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Is Putin the Provocateur in the Kerch Crisis?
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On departure for the G-20 gathering in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump canceled his planned weekend meeting with Vladimir Putin, citing as his reason the Russian military’s seizure and holding of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday’s naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?

Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko?

First, a bit of history.

In 2014, after the pro-Russian regime in Kiev was ousted in a coup, and a pro-NATO regime installed with U.S. backing, Putin detached and annexed Crimea, for centuries the homeport of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

With the return of Crimea, Russia now occupied both sides of Kerch Strait. And this year, Russia completed a 12-mile bridge over the strait and Putin drove the first truck across.

The Sea of Azov became a virtual Russian lake, access to which was controlled by Russia, just as access to the Black Sea is controlled by Turkey.

While the world refused to recognize the new reality, Russia began to impose rules for ships transiting the strait, including 48 hours notice to get permission.

Ukrainian vessels, including warships, would have to notify Russian authorities before passing beneath the Kerch Strait Bridge into the Sea of Azov to reach their major port of Mariupol.

Sunday, two Ukrainian artillery ships and a tug, which had sailed out of Odessa in western Ukraine, passed through what Russia now regards as its territorial waters off Crimea and the Kerch Peninsula. Destination: Mariupol.

The Ukrainian vessels refused to obey Russian directives to halt.

Russian warships fired at the Ukrainian vessels and rammed the tug. Three Ukrainian sailors were wounded, and 24 crew taken into custody.

Russia’s refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.

Moscow contends that Ukraine deliberately violated the new rules of transit that Kiev had previously observed, to create an incident.

For his part, Putin has sought to play the matter down, calling it a “border incident, nothing more.”

“The incident in the Black Sea was a provocation organized by the authorities and maybe the president himself. … (Poroshenko’s) rating is falling … so he needed to do something.”

Maxim Eristavi, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, seems to concur:

“Poroshenko wants to get a head start in his election campaign. He is playing the card of commander in chief, flying around in military uniform, trying to project that he is in control.”

Our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, however, accused Russia of “outlaw actions” against the Ukrainian vessels and “an arrogant act the international community will never accept.”

Predictably, our interventionists decried Russian “aggression” and demanded we back up our Ukrainian “ally” and send military aid.

Why was Poroshenko’s ordering of gunboats into the Sea of Azov, while ignoring rules Russia set down for passage, provocative?

Because Poroshenko, whose warships had previously transited the strait, had to know the risk that he was taking and that Russia might resist.

Why would he provoke the Russians?

Because, with his poll numbers sinking badly, Poroshenko realizes that unless he does something dramatic, his party stands little chance in next March’s elections.

ORDER IT NOW

Immediately after the clash, Poroshenko imposed martial law in all provinces bordering Russia and the Black Sea, declared an invasion might be imminent, demanded new Western sanctions on Moscow, called on the U.S. to stand with him, and began visiting army units in battle fatigues.

Some Westerners want even more in the way of confronting Putin.

Adrian Karatnycky of the Atlantic Council urges us to build up U.S. naval forces in the Black Sea, send anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, ratchet up sanctions on Russia, threaten to expel her from the SWIFT system of international bank transactions, and pressure Europe to cancel the Russians’ Nord Stream 2 and South Stream oil pipelines into Europe.

But there is a larger issue here.

Why is control of the Kerch Strait any of our business?

Why is this our quarrel, to the point that U.S. strategists want us to confront Russia over a Crimean Peninsula that houses the Livadia Palace that was the last summer residence of Czar Nicholas II?

If Ukraine had a right to break free of Russia in 1991, why do not Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk have the right to break free of Kiev?

Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone’s quarrels — from who owns the islets in the South China Sea, to who owns the Senkaku and Southern Kurils; and from whether Transnistria had a right to secede from Moldova, to whether South Ossetia and Abkhazia had the right to break free of Georgia, when Georgia broke free of Russia?

Do the American people care a fig for these places? Are we really willing to risk war with Russia or China over who holds title to them?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Copyright 2018 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Ukraine 
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  1. Lagertha says:

    No..I think Ukraine (very split to begin with) is trying to tie their boat/train to the best situation for their people- they are kinda’ on the Titanic.

    Ergo, it is hard. Russia has been in charge (duh) for a long time, but Ukraine has not presented what they will sell to the EU?USA?CHINA etc. If the Ukraine can decide what they will export to the rest of the world, then there is the start. But, so many Ukrainians (top guys) are corrupt and want goodies to themselves.

