World
Arkady Dziuba
June 12, 2014
© Photo: Public domain

There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip – that was the keynote of Petro Poroshenko’s first interview since taking office. The Ukrainian leader told Time that he has no choice but to keep Russia at the negotiating table. Petro Poroshenko wants to see Russia punished for what he calls the «tragedy» that befell his country this year. No matter that, Ukraine does not have the option of breaking off ties with the Kremlin, it has no choice but to seek «an understanding» with Russia, he says, even if for no other reason than the hard reality of Ukraine’s geography. Poroshenko says he does not care about what Russia thinks about him saying he has no intention of making nice with Russian President Vladimir Putin. «To be honest, I’m not very interested in what Citizen Putin thinks of my state». But who would believe him if he spent the first full day of his tenure on Sunday in marathon talks with the Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov. As he put it «We can’t talk about a firm sense of security without a dialogue and an understanding with Russia». If the Russian leader doubts Ukraine’s right to exist within its current borders, the best way to convince him otherwise is to build a powerful army and a thriving economy, Poroshenko said. «No one would allow himself to doubt the existence of small countries like Singapore», added the Ukrainian President, «because when a country is strong, effective, comfortable, monolithic, such doubts would never enter anyone’s minds». No one would argue but it’s not clear what he meant by saying it. 

Becoming the second Singapore will require support from the West, not least of all the kind of military aid that he has been requesting. «The help can take all kinds of forms, from intelligence to military technology, from blocking our airspace to enforcing a maritime blockade» in case of attack». He discussed all these things with US and European leaders in Normandy. Carried away by dreams he towered in his imagination to see another amphibious landing operation. It was Crimea this time. But he never said it out loud to preserve at least some bond with the sinful world. Poroshenko does not hide his dissatisfaction with the reality he sees. The United Nations Organization does not cope. The Budapest agreement is not observed. The global security architecture needs to be reviewed because nobody provides guarantees to Ukraine. It is rather strange to see him embarrassed by these facts. Can anybody give security guarantees to a child playing with matches and touching a socket with his fingers? Nationalist Ukrainian scum pushed musicians and students to face TV cameras on Independence Square while staging a coup in Kiev. The legal President’s overthrow was funded by Poroshenko. The media outlets controlled by the chocolate tycoon, including Channel 5, lambasted those who tried to defend law and order calling them cannibals and child murderers. Poroshenko sang praises to those who tossed stones on Grushevsky Street. He said he would pay for restoring the road and renovate the Dynamo stadium. 

His first steps in the capacity of President pose a threat to the security of Ukraine. He refuses to see the obvious – the attempts to quell the unrest in the country’s south-east by force are doomed. He is set in his ways sending the motley crew of rag-tag «warriors» to Donbass. Women and children continue to die but no success is in sight. Donbass will not repeat the events in Kosovo where Albanian terrorists were involved in ethnic cleansing removing Serbs. All told, who is to blame for the fact that Poroshenko is feeling insecure? 

A question pops up – what does the new Ukrainian President expect while recklessly rushing to soak his hands in blood? He had not been directly involved in crimes before. He had a great chance to start with a clean sheet while keeping distance from the most odious personalities representing the regime and he could have launched a dialogue with the people who actually don’t ask too much. Federalization is not the worst way out of the deadlock Ukraine happened to be in because of Euromaidan. If Poroshenko moved along this way, he would become someone to have an honorable place in history. 

What does he get by squandering the chance? Probably the results of his meeting Barack Obama in Normandy and Vice President Joe Biden at his inauguration ceremony. Talking about Ukraine policy, the United States appears to treat the European Union just like Victoria Nuland has said recently it should and it leads the process of boosting NATO military presence in the Black and Baltic seas. George Friedman of US think tank Stratfor believes that the United States has to act this way because Germany, the key European power, shies away from restarting the Cold War being too much dependent on Russian gas and being satisfied with the present status quo. Under the circumstances there is no one else but the United States to defend the NATO eastern flank. Romania and Poland become key partners for reaching the US geopolitical goals. Obama and Biden paid visits there in May. Romania is even more important situated near Crimea. Boosting Romania’s naval capabilities and basing US aircraft on its soil poses a threat to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and exerts influence on Georgia making it situated in the vicinity of NATO military installations. The recent visit of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Romania also shows the importance of this country for the US regional plans. 

