Confusion in Ukraine
Perhaps a great irony will be apparent during the Ukraine crisis, in that Germany will play the role of France after Versailles. Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her haste to incorporate the new government in Kiev into a commercial relationship, violates a big principle of self-determination. She underwrites a regime that is not elected and is the product of a coup d’etat.
This is nothing new in Europe. In 1921, France looked benignly the other way while Poland invaded Russia. Despite the declaration at Versailles in favor of self-determination of nations, being eligible for such protection turned out to be rather random in nature. Right turned out to be whatever the “west” said it should be, principles be damned.
As well, John Kerry acts as if the actions of Boris Yeltsin’s Russia were somewhat frozen in time. The fact that Yeltsin allowed Russia to be plundered should not be acknowledged. It is as if a person that took advantage of a drunk gambler in Las Vegas, taking half his property, would not be liable to have to give the poor victim’s family recompense. Kerry, acting every bit of the imperialist, thinks that gains made during the chaotic final year of the Soviet Union should be locked in.
Germany’s interests are strictly commercial and somewhat reckless. They need Russian oil assets more than they need Ukranian trade. Indeed, during the restoration of Russia in Crimea, the public’s gaze has been diverted from the disorder in Kiev. Militias are still not disarmed and many have been attacking former supporters of Vikto Yanukovych’s government. And the pipe dreams of the Ultra-Nationalist Yulia Tymoshenko distress even the coup-backed regime.
It was not Vladimir Putin who violated norms of diplomatic relations but the West. Even after the European Union negotiated elections to be held in December, they repudiated their own agreement and recognized a mob takeover and called it a government. Then they rushed to seal a trade deal, which was what the whole imbroglio was about in the first place. Now some of the factions are troubled that the new regime might be puppets of the European Union.
Perhaps it is why Crimea fell so fast, or why the people of Donetsk rose against the chaotic rump that claims to be a lawful regime. Well, Barack Obama seems not to see wrinkles in the pretty story emanating out of the Western media. The same media that cheered the revolt against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and failed to note the lawless militias. Now shipments of weapons are hijacked by the so-called “freedom fighters” in Tripoli. But never mind “springs” are eternal even if their basis resembles Orson Welles’ radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” rather than any legitimate movements.
Indeed, the years since the Cold War have been a bonanza for investors, but a problem for those trying to maintain international stability. Say one thing for Bill Clinton, he demonstrated that Yugoslavia was a fiction. George H.W. Bush contributed to exposing the fiction of Czechoslovakia (now two states) after the USSR’s collapse.
For those European leaders in their haste to teach Putin a lesson, it might be prudent to recognize the consequences of their actions. Their delight in overthrowing governments might yet be turned against them, say during the next economic slump. It was opportunistic and totally gratuitous – Obama should take notice and demur.