Although the situation is still not resolved and there could be shooting and other developments could happen. Let us assume the situation remains in terms of control remains as is.
What appears to be the lesson for other world powers looking for successful military aggression :
1. Have a critical mass of local support. Crimea has a majority (about 60%) of ethnic Russians who mostly support a Russian takeover
2. Have dominant military power over those who previously had the area. Russia’s military is 10 to 100 times more than what the Ukraine has.
3. Have nuclear weapons so that the West (mainly the USA) will not use conventional military force
4. Have a leadership with a track record of being willing to use military force on the population and others (Chechnya, Georgia being the recent examples)
5. Being able to easily occupy and control the area in question without having an insurgency that could cause loss of control
6. Have a history and historical claim on the area and vital strategic interests. These just go to deflecting or muting some legal challenges down the road a few years or decades. This would be indicating to the West that the aggressor wants the territory way more than the West would want to stop them.
7. Be able to control key military and political leaders in the area that you are taking. Russia was able to flip military and political leaders in Crimea to their side.
Where might this profile arise in the future ?
China and Taiwan is the situation where this would arise.
China is not currently military strong enough compared to Taiwan. However, China is rapidly growing in military and economic strength.
Once China is able to utterly outclass Taiwan in the air, sea and land, then the lesson of Crimea is that the West would give up.
China would also need enough of a Navy to deter US naval involvement. China would not need to be able to actually win a full on naval conflict. Russia could not win a full on naval conflict, but it is in the Black Sea and Russia has a good enough navy to keep the US out of the area.
China has the better long term strategy of just becoming more rich and continuing the economic integration with Taiwan (which is already well underway). As per capita income gets to Taiwan’s level and there is more liberal local political control (at the city and local level), then Taiwan will be enticed to join China. I think first in an EU style economic and legal union or in the Hong Kong model.
Crimea shows that China will have a relatively clean military option open in a couple of decades or so.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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