April 18, 2014
Internationally-recognized borders have been relatively stable for quite a few decades now, and that's been, on the whole, a good thing. In particular, redrawing borders by military might has been out of fashion. Thus, Russia's Crimea adventure sets a bad precedent.
Of course, the Russians immediately point to American-led NATO's Kosovo adventure of 1999 in which NATO detached Kosovo, an internationally-recognized part of Serbia, which, emotionally, is seen by Russians as Russia Jr. (E.g., at the end of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Vronsky goes off to fight in the Serbian revolt against the Turks.)
Since neither border-redrawing is likely to be re-redrawn, the world could benefit from the redrawing powers retroactively paying a price for their tinkering to deter future adventuring. I've suggested before that Russia negotiate with Ukraine a price to pay Ukraine for Crimea. Simultaneously, NATO should determine a price to pay to Serbia for taking Kosovo away from it. The price for Crime and Kosovo might be equal (say, $25 billion) or linked via some kind of objective formula to the relative size and population of Crimea and Kosovo.
Both Russia and America could then claim that they were willing to pay the prices because national honor demanded their military actions, but that they also recognize that neither action should set a precedent for cost-free redrawing of borders, which they recognize by paying substantial amounts of money to the injured parties. In turn, both Russia and America could promise, now that the two most outstanding issues, have been dealt with, to not use military means to redraw borders in the future.
By Steve Sailer on 4/18/2014