The Case for Crimea’s Unification with the Russian Federation
There has been a lot of propaganda coming out from both sides of the spectrum regarding Crimea. However, I’m a research analyst, and when I have actual numbers I prefer to go for the numbers. With that in mind let’s take a look at the numbers on Crimea. For the most part these are in chronological order.
During his interview, President Putin stated that prior to Crimea’s annexation by Russia, a covert poll was conducted, showing 75% of Crimeans favoring unity with Russia. This is backed up by the results from RIA News, at 77%, and from Sevastopol News, at 80%. As if that wasn’t enough, a poll conducted by a Ukrainian news agency showed that 41% of Crimeans wanted Ukraine to join Russia as a single state. And there’s the rub – “as a single state”. A poll conducted by the UNDP, over a period of time, showed that roughly 67% of Crimeans wanted to join Russia between 2009 and 2011, as Crimea, but without the Lvov region. Furthermore, the events at Maidan increased the opinion from 36% to 41% for Union with Russia for all of Ukraine. One can easily utilize logic to grasp that said events also increased the opinion of the Peninsula’s Union with Russia to 75%, via a simple mathematical analysis. Poll after poll show the unification figure between 75% and 80%, and that was before President Putin promised Crimea massive economic reforms if Crimea joined the Russian Federation.
After the Referendum, the Crimeans continued to tell anyone who’d listen in the West, through polling, that they wanted to be with Russia and that in their eyes the Referendum was legitimate, whether it’s Gallup’s 83% figure, GFK’s 82% figure, or Pew’s 88% figure. Irrespective of how the Crimean Referendum was conducted, the Will of the Crimean People is clear: Unity with Russia. The Referendum’s numbers are similar. Roughly 80.4% of Crimeans turned out to vote on the Referendum and voted yes, as did 85.6% of the residents of Sevastopol. Considering that roughly about 15% of Crimeans live in Sevastopol, and 85% in the Peninsula, after adjusting those numbers we get a general voting tally of 81.2%, which is within the legitimate margin of error of 80%. The increase from 75% to 80% can easily be explained by President Putin’s pledge to provide massive economic assistance to Crimea.
Please note what I did above. I simply used numbers and nothing else. No propaganda. Just pure numbers. And note how close those numbers are! They’re all between 75% and 80% before the Referendum, and 81% and 88% after the Referendum. That’s a margin of error of 2.5% in the former case and a margin of error of 3.5% in the latter case. That’s below the accepted 4% margin of error. The facts speak for themselves: Crimeans want Crimea to be with Russia by an overwhelming margin. Sadly, it seems that the US is taking the “Ben Carson Approach” to reality, keeping the UK, Poland and Baltics in tow. As a result, Chinese businessmen have more opportunities to invest abroad than America’s businessmen.
The Ben Carson Approach
Ben Carson has a uniquely unparalleled approach to foreign politics, in that it does not parallel anything in this reality. So what does Mr. Carson do? He makes the “fuck the facts” argument; he just states it more eloquently: “The one thing I don’t want to be lost on the American people is that leadership requires wisdom. You’re going to have access to a lot of experts in a lot of areas. You don’t want to devote all your attention to learning facts on a fact sheet.”
Sure, you don’t want to spend all of your time learning facts, but it appears that Carson spends none of his time learning any facts. Like the composition of NATO:
“Hewitt asked Carson that if Vladimir Putin “makes a move on the Baltic states,” should we go to war with Russia?
“Well, if we have them involved in NATO,” Carson replied. “We need to convince them to get involved in NATO and strengthen NATO.”
The problem? The Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – are already in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a security alliance that commits all its members to respond to an attack on one member.
Hewitt quickly pointed out Carson’s error. “Well, the Baltics, they are in NATO,” he said. Carson was spared the need to respond by a commercial break.”
And here’s Carson on the Middle East peace process: “We need to look at fresh ideas,” said Carson. “I don’t have any problem with the Palestinians having a state, but does it need to be within the confines of Israeli territory? Is that necessary, or can you sort of slip that area down into Egypt? Right below Israel, they have some amount of territory, and it can be adjacent. They can benefit from the many agricultural advances that were made by Israel, because if you fly over that area, you can easily see the demarcation between Egypt and Israel, in terms of one being desert and one being verdant. Technology could transform that area. So why does it need to be in an area where there’s going to be temptation for Hamas to continue firing missiles at relatively close range to Israel?”
