When do arsonists become fire-fighters? When they are 'our' arsonists, say the European Union and the United States as they hastily go about installing their new puppet regime in Ukraine.
Last summer, Western leaders had wagged their sanctimonious fingers at protesters in Egypt for overthrowing the legally-elected President Mohamed Morsi; they expressed collective frustration at the Arabs for not fully comprehending the finer concepts of democracy; “you just cannot pick and choose democracy,” they chided the demonstrators in Tahrir Square. It now appears that this verbal diarrhea on democracy do not apply to activists in Kiev's Independence Square, who, with the connivance and tacit approval from the West, overthrew a democratically-elected government in Ukraine.
Legally elected governments have been overthrown in the past by others, and many others have changed their stances to suit new situations, but those others never pretended to be crusaders of democracy or masqueraded as tolerant societies with liberal values. It is the blatant hypocrisy of so-called 'progressive, libertarian' Western leaders; their selective application of democracy, human rights and international norms, which change in accordance with their political, social and economic needs, that rile many people most. We have seen the West's pliable principles too many times in the past to chalk it up as an exception; it has now become the norm for them. But this disingenuous approach that reeks of moral and ethical paucity, as well as a lack of integrity, has come at price — loss of credibility in the eyes of the rest of the world.
The double-dealing ways of these 'defenders of democracy' were laid bare by events that followed the ousting of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, as they tripped over themselves in their hurry to voice support for the newly installed interim government in Kiev. Their display of promoting political consensus and holding democratic dialogue in the days leading to the overthrow have been exposed as a charade. But, and more importantly, the failure of Western leaders to condemn the opposition in Kiev for violently abrogating the peace treaty, which was signed under the aegis of EU diplomats with President Yanukovych, has destroyed any remaining trust in the EU as a honest broker in future discussions, anywhere.
Defending Democracy: The duplicitous response of the EU and US to events in Kiev also calls into question the sincerity of their vehement denunciations of anti-Semitic and far-right extremism in Europe, as well as their frequent exhortation against undemocratic regimes in Africa and Asia. In Ukraine, when democracy was trampled, when far-right extremists and fascists were allowed free play to burn government buildings, attack police stations, occupy state institutions and kill security personnel, the West and their lap-dog 'independent' media called it the 'will of the people' being manifested by 'peaceful protesters' expressing their democratic rights.
For weeks and months BBC and other mainstream Western media have been depicting the EuroMaidan activists as peaceful demonstrators being attacked by the vicious security apparatus of the government. But the truth was a whole lot different.
The BBC, which since long has ceased to be a nonpartisan and reliable media for political coverage, had daily one-sided narratives and inane commentaries by their analysts about events in Ukraine. Listening to that verbosity you might be forgiven for thinking that President Yanukovych was a ruthless dictator unleashing the might of state security organizations on non-violent activists.
Their updates on casualty figures would leave you with the impression that all deaths and injuries were only among the demonstrators, but the fact is hundreds of policemen were maimed and several dozen were killed from violent attacks by the 'peaceful' protesters.
On the day that the Ukraine President was usurped of his powers, the West's 'independent' media reported that due to violent suppression of protests on 22 February, 2014, members of the Ukrainian Parliament had exercised their 'constitutional powers' to elect an interim President and had agreed to set presidential elections for May 25 to replace President Yanukovych. What the independent media conveniently forgot to mention was that an elected President of Ukraine had been forced out of power by riotous crowds. They also failed to explain why EU leaders had not demanded the EuroMaidan activists to honor the treaty they had brokered just the previous day with President Yanukovych, which would have seen a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
Western leaders have given their stamp of approval to protestors who used violence to enforce a farcical form of democracy in Ukraine; now they will have to contend with the leaders who they propelled to power. These include the likes of Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the far-right Svoboda (Liberty)Party, who despite being seen as leading a fascist organization by many in the West, was warmly embraced by US Senator John McCain at one of the anti-government rallies.
