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16 December 2013

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b

McCain also told the (paid?) crowd that it should reject foreign interference. He evidently did not consider himself such.

The Ukrainian industry in the east would be dead three month after signing the trade deal with the EU. Even after that deal the Ukraine would never be accepted as full EU member. It would just be too expensive to integrate it (estimates run as high as $200 billion) and most EU members are against it.

The majority of the country has elected the current president and the parliament in rather fair elections. Why McCain and others think the crowd should overthrow the elected government in the name of "democracy" is beyond me. What if the elected president calls on Russia to help against a rebellion? Would NATO be willing to go to war over that? On what basis?

The Ukraine need some loans and access to markets. Russia can give both without many conditions while the "west" demands the full IMF austerity program that would be the same economic catastrophe in the Ukraine that it has been elsewhere. Under such conditions no clear minded Ukrainian can chose the "west".

David Habakkuk

It is I think uncertain whether the Ukraine can survive as a unitary state, unless it is allowed to face both ways.

One might imagine the condition of Northern Ireland, had London and Dublin been at daggers’ drawn. The Protestant militias would have decided which areas they could realistically hold, and got rid of the Catholic population in these by Serbian methods. And there would have been sfa that TTG’s friends could have done about it.

Among Ukrainians, and Russians, you will find descendants of people who died with General Mikhail Kirponos in the Kiev salient, or in the defence of Sevastopol against Manstein. Likewise, among West Ukrainians, you will find descendants of people who have a vivid recollection of being occupied by the Red Army as a result of the Nazi-Soviet Pact – an unpleasant introduction to rule under Stalin’s terroristic paternalism – and who joined the SS Galicia Division with enthusiasm.

If people in Brussels or Washington want to see this history in black and white terms, they are either fools, or knaves, or more probably both. The wounds of the past lie very close to the surface in the Ukraine, as in so many parts of the post-Soviet space. If Westerners are resolutely determined not to confront the complexities of Eastern European history, it is not beyond the bounds of possiblity that they could precipitate a civil war.

Fred

Apparently McCain and Murphy, certainly the crowd in Ukraine, didn't learn much from our 'support' of Georgia.

Matthew

B: Clearly, Vladimir I-live-in-Beverly Hills-and-date-an-American Klitchko wants to choose the West. I suspect he won't be missing any meals if Ukraine undergoes the Shock Doctrine. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wladimir_Klitschko

JohnH

I am always amused at how the leaders of "the world's greatest democracy" are eager to equate the whims of the mob with democracy--as long as they don't like the regime in question.

Does anyone think that they would stand quietly by and let thousands of protesters occupy the Washington Mall for a few weeks?

Bandolero

Maybe John McCain's main motivation to team up with the Ukrainian anti-government portesters and running US foreign policy is just rabid anti-semitism.

I saw pictures of how friendly John McCain and Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the Social-National Ukrainian movement leading the current protests, just sat together in Kiev.

In the Wikipedia article about Oleh Tyahnybok one can read what he told his followers about their historic mission:

"[You are the ones] that the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine fears most" and "They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state."

I find such statements quite anti-Semitic, and, eh, yes, they sound Nazi.

So, given that John McCain now supports the historic struggle of Oleh Tyahnybok against the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum" I think it's an indication that John McCain is probably in Kiev just because he, JINSA's 24th Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson Distinguished Service Award laureate, became a rabid anti-semite and supporter of the world's Social-Nationalist movements.

Could there be any other explanation?

I now wait for John McCain inviting Oleh Tyahnybok to the US to attend meetings with like-minded people.

Fred

The various mayors in the US were rather quick to crush the Occupy movement. I can only imagine what Senators Murphy and McCain would have done if Vladimir Putin had come here and given speeches to the crowd quoting Thomas Paine.

Eliot

"To encourage revolt is a hazardous undertaking."

Washington is almost 5,000 miles away from Kiev. Moscow is just 500. McCain is making promises he can't keep. Promises we won't and can't keep.

