To bookmark World Timeline's current month: on a PC press Cntl D, on a Mac press apple-key D.
Mar 1 Yesterday, President Obama announced that he was deeply concerned by reports of Russian military movements inside the Ukraine, and he said that "the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine." This morning, BBC News reports that President Putin has asked parliament to approve the use of troops in the Ukraine. There are reports that Russia already has "some extra 6,000 troops" in the Crimea. Russia says any movements by its military in Crimea are in line with agreements with Ukraine in the lease of the naval base in the port city of Sevastopol. From the street in Kiev comes a cry of "Putin, hands off Ukraine." Comments to Reuters include sarcasm aimed at Obama and his "red line" pronoucements regarding Syria. Someone complains to The Guardian (British) about Obama saying nothing about "armed protesters in Kiev bringing down a democratically elected government." Someone else remembers Hungary in 1956 and expects the Russians to do as they please.
Mar 2 Yesterday, President Putin received unanimous approval from Russia's parliament to send troops to the Ukraine. The reason given was to protect Russian lives now threatened there. Also yesterday, President Obama spoke with Putin by telephone for ninety minutes. He is reported to have warned Putin that if he does not recall Russian troops from the Ukraine, the US may boycott the economic summit in Russia scheduled for June, and he said, in the words of a White House spokesman, that Russia faces "greater political and economic isolation." Someone wisecracks that "Rumor has it that Obama has also threatened to un-friend Putin on Facebook." Someone notices that Putin has been telling the US to stay out of Ukraine while he is complicit in propping up Assad in Syria, accompanied by Obama having little more than sweet talk for Putin. Comments to newspapers aside, many in the US want Obama to keep his cool and not get us into another war. Today on television, Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry was not so cool: He spoke of Russia's "incredible act of aggression." Meanwhile, members of Ukraine's super-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) political party speak of wanting a unified Ukraine, a Ukraine rid of Jews and Russians. They call themselves National Socialists. Russians remember that German invaders called themselves National Socialists. Russians are associating these super-nationalists with Ukrainians who supported the Germans during World War II, and they point to these super-nationalists as having led the violent attacks against the police line in Kiev. For descriptions of recent developments try http://www.interpretermag.com.
Mar 2 China has a concern that rises from an old imperialism not unlike the origins of Russia's concern regarding the Ukraine. Russia's tsarist empire expanded against Ukrainians followed in the Communist era by Ukraine as part of the USSR and Russians migrating there. The Han Dynasty expanded westward to Xinjiang around 2000 years ago, and today Xinjiang has people who resent the ethnic Han Chinese and want the independence that some ethnic Ukrainians want. Yesterday a group dressed in black attacked people in a train station in the city of Kunming in south central China. Chinese officials report that 29 people were murdered and 130 wounded, and they describe the attackers as separatists from the Xinjiang region.
Mar 3 in the Ulghur community in the city of Kunming someone complains to a Reuters reporter: "I alone have already been checked three times. The police point their guns at us. We don't know what really happened." Ulghurs are the major ethnicity in Xinjiang province, hundreds of miles from the city of Kunming, in Yunnan province.
Mar 3 Early today, Russia responded to the West by saying its troops are staying in the Ukraine to protect Russian lives and interests. By noon Eastern Standard Time, BBC News was reporting that Russia had de facto control over the Crimea. And, according to Ukrainian sources, the Russians have given Ukraine's forces there until dawn tomorrow to surrender or face an assault. The Russian stockmarket has plunged 11.5 percent and Russia's ruble has declined in value. In the US, some are describing Putin as a despot hurting himself with a mistake that doesn't require any threats of military action by President Obama.
Mar 4 Chancellor Merkel is reported as having told President Obama yesterday that President Putin is "in another world." Some interpret this as Putin believing that the US and EU are making trouble in the Ukraine (like he believes they are in Syria), and they see Putin's "other world" as including exaggeration of the threat from Ukraine's super-nationalists. That exaggeration has been extended by Russia's ambassador to the UN that Nazi sympathizers had taken power in Kiev. Meanwhile, some in the US claim that Putin wants the glory of leading another Russian Empire, and others believe this a wild exaggeration. This morning, however, Putin is easing tensions. The supposed ultimatum and threat of action that Russia was reported to have issued yesterday has been described by the Russians as false. Today Putin says force will be used only as a "last resort," and he describes those who besieged the Ukrainian base in Crimea as the Ukraine's pro-Russian "self-defense" forces.
Mar 5 Yesterday President Obama announced his budget for fiscal 2015, which begins on October 1. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the president of being political. He said: "The president has once again opted for the political stunt for a budget that's more about firing up the base in an election year than about solving the nation's biggest and most persistent long-term challenges." His Republican colleague in the House, Paul Ryan, added: "This isn't a serious document; it's a campaign brochure."