The Black Sea is returning the relevance it had in the XIX century. The diplomatic activities between the United States and Turkey, as well as between Turkey, Romania and Poland, have intensified. The relationship between Washington and Ankara were to large extent spoiled by the US refusal to launch an military intervention against Syria and the support rendered by the United States to Turkish opposition as well as Turkey’s last October’s decision to choose China, not the US, for acquisition of long-range air defense systems. The bilateral relations can be redeemed if mutual interest is there. It’s hard to predict how Turkey will react to potential exacerbation of tensions in the region, especially in view of Blue Stream pipeline with an undersea subsection crossing the Black Sea bottom. But the very attempts on the part of US to involve Turkey into its geopolitical plans tell a lot. 

Bulgaria is not sidelined. Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has announced that Bulgaria is suspending work on the disputed Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline following criticism from the European Union and United States. 

Oresharski, speaking after a meeting with U.S. senators, said, «I have ordered all work to be stopped. We will decide on further developments following consultations with Brussels». The team of US lawmakers included Senator John McCain, an old friend of Russia, who off and on finds time to step in and substitute for European commissars. Gradually and consistently the US increases its pressure on Eastern Europe trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Germany. They do it exactly as told a hundred years ago by Sir Halford John Mackinder, a British geographer and academic who is regarded as one of the founding fathers of both geopolitics and geostrategy. His Heartland Theory and more generally classical geopolitics and geostrategy were extremely influential in the making of US strategic policy during the period of the Cold War. In his major work, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction that saw light in 1919, Mackinder presented his theory of the Heartland. The book's most famous quote was: «Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World». The message was composed to convince the world statesmen at the Paris Peace conference of the crucial importance of Eastern Europe as the strategic route to the Heartland.

The implementation of this strategy envisions an anti-Russian government in Kiev and exerting maximum pressure on the Ukraine’s south-east pouring fuel on fire to preserve constant tensions in the region. It is done to cut off Crimea from continental Russia. The doomed war in Donbass meets the US interests and fully matches the key objectives of its geostrategy. Washington cherishes a hope that its Kiev puppets will not let it down. These are the things to take into consideration before launching a dialogue with citizen Poroshenko.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
Citizen Poroshenko Ready to Double Down

There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip – that was the keynote of Petro Poroshenko’s first interview since taking office. The Ukrainian leader told Time that he has no choice but to keep Russia at the negotiating table. Petro Poroshenko wants to see Russia punished for what he calls the «tragedy» that befell his country this year. No matter that, Ukraine does not have the option of breaking off ties with the Kremlin, it has no choice but to seek «an understanding» with Russia, he says, even if for no other reason than the hard reality of Ukraine’s geography. Poroshenko says he does not care about what Russia thinks about him saying he has no intention of making nice with Russian President Vladimir Putin. «To be honest, I’m not very interested in what Citizen Putin thinks of my state». But who would believe him if he spent the first full day of his tenure on Sunday in marathon talks with the Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov. As he put it «We can’t talk about a firm sense of security without a dialogue and an understanding with Russia». If the Russian leader doubts Ukraine’s right to exist within its current borders, the best way to convince him otherwise is to build a powerful army and a thriving economy, Poroshenko said. «No one would allow himself to doubt the existence of small countries like Singapore», added the Ukrainian President, «because when a country is strong, effective, comfortable, monolithic, such doubts would never enter anyone’s minds». No one would argue but it’s not clear what he meant by saying it. 

Becoming the second Singapore will require support from the West, not least of all the kind of military aid that he has been requesting. «The help can take all kinds of forms, from intelligence to military technology, from blocking our airspace to enforcing a maritime blockade» in case of attack». He discussed all these things with US and European leaders in Normandy. Carried away by dreams he towered in his imagination to see another amphibious landing operation. It was Crimea this time. But he never said it out loud to preserve at least some bond with the sinful world. Poroshenko does not hide his dissatisfaction with the reality he sees. The United Nations Organization does not cope. The Budapest agreement is not observed. The global security architecture needs to be reviewed because nobody provides guarantees to Ukraine. It is rather strange to see him embarrassed by these facts. Can anybody give security guarantees to a child playing with matches and touching a socket with his fingers? Nationalist Ukrainian scum pushed musicians and students to face TV cameras on Independence Square while staging a coup in Kiev. The legal President’s overthrow was funded by Poroshenko. The media outlets controlled by the chocolate tycoon, including Channel 5, lambasted those who tried to defend law and order calling them cannibals and child murderers. Poroshenko sang praises to those who tossed stones on Grushevsky Street. He said he would pay for restoring the road and renovate the Dynamo stadium. 

