Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ukraine--what a complicated accident of history and big power politics.

What would happen if the EU, USA and Russia left Ukraine alone to solve its issues? What would the Crimea do, if it was not for the ‘meddling,’ invited or not, from Russia and Putin in particular?
Perhaps we would see other forces that have already made their presence felt, for example the extreme right wing nationalist in Ukraine that Putin and his allies allude to from time to time. Maybe the answers to that are imbedded in the long history of Ukraine and Russia and the tendency for Ukraine to be a ‘conduit’ for invasion and the subsequent reaction of Russia to find ways to be less vulnerable to invasion across the plains of Ukraine. While all these factors, combined with the political ambitions of many political figures, no doubt have a formative effect on Ukraine, there is no simple answer.
The ‘West’ has its views on Russia and Ukraine and that is often diametrically opposed to that of Russia. Russia is suspicious of the West and has had good reason to fear nations to its West in the past. History teaches us and has the power to inform modern day reactions to even seemingly innocuous events. Russia see the USA as being nothing less than hypocritical, when it puts the boot into Russian ‘policy,’ when it ignores the stance of the UN and goes ahead with its own ‘invasions’ of territories, and in that respect the Russians have a point—a very strong one.
Back to Ukraine and the difficult position it finds itself in today; it’s very existence threatened by the ‘games’ that Putin and the West are playing, combined with very real divisions within the country. Therein lays the problem---Is Ukraine one country or several? Is it able to have some sort of Federal system much like the USA or the Russian Federation? Are the divisions too deep and historically damaging to allow for the existence of a modern democracy? If other powers with a perceived vested interest I  the makeup of this region were able to step back, perhaps a period of reconstruction could follow but once again history informs us that such a ‘discussion is controlled form ‘outside.’
There have been a few glimmers of hope, from the soldiers on the ground, when they proved that human common sense can prevail, even if only in small amounts. The spectre of two officers, steeping back from the brink, was an example of what could happen, if only on a much ‘grander scale.’ May this ‘force be much magnified.