Opinion: Make No Mistake, Putin’s Speech Was a Battle Cry.
Editorial board member Matt Kaminski on the Russian President’s defense of his invasion of Crimea. Photo credit: Getty Images
Original article published in 2014. Re-edited 17-09-2018.
The Russian Federation would be wise to purchase Crimea in order to obtain legitimate possession.
President Putin can save face and be re-welcomed back into the world community if he chooses to legitimately obtain possession of Crimea. It would be the best course of action to restore the legality of treaties, the authority of the United Nations and self respect for Mr. Putin himself. Without purchasing Crimea legally, Mr. Putin and the Russian Federation will not be able to take their rightful place and leading role in the world community as any great nation and leader should and must do. Russian troops on the border of sovereign European nations is an indignity to the great powers of Europe who played a vital role in resurrecting Russia from the dead when it self-imploded in 1989 and then again in the 90’s banking crisis.
Should the Russian Federation not remove their soldiers immediately from the Ukrainian border then NATO troops should begin deployment along European NATO member countries. And construction of the missile defense system in Europe should recommence immediately no matter what decision the Russian Federation takes.
The Ukraine has a national debt of approximately $ 65B. An independent and reputable international accounting firm is capable of determining what proportion Crimea should be held accountable for.
The $2B gas bill owed by the Ukraine to Gasprom should also be appropriated accordingly by head count, including Crimea. All gas pipeline delivery contracts throughout the Ukraine should be renegotiated.
Crimean infrastructure, businesses and property values can be determined by competent accounting practice to fully ascertain their appropriate value and price (pre-Russian invasion) before Russia takes legal jurisdictional possession. The International Monetary Fund can be a capable administrator.
The Ukrainian passport, currency and trade agreements should all be renegotiated for the new Crimean state.
Tartars and Ukrainian citizens of Crimea should be given a free choice to choose their own destinies and or be fairly compensated for their properties and businesses should they choose to leave Crimea.
The Russian Federation must legalize their claim to Crimea in a legal accordance with international standards. Not complying, raises questions about Russia’s legitimacy and its permanent vote at the United Nations as well as the G8 membership. Expiring oil and gas contracts in the European Union should be re-negotiated to limit dependence on the Russian Federation and M&A activities and investments should be curtailed with Russian corporations so long as distrust and political uncertainty exists.
Furthermore, a free and sovereign Ukrainian will remember this bitter pill with years of negative consequences for Russia. Other nations ringing the borders of the Russian Federation will slowly begin breaking their dependence on Russian oil and gas as they perceive their sovereignty to be threatened by a militarily superior Russia. This episode will undeniably enlist more nations to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O.).
If Crimea illegal annexation be allowed to stand then the Chechen provincial region of the Russian Federation should also be allowed a free referendum vote (sanctioned by the U.N.) on their own destiny as in the case with the Quebec referendums seeking independence from Canada. International law sanctions and observes the legality of breakaway provinces seeking independence.
Prohibitive international sanctions against Russia should continue until they are forced to the negotiating table to address the legality of the issues surrounding Crimea to achieve an acceptable solution for all parties.
Diplomats should seize this opportunity now to contain an unruly Russia under Putin, before further humiliation can unfold to degrade or contaminate other world institutions such as the U.N., G8, G20, IMF, World Bank and the WTO.
United Nations observers should be granted special observation and investigative powers in Crimea until the legal purchase transaction is completed. This is a statutory obligation for all member of the U.N. especially the 5 permanent members.
The United States purchase from France of what is now the present day United States. Russa’s sale of Alaska to the U.S.
The Louisiana Purchase (French: Vente de la Louisiane “Sale of Louisiana”) was the acquisition by the United States of America in 1803 of 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km2) of France‘s claim to the territory of Louisiana. The U.S. paid 50 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total sum of 15 million dollars (less than 3 cents per acre) for the Louisiana territory ($236 million in 2013 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre). The Louisiana territory encompassed all or part of 15 present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The land purchased contained all of present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; parts of Minnesota that were west of the Mississippi River; most of North Dakota; most of South Dakota; northeastern New Mexico; northern Texas; the portions ofMontana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, including the city ofNew Orleans; and small portions of land that would eventually become part of the Canadian provinces of Alberta andSaskatchewan.
France controlled this vast area from 1699 until 1762, the year it gave the territory to its ally Spain. Under Napoleon Bonaparte,France took back the territory in 1800 in the hope of building an empire in North America. A slave revolt in Haiti and an impending war with Britain, however, led France to abandon these plans and sell the entire territory to the United States, which had originally intended only to seek the purchase of New Orleans and its adjacent lands.
