Change in the Ukraine

For the Ukraine there is fast approaching a reckoning. With Petro Poroshenko’s government unable to tame the corruption rampant in the country, the hopes that the European Union would bail them out are dashed. Indeed, the Maidan “revolution” has long been forgotten as ambitious politicians scramble for coal and natural gas wealth. Moreover, the annexation of Crimea is an established fact, despite the prattling of the United States.

Indeed, the situation resembles a comic opera with all the failed revolutions in the east converging on Kiev. Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian leader and more recently the failed mayor of Odessa, saw his citizenship revoked by Poroshenko. On top of his lost country, his native Georgia, it appears that the adventurer is looking for a nation to govern. Like William Walker, who tried to take Nicaragua in the 1850s, Saakashvili seems a perennial troublemaker. Worst still, he attracts a following among some neo-conservatives in America.

Certainly he would fit the usual description of the ideal puppet — vain, egotistical and delusional. By all accounts, Saakashvili was a diffident mayor who was always quick to point the finger at political opponents. First it was the former prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, then it was Poroshenko. Perhaps he will be honest enough to include himself in that rogues gallery. Although some publications, such as the Guardian, take him seriously, few share that opinion. But nothing would surprise when it comes to the Ukraine. It depended on Germany — nothing came but criticism, similar to the usual objections leveled at Turkey when it tries to join the European Union. It is, in fact, a semi-state with no fast anchorage.

Remarkably, Poroshenko seems to have recognized this, slowly parleying with Vladimir Putin. Ukraine joined Georgia and Azerbaijan in an initiative with Russia’s ally, the People’s Republic of China. This might explain why the perpetual nuisance Saakashvili showed up on Poroshenko’s doorstep. It is clear that both the EU and Russia are trying to put the era of failed sanctions behind them. Perhaps Poroshenko is trying to look east because China is far more hospitable and declines to give Kiev instructions.

Despite that, the U.S. Congress still pushes sanctions on Russia or anyone else that fails to conform to its every whim. With Donald Trump hamstrung on the matter, the usual suspects still push the same failed policies. Given the United States’ two-decade-old record of mayhem, it should be more introspective. But the fingers wag and the judgmental attitude persists. And they have what they want, a captive president and an intractable foreign policy. Best of luck to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Ukraine has been yanked back and forth by a policy that has left ruined nations and frantic refugees. From Syria, to Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, the specter of perpetual war persists. Perhaps the government in Kiev may seek a path of peace with its eastern neighbors and eschew reckless freebooters like Saakashvili.

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