Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Prediction on the Ukrainian Crisis 11 Dec 2013

The division over Ukraine's destiny has been one made not only by Russia's policy towards it but by the cynical position of Western power interests from the EU to the IMF who continue to back those such as Tymoshenko who are corrupt oligarchs who were so unpopular they were voted out in 2010 in favour of Yanukovych.
The EU has not been that keen on Ukraine moving closer towards it and eventual entry but with extracting the maximum of economic benefit for it at the expense of whole swathes of Ukrainian industry to the east in Kharkiv and Donetsk where EU trade policies could cause unemployment and economic misery.
The Western Ukraine focused on Lviv is the poorest part of the nation and has nowhere to go other than towards integration with the West. The Carpathian regions are poor. A lot of the support for the uprising branded as 'the Orange revolution" 0f 2004 came from these areas.
Kampfner's rhetoric is all about Russia, as if it only was a cynical participant in the wrangle for influence in Ukraine. But the trope about Putin's Russia being 'a Slav version of Pinochet's Chile' ignores the fact that it was under Yeltsin in the 1990s that similar neoliberal policies to Chile were pursued.
Yeltsin's Russia and the catastrophic collapse in living standards caused by the imposition, via the IMF, of the policies that were forced on Chile is precisely what led to Putin becoming so popular afrer 1999 in reasserting control over the Russian economy and asserting sovereignty.
Likewise, in Ukraine the disastrous economic legacy created by the Orange Revolutionaries-as well as the continuity in corruption-led Ukrainians into the streets against it with protests called 'enough' that called for a 'clean sweep' of all politicians from the Ukrainian system.
The unfortunate tragedy in Ukraine is that popular response to the continued failure of the political elites to preside over reforms that benefit the ordinary citizens-as opposed to post-communist kleptocrats and pro-Western oligarchs courted by Washington and Brussels, is apathy and pessimism.
More ominously, the EU's interest in Ukraine being pushed closer towards it, such as it is, is one promoted most assiduously by those who are foremost in the the idea that the West is embroiled in a "New Cold War" with Russia such as Radek Sikorski. a forthrigh 'neoconservative' ideologue
Once put forth as a potential leader of NATO, Sikorski tends to view by slightly too obsessive in putting one over on the Kremlin and winning the Ukraine to the West as part of an ongoing global game for hegemony over the gas and oil pipeline routes and, ultimately, control of Eurasia.
Ukraine happens to be one of what Brzezinski calls the five key geopolitical pivots on which control of the Eurasian Heartland shall depend. The danger is that in pushing for Ukraine to move towards the EU and thence NATO serious divisions between the ethnic Ukrainians and Russians would blow up.
Despite Timothy Snyder's contention that Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych is playing on the 'fantasy' of Ukraine's 'geopolitical significance' to play off Russia and the West against each other to wrest concessions, these considerations have long been at the heart of Sikorski's and others geopolitical thinking.
Both Carl Bildt and Sikorski view getting Ukraine to be a test of the EU having clout in foreign policy terms. Sikorski , in particular, views getting Ukraine to be victory for the historical aberration of Poland not having been the dominant empire in Eastern Europe instead of Russia.
None of this has much to offer the average citizen of Ukraine who would like better living standards and governments that are not corrupt. If the EU could offer something better than it offered the Central European states in the 1990s and 2000s, more might be persuaded of it benefits.
However, Western sponsored reforms have meant the IMF enforcing shock therapy responsible for causing immiseration, enrichment for a well positioned elite and those with the 'right connections' , as well as mass migration and cultural repudiation or else a reversion to far right nationalism.
Even in Ukraine that process is at work. The tendency for higher support for the EU amongst the young is, no doubt, due to a desire to emigrate West. Meanwhile a significant number of protesters in Kiev are from Svoboda, a neo-fascist movement, those who have been 'left behind'.
It is paradoxical that the presence of Svoboda in the protests in Kiev is omitted by Western journalists such as Kampfner. Or, indeed the fact, that in the West of Ukraine in places such as Lviv, these neo fascists won 40% in the last elections.Clearly, their presence is not news and not deemed worthy of comment.

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