What The Key Issue In Ukraine Is

Should regions in Ukraine, like Crimea, who clearly wants to secede, or should they be oppressed by being forced to remain in a state they want to secede from?

The answer should be obvious from advocates of freedom, namely yes. And the fact that the Putin regime is hypocritical by opposing secession in other cases is irrelevant because 1) The US and the EU are also hypocrites by opposing secession here while favoriting in other cases and more importantly 2) Those other peoples aren’t responsible for Putin’s decisions.

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8 Comments

  1. Stefan, I dont find it that obvious (and neither did Rand – see ‘Global Balkanization’ – and she was clearly advocating freedom).

    It is a question of what you are seceding from and for what purpose. A region in a free country wanting to secede to form a communist dictatorship has no right to do it, and a region in a dictatorship wanting to form a free state has all right to do it.

    Being “forced” to remain in a state you want to secede from isnt necessarily oppression.

    • Gustav, thank you for an intelligent objection to my argument in this issue. However, I don’t really think it is strong enough, especially when applied to the case of Crimea.

      Perhaps I should have been clearer about noting that there are circumstances when it is valid to stop secession. The most important scenario isn’t the one you mention, but when the seceded area would pose a threat to the remaining country. The perhaps best example of this is how a Palestinian state in the “West Bank” would pose a great threat to Israel, as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the densely populated coastal area, including Ben Gurion international airport, would be within range of rockets fired from the hills of the “West Bank” (similar to the rockets fired from Gaza at Sderot).

      The scenario of when a majority within an area wants to secede to implement a more repressive system that oppresses the minority is partly justifiable too. But only partly as it will have negative consequences. If there is a majority in that area for the more repressive system it risks causing civil strife, perhaps even civil war (or foreign intervention from power sympathetic to their cause) within authoritarian systems and make politics within a democracy closer to the ideals of the (potential) secessionists.

      In any case, neither scenario is applicable in the case of Crimea. Crimea is arguable a much greater danger to Ukraine inside that country. And while the rulers in Crimea and Russia are corrupt and somewhat authoritarian, so is the current partly neo-Nazi government in Kiev.

      The reason why they want to secede is that the aforementioned partly neo-Nazi government in Kiev wants to repress non-Ukrainian languages, which is to say Russian, something that the Russian majority in Crimea finds oppressive.

  2. Well, the argument from a rights-perspective would depend on if a citizen have the right to deal with the authorities in any language they please. Rand argues that they do not have that right and that a country legitimately can decide on a official language (preferably the language of the majority) without infringing any rights.

    Given this, and assuming the language issue is the only reason they want to secede, we have a group of people feeling they are being oppressed because they cannot exercise a nonexisting right, threatening to start civil war unless they get what they want.

    This would be criminal behavior.

    • Gustav, first and foremost, what Rand thought is irrelevant, other than at most indirectly (which is to say to the extent her arguments are valid). I reject arguments from authority, and so should any non-sectarian person.

      If a majority within a area wants to communicate in their native language and some outside authority wants to prevent them from doing that then that is oppression. And that even goes if we for the sake of the argument agrees that this preference is irrational (which I don’t BTW) then it’s still oppression. The Amish are irrational in rejecting all technology invented since the 17th century but forcing them to use modern technology would be oppression.

      • Sorry for the appeal to authority. I think we are talking about different things in the main issue though. If Ukraine is trying to prevent the minority from speaking their language among themselves, thats is clearly oppression. But the government must have the right to prescibe a standard for communication between the government and its citizens. Should the communication in a certain situation be through mail, thelephone or e-mail, and should it be made in ukrainian or russian etc. I dont see how the citizen can have the right to demand to communicate with the authorities in any way he pleases.

  3. I’m for secession, but actualy we don’t know whether majority of Crimeans for it or not. Certain way to know is to hold referendum.
    And local authorities going to hold one in mid-March. They are too haste.
    No independent ovservers, no check of participants and lot of military people acrose the Crimea. There would be no legitimacy in such referendum.

    About language issue – New Ukrainian president vetoed the law that repress russian language in Ukraine.

    P.S. I’m from Russia.

    • Damo, Multiculturalism, in the sense of different cultures within a state, can work, if people, and political structures, are tolerant towards each other, and foreign powers don’t stir conflict for geopolitical purposes.

      That is why it has worked excellently in Switzerland-but failed miserably in Ukraine. In the former case both conditions have been upheld, in the latter case neither.

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