Mark Logan

John H,

John McCain is exceptional. Watch the two minutes from 1:09:00.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SenateForei

'"I" now have to rely on the Saudis...'

McCain does not know he lost the election.

confusedponderer

I find myself disturbed that, though Klitschko is apparently an earnest, well meaning guy, a good sport, and he is obviously being pushed and groomed as a new pro-western leader for the Ukraine, at least in Germany. Merkel has met him, rather publicly. It's only a matter of time until he comes to DC I presume.

Silly. It is still about that self-fuelling expansion of the EU/NATO and the rollback of Russia.

What's the point?

Expansion is not an end in itself. EU and NATO expand because they have no better idea and because nobody wants so say it's over, because the lure of ascension is in itself a powerful political leverage, and they are loathe to give that up, and then, inevitably, there are ambitions to be stilled and jobs and structures to be perpetuated. But at what cost?

Economically Ukraine is a basketcase, and all Europe would do there is to sink money and suibsidies there.

Russia wants that burden, so let them have it. And if they gain Ukraine as a strategic buffer between their borders and NATO, all the better as far as I am concerned.

In the meanwhile we'll continue to sink money into countries like Slovakia, Hungary (where Orban is assuring his re-election), Romania and Bulgaria, the latter being so currupt, that it holds the dubuious distinction of being (so far) the only country the EU ever suspended payments to - but then, we haven't accepted Albania and Kosovo, yet ...

The funniest bit of it all - all these worthy exemplars were praised by the US as the New Europe, as models during 2003 (because they joined the 'coalition of the willing', were nice to Bush and probably all too willing to be bribed for that).

"SOFIA, Bulgaria - The Associated Press | 6/12/2007

U.S. President George W. Bush wrapped up his European tour with a stop in Bulgaria, hailing the country yesterday as a trusted U.S. ally in Iraq and Afghanistan that is "helping others realize the

U.S. President George W. Bush wrapped up his European tour with a stop in Bulgaria, hailing the country yesterday as a trusted U.S. ally in Iraq and Afghanistan that is "helping others realize the blessings of liberty."

Although Bush's welcome was more muted than the adulation he received a day earlier in Albania, thousands of Bulgarians - many waving tiny American flags - packed a square in downtown Sofia to greet the U.S. leader.
...
Bush said he was impressed by Bulgaria's transition to democracy and a free market economy, but he urged its leaders to step up their fight against organized crime and corruption as the best means of luring more U.S. and other foreign investment.

"My call is to continue to make reforms, and if you find corruption, rout it out," he said."

They didn't heed his sage advice it appears, for in 2009 the European Comission suspended payments to Bulgaria.

http://eeagrants.org/News/2008/Suspension-of-payments-in-Bulgaria

The "decision of the Financial Mechanism Committee is made with reference to Article 11 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bulgaria and the EEA EFTA states, which obliges the beneficiary state to take proactive steps in order to ensure adherence to the principles of good governance"

Personally I am quite unpersuaded that we can bribe places like Bulgaria into not being a cleptocracy.

The endemic corruption they practice is unlikely to go away without Europe engaging in a several decade lasting nation building exercise. I don't care about uplifting Balkan backwaters. Alas, so long I take comfort in that occupation by administrative oversight from Bruxelles is al least infinitely less violent than what the US tried with Iraq.

PS: Corruption Transparency Index

Ukraine Score 25 Rank 144/177
Bulgaria Score 40 Rank 80/177
Romania Score 43 Rank 69/177
Albania Score 31 Rank 116/177
Kosovo Score 33 Rank 111/177

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/

Score is from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

PStu

Leaving aside the Russia component, the situation in Kiev echoes in many ways what we are seeing in Bangkok. There, an urban-based group of yellow-clad protestors attempt to shut down the government, but the rural electorate keeps re-electing Shinawatra (or his sister) in a one-fingered salute to Bangkok.

While Yanukovych may not have won reelection without some manipulation of the vote, there is a strong element of support for strong ties to Russia, particularly in Eastern Ukraine.

Matthew

DH: Well, McCain's visit went well. See http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-17/ukraine-bonds-rally-europe-officially-loses-fight-former-soviet-nation-russia-wins

We should recognize a new scientific unit, the "McCain." Like a culture, when you detect the presence of a McCain in your sample, you know your side will lose. It usually takes from 24 to 72 hours for a McCain to appear in any such sample.

Bandolero

confusedponderer

Don't take Transparency International's (TI) "Corruption Perception Index" (CPI) as a measure for corruption. There are a lot of problem's with such an interpretation of that index. Just to name a few:

1st) TI itself claims the CPI is a corruption perception measure, which is something different than a measure for corruption.

2nd) As the TI index measures corruption "perception" it might be called a measure of how well a country manages to hide corruption. When a government actively fights against corruption corruption becomes more visible, so it's place on the corruption perception index falls.

3rd) Perception is - among other factors - dependent on things like friendly or unfriedly media coverage, so the index measures how friendly the western media coverage is to that country, meaning in effect, countries whose government is more liked by western media get better ratings.

4th) TI is officially "independent" but a highly politicized organisation largely funded by western governments, foundations and corporations, and so it is everything else than a neutral observer of the world.

Let me add my personal impression from talking to people who worked at the TI HQ in Berlin. TI is highly (politically) corrupted. TI a propaganda and pressure tool against foreign governments which are too independent for the taste of western imperialists, and a whitewash organisation for corrupt foreign governments subservient to western interests.

David Habakkuk

Matthew,

However things develop from here, this looks uncomfortably like a catastrophe.

There is no way that West Ukrainians will reconcile themselves to being brought back into a close Russian embrace. On the one hand, one can certainly say they have every reason not to – on the other, as ‘Bandolero’ rightly points out, some of the undercurrents are unloveable.

Likewise, both in central Ukraine and indeed in the East, particularly among the younger people, there are plenty who would like much closer relations with the EU, and, of these, a very significant number do so in part because they also do not want to be drawn back into a close Russian embrace.

How far the enthusiasm for the EU does or does not reflect unrealistic hopes is a moot point (but an important one, is that if extravagant hopes are replaced by disillusion, the political spectrum in the Ukraine might change in very odd ways.)

In the event, the EU – with, it would seem, US backing – ended up with an offer which was all too patently intended to woo the Ukraine, as a whole, away from Russia. In so doing, however, they included terms which would – as ‘b’ points out – liquidate a great deal of industry in the regions which traditionally belonged to the Russian Empire.

Moreover, they did not offer Yanukovich what he patently needs – money to escape a looming default. And they also made it patently obvious they wanted to get rid of him, and identified strongly with Yulia Timoshenko, who for reasons that escape me is still romanticised in the EU and Washington.

How far Putin would have been prepared to live with ambiguity in the Ukraine is an interesting question. What however was the point in pushing him into upping the ante, and deploying a mixture of threats and, critically, bribes? In the torrent of sanctimonious Western commentary two critical facts have been ignored.

One is that there is simply no way in which Russia would allow a free trade agreement between the Ukraine and the EU to provide a backdoor by which European goods could evade their own tariff barriers in their domestic market. Another that Putin is in a position to cope with Yanukovich’s acute financial problem by offering cash in return for equity stakes in those companies in which the Russians are interested.

My fear however is that we move closer to a disintegration of the Ukraine – something I have long regarded as fraught with catastrophic potential. I would be happy if people better informed than me could provide reassurance.