Another protest organizer and now a significant player behind the new government is Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the radical, nationalist, paramilitary movement known as the Right Sector. This 42-year-old and his followers were behind some of the most vicious attacks on police during the recent uprising. But then, people with fascist agendas and ultra-nationalist right-wing extremists do not seem to bother Western leaders who have swept all the ugly far-right rhetoric and violent actions under the carpet in their haste to unseat President Yanukovych. The thinking among EU elite seems to be, Yes they are fascists and right-wing extremists, but, they are “our kind of fascists and extremists”, and they are defending “our kind of democracy”.
Just for arguments sake, let us transpose the events in Ukraine to any European capital, or to the United States. What do you think would have been the result, if, for instance, opponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, now being negotiated between the EU and US began to protest violently in Washington? What if they occupied the House of Representatives to prevent its functioning, destroyed government buildings, attacked security personnel and looted the national armory of guns and other weapons. Would the US National Security Adviser have called for “police to show restraint” saying that it was only, “peaceful protesters expressing their democratic rights?”
Why think of hypothetical situations, we all know how the US responded to peaceful protests by 'Occupy Wall-Street' demonstrators in 2011, and how in 1993, the FBI responded to the standoff at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas, which left 76 men, women and children killed. And, even more recently, we have seen what happened in many EU capitals when citizens there protested against the government's economic austerity measures. The Ukrainian government should be praised sky high for not following the 'democratic traditions' of the US and EU in confronting protesters.
Time line of Events: The present crisis erupted in November 2013, when, with the country's economy struggling from inefficiency, government debt and plagued by corruption, President Yanukovych broke off discussions on a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, and instead decided to accept Russia's loan offer of US$15 billion and lower gas prices. The EU responded like a cat whose tail had been stamped on and threatened sanctions on Ukraine and its leaders.
The very next day, thousands of 'paid' and genuine supporters of the EU-Ukraine pact, calling themselves EuroMaidan demonstrators surged on to the streets of Kiev in protest. The standoff between the demonstrators and security forces, that occasionally flared into bouts of violence, continued all through the New Year and well into February 2014. The situation worsened last week as clashes between the two sides intensified and gunfire broke out, leaving scores of people dead and hundreds injured.
The EU then stepped in to find an agreement between Yanukovych and the opposition to end the fighting. After intense negotiations they were able to broker a deal that would have seen the president's powers reduced through a roll-back to the 2004 Constitution, the formation of a national unity government, constitutional reforms and the freeing of those arrested for street violence. But overnight the agreement was scuttled, when vicious attacks by demonstrators led to the President leaving Kiev and police withdrawing from the streets. This then set in motion events leading to the installing of an interim president and the setting of presidential elections in May.
Moral High-Ground: During the crisis and more so in recent days, Western leaders ranging from the aging US Senator John McCain and the European Union's insipid High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, to the indecisive US National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, have called for non-interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine and come out with warnings to Russia against interfering there. These insidious warnings are laughable if not for anything, than the straight faces with which these people deliver their utterances.
For the EU and US to take the moral high-ground and call for non-interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine, can at best be considered, as just another exercise in asinine verbosity by the West. Consider this, just before last Christmas, the same Senator McCain was in Kiev dining with opposition leaders, including Oleh Tyahnybok, the fascist leader of Svoboda, and standing next to him at an anti-government rally.
Soon after that, Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of State arrived in Kiev, and aside from her gaffe about the EU, was out on Kiev's Independence Square, with US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, offering cookies and bread to the “peaceful pro-EU activists”. Similar trips to Kiev have been staged by the EU's Catherine Ashton, former German Foreign Secretary, Guido Westerwelle, Ex-Polish Prime Minister, JarosÅ‚aw KaczyÅ„ski and more than two dozen other senior EU officials, all there supposedly to express solidarity with the protesters “who are fighting for democracy”.
