Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Why the Asinine Russia / Ukraine Issue is Important to America

In a blink-and-you-might-have-missed-it moment, Russia broke international law in the black sea.

The US administration has ignored it, preferring to focus on 2 year olds "storming" the border. But this is, for the US, a big fucking deal. Here's why.

Russia is claiming right of refusal on an international waterway. Even if you hold Russia's defacto control of Crimea as valid (it is real, but illegal), the Kerch Straight to the Sea of Azmov is still an international waterway. It has been designated so by an international body, per agreement signed by Russia.

Their show of force and flaunting of international law, if we do nothing, provides a precedent for this.

Now we may ignore this, like we are ignoring the murder of a US resident by Saudi Arabia based on the administration's value judgement of life versus money. The right of Ukraine of safe passage to their ports may not be worth it versus the future benefit of Trump Tower Moscow.

But it is a precedent that brings up 1 step closer to war with China. You see China claims a large part of the South China Sea. The "9 dash line". The same international treaty that promised free passage through the Kerch Straight ruled against Chinese claims. Despite that, China has set up a number of bases on unoccupied land. And, they have claimed the right to close international shipping lanes - or maybe charge people, or maybe stop some shipping here.

Th United States regular send war-ships through the area to preserve and demonstrate full open rights for all nations to use this major international waterway. But if we agree that Russia can ignore international agreements and close the Kerch Straight, we are inherently agreeing that China can do the same thing. And that is something which, to date, we have promised to stop.

The administration is a transactional actor, which means we don't care about international law, but only what benefits us. Applying that to everyone will bring us to war.