Monday, April 14, 2014

The Ukraine crisis – how does it affect us in Israel?

We are waiting for the events in Ukraine to unfold. Either the Ukrainian special forces will indeed try to tackle Putin’s extra-terrestrials ( i.e. Russian special forces  with no insignia)  or they will do nothing. If the Ukrainians go ahead they will give Putin a pretext to invade Ukraine. If they do nothing they will have ensured the partition of Ukraine in the future.  Quite a difficult decision.  

But how does it affect us? To quote Neville Chamberlain ‘ How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing

The situation in Ukraine is bad and it will probably get worse.  But what it means for Israel is: What is happening this very minute in Ukraine is the consequence of the incompetent foreign policies of the Obama administration.  Alarm bells should be ringing in Jerusalem regarding Iran, despite the preparations for the Seder tonight. 

As for tense situations, here is one from 100 years ago:

The discussion had reached its inconclusive end, and the Cabinet was about to separate, when the quiet grave tones of Sir Edward Grey's voice were heard reading a document which had just been brought to him from the Foreign Office. It was the Austrian note to Serbia. He had being reading or speaking for several minutes before I could disengage my mind from the tedious and bewildering debate which had just closed. We were all very tired, but gradually as the phrases and sentences followed one another impressions of a wholly different character began to form in my mind. This note was clearly an ultimatum; but it was an ultimatum such as had never been penned in modern times. As the reading proceeded it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it, or that any acceptance, however abject, would satisfy the aggressor. The parishes of Fermanagh and Tyrone faded back into the mists and squalls of Ireland, and a strange light began immediately, but by perceptible graduations, to fall and grow upon the map of Europe.

I always take the greatest interest in reading accounts of how the war came upon different people; where they were, and what they were doing, when the first impression broke on their mind, and they first began to feel this overwhelming event laying its fingers on their lives. I never tire of the smallest detail, and I believe that so long as they are true and unstudied they will have a definite value and an enduring interest for posterity...

The above quote is from Winston S. Churchill "The World Crisis", Volume I, pages 204, 205, Charles Schribner's Sons, New York 1923, renewed in 1951.