Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Azov - it's just the start

From my new Substack email newsletter, 'Now and Next':

The Sea of Azov is north of the Black Sea, into which it flows. It is vitally important to Russia for trade and her ambition to build a Eurasian Union. 

The river Don, running into the Azov, is linked by canal to the river Volga, which empties into the Caspian Sea. The Caspian is bordered by Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran - the last also leading to the Red and Arabian Seas. Fifteen years ago the President of Kazakhstan proposed another, bigger canal directly linking the Caspian and Azov Seas and was excited about the growth prospects for central Asia.

The Azov is also important for Russia’s defence, increasingly so since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As one former Soviet bloc country after another joined the European Union and NATO, Ukraine became a ‘red line’ as the last bastion against encroachment by the Western powers. Its eastern region borders the Azov Sea; whoever has mastery of Ukraine has the power to disrupt Russia’s waterborne trade and threaten her sovereign territory. 

Quite possibly, from a Russian perspective the hot war that erupted in Ukraine in February is merely the culmination of a progressive thirty-year cold war plan by Western powers to restrict Russia’s regrowth. For all the talk in the mass media about war crimes and wars of aggression, it should be noted that neither Russia nor the US have signed up to jurisdiction by the International Criminal Court. This filthy business has deep roots and assigning blame would open a can of worms, as the American expression goes; not to mention other adventures in North Africa and the Middle East.

Strategically, Russia has always wanted an all-year-round ice-free port to communicate with the rest of the world. It got one in 1945 with the acquisition of Königsberg (now known as Kaliningrad) in what was then East Prussia. It houses Russia’s Baltic Fleet at the port of Baltiysk; but this Russian Federation territory is separated from the motherland by Lithuania and either Latvia or Belarus, depending on the route chosen.

If the Ukraine shooting war manages to avoid turning nuclear, then perhaps time will reconfigure the cat’s-cradle of this modern Great Game. The gradual shrinking of the Arctic ice will open new maritime opportunities for Russia. Further ahead, if global warming continues, it is possible that both Canada and Siberia will become greener as countries to the south begin to parch and populations suffer and migrate en masse. A century from now, the current military confrontation will seem a mere spat by comparison with the northern hemispheric disruption to come.


Sackerson said...

JD comments:

Found this yesterday by Jimmie Moglia. It is badly in need of editing but he makes the point that Kiev was the 'birthplace' of Russia which is one of the reasons Ukraine is so important to them. https://www.yourdailyshakespeare.com/2022/03/16/history-of-ukraines-events-a-noteworthy-remarkable-bidens-statement/

Gary Lachman made exactly the same point in talking about his book about Russia https://www.amazon.com/Return-Holy-Russia-Apocalyptic-Awakening/dp/1620558106/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

I haven't read the book but I saw the interview somewhere and I have read other books by him.

just thought it would be of interest......

Don't know if you saw Mark Steyn last night but he was on tip top form - most of it will be on YouTube by now.

Paddington said...

@JD - If that justifies Russia invading Ukraine, how do you feel about the US invading the UK?

Sackerson said...

@P: in a way, I think they have. If Priti Patel refuses to extradite Assange, I'll take that back.