Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tadae Takubo

【#239】Will Senkakus Become Asian-Version Crimea?

Tadae Takubo / 2014.03.26 (Wed)

March 24, 2014

      The objective of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down," said Hastings L. Ismay, the first NATO secretary general, in his famed remark. While Russian President Vladimir Putin took an imperialistic approach to deprive Ukraine of Crimea after a nominal referendum in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian peninsula, Western industrial countries and Japan claimed that the referendum ran counter to international law and the Ukraine constitution.
      Russia has been basically concerned that NATO could expand eastward to cover Ukraine. While literature, music, dancing and other cultures in Russia are West European, it is geopolitically a giant Eurasian continent country expanding wide into Asia. The Ukraine problem apparently indicates that Russia bets its identify on preventing Ukraine from joining Western Europe.

Western countries to win sanction war with Russia
      While sanctions announced by the European Union, the United States and Japan are likely to gradually grow effective, Russia's retaliatory measures are expected to have limited effects. Although the Cold War age had featured bloc economies, the present world is characterized by globalization where people, goods and money move freely. Sanctions by multiple Western countries will soon turn out to be far stronger than those by Russia alone.
      Furthermore, the Russian economy lives on income from natural gas and oil exports and cannot afford to wage a war with Western countries in Crimea. “Putin’s Imperial Road to Economic Ruin” by Russian economic expert Sergei Guriev on the March 18 International New York Times indicates how terrible the Russian economy is.
      In a contribution to the Moscow Times, a Russian scholar said, “Just as Russia stopped Hitler in the 20th century, Napoleon in the 19th century and Frederick the Great in the 18th century, it will stop Washington in the 21st century.” This scholar may not be aware of Russia’s real situation.

China abstained from voting on UNSC resolution on Ukraine
      The focus of a diplomatic war in the near future will be whether Russia would invade eastern Ukraine. The United States or any other NATO member cannot afford to make military intervention in Crimea.
      The problem is that China abstained from voting on a resolution invalidating the Crimean referendum at the United Nations Security Council, with Russia alone rejecting it. Although the Crimean referendum may run counter to international law and the Ukraine constitution, Russia’s forcible annexation of Crimea has become an established fact. We must carefully watch whether China could refer to the Russian approach when taking some new action on the Senkaku Islands.

Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals