World
Dmitry Minin
December 18, 2013
© Photo: Public domain

Part I

In its time Zbigniew Brzezinski offered a well-known but actually hollow formula – “Without Ukraine Russia ceases to be an empire”, naturally now he could not stay away from the on-going events in Ukraine.  He used Twitter to attack President Victor Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government for bowing to Russian pressure and suspending the process of association with the European Union. Then Brzezinski started to express support for protesters saying neither more nor less than, “Formally, Ukraine has a been a sovereign state since 1991, but its people are now on the barricades to make it genuinely independent”…At that, he has nothing to promise to Ukrainian people. According to him, “Belt-tightening will be the necessary precondition for an agreement as well as a test of Ukraine’s resolve in asserting its European aspirations”. Then he offers his view that, “The historically proven fact is that national statehood, once attained, is infectious and almost impossible to undo except through massive external force”. [1] But doesn’t the association with Brussels imply sacrificing a much bigger chunk of sovereignty than all the forms of integration of post-Soviet space offered by Moscow?

Swiss SRF TV Moscow correspondent Christoff Franzen cannot hide his surprise at irrationality of the maidan protesters, for instance their repeated blunders and changing demands. [2] What is clearly seen by the Swiss journalist is not realized by those who occupy maidan; they have been convinced that someone wants to take away democracy and prospects for better life.  Nobody explained to them that neither is offered by the choice imposed by the West. The Ukrainian Minister of Finance said Ukraine needs €20 billionfor smooth implementation of the agreement offered by the European Union. Whatreplyhegot? According to the official reaction of Berlin, Yanukovych should think over the conditions put forward by the International Monetary Fund: to let float the exchange rate and lift restrictions on the prices of gas making them all go up. [3] Stefan Fule, EU's Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood, said the European Union unilaterally suspends any further preparations for the free trade and association deal refusing to make any concessions to Kiev. The West goes on with irresponsible calls on protesters to go with their fight for “European integration”. But does it serve any purpose if no one in Europe has any intent to lift a finger for getting Ukrainian economy back on track? In the given case the European Union acts like a classic imperial force pursuing the goal of expanding its colonial gains never caring about the fate of “natives”. The refusal to go with talks in the framework of Brussels-Kiev-Russia serves as a confirmation of the fact.  

 The US tactics is on the Ukrainian chessboard is rather peculiar. US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nulandvisited the Ukrainian capital to say with grandiloquence, “What a moment this is for Ukraine, what a moment this is for the OSCE. The whole world is watching. All the principles and values on which this Organization was founded almost 40 years ago hang in the balance today between the Maidan and Bankova, and across this country: sovereignty, freedom of choice, freedom of association and alliance, freedom of assembly and expression, democracy and constitutional governance, peace and stability. This is Ukraine’s moment to meet the aspirations of its people or to disappoint them, and risk descending into chaos and violence. What happens here matters to all of us and to this Organization. And the voices of the Ukrainian people today echo those of so many who came before them, here and in other parts of the OSCE space, throughout this Organization’s history”. But isn’t it Washington and his allies who encroach on the Ukrainians’ freedom to choose? Meeting Victor Yanukovych, Nuland said in the name of the US administration that the attempted police crackdown was “inadmissible”. According to her, the Ukraine’s government still had a chance to move “in the right direction” and join the process of European   integration.   Does choosing the “right” direction make violence “admissible”?

US Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States is disgusted with the Ukrainian President's violent response to ongoing and largely peaceful protests in the eastern European nation."The United States expresses disgust with the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to meet the peaceful protest in [Kiev's] Maidan Square with riot police, bulldozers and batons, rather than respect for democratic rights and human dignity," said Kerry. "This response is neither acceptable nor does it benefit democracy." While defending the right for peaceful protests in Ukraine, the US utterly ignores the fact that the protesters seized the government buildings in the capital. Pickets constantly take place in front of the White House. Imagine someone trying to seize the presidential residence. The person would say goodbye not only to freedom but rather to this world. It is confirmed by the recent incident when a woman with a child lost her way while driving a car in the vicinity of the White House and was shot at.  Doesitnotmake one disgusted?      

Senator John McCain decided to see himself in the role of someone who defends the Ukrainian people’s right of choice. On December 15 he addressed the protesters, “To all Ukraine, America stands with you,” he called out to the cheering crowd in Independence Square. “The free world is with you, America is with you, I am with you. Ukraine will make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better”.  [4] McCain proved he understood what was happening really well by saying in an interview with CNN that, “There's no doubt that Ukraine is of vital importance to Vladimir Putin. One of – I think it was Kissinger, I'm not sure, said that Russian without Ukraine is an Eastern power; with Ukraine it's a Western power”.  It’s O.K. that the “erudite” McCain made a mistake saying it was Kissinger instead of Brzezinski.  And he rushed to say that Russia is a Western power with Ukraine. Inthiscase, whybother?