Mar 5 A survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reports that about one-third of women in the European Unions have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15. Of the 42,000 interviewed the highest percentage of stated incidences occurred in Denmark with 52 percent of the women interviewed. Finland was next with 47 percent, and then Sweden with 46 percent. Britain and France came in at 44 percent. Poland was the lowest, at 19 percent. A male comments to the Copenhagen Post: "Maybe now we can finally drop the violent macho chauvinist stereotype southerners have? Seems to me it is much worse up here." A woman responds: "Nah, except they've already dansplained [sic] the numbers by claiming Danes are more open to discussing this issue, which explains the higher numbers reported. Nothing to do with the drinking culture, nope, can't have that!"
Mar 6 Early today, Crimea's parliament voted unanimously to make the Crimea a part of Russia. It appears that opinion among people in the Crimea, largely ethnic Russians, favors the move. The government in Kiev condemns as illegal any move to set up a referendum in the Crimea on the issue. It appears to want to rule in the Crimea despite opinion there, raising the old issue of the right to secede if people want it. The US is throwing its support to the new government in Kiev, and it joins Kiev in its condemnations. President Obama says a Crimea referendum would "violate the Ukrainian constitution and international law." Someone comments: "Ukraine would be better off without the Crimea – otherwise Ukraine will be doomed to permanent instability and will have to expend resources that could be better applied elsewhere on maintaining control of a region that doesn't want to be part of it." Someone describes Putin as a new Stalin, and a contrarian writes: "Ukraine. Hands off Crimea!" Another writes: "So one illegitimate government is telling another illegitimate government that they cannot hold a referendum. Forget about Crimea, it is joining Russia and there is nothing that can be done about it, END OF STORY!"
Mar 7 Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday and described Putin as "toying with Obama." He said that without the Crimea the Ukraine "will fall" because it's in the Crimea where "all the money is." He blamed our problems abroad on there being "no respect any longer for our great country." He described his audience as people "who wanna see this country be great again" and as "people who love this country." Regarding elections this year he predicted that "we're going to win the Senate." He spoke of building the "most luxurious hotel in the world" near the White House. He boasted that the Chinese in China, where he does business, love him, and he said also that the Chinese were taking advantage of US weakness and lack of leadership and that the US was becoming a "third world country." It was a meandering speech that included his prediction that economic disaster would follow the presidential elections in 2016. He complained that Iran was now "getting Iraq's oil" and reminded everybody of his belief that some of that oil should have been taken by the United States, saying "to the victors go the spoils." At the end of his speech his audience showed their appreciation for his concerns and analyses by giving him a standing ovation.
Mar 7 The conservative columnist Michael Gerson, in today's Washington Post, writes that President Obama's foreign policy does have a theory. Obama, he writes, "believes that as U.S. power retreats from the world, a variety of good things will fill the vacuum. Allies and international institutions will take more responsibility. The United States will be better able to promote liberal norms, unburdened by discrediting military power."
Mar 8 Saudi Arabia bans the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi Hezbollah movement, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen – effective today. Arab News (in Saudi Arabia) describes the ban as including also "organizations that have similar ideologies and known for their terrorist and violent behavior; and are on the lists of the UN Security Council and other international organizations." Saudi citizens and expatriates are warned not to get involved with organizations that promote extremist views. According to BBC News, the kingdom is giving "Saudis fighting in Syria 15 days to return." According to Arab News, "The Kingdom has also banned participating in and promoting sit-ins, demonstrations, gatherings, and statements for any cause or activity that would threaten the unity and stability of the Kingdom."
Mar 9 People have been acting out their nationalistic fervor not so much in the three-day annual conservative convention that ended yesterday in the US but in the Crimea, where circumstances are stimulating a greater patriotic passion. Ethnic Russians there beat up and drove away a gathering of Ukrainians, many of them middle-age women, commemorating the 200th anniversary of Ukrainian poet and national hero Taras Shevchenko. The Russians also have a dislike for the media and have been attacking journalists. About 75 percent of the population in the Crimea are ethnic Russians, and the question looms as to what their government would be like should they take power, backed by Russia. Some in the Crimea are not waiting to find out and are leaving with their families for elsewhere in the Ukraine.
Mar 10 Germany's Chancellor Merkel tells Russia's Putin that the move to make Crimea a part of Russia is illegal and violates Ukraine's constitution. Meanwhile, Putin condemns "lawlessness" in eastern Ukraine and blames it on far-right militants there "conniving" with people holding power in Kiev. This brings to mind the accuracy of Putin's descriptions of Syria's problem.
Mar 10 in Japan has a declining growth figure for October to December: an annual rate of 0.7 percent, down from 1.0 percent. Also of concern is Japan's public debt at 226 percent of GDP for 2013, ahead of second place Zimbabwe at 202 percent and Greece at 175 percent. (US public debt is at 71.8 percent and Britain's at 91 percent of GDP.) As a move against its debt, Japan's Prime Minister Abe, a conservative, is increasing sales taxes.
Copyright © 2014 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.