Self Determination ~ Ukraine and Elsewhere

Roland Stahl
February, 2022

     Human beings are such pig-headed fools.  Here we are in a world on the brink of collapse from de-forestation, climate change, marine necrosis, and a raging pandemic, and instead of taking serious action to combat these problems, the world is ready to go to war over school-yard squabbles.  The situation in Ukraine is described as the most serious confrontation since the second world war, a conflict that could easily spiral out of control to destroy all life on earth, as if the threats to the survival of life on earth were not grave enough without people exploding more bombs to hurry it along.  

     In February 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev discussed NATO’s future role.  Baker told Gorbachev that “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east” and agreed with Gorbachev’s statement that “Any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable.”  But since when has the United States honored its agreements or treaties?  Just ask the Native Americans who have seen a long string of treaties disregarded as soon as the immediate necessity which caused them to sign the treaties had subsided.  (Just donate free blankets to the Indians, loaded with smallpox virus ~ that will fix their wagon!)  So the United States and their Western allies have pushed ever closer to the Russian border, and now they talk about signing on Ukraine as part of NATO.  Just suppose Mexico were to make an agreement with Russia so that Russia could set up military installations and bomb silos all along the Rio Grande.  ~ I don’t think so.  Leave Ukraine as a buffer between Western Europe and Russia ~ this is not an unreasonable suggestion, and the Western powers are foolish to reject it out of hand.  

     So, all you angry blowhards, just stop all your puffing and blowing, sit down, shut up, and listen to me ~ I will solve this Ukraine problem for you in short order.  The solution is to rely on the simple expedient of Self-Determination.  As I understand it, the regions at the eastern end of Ukraine are inhabited by a majority, at least, of ethnic Russians who would prefer to be part of Russia than Ukraine.  So what is the sense of launching an all-out war, which could easily escalate into World War III, just to maintain the “territorial integrity” of a land whose borders do not reflect the current political realities on the ground?  There is nothing sacred about historical borders, which originated, in most cases, as the result of military conquest, if not marriage or horse-trading by sovereign monarchs.  Simply set up referenda in all local regions of eastern Ukraine, and use the results to draw a line in the sand, to the east of which the land would be returned to Russia, and west of which would remain as part of Ukraine.  So simple.  I submit that this solution would be the most reasonable of all possible outcomes to this quagmire.

     There are plenty of other places in the world where the existing borders are inappropriate for current political realities.  I would suggest that an independent state of Kurdistan should be carved out of parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, the exact borders to be determined according to the results of referenda in all affected regions.  Furthermore, over in China’s neck of the woods, all nations on the planet should recognize Taiwan forthwith as an independent sovereign state ~ there is no reason why Taiwan should be dominated or controlled by China.  The same applies to Hong Kong.  While it may mean arrest and imprisonment for any resident of Hong Kong to suggest it, a referendum in the city would almost certainly find that the vast majority of residents would prefer Hong Kong to be an independent and sovereign City-State than to be a vassal of Chinese war lords in Beijing.  A referendum in Tibet would probably have a similar outcome, unless so many Chinese settlers have moved in as to skew the results.  

     I have already discussed the unconscionable atrocities committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians, so I do not need to revisit that problem here.  This is just a beginning.  There are plenty of regions of the globe which could benefit from a reconsideration of national borders according to the self determination of the affected residents.  

     [Update:  The day after posting this article, Russia begins with its launch of a major war.  All of the suffering and bloodshed to come could have been avoided with a diplomatic solution along the lines suggested above.  Putin was given no other alternative but to proceed with war.  Had a reasonable resolution been offered in a timely fashion, as suggested, these horrible consequences, which are just beginning, could have been avoided.]

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