In the middle of the turmoil in Kiev, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also threw in his two-bit; Speaking as usual through both ends of his mouth, he told the opposition that it had the full support of the United States, while at the same time warning “outside powers” not to get involved in the internal affairs of Ukraine. And, following the ouster of President Yanukovych, Susan Rice stated, "The United States is on the side of the Ukrainian people... who expressed themselves peacefully." She added: " it would be a grave mistake" if Russia intervened militarily in the crisis..." Of course, all these visits to Ukraine and statements cannot be construed as interfering in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation; it was just the West's way of offering moral support to peaceful activists.
This 'moral support' by the West to Ukraine is nothing new. In 2004, following the contested 2004 presidential elections and subsequent 'Orange Revolution' the opposition to Viktor Yanukovych was trained in political organization and resistance by a Western grouping of organizers and professional consultants. These 'consultants' were bank-rolled by the US State Department and the USAID organization, as well as by non-government agencies supported by the US government, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House, along with billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute.
Lucrative Ukraine: Brussels and Washington have long earned to make Ukraine part of their 'Euro-Atlantic' structure; now that it appears to be happening both should be wary of their wish having come true. The protesters, mainly from western Ukraine, who barely account for 20 percent of the population, are now in ascendency in Kiev. It will not be surprising if Ukrainians with Russian heritage in eastern and southern Ukraine soon feel that their regional, cultural, linguistic and religious identity is under threat by the new order, and call for Russian support. The memory of what happened in Georgia under similar circumstances should be a stark reminder to the West.
So why grab Ukraine now? Other than their long-term, still extant, Cold-War desire to encircle and bring Russia to its knees, the West's need for Ukraine is a matter of pragmatic survival. As one analyst explained it — the EU is one giant Ponzi scheme that survives by increasing markets for its most developed members by taking in new poorer members every so often.
These new members then become a source of raw materials, cheap workforce and a dumping ground for exports, for their richer brothers. This 'Union' also provides an opportunity for the rich nations to temporarily solve their economic and political problems, at the expense of the new poor ones. The EU will always need to expand and find new members to fuel the Ponzi scheme and to prevent itself from crumbling inward. However, there are only so many nations in Europe, and while Ukraine with its vast natural resources and rich agriculture land is indeed a prize catch, the next stop has to be Russia, or a crumbling European Union. Let us wait to see which comes first.
Ukraine: another viewpoint
The Embassy of Ukraine in Kuwait provided the following as a response to our article titled, ‘Why the West lost, even before they won Ukraine’, which appeared
in The Times issue number 680, dated 02 – 08 March, 2014. In the interests of encouraging debate and dialogue on diverging viewpoints and promoting different
perspectives, as well as maintaining journalistic integrity, we publish the article here in its entirety - Editor.
Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait believes that the guarantee of freedom of expression and pluralism of points of view is one of the main indicators of maturity of civil society and therefore rejects any attempts to influence on the editorial policy of the electronic and print mass-media.
However, taking into consideration the difficult current situation in our country caused by the political-social conflict and the emergence of a direct threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, we have to react more sensitively to the appearance of some papers that, in our opinion, don’t correspond to the real situation. In this regard, we offer you our comments on the article published in the previous issue 02-08 March 2014 – 'Ukraine. Why the West lost, even before they won'.
First of all, this publication proposes to draw a parallel between the events connected with the removal of the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the unrest in Tahrir Square and the recent mass demonstrations on Independence Square (Maidan) in Kyiv with further change of leadership in Ukraine. Certainly, the phenomenon of so-called "Arab spring" has its origins in a call for the establishment of democracy, strengthening the principles of justice, which, unfortunately, did not always lead to expected changes as well as left critical social conflicts and even continued bloodshed of civilian population.
