Archive for January 17th, 2010

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More mixed messages from the EU towards Ukraine

January 17, 2010

http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/main/29825/

“If [Premier] Yulia Tymoshenko and [Regions Party leader] Viktor Yanukovych enter the second round, then the question of Ukraine’s future membership of the EU should be decisive in the second round of the election. Would you like to join the EU? This is the first question that I would like to ask both [candidates]. I think that this is not a question for Tymoshenko – she has answered it many times. I know that Yanukovych has mentioned this several times, but I would like to see what he will tell the Ukrainian people on TV: ‘If I become president, we will try to join the EU. This is what our friends in the EU are waiting for,'” David said in Brussels in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine on Thursday.

Dear readers……I am starting to believe the EU political set-up is designed soley for politicians either so useless or so removed from reality that it simply exists to keep them employed and save them embarrassing themselves on home soil.

I really do not think the first and most important question for either candidate which makes it into the second round will be about EU membership or aspirations to do so, as far as the average Ukrainian citizen is concerned.  I think they have a number of other concerns much more immediate and much more domestically orientated that they would like addressed and actioned.

What planet is he on?…….Or is he just naturally gifted at being an obnoxious, egotistical, ignorant and arrogant twat?

As he goes on to say………

“While Ukrainian politicians are fighting each other, as they are doing – beating and killing each other- these leaders are very happy, because they don’t have to raise the Ukrainian issue. You are destroying yourselves, and while it is happening, we, the EU, don’t have to raise the issue of membership.”

That is of course what “friends in Europe are waiting for“…….Having to shift uncomfortably in their seats……should Ukraine ever make the grade……..and find other reasons to keep it out?

How can a “friend” be someone who is relieved to see another “friend”……in his words……”beating and killing” itself?  A friend would not be relieved to see this happen even if there was no way it could help…….but as he then says, the EU is quite happy this is happening.

What sort of message is this?

We are your friend but happy to see you are beating yourself up, allowing us to avoid making decisions?

If the EU has a policy towards Ukraine, that policy is the policy regardless of the winner of the election.  The strategy may change, the timescale may change,  but the policy does not.

There is either a policy or there is not.  There is nothing wrong with having  policy and then scrapping that policy……..but there is no “halfway house” policy as that is neither carrot or stick.

Yet more mixed messages from the bowels of the EU towards Ukraine…….unless of course, being a friend and watching another friend’s pain is some from of sadomasochistic reality enjoyed by the hierarchy of the politicians in the EU……..and not too many people are likely to find solice in such affection from a friend.

The EU needs to state quite clearly and directly……now that it has a figurehead for it’s foreign policy in Cathy Ashton…….what it’s position is towards Ukraine…….without any “if’s”, “but’s” or “maybe’s”.

Whoever wins this election will only have a 5 year term……10 years if re-elected but that it all.  It is not a long time when it comes to either progress in the EU or Ukraine, so EU policy has to be a policy which is long term orientated.

It can be short on detail, there is no need to worry about the nuances.  Ukraine will be welcome to join with open arms or it won’t.  That is the policy statement…….nothing more.

After that it is up to Ukraine to get it’s house in order to meet the standards and generate the public support required to join and with a mandate to do so.  That is Ukraine’s business and is hardly likely it will reach those standards in the next 5 years…….so who wins is irrelevant to EU policy and only relevant to strategy and timeline.

Lame statements along the lines of “doors being left open” are not the same as “you will get entry when you meet the standards and your people want to”.  One is definite and the other is ambiguous.  One is a policy statement, the other, an uninspiring maybe.

If the plan is one of association but not full entry……just say so.

Baroness Ashton, as the mouthpiece for the EU on foreign affairs, there is no need to have a long oratory over anything, just a simple, short statement for the people of Ukraine and the EU to know what the EU intentions are towards Ukraine…….it does not matter what the Ukrainian intentions are towards the EU as that should not set your policy.

Now would be a very good time to give such a statement.

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Death of the “Orange Revolution”?

January 17, 2010

Well dear readers, today it is quite likely……..if fact definite……..that Viktor Yushenko will cease to be President of Ukraine having failed to get through to the second round of voting.

I have read many articles from “Western” newspapers proclaiming “the death of the Orange Revolution”.

