Monday, February 24, 2014
Fuck the EU!
This eloquent sentence spoken by an American diplomat gives rise to a few comments.
After WW 1 the American president Wilson was mocked by the European winning powers for his naive idealism.
Nevertheless policies like this were applied in the Balkans creating unnatural countries of a Western type, which did not correspond to the nations on the ground. The later consequences were clear, not least in the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Today the roles are reverted. Now the Americans mock the Europeans for their naive idealism. This idealism has from the start guided the actions of the EU towards the Ukraine: one-sided support for the pro-Western people in the western part of the former Soviet republic. No doubt this has aggravated the situation by giving the opponents of the pro-Russian president Yanukovych the impression that they represented a large majority and strengthening their resolve and resistance. Thereby the confrontation was prolonged and worsened.
Right now the EU policy would seem to have succeeded. The president has fallen. The parlament in Kiev is dominated by the opposition. Western style democratic reforms are being decided.
But this success is only apparent. It is a result of the weakness and incompetence of the president. Oscillating between giving in and using excessive violence. Half of the country is still Russian oriented and opposed to the EU. The people here just had the bad luck of being represented by an incompetent leader. The victory of the pro-Western forces will not last. Both because of their lack of support in the East and because the economy in the Ukraine is so bad.
The European success is a pyrrhic victory. Keeping the pro-Western parties on top will demand enormous economic aid, because much of the drive for reform stems from a desire for better life circumstances. The EU cannot afford this and certainly not give it quickly enough to make a difference for the people in the country. Therefore the East will stay opposed and Russian-oriented. The deep divisions will continue. So the EU "success" will do more damage than good. Instead of supporting the opposition it would have been better to try to unite the parties.
Therefore we can still say:
Fuck the EU!
Besides ignoring the internal forces in the Eastern Ukraine, it is also hopelessly naive to ignore Russia. Russia has legitimate interests and it has a large influence in the Ukraine. It can and certainly will effectively sabotage a solution where the pro-EU people dominate in Kiev.
The Ukraine is and will stay the major battlefield for the conflict between East and West. And if
1) the economic advantage of joining the West is not forthcoming,
2) democracy in the western culture is declining, thus loosing its attraction, before it develops in the Ukraine, where already now also opposition politicians are often corrupt (see the posts "The Decline of Politics" + Int'l aspects ..."), and
3) in the longer run it is correct that Russia is the seat of a new emerging high culture on the rise, a culture or civilization which has other values than Western democracy and which also covers the Ukraine,
then it is by no means evident that the pro-Western side in the Ukraine will continue to receive the support of the population.
Just like the Americans are annoyed over the EU, the Romans were irritated over the Hellenist powerless countries who with their clumsy policies towards for example Maccabeans and Parthians caused large areas to be lost to the east. And who created chaos which forced the Romans to intervene.
More generally we saw Roman contempt for the weak and ineffective Greeks and Hellenists, a contempt turning to ruthlessness and direct control. Much of this repeats itself today in the relations between the Americans and the Europeans.
The Romans would have said:
Fuck the Hellenists!