However, in our opinion, despite the temporal proximity of these events and significant impact of modern methods of communication on their development it is more appropriate to consider the events of November 2013 - February 2014 in Ukraine through the prism of political- social processes taking place in recent decades in Eastern and Central Europe and related with sequential creation of civil society based on democratic values â€‹â€‹of the European Community as well as deprivation of the burden of the Soviet past. So Kyiv Maidan in the cultural and civilizational context is logical continuation of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 in the then Czechoslovakia, the Polish Solidarity and the national movements of the Baltic states, that succeeded to become full members of the European Community. Actually, the Orange Revolution of 2004 is treated as failed only because of a lack of maturity of the local political elite at the time, however, played a significant role in awakening the national consciousness of the Ukrainian people.
Thus, today the vast majority of Ukraine’s citizens don’t expect in their country spreading chaos and dominance of certain radical groups but hope in the near future for drastic reforms: modernization of economy, fighting corruption, rule of law, improvements in health care, education and investment climate. Speculation over such labeling as "fascists" or "neo-Nazis" on a significant part of Ukrainian society is unacceptable. It should be noted that process of collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991(which, unfortunately, was accompanied by tragic civil conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh region, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Russia) as well as the mentioned Orange Revolution of 2004 took place in Ukraine in a completely peaceful and bloodless form without any conflicts on ethnic, religious or linguistic grounds. Even the first two months of recent developments in the center of Kyiv occurred purely in peaceful way – with holding mass demonstrations, accompanied by speeches of public and religious figures, dancing, singing and cultural performances. And if the former President Viktor Yanukovych has shown more willingness to negotiate and understand real situation in the country as well as forbid usage of non-illegal weapons, Ukrainian citizens have been able to get out of this bloodless confrontation and avoid some kind of radicalization of public sentiment. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian nationalist political party "Svoboda" ("Liberty") has not committed any actions that could be interpreted as inhumane or extremist, while received during the last legitimate elections to the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine in December 2012 support of over 10% of voters (breaking the required barrier even in some areas of predominantly Russian-speaking East of the country).
It’s pity to say but recently manipulation around using the term "fascism" in Ukraine has got blatant form. Amid already forgotten informational campaign of some Western mass-media on the eve of Euro-2012 on the existing hazards for foreign tourists in the form of hidden "intolerant" forces (although the football championship in Ukraine and Poland doesn’t remember any serious offenses except provocation of Russian fans in Warsaw) a military invasion of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine (Crimea) has become extremely painful for Ukrainian society especially under the false guise of the need to protect its citizens and Russian-speaking population in the whole against possible dangerous actions of local groups of extremists.
As if the Ukrainian people did not made gigantic contribution for the common victory over Nazi Germany during 1939-1945, bearing the biggest victims of this bloody international confrontation (for which Ukraine, despite its status as a part of the USSR, received a special place in the newly created Organization of the United Nations). General demographic losses of Ukraine, including dead, the victims of the concentration camps, deported, evacuated and exiled are at least 14 million people. Unfortunately, thoughtless flirtation with history and facts may affect the ability to comprehend current situation and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past with the related negative consequences.
At the same time, more objective must be Russian Federation’s approach to the current status of the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, who continues to be considered the only legitimate head of the Ukrainian state. Explaining the need to implement the provisions of the Agreement on settlement of crisis signed by him and opposition leaders on February 21, 2014 and confirmed by the official representatives of Germany, Poland and France, the official Kremlin considers removal Viktor Yanukovych from power as a "coup". In this regard, attention is drawn to the fact that the Russian side insists on the implementation of the document which it refused to sign.
It is possible that this factor in result was one of the reasons for refusal of the former President of Ukraine to implement Agreement aimed at stabilizing the domestic life in the country. In particular, Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign a special act of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine on the restoration of the Constitution of Ukraine of 2004 that pursuant to the Agreement had to be done within 48 hours after its signing. In such a way it was his whole responsibility for the failure of this Agreement.
Actually because of his withdrawal from exercising the powers in particularly crucial time for the state Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by a constitutional majority of people's deputies of Ukraine, who represent all (!) political forces in the parliament. According to the charges of mass murder he is prosecuted and put into the international wanted list.
