Skip to comments.Why Play Cold War Games in Ukraine?
Posted on 02/21/2014 7:58:31 AM PST by Freelance Warrior
Richard Engel of NBC, reporting from Maidan Square in Kiev, described what he witnessed as the Feb. 19 truce collapsed.
Police began to back away from their positions in the square, said Engel. And the protesters attacked. Gunfire was exchanged and the death toll, believed to be in the dozens, is not known.
In short, the reality in Kiev is more complex than the black-and-white cartoon of Vladimir Putin vs. the freedom fighters drawn by our resident Russophobic elite. Perspective is in order.
First, though portrayed as a tyrannical thug, Viktor Yanukovych won the presidency of Ukraine in 2010 in what international observers called a free and fair election. He may not be Marcus Aurelius, but his remains the legitimate government.
Second, high among the reasons Yanukovych chose Russias offer to join its custom union over the EU is that Putin put a better deal on the table.
Moscow put up $15 billion in loans and cut-rate oil and gas. The EU offered some piddling loans and credits, plus a demand for reforms in the Ukrainian economy monitored by the IMF, but no commitment to full membership in the EU.
As for the protesters who came to Maidan Square in November, not all came simply to protest. Many set up tents and shacks, threw up barricades, seized government buildings, burned the headquarters of the ruling party, battled police and demanded the overthrow of the regime.
How many Western countries would permit a planned putsch in their capital city? Still, after weeks of protest, Yanukovych offered to negotiate.
He fired his prime minister and tendered the post to the leader of the opposition Arseniy Yatsenyuk. He offered to make Vitali Klitschko, the ex-heavyweight champion and the head of another opposition party, the deputy prime minister. His offer was rejected.
Yanukovych then had parliament repeal the tough laws against protests he had had enacted and delivered a full amnesty to those arrested during the months of occupation. In effect, Yanukovych offered peace and a coalition government with his opponents until new presidential elections new year.
Does that sound like an unyielding tyrant?
Why was this unacceptable? Because the protesters want Yanukovych out, new elections now, and Ukraine reoriented toward Europe.
While the opposition has every right to urge this course, is not next years presidential election the place to decide the future of the country? What kind of democracy is it where a democratically elected president can be forced out of office by mobs?
When Muhammed Morsi, the elected president of Egypt, was ousted in a military coup last summer, backed by huge crowds in Tahrir Square, John Kerry said the army was restoring democracy.
Is this the new American concept of democracy, that when an elected government makes a major decision many dislike, the people should take to the streets and shut down the capital until the president reverses course or resigns?
President Obama is telling the Yanukovych government to respect the protesters. No violence. But how would Obama react if thousands of Tea Party members established an encampment on the Mall, burned down the DNC, occupied the Capitol and demanded he either repeal Obamacare or resign?
Would Barack Obama negotiate?
Russia has accused us of meddling in Ukraines internal affairs.
And when we see the State Departments Victoria Nuland in Maidan Square egging on the protesters, and hear tape of Nuland discussing with the U.S. ambassador whom we want in the next Ukrainian government, do not the Russians have a point?
Under George W. Bush, our National Endowment for Democracy helped to engineer color-coded revolutions in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, but it failed in Belarus. We have a long track record of meddling.
And was it not interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine for John McCain to fly to Kiev, go down to Maidan Square, and do his best imitation of Mario Savio in Sproul Plaza?
If the Cold War is over, why are we playing these Cold War games?
Imagine where America would be today had the neocons gotten their way and brought Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.
We would have been eyeball-to-eyeball with Russia in the South Ossetian war of 2008, and eyeball-to-eyeball today over Kiev. Yet, in neither country is there any vital U.S. interest worth risking war with Russia.
What is coming in Ukraine, however, is likely to be far worse than what we have seen up to now. For this political crisis has deepened the divide between a western Ukraine that looks to Europe, and an east whose historic, linguistic, cultural and ethnic bonds are with Mother Russia.
With reports of police and soldiers in western Ukraine defecting from the government to join the rebellion, Ukraine could be a country sliding into civil war. If so, the spillover effects could be ominous.
But, to be candid, what happens in Ukraine has always been more critical to Moscow than it has ever been to us.