  2. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Once again, Mr. Buchanan carries some Washington water overseas.

    1. “In 2014, after the pro-Russian regime in Kiev was ousted in a coup, and a pro-NATO regime installed with U.S. backing, Putin detached and annexed Crimea[.]”

    Was there not U.S. backing for the coup, too?

    Was there then not a parliamentary vote to conduct a public referendum in Crimea that overwhelmingly approved secession from Ukraine and a formal request to be made a part of the Russian Federation?

    2. “Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone’s quarrels.. ”

    Did not “we” foment most of these conflicts?

    When it comes to matters outside his country, “Mr. Paleoconservative” is really more a right-sized imperialist. He is condoned as an Establishment critic because he marinates Nebraskans in the sense that “we” must always root for “our” Uncle Sam.

    • Replies: @Christo
  3. An outright war with Russia would be the end of Russiagate.

    In exchange for a war with Russia, team Israel might also agree to help him keep a much bigger issue out of the press – Lolitagate:

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201811291070222465-Labor-Secretary-Billionaire-Pedophile-Ring-Charges/

  4. “Is Putin the Provocateur in the Kerch Crisis?”

    A resounding NO.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Art
  5. Well Pat,

    Keep it strictly between us, but I heard from ever reliable and unbiased sources (bonkers bolton, netanyahoo and nikki likudnik) that the “aggression” wasn’t merely Russian, but also involved Iran, Hezbollah, Assad, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. These sources say they have the “stolen laptops” to prove it.

    Can you believe the nerve of these malign actors – trying to make the U.S. unsafe thousands of miles away from its own borders?

    • LOL: Carroll Price
    • Replies: @Plato's Dream
  6. RVBlake says:

    Waiting for the inevitable musings from Kristol about the desirability of regime change in Moscow.

  7. TheOldOne says:

    I like Pat, but it’s time for him to retire.

    • Replies: @Herald
  8. anonymous[172] • Disclaimer says:

    There doesn’t seem to be the usual relentless drumbeat surrounding this incident as there was for previous preludes to war so perhaps the US may be reluctant to go beyond the usual rhetoric. Poroshenko may have overreached himself on this one even as he’s out there calling for everyone else to come to his rescue. It’s hard to tell how much prior coordination there was between him and the US. The vast majority of Americans have no clue where these various seas are located and it would be a major challenge to get them to take an interest in this let alone to assent to getting led down yet another slippery slope. Who knows, Poroshenko may be on the verge of getting disposed of by his bosses for becoming too inconvenient. We’ll have to see how the script gets played out. Poroshenko doesn’t seem to mind risking a few lives here and there of some of his people to help his political career along, a nice trait to have in a supposed ‘leader’.

    • Replies: @Carroll Price
  9. Anonymous[340] is right with points (1) and (2), though not the contention that Mr Buchanan is a “right-sized Imperialist.

    The US government is practicing the very meddling for which Russia is wrongly (IMO) accused. Our role in the overthrow of the democratically elected government in 2014 (after the attempted “Rose” color revolution in 2004), replaced with a government imbued with ultra-right Neo-nazis, is yet another indicator where we are today.

  10. Annexed? Does anyone believe that anymore?

    The people in Crimea voted (quite overwhelmingly) to join Russia.
    Why is Pat Buchanan incapable of telling the truth?

    • Replies: @David
    , @Avery
  11. A123 says:

    How much cargo is going through Mariupol at this point? Given its proximity to the stand-off line, one would believe that major shipping firms with insurance needs are not going there on a regular basis.

    Soros-servitor Poreshenko needed this for internal political reasons.

    The loud Trump response is almost certainly more bluff than bite in this case. However, no one can be sure of that as he is cultivating unpredictability as a strategy. Trump gave Putin the excuse he needed to commit additional S-400 equipment to Crimea — Thus, keeping it away from the much more dangerous Hezbollah/Iran vs. Israel front that is shaping up in Syria.

    Preliminary score is a WIN-WIN for both Russia and the U.S.

    • Replies: @distractnot
  12. Renoman says:

    This is the biggest lie since that Gas bullshit in Syria, Putin didn’t provoke this in any way. It’s that crazy Nazi asshole Porky that the CIA put in place trying to cling to power with a 1 digit popularity.

  13. tyrone says:

    Funny how these things always happen before a big meeting

  14. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone’s quarrels …

    Because “We [the US] are an empire now …”

    Which is to say the US presumes to rule the world and demands that the Russkies, the Chinks and everyone else understand that.

