Saturday, March 15, 2014

Russia Should Buy Crimea

The best way to resolve the situation in Crimea in the event the residents want to separate from the Ukraine would be for Russia to purchase the territory.   Russia could then allow the Crimeans to decide what status they wanted such as becoming an independent state or joining the other ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation.

I was going to include this suggestion in a post dealing with the situation in general but decided the proposal would be more likely to be noticed if suggested in a separate post.    I believe the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo  which ended the war between the United States and Mexico in 1848 suggests a resolution of the conflict over control of Crimea.

A dispute over whether an area (occupied by persons who identified with the United States) which is now the State of Texas was independent sparked a short war between the United States and Mexico. The United States easily won the war but then agreed  to purchase another part of Mexico that was attracting settlers who identified with the United States.  The purchase eliminated the potential for a future conflict between residents of that area and the Mexican government 

Crimea is something of value so it would be fair for The Ukraine to receive compensation for its loss.  The payment for Crimea could be thought of as compensation for money the national government of The Ukraine has spent on the region for such expenditures as government buildings or infrastructure items like roads.  The payment would replace tax money that would no longer be collected from Crimea.

Payment wouldn't need to take the form of money.   Russia has ample energy resources and The Ukraine already obtains energy from Russia.   Thus, natural gas or some other fuel might be used as compensation.   The Ukrainian government has  had a  policy of trying to keep energy costs down for its citizens.   Russia might significantly  reduce what it charges for natural gas for the next 10 - 20 years with an implication that the discount would be passed along to individuals.  Russia might also offer to compensate anyone wishing to move from Crimea to the Ukraine or The Ukraine to Crimea.

Ukrainian officials need to recognize the potential costs of trying to force Russian Crimeans to stay in a country where they don't feel they  belong can lead to civil conflict including terrorist bombings.  The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland  and the actions of the Basque separatists in Spain demonstrate what can happen.   If some Ukrainians decided to start a Balkans style ethnic cleansing campaign, Russia would feel compelled to invade.

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