Indeed, why does the West Bank exist? Carson knows nothing about it, much like nationalist Ukrainian storytellers, erm, “historians”, know nothing about the Republic of Novgorod, so why should Novgorod Oblast exist? Salon summarizes Carson’s foreign policy rather beautifully: “He offers all sorts of suggestions for how we should conduct American foreign policy: namely, we should antagonize Russia, antagonize Russia, and antagonize Russia some more, until Russia… well… caves… Russia sucks, is the point.”
At this point you’re probably thinking, “hey, this guy’s a neurosurgeon, he won’t come on again until he studies up after those humiliations,” and yet, you’re wrong. He’s back at it, this time wanting to review Russia’s UNSC position: “I certainly think it’s a question that needs to be examined,” he said. “I don’t think that just because you’ve been on the Security Council that you’re entitled to stay there if you don’t act responsibly. Certainly, it’s something that should be up for discussion.”
Wait, what’s that? If you don’t act responsibly, your UNSC seat should be up for discussion? Erm, that’s not a very responsible thing for any veto-wielding representative to say, especially an American whose party supported the War in Iraq and wants to continue utilizing the veto power to protect Israel. And that’s certainly America’s Privilege, provided a dummy like Carson doesn’t get elected and place some of his policies, like ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, into effect. Carson continues explaining his version of ‘wisdom’: “This one came to NATO in 1968, this one came in 1949–I mean, is that information important?” said Carson. “Of course it is. But it is probably not as crucial as determining what Putin’s goals are, and how to stop them.”
Erm, Carson, if you want to determine what Putin’s policy goals are, then numbers are crucial. “This Republic wants to join us with 75%”, is extremely crucial to determine the extent of potential annexation. But Carson disagrees: “My hope is that at some point people will start listening to the overall tenor of what’s being said”. That’s right, if something’s the overall tenor of his “experts”, then he’ll act upon it, no matter what’s going on in reality. And that’s the Ben Carson Approach in a nutshell. And here is one result of said approach:
When asked about the origins of the rage felt by Islamic fundamentalists against the West, Carson said “You have to recognize that they go back thousands and thousands of years — really back to the battle between Jacob and Esau.”
“Dr. Carson,” Hewitt said, “you know, Mohammed lives in 632 A.D. So it’s a 13, a 1,400-year-old religion. How do you go back to Jacob and Esau, which is B.C.?”
BC, AD, numbers, letters, it’s all so confusing! Where’s the overall tenor when you need one? Clearly, there aren’t enough revisionist “experts” to take Palestinians back into Egypt, which removed Israelis sometime in AD, at the behest of Putin; the duo met while the latter was delivering babies in Switzerland, after being paralyzed due to his health and couped by his generals.
Just Another Debate Tactic
One of the famed debating tactics is to frame the debate into a nice little box, and beat your opponent within that box, while being extremely careful not to let your opponent escape from the box. For instance, let’s say that A hits B with a pink car, but B thinks it’s red. B’s argument is that A hit him with A’s car, and unless A keeps B in the box, B will win his rightful claim. Remember, B’s argument is that A hit him with a car, irrespective of what color it was.
If A is a skillful debater, the first question that he’ll ask B, is “what color was the car that hit you?” B will respond with “it was red”, and A will produce massive documents, showing that his car was pink, and since his car was pink, whereas B was hit by a red car, A will win the case. The “color of the car” argument will be repeated numerous times by A, especially when B tries to point out that he was hit by A’s car, with A as the driver. And that’s known as the “Framing Tactic”. It was originally intended to prevent people from making irrelevant arguments, but can be utilized to make irrelevant arguments the sole arguments in a debate, i.e. the “color of the car” argument described above.
What do you do when your stance on Crimea equates with the Ben Carson Approach? Utilize the Framing Tactic. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office lists five arguments that differentiate between the Scottish Referendum and the Crimean Referendum, but if you look a bit beyond the box, you’ll see that they’re all some variation of “it’s illegitimate because the pro-western government in London approved the Scottish Referendum, and the pro-western government in Kiev did not approve the Crimean referendum.” In other words, “it’s illegitimate because we say so!”
