wants a new cold war so derp.

    1. Well Europe is uh right there. This is a concern for them.

  7. Meanwhile, Crimea was already autonomous before the coup d’etat that toppled Viktor Yanukovich. The Crimean parliamentarians voted to end their relationship since the new government hadn’t entered into agreement with them and the old government had gone.

    Living is worse for Ukrainians now than during the democratically-elected Yanukovich regime.

    THERE IS NOTHING IN THE STREET LOOKS ANY DIFFERENT TO ME. OCCUPY MAIDAN PROTESTERS AWAKEN TO THE NEW DICTATORSHIP OF UKRAINE

    Once again, a Reasonoid, this time Zenon Evans gets it oh-so-wrong.

      1. Isn’t it convincing when a troll refers you to his own unsupported comments to support his new unsupported comments?
        Why, it seems Smack agrees with Smack!

  8. It is not an invasion because if it was an invasion Russia would be occupying Kiev with tanks right now.

    1. But what about Kyiv?

      1. my 1958 world globe says Kiyev…

        It also says French West Africa and United Arab Republic.

        1. Dahomey FTW!

      2. Also Chicken Kiev.

    2. It is not a balls-out invasion because if it was a balls-out invasion Russia would be trying to occupy Kyiv with tanks right now. -FTFY

  9. You have mischaracterized the Institute for Modern Russia.

    It sympathizes with the Russian people, but has been critical of the Russian government under Vladimir Putin.

    IMR was founded by Pavel Khodorkovsky, son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman who was a political prisoner for many years and released last year by Putin on the eve of the Sochi Olympics.

    The Interpreter is a project of IMR, supported by Khodorkovsky, the Herzen Foundation, and reader donations.

    The Interpreter has been reporting on Russian military convoys fighting alongside Russian-backed separatists in the southeastern Ukraine for months.

    See today’s LiveBlog at interpretermag dot com

  10. Q

    Would any form of international involvement to mediate the crisis thus far have prevented an eventual Russian invasion?

    Q

    Would any form of international involvement to mediate the crisis at THIS POINT minimize the potential damages/losses of territorial control to Russia, and prevent the possibility of an inevitable coup?

    Q

    At what point do we confess that the Budapest Memorandum is no longer valid, and that US/UK/European security assurances are meaningless, and Russia is entirely welcome to re-occupy any of the named former Soviet States?

    Q

    At what point does the question cease to be, ‘well too bad for Ukrainians’, and become ‘what are the consequences of an expansionary Russia to European Security’; does inaction at this stage begin to increase or diminish the likelihood of future conflict of a larger scale?

    Q

    Why does anyone complain at all about foreign leaders or media downplaying this event if, like them, Reason’s objective is to maintain a strict posture of ‘non-interventionism’ rather than insist on any use of diplomatic/economic weight to influence events?

    1. You can ask those questions of the ones threatened.
      When the Euros answer, please let us know.

      1. The US and UK are signatories to the security assurances offered to Ukraine (& Belarus and Kazakhstan)

        The admission that we do not care to actually meet the terms of our agreements is more or less saying, “Take them!”

        It should be noted= the reason we made those agreements was to get Nukes out of Ukraine, and create a ‘more lasting security environment in the region’

        1. sorry, point#1 there is specifically a reference to the Budapest Memo linked above

      2. oh. and point #4 in the original comment is, “how long before regional conflict in Europe is a problem for the US”?

        You seem to think none of this matters ‘to us’ no matter how far in any direction it goes?

        1. “You seem to think none of this matters ‘to us’ no matter how far in any direction it goes?”

          I think NOW it matters a whole lot more to a lot of other people.
          Let them deal with it now. If (and I mean IF) it ever becomes a threat to the US, why then, we should do something.
          I am damn tired of paying to be the world’s cop; let someone else pick up the tab.

          1. “I am damn tired of paying to be the world’s cop; let someone else pick up the tab.”

            This is fine.

            The specific questions you ducked/ignored were to the actual diplomatic agreements we’ve made previously with our regional allies.

            We ‘talked’ nukes off of Europes borders by promising to guarantee that there would remain a security zone between themselves and the Russians.

            That deal is collapsing.

            Is the idea that you think we should unilaterally pull out of these agreements? All of them? Now, later, or just whenever convenient?

            We use diplomacy to avoid ‘war’. if you think we should avoid ‘diplomacy’ too… well, I just want to be clear on how many tools in the FP toolbox you are happy to throw away.

            1. “Is the idea that you think we should unilaterally pull out of these agreements? All of them? Now, later, or just whenever convenient?”

              I do not know exactly which agreements required the US to be the world’s cop. Which ever one (or ones) do so, it (or they) need to be examined with a fine-toothed comb to find a way out.
              We do not owe it to the world, especially since the chance of nuclear war is now reduced as far as it is.

              1. The specific agreement referenced has nothing to do with being a ‘cop’. Read it. Then go back to the questions i actually asked.

                “We do not owe it to the world, especially since the chance of nuclear war is now reduced as far as it is.”

                And WHY IS IT REDUCED?

                Because you just made the case for abandoning every single nuclear treaty as well.

                Seriously Sevo, read the referenced stuff, acknowledge existing reality, and address it

                If you don’t, its so much juvenile foot-stamping and insistence that the world be reduced to your simplistic dichotomies.

                The fact you (and most others) seem entirely unwilling to talk about Foreign Policy in anything other than hyper-reductive either/or situations just means you’re sacrificing the topic to others who will end up shaping how world affairs are perceived and dealt with.

                i don’t mind (or disagree) with a ‘least involvement’ policy.
                (*non-interventionism being a theory without a policy)

                I just think you have to be able to engage the topic with something more than simple-minded dismissiveness.

