There was a lot of reporting yesterday on a story that claims that Jews in Ukraine are being ordered to "register" themselves and all of their property.
Those of you who know I’m Jewish probably wondered why I didn’t post it. I didn’t post it because I don’t entirely believe it. Yes, the flyers ordering the Jews to register are real but I question who the source is. It sounds just a little too crazy, and a lot too reckless because doing something like this opens up a whole new can of global involvement that wouldn’t otherwise be at play.
I thought back to Occupy Wall Street and how in some cities, they were infiltrated by some people who were looking to cause problems and therefore label the whole movement "thuggish".
A writer at The New Republic Wrote a piece echoing my doubts. She seems much more certain than I am that this isn’t really happening. From the article:
The Donetsk Jewish community dismissed this as "a provocation," which it clearly is. "It’s an obvious provocation designed to get this exact response, going all the way up to Kerry," says Fyodr Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs. "I have no doubt that there is a sizeable community of anti-Semites on both sides of the barricades, but for one of them to do something this stupid—this is done to compromise the pro-Russian groups in the east."
I’m not convinced one way or another, but I am watching it. As I said this sounds like a preposterously stupid move to make before reaching the endgame of taking Ukraine back for Russia. I’m positive that Putin has his eye on Ukraine. I’m positive that both the EU and the US are discussing how to respond when Putin goes into Ukraine with Russian forces. Right now, Angela Merkel is running the show, as she should be. This is much more of an EU problem, than it is a US problem. I know that some people think that the US decides what happens around the world, but I really get the sense that Obama is letting Merkel take point on this one.
I’ve read a lot about the dynamics between Russia and the EU (specifically Germany) that talk about the EU’s dependency on the Russian energy supply. Not that it matters, but I don’t think that energy is the main consideration. I think that Merkel is more concerned about the economic impacts of cutting off the sizeable EU (again, specifically Germany’s) exports to Russia. They would be cutting off a whole lot of Russian consumers from buying their goods at a time when those customers are badly needed. Remember, Spain and Greece are still in big trouble, and they’re not in any position to buy nearly as much stuff as they need to in order to strengthen the EU economy. Cutting off Russia right now would be very bad for Germany.
But whether the issue is energy or other goods, the call on how far to go to stop Putin is largely Merkel’s to make. But if Jews are actually being forced to register themselves and their property, everything changes and Obama will take the lead. The US will take much stronger measures than what are being taken now, and there’s no telling how far this situation will escalate.
That’s why these reports don’t make sense to me. It seems to me that Putin wouldn’t allow something like this to happen because this would seriously jeopardize his already slim chances of taking Ukraine. It makes more sense for Putin to roll out the Doctor Evil routine after he’s secured the country. We’ll see what happens but for the reasons I’ve just shared, I’m really skeptical that this is happening. I’m not prepared to sound the alarms just yet.