The first point is that the argument is that the Crimean Referendum is against Ukraine’s Constitution, and Kiev said “no”, whereas London said “yes” to the Scottish Referendum. Skipping over the “because we say so!” defense, the question remains: “is the Referendum against the Constitution?” Of course that requires that the Constitution actually be valid, and in order for that to be the case – it has to have a person who was legitimately elected, with the ability to execute the laws of the Constitution. Due to an illegal impeachment the argument is moot, and thus that point is invalid.
The second point is that Crimeans had to deal with armed forces while voting, whereas Scots had an international watchdog. However, polls show that Crimeans had no issues dealing with the armed, because, at the very least 81% of Crimeans, and over 95% of those who voted, had no issues voting, and thought that the Referendum was legitimate. It’s not up to London or Washington or Moscow or Beijing or Paris to tell the Crimeans whether or not their referendum was legitimate. It’s up to the People of the Crimean Peninsula, and poll after poll shows that the Referendum was legitimate in the eyes of the Crimeans. Ergo, the second point is moot. Referendums are there to express the Will of the People, not the governments that are against it.
The third point is that the Crimean Referendum was organized in just three weeks, during a time of national unrest, without the support of Kiev. Third part is back to “because we say so!” and automatically moot. Second part doesn’t particularly matter as long as the people who voted felt safe to vote and felt that the voting outcome expressed their will. That’s proven by numerous polls. As to the first part – if a referendum can be organized in three weeks, why not? Crimeans have been planning it for decades, and as the polls cited above clearly show, the UNDP documented the debate data for at least three years.
The fourth point is the claim that in Crimea, the opposition media was switched off. This is the first claim that actually bears some merit, and doesn’t contain some variation of “because we say so!” However, the debate was going on for decades, and the opposition media was switched off for weeks; polls clearly show that any effect that the opposition media could’ve had, would’ve been wiped out due to a deteriorating economic situation in the country, and as thus, in this unique case, this claim could be dismissed, even though switching off the opposition media would’ve invalidated a closer election in a country with a booming economy.
And the fifth point is yet another variation of “because we say so!” It’s interesting to note that the only time the The Foreign and Commonwealth Office didn’t use the “because we say so!” line, was when they made the fourth claim, which could’ve actually worked, had the debate not been in existence for decades, the people clearly knew where they stood, and the economic and political situation would’ve prevented practically any sway that could’ve resulted from gains by the opposition’s media. The arguments made by others are some variations of those five points, so there’s no point in addressing them in this blog post.
Whether or not the people living in the West or the East, would view the Crimean Referendum as legitimate, is irrelevant. The Crimeans view the Crimean Referendum as legitimate, and that is all that matters. The issues isn’t what the UNSC Five think about the Crimean Referendum; that’s like debating about the “Color of the Car”. We’re talking about the Crimean Referendum, not Crimea’s status at the UN. The issues is whether or not the Crimeans approve of the Crimean Referendum, and poll after poll resoundingly shows that they do. The sooner we accept this fact, the sooner we can create an international policy that benefits everyone, as opposed to one that simply utilizes the Ben Carson Approach. To quote President George Walker Bush: “If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us, but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American, is for us to go around the World saying ‘we do it this way, so should you!’”
Putin’s Interview: http://tv-news-online.com/kryim-put-na-rodinu-film-andreya-kondrashova-2015/
RIA News Poll: http://ria.ru/world/20140311/999032876.html
Sevastopol News Poll: http://sevastopolnews.info/2014/03/lenta/sobytiya/069216409/
UNDP Polling 2009: http://www.undp.crimea.ua/img/content/file/monitoring_ru_2009_10-12.pdf
UNDP Polling 2010: http://www.undp.crimea.ua/img/content/file/monitoring_ru_2010_10-12.pdf
Ukraine’s polling: http://dif.org.ua/en/events/ukrainieyu-ne-hochut.htm
Da Russophile’s Explanation of the Referendum: http://darussophile.com/2014/03/five-myths-about-the-crimean-referendum/
Ken Rapoza’s Article on the Referendum: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/
Gallup Poll after the Referendum: http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf
GFK Poll after the Referendum: http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Pew Global’s Poll after the Referendum: http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/05/08/despite-concerns-about-governance-ukrainians-want-to-remain-one-country/
Crimea Referendum Results: http://rt.com/news/crimea-referendum-results-official-250/
Another Review on Carson and Islam: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/415622/ben-carson-forgets-baltic-states-are-nato-dates-islam-christ-flubbed-foreign-policy
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office List: http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2014/03/scotland_crimea/0aded2ab2.jpg