                1. OK, it’s too complicated! We can never get out of playing the worlds cop! Since I want to do that, I turn the question over to others!
                  Got it.

                  1. When i pointed out that you tend to reduce things to silly rhetorical extremes…

                    … responding by doing *exactly that* isn’t exactly a “touche”-inspiring retort

                    If you bothered to actually address the questions i raised rather than say, ‘EURO PROBLEM, NOT MINE’, you’d at least be forced into talking about ‘policy’ rather than endlessly repeating your ‘principle’. which no one disagrees with, FWIW

                    1. Yeah, all the drunks really want to quit, but the simpletons can’t give them a good enough reason to do so.
                      Where have I heard that before?

                2. BTW, two other issues:

                  “Is there anything legally binding about the “Budapest Memorandum” regarding Russia’s obligations to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity?
                  “That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” says Barry Kellman is a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law.”
                  http://www.rferl.org/content/u…..80502.html
                  ——————
                  And:
                  ” Why Afghanistan might be NATO’s last fight
                  […]
                  Only three NATO members meet the alliance’s defense spending requirements: The U.S., the U.K… and Greece? ”
                  http://theweek.com/article/ind…..last-fight
                  When the other parties to an agreement do not uphold their end, I see an extremely easy method of bailing on what has become one of the world’s greatest welfare schemes.

                  So, yes, it’s complicated and ‘way more complicated than you are presenting. Those treaties are full of holes and it’s time for the US to bail.

        2. Does it matter to the Ukrainian American community? Fifty years ago, the Ukies were part of a “Captive Nations” organization that allied themselves with those other Americans opposed to Soviet domination of the Iron Curtain countries. As such, they joined with YAF and conservatives to pressure Firestone into abandoning plans to build a tire plant in Romania.
          Why aren’t the U-Ks out there now leading a boycott of Lukoil gas stations? Maybe this invasion only matters to those with big war boners?

          1. Nothing you said there addresses the questions I asked.

            Try again.

        3. Hey, it’s a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.

  11. he said Kyiv would not use any force in an effort to avoid “provocations.”

    That is incredibly stupid. I hope one of the pro-Kiev militias has the sense the government doesn’t and ambushes that column. Good news is that Ukrainian forces appear to be grinding this ‘rebellion’ down.

  12. Quick! Someone fetch Hilary and her ‘reset button’!

    The Dems have not only pissed away victory in the ‘war on terror’, but now they’ve pissed away our victory in the Cold War.

    Schweet. Nice job, millenials, for voting these irresponsible dimwits into total power in 2008.

    1. And keeping them in power in 2012.

      I’ve linkied it to death, but Millenials broke big for Obama in 2012, and were the margin in the key electoral states. Which is why the “ooh, Millenials are secret libertarians” meme makes me gag.

      1. “Millennials aren’t libertarians. They’re socialists who want to buy legal pot.”
        …David Harsanyi

    2. Between Hillary’s Iraq hawkishness and her infamous overcharge button, I can’t understand how anyone thinks she has the slightest chance of winning. Both issues make her look like a buffoon and and both issues are going to be very highly visible in 2016.

  13. Instead of another series of repetitive columns by Sheldon Richman listing how all US foreign policy inevitably leads to misery and conflict…

    …maybe Reason could publish something a bit more ‘affirmative’ in terms of specific policy? Something a politician could actually *endorse*?

    Such as = The US Should Leave NATO

    I think it would be a good start. I think its something Rand could sell to the American people, and would provide both incentives for Europe to deal with their own security needs, as well as (the author in the linked piece notes) reduce the rhetorical/diplomatic cover the US uses to ‘multilaterally’ intervene in other areas.

    This sort of argument (*while avoiding philosophical debates about ‘non-intervention’ B.S.) makes intervention *a lot harder*, and makes American military action less associated with the ‘collective action to ensure global security’ hogwash that Liberals use to sell people on use of force.

    Next in line would be how the US deals with Nuclear policy. etc.

    If the magazine dealt with security issues in a specific, limited, piecemeal way, rather than with ideological ‘nonintervention’ blandishments that have no real specific policy recommendations, i think they would become far more tangible for politicians to endorse and sell to the broader public.

    1. GILMORE|8.22.14 @ 3:41PM|#
      “…maybe Reason could publish something a bit more ‘affirmative’ in terms of specific policy? Something a politician could actually *endorse*?”

      Yeah, sort of like if you don’t support O-care, you have to come up with some other cockamamie scheme?

      1. cute, but no.

        More like, “if you expect anyone to actually listen to you, you need to sound like you know what the fuck you’re talking about”

        rather than just being a bunch of griping ‘philosophers’ with no practical knowledge of the subject matter.

        1. GILMORE|8.22.14 @ 5:15PM|#
          “More like, “if you expect anyone to actually listen to you, you need to sound like you know what the fuck you’re talking about””

          Ah, yes.
          We know more about it than you do, so your opinion isn’t worth anything. It’s too complicated for you simpletons to appreciate. Leave it to the professionals.
          Where have I hear that before?

  14. We’re doing an elaborate dance in which Russia pretends it isn’t invading Ukraine, to allow us to pretend Russia isn’t invading Ukraine, so that we don’t have to do anything serious about.

  15. No, trucks carrying medicine and food are not an invasion. And yes, people have the right to choose the government that they want. If Eastern Ukraine votes to secede they have the same right to leave as Quebec would if its people voted to secede from Canada.

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