The Supreme Soviet of Ukraine expressing the sovereign will of the Ukrainian people and taking care of the restoration of civil peace in Ukraine took political responsibility for the situation in the country, gradually taking the steps set out in this Agreement.
In particular, the Ukrainian parliament has already implemented a number of important provisions of the Agreement on return to the Constitution of 2004 and the appointment of presidential elections on May 25, 2014.
February 27, 2014 in the parliament of Ukraine a parliamentary coalition was established, which consists of representatives of various political parties, including MPs who still belonged to the previous ruling block and by constitutional majority voted for approving new Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine – one of its priorities is the final settlement of the situation in our country.
Thus, any attempt to charge the existing institutions of state power of Ukraine in failing agreements reached under the Agreement on settlement of the crisis on February 21, 2014 are not true.
In this context it is important to offer objective assessment of the situation and refrain from statements made by other countries that impede the process of political and economic stability in Ukraine.
Furthermore, we should also note moral impossibility of further staying of Viktor Yanukovych as a head of state. Despite the general recognition of the 2010 presidential election as democratic and transparent, for the first time in the modern history of Ukraine winner failed to enlist the support of the majority of the voters (Viktor Yanukovych - 48.95 % Yulia Tymoshenko - 45.47 %).
Besides, at that time the Ukrainian people deliberately gave the new President limited powers that after less than one year have been greatly expanded by questionable decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, ultimately allowing Viktor Yanukovych actually to usurp all power in the country and consequently - to assume full responsibility for its fate, which he failed to manage and caused by his policy acute public confrontation with hundreds of casualties among both parties and the ongoing political crisis.
Statement of the Russian ambassador to the United Nations at meeting of the Security Council about Viktor Yanukovych’s call to use Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine is not appropriate because the decision about usage of the Armed Forces and their stay abroad is exhaustively competence of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine. In 2003 Ukrainian parliament made â€‹â€‹a decision to send domestic military battalion for chemical defense to Kuwait to protect its population from possible attack by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s army.
Today in the international information and analytical circles there is active discussion of the geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West. Undoubtedly, Ukraine as a country with significant reserves of natural resources, fertile soil, one of Europe's largest consumer market and favorable geographical location with access to the Black Sea lays within the scope of the interests of many countries. However, current agenda raises question about further functioning of the institutions of international law regulating relations between members of the international community.
In fact unambiguous international response to unlawful infringement of the territorial integrity and borders of Ukraine by the Russian Federation demonstrates understanding the threat to further compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975, other relevant international agreements.
Amid the general global concern about possible expansion of the club of countries possessing nuclear weapons, especially acute issue is violation by the official Kremlin of provisions of the Budapest Memorandum, signed in 1994 between Ukraine, USA, Russia (!) and the UK (followed by joining France and China) on guarantees of security and sovereignty of Ukraine in connection with its accession to the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, the fact, that 20 years ago Ukraine had the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world and voluntarily agreed to give up it realizing the importance of extending the principles of peaceful coexistence between nations and peoples, in particular after the Cold War, and having bitter experience of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, today may be questioned and neglected on the base of unfounded accusations about existing potential threats to some parts of Ukrainian society with admissibility of direct interference in the internal affairs of an independent state.
Popular wisdom says that "history has the ability to repeat" as well as "he who doesn’t know the past, is not worth the future". We have great hope that in the current difficult circumstances all members of the international community understand the meaning of these words and will not allow repeating tragic mistakes for the sake of short-term personal interests.
In conclusion, we would like to wish for newspapers to refrain in future from personal insults of political and public figures. Because such form of presentation of the material is very similar to the style of the Stalinist regime as groundless "labeling" led to significant terms of imprisonment and deaths of millions of Soviet citizens, including the best representatives of the Ukrainian people.
- The above was emailed to us by Volodymyr Martynyuk, Media Attaché at the Embassy of Ukraine in Kuwait.