Skip to comments.The Ukrainian Uprising is a Rebellion, Not a Revolution
Posted on 02/26/2014 8:08:02 AM PST by SeekAndFind
PARIS -- Ceding to protestors' demands, Ukrainian parliament members voted last week to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych and hold early elections, which have been set for May 25. Online "slacktivists," keyboard warriors and various media outlets responded by breathlessly declaring the situation a "revolution" -- and in some cases even proclaiming it a successful one. Except that it isn't at this point. Far from it.
Proponents of freedom and democracy would love nothing more than for Ukrainian citizens to fully control their own destiny. However, mere wishful thinking is no substitute for manifest reality, and semantics shouldn't replace substance. Otherwise, there's a danger of never actually getting anywhere. There are historical standards for revolution, and they shouldn't be lowered just because those standards predate the advent of social media.
Some have already made that mistake in the case of Ukraine. The "Orange Revolution" of 2004 was prematurely named, then prematurely declared a successful revolution. In retrospect, it was merely a rebellion -- and ultimately a misnomer. If it had been a revolution in substance, the country would not be where it is now, with parliament having to reinstate the Orange Revolution constitution that was adopted in 2004 but then gutted by a constitutional court in 2010.
There's a reason that the French Revolution started, rather than ended, with the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. It wasn't considered complete until 10 years later. A revolution, by definition, is the replacement of one political system by a significantly different system. In the case of an authoritarian or totalitarian status quo, it has always required many phases of rebellion over a number of years, and much bloodshed.
The only revolutions that end quickly are those that result in totalitarian or authoritarian regimes, as with the Cuban Revolution. Democratic revolutions are much messier. Moreover, they inherently require democratic legitimacy, which is why even a democratic rebellion such as the one in Ukraine needs to occur within the context of an election cycle and be ratified through a democratic process. Democracy can't start ironically with a coup. The results of the May 25 elections will retroactively determine the democratic legitimacy of the rebellion.
For Ukraine to meet the successful revolution test, it must implement a systemic change rather than just substitute one leadership team for another. Otherwise, it's simply a case of the same corruption and problems playing out with new actors. Ukraine's revolution could be declared successful if its political system and laws were harmonized to the point where the country gained acceptance into the European Union, thereby representing a full transformation from Russian protectorate. It's all still a long way off at this point.
Not to say that corruption wouldn't still exist in Ukraine, but the kickbacks and corruption would run through the European Parliament, the way it's done in the rest of Europe. Cynicism aside, this begs a critical question: Does the Ukraine really want a revolution? I'm not being facetious. Consider that since its inception in 1867, my native Canada has never experienced a bloodstained revolt for its independence from either of its two founding nations, England or France. Both official languages are constitutionally enshrined, and Canada enjoys warm relations with both countries.
Canada now has free-trade agreements with the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Israel, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Jordan and Panama, as well as bilateral economic cooperation and investment agreements with China and others.
Ukraine may want to avoid a revolution for the same reason that George Clooney doesn't want to commit to any one woman. When you're that sought after, why tie yourself down? Ukraine can position itself to exploit its geopolitical love triangle with Europe and Russia, and play the field on its own terms.
Anyone who's ever done business in Ukraine knows that kickbacks and corruption among the elite are par for the course. If you want anything done, palms need to be greased. Among the duties of the business intelligence firms operating in Ukraine is to determine which palms require greasing in any given situation. Yanukovych's palatial mansions are a testament to this. So what would happen if the Ukrainian people simply eliminated the corruption without making a binding commitment to either the Russian or European sphere? Would it increase the standard of living inside the country without the difficulty of such a black-and-white choice?
Take it from a native Canadian, dear Ukrainian friends: No one says that you have to get married geopolitically.
2014 rhymes with 1914, in some ways.
A revolution usually means a radical violent change of country’s societal structure. I think, Ukrainian Revolution - 2014 is fully qualified. No guarantee of success though.
Learning from history, Ukraine should stay free and independent of any Unions. Path to slavery and tyranny is through centralization and federalization of power and government. Happening now even in US under Obama - straying away from the founding father’s model.
Power should be concentrated at the regions/states, with federal only in charge of country defense, foreign service and some infrastructure.
All elected officials subject to term limits, say 8 years combined in any position and then go back to where you came from. No career politicians!
Gradual consolidation of absolute power corrupts, sucks money from hard working people and blows it on what they want, disregarding those who pay.
Free enterprise, minimum regulations/taxation and competition will have economy humming and prosperity for the nation. See Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman....
Totalirianism brings only destruction and slavery to the societies. We have enough examples around.
I hope that Ukraine will show the example of how to shake off tyranny and build the healthy and prosperous nation.
The first step has been taken, now cleanup and setting up the system of governing should begin.
What a tragic joke.
Riding coattails comes to mind here...
I say you’ve created our list of demands.
Everyone who has worked for any level of government for more than 8 years must immediately step down: Governors, prison wardens, police, dog catchers, everyone.
Everyone in our States illegally must self deport, or be deported.
Have a list of politicians, judges, media and celebrity figures, activists, lawyers, and professors who must leave our states. Tories
Rewrite the constitution, keeping the original intent, but adding revise it based on lessons learned. It could be the Liberty Amendments without the long state convention process (which I know will be a huge failure).
There’s no reason to wait for election for this stuff. Freedom is right whether by elections or not. It doesn’t need elections for legitimacy.
“Consider that since its inception in 1867, my native Canada has never experienced a bloodstained revolt for its independence from either of its two founding nations, England or France.”
Seems historically dishonest since the bloody revolution happened in 1756. France was long gone by 1867.