    That the US is declining economically, technologically, militarily, as a moral force, and a coherent civilization inevitably escapes the attention of the power maniacs directing the affairs of state, so the interference in everyone’s quarrels will continue until the war that puts an end to it, and America joins the list of derelict former Empires.

  15. Svigor says:

    (((Adrian Karatnycky)))

  16. @A123

    “Soros-servitor Poroshenko”? Who are you kidding A123???

    Poroshenko gets arms, access to IMF aid (just like Argentina) and a say in preventing a U.S. President from meeting Putin at the G20 from whom – Soros or Trump?

    More importantly, American citizens are stuck with voluntarily-appointed neo-cons and Israel-first-ers like Bolton/Pompeo/Haley by whose authority – Soros’ or Trump’s?

    I’m sick of “Soros” being used as the universal excuse and distraction by folks who feel betrayed and can’t accept that Trump is a neo-con.

    BTW: Why on earth should Trump worry about Russian S-400 deployments in Syria when they are not intended for him? Exactly, the President needs to start worrying about his own country’s interests. Otherwise he’ll continue his string of lose-lose results.

    • Replies: @Joekoool102
  17. Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko?

    Poroshenko works for Imperial Washington. Washington is not just a provocateur. It is a merciless aggressor, determined to rule the world by force of arms.

  18. Rurik says:

    Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone’s quarrels —

    Silly Pat

    somehow I just thought of the Bonus Army. Those dejected men used and abused and ‘put up wet’ by our Satanic elites. We have been getting dragged into fratricidal wars to slaughter millions of goyim ever since Woodrow Wilson betrayed his nation, his oath, his countrymen, and indeed our very civilization .. by handing the keys of the US Treasury to the world’s most evil men.

    There is nothing on this earth ((those men)) would relish more than a conventionally fought conflagration between Russia and Eastern Europe, with NATO providing the weapons.

    Just imagine tens of millions of slaughtered Christians! Maybe hundreds of millions!! Woman and children blown to ribbons by bombs and torn asunder as righteous payback for their intractable and eternal anti-Semitism!

    https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.K4s1kbHrBY9a49Z8N5UmxAHaFj&pid=Api

    “Why” all these wars?

    Well Pat, to you of all people, a nice big Duh

    • Agree: jacques sheete
  19. “Russia’s refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.”

    Aw shucks; and here orange clown was probably anxiously looking forward to making an ass out of himself in an audience with Vladimir Putin…but then Putin went and ruined it all by having the temerity to merely exist.

    By now it almost seems that orange clown is becoming a sympathetic figure; every time he really really really really really really wants to do the right thing (just ask Paul Craig Roberts), e.g., to stop murdering people in far away places, to have a productive meeting with Vladimir Putin to try to avoid WW3, etc., a cruel fate intervenes, and poor orange clown always ends up looking like the perfidious presidential poseur that we’re told he isn’t.

  20. bluedog says:

    LOL well you nailed that one to the wall,I wonder if the orange clown even has a clue to just how ignorant he really is,how the world precieves him as simply another American dunce….

  21. But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday’s naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?

    Rhetorical question. I take it ?

    • Replies: @Carroll Price
  22. David says:
    @Tellthetruth

    Russia annexed Crimea in accordance with a referendum in Crimea that got 95% approval for annexation by Russia.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  23. Anonymous[370] • Disclaimer says:

    Is Putin the Provocateur in the Kerch Crisis?
    You are a fucking cock sucker mate! I hope Russia drops a bomb on your fucking home, scum bag!

    • Replies: @Plato's Dream
  24. Avery says:
    @Tellthetruth

    {The people in Crimea voted (quite overwhelmingly) to join Russia.}

    Minor correction: to re-join Russia.

    Crimea was part of Russian SFSR (and for centuries part of Imperial Russia), when in 1954 Khrushchev “gave” Crimea to Ukraine SSR, without asking anyone in Crimea whether they wanted it or not.

    (Side note: funny how the West picks and chooses which arbitrary decisions of a given Soviet dictator to approve or reject. Apparently a Soviet dictator deciding, reportedly after a drunken binge, to “give” Crimea to Ukraine without the consent of Crimea’s people is A-OK).