As Barack Obama said of Syria, this is somebody elses civil war.
Pat is right once again.
Only one reason I can possibly think of...
Putin wants and needs a resurgent Russia. People like him never stop with one country.
For good or bad, I believe the US will be forced into supplying arms to those in opposition to Russia. Today’s WSJ has a very good editorial about Russia’s actions behind the scenes to control Ukraine.
Gross misinterpretation of events and undercurrents in Ukraine. It is surely not black-and-white, Pat Buchanan is correct here, but the rest is pure speculation. Almost every dictator in history had some legitimacy, which never prevented them from committing heinous crimes. People of Ukraine rebelled against institutionalized corruption becoming norm just like in neighboring Russia. The only reason this revolution was not drowned in blood, is that mobsters in power sensed the magnitude of popular resentment and were trying to preserve their hides.
Buchanan has written some specific facts about the Ukrainian president's actions. They're not at all dictatorial, so Yanukovich is not a dictator. If he has lied you can denounce them one by one.
Based on the lie that he would pursue closer ties to the West. Once elected he did a 180.
Not to mention that Yanukovych is utterly and totally corrupt.
It doesn’t smell organic to me. It looks too much like the uprising to drive Mubarak out in Egypt where we found that the hard left was heavily involved in it. Too much willing social media participation.
Oddly enough, the uprising of a known increasingly hardline marxist government in Venezuela is getting very little attention.
The only thing I can say for sure is that there isn’t a whole lot we can do about any of it right now because we have a government run by incompetent morons who care only about themselves.
But how would Obama react if thousands of Tea Party members established an encampment on the Mall, burned down the DNC, occupied the Capitol and demanded he either repeal Obamacare or resign?
Would Barack Obama negotiate?
Interesting analogy there from the Media.
The only way we should get involved is to offer to mediate between the Ukrainian protestors, their government and Putin.
Its a complex situation there. The Ukrainians - most of them - hate the Russians. There is a large minority of Ukrainians however who are ethnic Russians and want Anschloss with Mother Russia. Don’t know where the President falls in this situation, but Putin apparenly made him a good offer.
What WE should be asking (but it would NEVER happen under THIS administration) is WHY the hell we should do ANYTHING to help the EU when they are a collection of pro-homosexual, pro-Muslim, anti-American, left-wing degenerate socialist states.
As a matter of fact, maybe the Ukrainians should get over their anger at the Russians and ask themselves the SAME question.
Right now, I would be more than willing to swap Obama for Putin.
Pat has been reading FR.
He is dead on right on this one.
Dear Pat, shall we allow democratically elected governments to call out military snipers to shoot into crowds of their own people? What new form of democracy will we usher in, where governments can use their countries military to kill it’s own citizens in the streets for having an opposing view? How does the “Arena of Ideas” and debate, survive if governments can simply kill those who dare to debate? Could this new form of governing creep onto the shores of America?
The world is on fire, and it may not be a fire we started, but we advance the cause of “Dictatorships” if we turn and walk away.
Yeah, he sounds like a real nice guy.
Buchanan can be such a bone head.
The reality is Yanukovitz a toast. People who organized or took advantage of these riots (if they were really spontaneous which I doubt) knew full well that they can’t beat him in fair elections. He handled this situation really awful making them a favour.
Thanks for a good post.
The issue, despite news reports, really isn’t about a trade agreement with EU vs. Russia. That was just the final straw, so to speak.
The issue is about a rigged election and a corrupt leadership that has broken faith with a young nation that craves democracy and freedom.
An electoral process once rigged can be repeated, especially since Yanukovych and his cronies stay in power in the meantime. Yanukovych needs to go.
I wonder which side Pat will be on when it happens here?
Fascist/commie spinning. Why did the Czechs play Cold War games in Czechoslovakia? Why did the Poles play Cold War games in Poland?
In an amusing irony Pat now stands shoulder to shoulder with Prof Stephen Cohen with whom he used to tangle on Crossfire. Thirty years ago Cohen was a ubiquitous presence on CNN defending all things Soviet and is nowadays a Putin apologist. Strange bedfellows, indeed.
Btw, the Mario Savio reference is funny. Who the heck under 40 knows who Savio was?
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