His first steps in the capacity of President pose a threat to the security of Ukraine. He refuses to see the obvious – the attempts to quell the unrest in the country’s south-east by force are doomed. He is set in his ways sending the motley crew of rag-tag «warriors» to Donbass. Women and children continue to die but no success is in sight. Donbass will not repeat the events in Kosovo where Albanian terrorists were involved in ethnic cleansing removing Serbs. All told, who is to blame for the fact that Poroshenko is feeling insecure? 

A question pops up – what does the new Ukrainian President expect while recklessly rushing to soak his hands in blood? He had not been directly involved in crimes before. He had a great chance to start with a clean sheet while keeping distance from the most odious personalities representing the regime and he could have launched a dialogue with the people who actually don’t ask too much. Federalization is not the worst way out of the deadlock Ukraine happened to be in because of Euromaidan. If Poroshenko moved along this way, he would become someone to have an honorable place in history. 

What does he get by squandering the chance? Probably the results of his meeting Barack Obama in Normandy and Vice President Joe Biden at his inauguration ceremony. Talking about Ukraine policy, the United States appears to treat the European Union just like Victoria Nuland has said recently it should and it leads the process of boosting NATO military presence in the Black and Baltic seas. George Friedman of US think tank Stratfor believes that the United States has to act this way because Germany, the key European power, shies away from restarting the Cold War being too much dependent on Russian gas and being satisfied with the present status quo. Under the circumstances there is no one else but the United States to defend the NATO eastern flank. Romania and Poland become key partners for reaching the US geopolitical goals. Obama and Biden paid visits there in May. Romania is even more important situated near Crimea. Boosting Romania’s naval capabilities and basing US aircraft on its soil poses a threat to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and exerts influence on Georgia making it situated in the vicinity of NATO military installations. The recent visit of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Romania also shows the importance of this country for the US regional plans. 

The Black Sea is returning the relevance it had in the XIX century. The diplomatic activities between the United States and Turkey, as well as between Turkey, Romania and Poland, have intensified. The relationship between Washington and Ankara were to large extent spoiled by the US refusal to launch an military intervention against Syria and the support rendered by the United States to Turkish opposition as well as Turkey’s last October’s decision to choose China, not the US, for acquisition of long-range air defense systems. The bilateral relations can be redeemed if mutual interest is there. It’s hard to predict how Turkey will react to potential exacerbation of tensions in the region, especially in view of Blue Stream pipeline with an undersea subsection crossing the Black Sea bottom. But the very attempts on the part of US to involve Turkey into its geopolitical plans tell a lot. 

Bulgaria is not sidelined. Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has announced that Bulgaria is suspending work on the disputed Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline following criticism from the European Union and United States. 

Oresharski, speaking after a meeting with U.S. senators, said, «I have ordered all work to be stopped. We will decide on further developments following consultations with Brussels». The team of US lawmakers included Senator John McCain, an old friend of Russia, who off and on finds time to step in and substitute for European commissars. Gradually and consistently the US increases its pressure on Eastern Europe trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Germany. They do it exactly as told a hundred years ago by Sir Halford John Mackinder, a British geographer and academic who is regarded as one of the founding fathers of both geopolitics and geostrategy. His Heartland Theory and more generally classical geopolitics and geostrategy were extremely influential in the making of US strategic policy during the period of the Cold War. In his major work, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction that saw light in 1919, Mackinder presented his theory of the Heartland. The book's most famous quote was: «Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World». The message was composed to convince the world statesmen at the Paris Peace conference of the crucial importance of Eastern Europe as the strategic route to the Heartland.

The implementation of this strategy envisions an anti-Russian government in Kiev and exerting maximum pressure on the Ukraine’s south-east pouring fuel on fire to preserve constant tensions in the region. It is done to cut off Crimea from continental Russia. The doomed war in Donbass meets the US interests and fully matches the key objectives of its geostrategy. Washington cherishes a hope that its Kiev puppets will not let it down. These are the things to take into consideration before launching a dialogue with citizen Poroshenko.