    Also, aside from the most recent referendum to re-join Russia, Crimeans held two others:

    In 1991 they voted 94% “For” to re-establish the Crimean Autonomous Republic: Kiev ignored it.
    In 1994 they voted 78% “For” greater autonomy within (independent) Ukraine and to have dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship: Kiev ignored it.

    And, in 1992 Crimean Supreme Council declared independence, which Kiev considered “illegal” and ignored it.

  25. anon[245] • Disclaimer says:

    Adrian Karatnycky of the Atlantic Council urges us to build up U.S. naval forces in the Black Sea, send anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, ratchet up sanctions on Russia, threaten to expel her from the SWIFT system of international bank transactions, and pressure Europe to cancel the Russians’ Nord Stream 2 and South Stream oil pipelines into Europe.

    Honestly, I’m getting pretty sick of this state-run media demanding our people fight their petty wars for them. Screw their empire. It does NOTHING for us. Perhaps some kind of resistance is going to be needed. Maybe a campaign to discourage kids from joining the military?

  26. El Dato says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    There is no crisis.

    There is only a “Panthersprung” by Ukraine engineered by Chocolate Charlie.

    It’s ridiculous.

    And by playing along, Trump has again shown himself as neocon doormat with no friends. SAD!

    Russia did right. Now they should send the sailors and assorted Ukro Security Service personnel back (who will get a ticker tape parade in Kiev), then sell the boats to Syria. Though I hear that someone got shot for refusing to engage Russian vessels, not sure whether true, we are really in a pre-WWI rumormongering environment. Would be grounds for investigation: Murder in Russian waters?

    Our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, however, accused Russia of “outlaw actions” against the Ukrainian vessels and “an arrogant act the international community will never accept.”

    Literally “fellow members of the assembly”.

    (“Panthersprung nach Agadir” is a reference to the “Second Morocco Crisis”. In 1911, Wilhelm II personally instructed the German Navy to send the gunboat “Panther” to Agadir as a show of force after french forces had occupied Fès and Rabat. Basically Germany wanted to have something in exchange for France occupying Morocoo. This lead to much discussion in London, calls for war, and other bullshit.)

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  27. Herald says:
    @TheOldOne

    This is hardly the first time that dear old Pat has taken to batting hard for Uncle Sam’s overseas adventures. It’s becoming very clear that Pat’s now little more than a stooge for Empire and probably now time he was put out to pasture.

    • Agree: bluedog
  28. Christo says:
    @anonymous

    1. You’re kind of being obtuse Pat did not include the coup vs/vs his mention of the US backing the regime change. It is apparent his usage of “and” means both. Perhaps not linguistically pretty but a re-read confirms what he meant.

    Also realize Pat is trying to get his columns in areas where mentioning that HRC, and Mrs Nuland did the whole thing and the US overthrew the Ukraine government with $5 billion, is not acceptable and it is known to most intelligent non-communists (since it is recorded by Nulands own words and HRC’s e-mails) anyway, and being blatant about that will only upset MSM and communists and restrict the distribution of this article.

    Besides Pat has stated what you are complaining about (the US did the coup) since then , surely 100′s of times in other articles and interviews , have you never read/heard of Pat Buchanan? the only thing he doesn’t say is the J word, because he knows where that goes, and Patrick Buchanan probably has more experience of being the most sanctioned and a censored MSM pundit than the rest of the whole right/republican/conservative/white side of the world COMBINED. Took his first hits and still does standing with Nixon! Call him the last real/honest republican, becuase every other one since has been a total sellout, they have all been rolling over and selling out white America since Watergate

    2.Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone’s quarrels.. ”

    Did not “we” foment most of these conflicts?

    WWI, WWII? LOL Actually Pat has a book (or maybe a few ;) ) about those things too.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  29. @neoconsbegone

    “the “aggression” wasn’t merely Russian, but also involved Iran, Hezbollah, Assad, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba”

    Don’t forget North Korea

  30. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Christo

    Overlooking that comma after “coup” is one thing. But how about “Putin detached and annexed Crimea”? Please explain how that’s not a craven lie told to cover for Imperial Washington by disrespecting the people of Crimea and demonizing Russia.

  31. @El Dato

    “Our U.N. Ambassador”

    I don’t have a UN Ambassador. How did Paddy get one?

  32. SafeNow says:

    I again post that the supposedly crude, Neanderthal Mr. Putin recently visited the Russian National Chess Team at Sochi to give a pep talk. Mr. Putin is criticized as being barbaric; that chess visit comes to mind for me as being noteworthy. We have gone out of our way to humiliate Russia for 30 years.

