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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Mysterious Ukraine Crisis, Explained

What really happened in the Ukraine?   It seems like an artificial crisis to me.  Why try to get Ukraine into the EU?   Why would Putin want to support separatists, rather than influence Ukrainian democratic politics?   Both sides acted irrationally.  Now that the stories have died down, perhaps we can look at this issue dispassionately. 

I never understood why the U.S. was so anxious to dispose President Yanukovych.  He was democratically elected.  Perhaps we didn't care for his alignment with Moscow, but so what?   It is hardly vital to our interests who governs Ukraine. 

Well,  George Friedman of Stratfor explains that our policy is geared toward opposing regional hegemons.  So if Russia is getting too strong, we must do something to throw it off balance.  Our support for the protestors in Ukraine had more to do with making problems for Russia in its own front yard.  It was not in retaliation for Syria or Snowden.   See this very interesting interview with Friedman here:  Friedman on the Ukraine crisis

One thing of note: Friedman seems pretty certain that what happened in Ukraine was a US-backed coup against Yanukovych.   Using protesters as shock troops against government forces to discredit a sitting government has been used effectively in Latin America for years.   I had to say, that at the time, it looked like a pretty familiar scenario!  (See Bolivia,  Ecuador, and Venezuela in 2002.) 

The happy reactionary Peter Hitchens in the Mail adds his two cents, with a review on a new book "Frontline Ukraine" describing the Ukraine crisis here: a-review-of-frontline-ukraine-by-richard-sakwa  I need to read this book.  Here, Hitchens argues the US dragged the EU into this crisis reluctantly.  We are still pursuing a policy of expanding the EU and NATO, even though it is clear that both are suffering from overexpansion. 
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