There are even more competent savvies in America. Here is what Edward Lucas writes in the Wall Street Journal,If Ukraine falls into Russia’s grip, then the outlook is bleak and dangerous. Not only will authoritarian crony capitalism have triumphed in the former Soviet Union, but Europe’s own security will also be endangered. NATO is already struggling to protect the Baltic states and Poland from the integrated and increasingly impressive military forces of Russia and Belarus. Add Ukraine to that alliance, and a headache turns into a nightmare”. [5] It sounds like Cold War days paranoia.

Of course, the constant inconsistency and flip-flops of Ukrainian government pour fuel to the fire of raging passions. But the recent poll results show only 30 percent of Ukrainians believe they will gain in case the association with the European Union takes place, while 39 percent find the conditions of the deal absolutely unacceptable.  48 percent find the decision of President Yanukovych not to sign the deal justified, much less – only 35 percent think differently.  At that, around half of Ukrainians (49%) support the Kiev’s Euromaidan protest. About the same number (45%) do not. 

What does it mean in practice? Perhaps the majority of Ukrainians understand the refusal to accede to the deal with the European Union was justified, they have sympathy for the maidan action because of the enrooted distrust of the powers that be in general. The speculations saying the demands of protesters are the demands of people are out of place.  The Euromaidan splits the Ukrainian people: the Kiev disorders finds support in the western parts of the country while 81 percent of those who live in the country’s east oppose the Euromaidan. Is it the division that is at stake?    

The game played by the West and the Ukrainian opposition is aimed at getting things worse and may be pernicious for the Ukraine’s unity.    

One may agree with Job Henning, a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and former director of legal affairs at the congressionally mandated Project on National Security Reform. He believes that no aid to Ukraine, no matter how big it may be, as well as “harmonization” efforts, are able to improve the situation in Ukraine. Henning says that even if the protesters topple Victor Yanukovych they will find another leader facing the very same constraints. The expert says, “The region has had enough color revolutions and desperately needs to focus on more normalized processes of governance. Otherwise, it risks following the pathway of Egypt, locked into a series of popular revolts that prevent any leadership from effectively attempting to deal with the country’s dire problems.”[6]   

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
What West Wants from Ukraine? Enthralled by Paradigm Offered by Brzezinski (II)

Part I

In its time Zbigniew Brzezinski offered a well-known but actually hollow formula – “Without Ukraine Russia ceases to be an empire”, naturally now he could not stay away from the on-going events in Ukraine.  He used Twitter to attack President Victor Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government for bowing to Russian pressure and suspending the process of association with the European Union. Then Brzezinski started to express support for protesters saying neither more nor less than, “Formally, Ukraine has a been a sovereign state since 1991, but its people are now on the barricades to make it genuinely independent”…At that, he has nothing to promise to Ukrainian people. According to him, “Belt-tightening will be the necessary precondition for an agreement as well as a test of Ukraine’s resolve in asserting its European aspirations”. Then he offers his view that, “The historically proven fact is that national statehood, once attained, is infectious and almost impossible to undo except through massive external force”. [1] But doesn’t the association with Brussels imply sacrificing a much bigger chunk of sovereignty than all the forms of integration of post-Soviet space offered by Moscow?

Swiss SRF TV Moscow correspondent Christoff Franzen cannot hide his surprise at irrationality of the maidan protesters, for instance their repeated blunders and changing demands. [2] What is clearly seen by the Swiss journalist is not realized by those who occupy maidan; they have been convinced that someone wants to take away democracy and prospects for better life.  Nobody explained to them that neither is offered by the choice imposed by the West. The Ukrainian Minister of Finance said Ukraine needs €20 billionfor smooth implementation of the agreement offered by the European Union. Whatreplyhegot? According to the official reaction of Berlin, Yanukovych should think over the conditions put forward by the International Monetary Fund: to let float the exchange rate and lift restrictions on the prices of gas making them all go up. [3] Stefan Fule, EU's Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood, said the European Union unilaterally suspends any further preparations for the free trade and association deal refusing to make any concessions to Kiev. The West goes on with irresponsible calls on protesters to go with their fight for “European integration”. But does it serve any purpose if no one in Europe has any intent to lift a finger for getting Ukrainian economy back on track? In the given case the European Union acts like a classic imperial force pursuing the goal of expanding its colonial gains never caring about the fate of “natives”. The refusal to go with talks in the framework of Brussels-Kiev-Russia serves as a confirmation of the fact.  