    • Replies: @Brendon
  33. Brendon says:
    @SafeNow

    Is that your measure of “barbarism”? Ches playing?

    :-D

    • Replies: @SafeNow
  34. Brendon says:

    Whatever the truth, I know the Unz Review has an absolute bias for Putin no matter what the man does.

    Putin says one thing, does another.

    Just look at the TOTAL zero analysis on the close relationship between Putin, Israel and China and the Belt & Road Initiative. Not to mention Iran who is in on it – handling “The Stans”.

    Not a squeak from Unz Review contributors on the issue and the BLATANT co-operation ,massive technology and money transfers between these parties. Not a drop of analysis.

    Putin and all the rest of the Israeli gladhanders will do whatever it takes to create a stormy distraction from the coming Christmas New Year slaughter and Putin will do ZERO to stop it. In fact, it is bragged with Russia looking after Israel, israel will have a “free hand” in the occupied territories.

  35. SafeNow says:
    @Brendon

    Sorry, I guess I did not word it clearly. I meant to say that chess enthusiasm (like Mr. Putin’s) is an indication of a NON barbaric person. You can often tell a lot about a fella by his hobbies and heroes.

  36. llloyd says: • Website

    A NATO military distraction must give Theresa May a sigh of relief. The House of Commons vote on her Brexit deal is due this fortnight. It looked a foregone conclusion the deal would be voted down and Brexit and Theresa May might be a bad dream. Now the MPs at least subconsciously will be balancing their independent judgment of Brexit with the security of E U in impending clashes with Russia.

  37. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Brendon

    Squeak away, contributor. Any evidence?

  38. @David

    Price of bread and vodka had something to do with it.
    Ukraine is dying by slow death, People in their prime and at the beginning of their working years are leaving for west and also Russia. The old folks and children remain.
    Russia does not need to do anything just fold its hands and watch. Patience is a virtue.

  39. @Anonymous

    Did Russia drop a bomb on yours? Is that what caused this unseemly (but also funny) outburst?

  40. MarkinLA says:
    @Brendon

    Just what are you proposing, that we try and stop the Belt and Road Initiative? Why and in what way. How does it’s completion hurt the US?

  41. Art says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    “Is Putin the Provocateur in the Kerch Crisis?”

    A resounding NO

    True Putin is not the worst guy in this situation – but he still a bad guy.

    His bro greeting with MBS labels him as someone without qualms or scruples.

    Think Peace — Art

    p.s. Daddy Trump, Jvanka, Gina Haspel, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mad Dog Mattis, and John Bolton are all shameless warmongers and followers of the Jew agenda.

  42. @anonymous

    The Saker seems to think that Washington’s uncharacteristic lack of outrage could be due to Poroshenko lashing out during a drunken rage without first clearing things with Washington.

  43. @foolisholdman

    But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday’s naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?

    Classic Buchanan. He’s been doing it for 40+ years.

  44. @Brendon

    You been talking with Michael (bogged down) Kenny, that I can tell.

  45. @distractnot

    @distractnot The deep state now has total control of Trump with Russiagate. Trump has turned over the state dept with the same ol actors. He could give the deep state the finger with a Ron Paul as secretary of state, but he doesn’t have the balls. I’m sure the media would find some dirt on Paul if it came to that scenario.

    • Replies: @Harold Smith
    , @MarkinLA
  46. “Do the American people care a fig for these places? Are we really willing to risk war with Russia or China over who holds title to them?”

    No, and no.

    But who cares what the American people think? After all, the cognescenti have decreed that it’s our “mission” to remake the world in our own image.

  47. @Joekoool102

    Unfortunately it seems that the “deep state” had total control of Trump long before he ran for president.

  48. MarkinLA says:
    @Joekoool102

    some dirt on Paul

    He wrote something “raciss” a long time ago. At least that would be the charge.

    • Replies: @Joekoool102
  49. @MarkinLA

    No doubt. I’ve heard that rumor. But Rand Paul seems like a chip off the old block. I haven’t heard anything on him…yet. The US undoubtedly needs more unbeholden politicians like him.

  50. Anonymous[385] • Disclaimer says:

    That’s fully right, we non blind people in middle Europe see Russia have the rights to controll this see and ukrainian government steps are provocating to Russia for long time. You can see for a long period the Russian goverment calm reactions, what means, they are not planning new world war, they are just defending the world peace as I see it now for long period…

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