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Because the cultural border he imagines goes east of those countries. As a matter of fact, it goes straight through Ukraine, which he identifies as a "cleft country" which might well cause conflict in the future.

Ukraine: A cleft country
As a result of this division, the relations between Ukraine and Russia could develop in one of three ways. In the early 1990s, critically important issues existed between the two countries concerning nuclear weapons, Crimea, the rights of Russians in Ukraine, the Black Sea fleet, and economic relations. Many people thought armed conflict was likely, which led some Western analysts to argue that the West should support Ukraine's having a nuclear arsenal to deter Russian aggression.9 If civilization is what counts, however, violence between Ukrainians and Russians is unlikely. These are two Slavic, primarily Orthodox peoples who have had close relationships for centuries and between whom intermarriage is common. Despite highly contentious issues and the pressure of extreme nationalists on both sides, the leaders of both countries worked hard and largely successfully to moderate these disputes. The election of an explicitly Russian-oriented president in Ukraine in mid-1994 further reduced the probability of exacerbated conflict between the two countries. While serious fighting occurred between Muslims and Christians elsewhere in the former Soviet Union and much tension and some fighting between Russians and Baltic peoples, as of 1995 virtually no violence had occurred between Russians and Ukrainians.

A second and somewhat more likely possibility is that Ukraine could split along its fault line into two separate entities, the eastern of which would merge with Russia. The issue of secession first came up with respect to Crimea. The Crimean public, which is 70 percent Russian, substantially supported Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union in a referendum in December 1991. In May 1992 the Crimean parliament also voted to declare independence from Ukraine and then, under Ukrainian pressure, rescinded that vote. The Russian parliament, however, voted to cancel the 1954 cession of Crimea to Ukraine. In January 1994 Crimeans elected a president who had campaigned on a platform of "unity with Russia." This stimulated some people to raise the question: "Will Crimea Be the Next Nagorno-Karabakh or Abkhazia?"10 The answer was a resound�ˀing "No!" as the new Crimean president backed away from his commitment to hold a referendum on independence and instead negotiated with the Kiev government. In May 1994 the situation heated up again when the Crimean parliament voted to restore the 1992 constitution which made it virtually independent of Ukraine. Once again, however, the restraint of Russian and Ukrainian leaders prevented this issue from generating violence, and the election two months later of the pro-Russian Kuchma as Ukrainian president undermined the Crimean thrust for secession.

That election did, however, raise the possibility of the western part of the country seceding from a Ukraine that was drawing closer and closer to Russia. Some Russians might welcome this. As one Russian general put it, "Ukraine or rather Eastern Ukraine will come back in five, ten or fifteen years. Western Ukraine can go to hell!"11 Such a rump Uniate and Western-oriented Ukraine, however, would only be viable if it had strong and effective Western support. Such support is, in turn, likely to be forthcoming only if relations between the West and Russia deteriorated seriously and came to resemble those of the Cold War.

The third and more likely scenario is that Ukraine will remain united, remain cleft, remain independent, and generally cooperate closely with Russia. Once the transition questions concerning nuclear weapons and military forces are resolved, the most serious longer term issues will be economic, the resolution of which will be facilitated by a partially shared culture and close personal ties. The Russian-Ukrainian relationship is to eastern Europe, John Morrison has pointed out, what the Franco-German relationship is to western Europe.12 Just as the latter provides the core of the European Union, the former is the core essential to unity in the Orthodox world.

 And here we are.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Mar 31st, 2014 at 09:07:18 AM EST
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