Ukraine crisis and lessons for Vietnam

23/10/2014


As Ukranie crisis is on-going, we should review that incident to draw lessons for us in our relations with big neighbor like China. To have an overall view about that, let take a look at these crisises.
From the end of February 2014, demonstrations by pro-Russian and anti-government groups took place in major cities across the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, in the aftermath of the Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. During the first stage of the unrest, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation after a crisis in the region, Russian military intervention, and an internationally criticized referendum. Protests in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts escalated into an armed separatist insurgency. This led the Ukrainian government to launch a military counter-offensive against the insurgents, which resulted in the ongoing War in Donbass
The Crimean crisis was an international crisis in 2014 principally involving Russia and Ukraine over the control of the Crimean Peninsula, until its annexation by Russia. However, the current status of Crimea and Sevastopol as federal subjects of the Russian  Federation is only explicitly recognized by five UN member states, including Russia.
For over 200 years, Ukraine has been a part of Russia. In 1954, Khrushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine but Crimea has the important port of Sevastopol for the Russian Navy. In winter, Russia's northern ports are frozen over and Sevastopol is the only outlet for Russia's Navy to the Mediterranean and Atlantic.
Crimea is populated by an ethnic Russian majority and a minority of both ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. Prior to the crisis, Crimea comprised Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the administratively separate municipality of Sevastopol. The Russian Federation has organized them as the Crimean Federal District. With Russian forces effectively having taken control of Crimea, this is Europe's biggest geopolitical crisis for at least two decades.
Europe is settling into a new balance of power. For decades, it had depended on the divide between the capitalist West and the Communist East. When the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 1980s, that balance of power broke down. It looked as though there was simply one superpower left, the United States. For a time that was true. However, as the years passed, and the discontinuities within the former Soviet states settled back into a new normalcy, once again, Russia, Europe’s great Eastern power reemerged.
Oblivious to this development, the US along with most of its European allies didn’t recognize or listen to the alarm bells ringing from Moscow. By 2006, the Russian government was complaining about US and European meddling in Russia’s traditional region of influence.
Since the end of the Cold War it has become accepted knowledge that economic ties between the major powers prevent conflict. In a world of globalised production chains and capital flows the general argument is sound – it doesn’t make sense to destroy your trade partners, markets and financiers.
This general proposition has, however, led to complacency in the foreign affairs community, a situation revealed by the shocked and stumbling response to Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.
Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific, another authoritarian power – China – is nibbling at the territorial status quo. The situation is even more fluid and more open to manipulation than that of Ukraine. Here too the conventional wisdom remains that China will be deterred from a range of behaviours by its reliance on foreign money and markets, or by American military superiority.
Yet neither economic interdependence nor Chinese military inferiority will necessarily deter some Chinese actions for a simple reason: the politics behind force or sanctions matter, and not in the way most people think.
In the contemporary world, wealthy liberal democracies face similar problems with nuclear deterrence regarding states like China and Russia. Just as no-one was willing to risk a nuclear war over Crimea, so too will no one risk a nuclear war over islands in the South China Sea or in the Senkaku/Diaoyu chain.
However, the problem today goes deeper than it did during the Cold War. At that time economic interdependence between the authoritarian and liberal great powers was minimal. The US and its allies appeared more willing to enforce a “red line” in Asia. Then the US commitment to Quemoy was certain
Just as Russia dismissed chances of NATO intervening in Crimea, it’s wondered if a single member of the PRC Secretariat thinks either Japan or the US would risk a major combat vessel to evict a Chinese occupation force from disputed islands.
No-one evicted China from the islands it occupied in the South China Sea (at a time when China was much weaker). Recent moves to shift oil rigs into disputed territory show that, like in Crimea, China has little fear of military counter-moves. Rightly so – there is little will for a war over rocks.
Of course, even if China’s neighbours are irresolute, there are always economic sanctions. But sanctions, like nuclear weapons or military force, are politically difficult weapons to use. Rich countries have used sanctions as a weapon against poor countries, and big economies can certainly use their market power as a weapon. But if two states are genuinely economically interdependent there is no reason why one cannot embark on limited aggression, such as we saw in Crimea.
China is likely to continue to expand its influence at sea. Actual sovereignty claims will probably matter little; China will simply start policing disputed waters, perhaps even blockading disputed islands occupied by opponents (just as Russians encircled Ukrainian bases). China’s aircraft carrier will be useful here, as “evicting” such a vessel will trigger a major incident and leave responsibility for the crisis on the opponent’s hands.
Because China and Russia are major powers with nuclear weapons, dangerous conventional forces and economic leverage, states seeking to deter them from territorial challenges lack credible threats.
So, we, Vietnam is now having territorial disputes with China, but that doesn’t mean we should try to seek supports from another power like US or Japan. The important thing is that we need to be independent from China in politics and economy, and be strong by our owns, that will help us protect our national interests in the current world./.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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All comments [ 11 ]


Huy Quốc 23/10/14 18:18

Yes, we should improvise depend on situation in reality, don't hurry to take any side, that would bring unexpected consequences.

Hoàng Lân 23/10/14 18:20

Crimea is populated by an ethnic Russian majority and a minority of both ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. Vietnam don't have any Crimea like that with China.

Vân Nhàn 23/10/14 18:22

Ukraine has had its own lesson, now it's our turn.

Hùng Quân 23/10/14 18:25

Rich countries have used sanctions as a weapon against poor countries, and big economies can certainly use their market power as a weapon.

Quân Hoàng 23/10/14 18:28

Independence is a prerequisite to maintain our sovereignty and national interests.

Lê Tín 23/10/14 18:30

if two states are genuinely economically interdependent there is no reason why one cannot embark on limited aggression, such as we saw in Crimea.

Quốc Kiên 23/10/14 18:34

However, the problem today goes deeper than it did during the Cold War. At that time economic interdependence between the authoritarian and liberal great powers was minimal.

Huy Lâm 23/10/14 18:37

We should together try to develop and make our country stronger and wealthier, at that time we will not be afraid of any forces.

Quốc Kiên 23/10/14 18:41

Vietnam should draw a good lesson from these crisis.

Quốc Cường 23/10/14 18:45

China is likely to continue to expand its influence at sea. Actual sovereignty claims will probably matter little; China will simply start policing disputed waters, perhaps even blockading disputed islands occupied by opponents.

Phạm Hiếu 23/10/14 18:48

Yet neither economic interdependence nor Chinese military inferiority will necessarily deter some Chinese actions for a simple reason: the politics behind force or sanctions matter, and not in the way most people think.

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