The purchase of the territory of Louisiana took place during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. At the time, the purchase faced domestic opposition because it was thought to be unconstitutional. Although he agreed that the U.S. Constitution did not contain provisions for acquiring territory, Jefferson decided to go ahead with the purchase anyway in order to remove France’s presence in the region and to protect both U.S. trade access to the port of New Orleans and free passage on the Mississippi River.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The US$ 7.2 million check used to pay for Alaska ($116 million in 2012 dollars)
Russia wanted to sell its Alaskan territory, fearing that it might be seized if war broke out with Britain. Russia’s primary activity in the territory had been fur trade and missionary work among the Native Alaskans. With the purchase of Alaska, the United States added 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2) of new territory. Reactions to the purchase in the United States were mixed, with opponents calling it “Seward’s Folly”, feeling that U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, the primary American negotiator, got the worst of the bargain.
Originally organized as the Department of Alaska, the area was renamed the District of Alaska and the Alaska Territory before becoming the modern state of Alaska upon being admitted to the Union as a state in 1959
Russia was in a difficult financial position and feared losing Russian America without compensation in some future conflict, especially to the British, whom they had fought in the Crimean War (1853–1856). While Alaska attracted little interest at the time, the population of nearby British Columbia started to increase rapidly a few years after hostilities ended, with a large gold rush there prompting the creation of a British crown colony on the mainland in addition to the already-extant one on Vancouver Island, where the French and British fleets had retreated to after the Battle of Petropavlovsk in the Russian Far East. The Russians decided that in any future war with Britain, their hard-to-defend region might become a prime target, and would be easily captured. Therefore the Russian Emperor Alexander II decided to sell the territory. Perhaps in hopes of starting a bidding war, both the British and the Americans were approached. However, the British expressed little interest in buying Alaska. The Russians in 1859 offered to sell the territory to the United States, hoping that its presence in the region would offset the plans of Russia’s greatest regional rival, Great Britain. However, no deal was brokered due to the American Civil War.
Additionally, the Russian Crown sought to repay money to its landowners after its emancipation reform of 1861 and borrowed 15 million pounds sterling from Rothschilds at 5% annually. When the time came to repay the loan, the Russian Government was short on funds. The Emperor’s brother, Grand Prince Konstantin Nikolaevich offered to sell something useless.
Russia continued to see an opportunity to weaken British power by causing British Columbia, including the Royal Navy base atEsquimalt, to be surrounded or annexed by American territory. Following the Union victory in the Civil War, the Tsar instructed the Russian minister to the United States, Eduard de Stoeckl, to re-enter into negotiations with William Seward in the beginning of March 1867. The negotiations concluded after an all-night session with the signing of the treaty at 4 a.m. on March 30, 1867, with the purchase price set at $7.2 million, or about 2 cents per acre ($4.74/km2).
American public opinion was not universally positive; to some the purchase was known as Seward’s Folly. Nonetheless, most editors argued that the U.S. would probably derive great economic benefits from the purchase; friendship of Russia was important; and it would facilitate the acquisition of British Columbia. Forty-five percent of newspapers endorsing the purchase cited the increased potential for annexing British Columbia in their support. Historian Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer summarized the minority opinion of some American newspaper editors who opposed the purchase:
Already, so it was said, we were burdened with territory we had no population to fill. The Indians within the present boundaries of the republic strained our power to govern aboriginal peoples. Could it be that we would now, with open eyes, seek to add to our difficulties by increasing the number of such peoples under our national care? The purchase price was small; the annual charges for administration, civil and military, would be yet greater, and continuing. The territory included in the proposed cession was not contiguous to the national domain. It lay away at an inconvenient and a dangerous distance. The treaty had been secretly prepared, and signed and foisted upon the country at one o’clock in the morning. It was a dark deed done in the night… The New York World said that it was a ‘sucked orange.’ It contained nothing of value but furbearing animals, and these had been hunted until they were nearly extinct. Except for the Aleutian Islands and a narrow strip of land extending along the southern coast the country would be not worth taking as a gift… Unless gold were found in the country much time would elapse before it would be blessed with Hoe printing presses, Methodist chapels and a metropolitan police. It was ‘a frozen wilderness.’
While criticized by some at the time, the financial value of the Alaska Purchase turned out to be many times greater than what the United States had paid for it. The land turned out to be rich in resources such as gold, copper, and oil. The strategic geopolitical value of the purchase which could hardly be known to people at the time, turned out to be significant to the United States throughout the Cold War.
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