 The US tactics is on the Ukrainian chessboard is rather peculiar. US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nulandvisited the Ukrainian capital to say with grandiloquence, “What a moment this is for Ukraine, what a moment this is for the OSCE. The whole world is watching. All the principles and values on which this Organization was founded almost 40 years ago hang in the balance today between the Maidan and Bankova, and across this country: sovereignty, freedom of choice, freedom of association and alliance, freedom of assembly and expression, democracy and constitutional governance, peace and stability. This is Ukraine’s moment to meet the aspirations of its people or to disappoint them, and risk descending into chaos and violence. What happens here matters to all of us and to this Organization. And the voices of the Ukrainian people today echo those of so many who came before them, here and in other parts of the OSCE space, throughout this Organization’s history”. But isn’t it Washington and his allies who encroach on the Ukrainians’ freedom to choose? Meeting Victor Yanukovych, Nuland said in the name of the US administration that the attempted police crackdown was “inadmissible”. According to her, the Ukraine’s government still had a chance to move “in the right direction” and join the process of European   integration.   Does choosing the “right” direction make violence “admissible”?

US Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States is disgusted with the Ukrainian President's violent response to ongoing and largely peaceful protests in the eastern European nation."The United States expresses disgust with the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to meet the peaceful protest in [Kiev's] Maidan Square with riot police, bulldozers and batons, rather than respect for democratic rights and human dignity," said Kerry. "This response is neither acceptable nor does it benefit democracy." While defending the right for peaceful protests in Ukraine, the US utterly ignores the fact that the protesters seized the government buildings in the capital. Pickets constantly take place in front of the White House. Imagine someone trying to seize the presidential residence. The person would say goodbye not only to freedom but rather to this world. It is confirmed by the recent incident when a woman with a child lost her way while driving a car in the vicinity of the White House and was shot at.  Doesitnotmake one disgusted?      

Senator John McCain decided to see himself in the role of someone who defends the Ukrainian people’s right of choice. On December 15 he addressed the protesters, “To all Ukraine, America stands with you,” he called out to the cheering crowd in Independence Square. “The free world is with you, America is with you, I am with you. Ukraine will make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better”.  [4] McCain proved he understood what was happening really well by saying in an interview with CNN that, “There's no doubt that Ukraine is of vital importance to Vladimir Putin. One of – I think it was Kissinger, I'm not sure, said that Russian without Ukraine is an Eastern power; with Ukraine it's a Western power”.  It’s O.K. that the “erudite” McCain made a mistake saying it was Kissinger instead of Brzezinski.  And he rushed to say that Russia is a Western power with Ukraine. Inthiscase, whybother?

There are even more competent savvies in America. Here is what Edward Lucas writes in the Wall Street Journal,If Ukraine falls into Russia’s grip, then the outlook is bleak and dangerous. Not only will authoritarian crony capitalism have triumphed in the former Soviet Union, but Europe’s own security will also be endangered. NATO is already struggling to protect the Baltic states and Poland from the integrated and increasingly impressive military forces of Russia and Belarus. Add Ukraine to that alliance, and a headache turns into a nightmare”. [5] It sounds like Cold War days paranoia.

Of course, the constant inconsistency and flip-flops of Ukrainian government pour fuel to the fire of raging passions. But the recent poll results show only 30 percent of Ukrainians believe they will gain in case the association with the European Union takes place, while 39 percent find the conditions of the deal absolutely unacceptable.  48 percent find the decision of President Yanukovych not to sign the deal justified, much less – only 35 percent think differently.  At that, around half of Ukrainians (49%) support the Kiev’s Euromaidan protest. About the same number (45%) do not. 

What does it mean in practice? Perhaps the majority of Ukrainians understand the refusal to accede to the deal with the European Union was justified, they have sympathy for the maidan action because of the enrooted distrust of the powers that be in general. The speculations saying the demands of protesters are the demands of people are out of place.  The Euromaidan splits the Ukrainian people: the Kiev disorders finds support in the western parts of the country while 81 percent of those who live in the country’s east oppose the Euromaidan. Is it the division that is at stake?    

The game played by the West and the Ukrainian opposition is aimed at getting things worse and may be pernicious for the Ukraine’s unity.    

One may agree with Job Henning, a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and former director of legal affairs at the congressionally mandated Project on National Security Reform. He believes that no aid to Ukraine, no matter how big it may be, as well as “harmonization” efforts, are able to improve the situation in Ukraine. Henning says that even if the protesters topple Victor Yanukovych they will find another leader facing the very same constraints. The expert says, “The region has had enough color revolutions and desperately needs to focus on more normalized processes of governance. Otherwise, it risks following the pathway of Egypt, locked into a series of popular revolts that prevent any leadership from effectively attempting to deal with the country’s dire problems.”[6]