Bandolero

Yanukovitch was just in Moscow. As he was there, there came some "temporary and reversible measures" as new developments in Russian-Ukrainian relations:

Putin: Russia buys Ukrainian bonds for 15 billion US-Dollars

http://de.ria.ru/business/20131217/267494662.html

Russia lowers Ukrainian gas price by a third

http://de.ria.ru/business/20131217/267494416.html

Putin: Russia could use capabilities of Ukraines defense industry

http://de.ria.ru/politics/20131217/267494350.html

Alexey Pushkov (Head of Russian parliament's foreign affairs commitee): Door for Ukraine to EU closed, EU has neither the money nor the will to lead Ukraine out of it's financial crises

http://de.ria.ru/politics/20131217/267493109.html

So, for McCain it will now be easy to convince Ukrainians that his words have some meaning: he just has to offer Ukraine an immediate credit of 15 billion USD, put on the table for Ukraine additionally 4 billion USD yearly as subsidy for Ukrainian gas bills and promise the Ukrainian defense industry the possibility of contracts by the US military.

If John McCain is not even willing to back up his warm words for Ukrainians with some small money for Ukrainians like Russia does it than McCain's words are completely meaningless.

b

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-78576332/
Ukraine's besieged ruling party gets boost from by-election wins

That's a finger to McCain.

Laura Wilson

Best analysis of McCain's "influence" ever! Thank you!

kao_hsien_chih

Ironically, this is true pretty much everywhere. Whether we (in the West) like it or not, Putin does have substantial support outside the "liberal" circles in Russia and is being reliably reelected through democratic means (the opponents are crying foul, but have no reliable countrywide evidence to back up their claims.) Heck, even in the US, the Republicans have a large and reliable support base outside the urban centers and manage to be an electoral force (except when they are being excessively dumb) most of the time, to the confusion of the talking classes ensconced in cities. How can we expect people who don't understand what's going on in the countryside of their own country to understand events in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe?

Babak Makkinejad

A 300-year long history of Ukraine being ruled by the Prince of Muscovy cannot be altered, in my view, during a 20-year period of the weakness of that Prince.

It is as unlikely an event as Scotland becoming a subsidiary of the same said Prince.

Indeed you ask what is the point of all of this Western interference in the East?

May be it is the same as the one in Syria: we can screw you and wreck things because we can.

Matthew

KSC: The application of the Yeltsin's economic policies (the "Shock Doctrine") produced the immiseration of large sections of Russia's population and the rise of Gangsta capitalism. Putin surely knows what these policies did to Russia's demographics.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Russia

MRW

David, is Russia asking that the Ukraine give up their currency for the ruble, as Greece had to when it joined the EU? Is that a condition of a loan from Russia? If not, the Ukraine has a prayer. It can still denominate it's debt in its own currency, and pay its workers internally.

Otherwise, if the Ukraine joins the EU and adopts the Euro, which it must in order to join, the bond vigilantes will be in there in a nanosecond imposing austerity, and a loan in return for all of Ukraine's resources. You will see a repeat of Greece and Spain's economic destruction.

BTW, I agree completely with the Colonel's take on McCain. Who the hell does he think he is? If Obama didn't order this, why isn't he embarrassing this guy in public?

Alba Etie

Leader Putin will never never give up the 'Near Abroad States " after all of those bloody and destructive invasions in history . Trace it from wherever in History you wish , maybe Napolean - The West would do will to remember what happened in Georgia a few years back .

Castellio

As much of Ukraine was under the control of the Poles, as under Muscovy.

West and East Ukraine are really quite different.

However, 95% voted for Ukrainian independence only twenty years ago. Those in west Ukraine can't quite understand why they aren't living in the promised paradise, and think that they are "that close", if only... if only...

The other half is appalled.

I find it hard to believe the nation can last.

Castellio

Did Yeltsin actually have "economic policies" or did he defer to others during his time? Just how much of a drunken front-man was he?

confusedponderer

Point is that the index gives an indication, and it was posted with that in mind.

In the case of Bulgaria it happens to coincide with the quite unprecedented suspension of EU payments.

I stand with that it is a folly to pull the least economically capable and worst governed places in the Balkans into Europe, just because.

Why on earth is association, or membership in the European Economic Area and free trade not enough? It's a boon all the same.

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