I have to ask myself what these, “so well informed journalists” are talking about?

What do they think Independence Square 2004 was about?  Joining NATO or the EU?  A figurehead which was “pro-West”?  Abandoning Slavic routes and customs to embrace MacDonalds, Ikea and western cultures?

Wishful thinking by western politicians and media alike I am afraid.  After Mr Yushenko took office the vast majority of the nation were still anti-NATO…….and still are 5 years later……..so that fact alone hardly ratifies or corroborates the fact that the Orange Revolution was about going “westwards” per se.

Of course misrepresentation and political spin is nothing new in the media.  Giving the impression Ukraine was heading “westwards” played to anti-Russian sentiment and western political ego.  At best it can be argued it was partly to do with a less influence from Moscow.

The Orange Revolution had much more to do with overturning a rigged vote in a supposed new democracy.  It was a public demonstration of outrage that the vote was rigged.  There was as much chance of the same scenes happening if Yushenko had been “east-looking” rather than “west-looking”.  Most of the protest was about the fraudulent voting and not the direction of the politics involved specifically.

I would also argue that the Orange Revolution started in 1991 when Ukrainians voted for independence……and therefore the Orange Revolution was not a revoltion at all……as that had already occured in 1991…….but as I say, was a protest about vote rigging and part of the growing pains of a recently independent nation.  It simply suited the “West” to have another colour to add to the Georgia experiment.  Back-slapping all round in the Whitehouse, Downing Street some other western nations with another excuse to “give the bird” to Mr Putin and Russia who were climbing healthily out of the mess it was in a few years earlier. 

It is the media and politicians that have maneuverd this public demonstration to fit their agenda……not helped by Russia taking one side and the west automaticlly taking another at the time.

If it was all about looking “westwards”……then why is Yanukovych, the man denied the Presidency because of the public protests…….now run away leader in the opinion polls without changing his political platform from that of 2004?  Why isn’t Tymoshenko run away leader in the polls as she is far more EU friendly in word and deed?

It is not relevant to cite the internal “issues” of both candidates if the major reason for the Orange Revolution was about facing West or East.  If is was about facing West above all other reasons, Yanukovych would not be favourite in the polls and there would have been at least 1 politician from the 18 running which would have made NATO and the EU their platform for the Presidency……..other than Yushenko who has already blown that ticket over the past 5 years. 

The fact is there was no other politician who trumpeted the “western rallying cry” as a “call to arms” for “Orange voters” in the first round.

I expect this will change, or an attempt to change it in the second round will occur…..but neither Yanukovych or Tymohenko are anti-West or anti-EU, albeit Yanukovych is anti-NATO (at least as long as public opinion makes that view safe).  Even that is irrelevant for this election as it won’t happen in the next 5 years anyway, regardless of what Ukraine may say or do.

The revolution in Ukraine cannot be compared to the armed revolution in 1915 here.  It can therefore not happen swiftly.

The relovution started in 1991 and 2004 was just a part of an ongoing process.  The revolution in Ukraine still has a very long way to go to meet the expectations of the Ukrainian people.  It is about personal freedoms, fairness, cohession within society, upgrading industry, living standards, opportunity and equality.  It has nothing to do with politics being right of centre, left of centre, east facing or west facing.  It is about internal conditions and not external foreign policy first and foremost.

Such a revolution here is a slow process.  This is all the more difficult as there has never been an all inclusive plan or strategy for post Soviet Ukraine for internal development or investment by any Ukrainian politician……but eventually, Ukraine will get to the point where the Ukrainian people will have achieved this objective……with or without assistance from the politicians…….even if it takes 46 million Ukrainians to get there individually……they will get there……and regardless of whether the nation is facing east or west at the time.

There is no death of the Orange Revolution if it is not to be perceived to be about east or western “club memberships”.  The revolution will continue under either eventual winner and whether they like it or not.  The momentum is slow and the beast is big and disjointed which does not help……but the momentum is there and the beast is slowly evolving to create an internal environment to fit the requirements and desires of the beast.

For many here, until Ukraine is fit and well internally, foreign policy and the rest of the world are of little relevance compared to the social infrastructure so badly in need of updating and which effects their daily life.  It is of little consequence which way Ukraine is facing as long as this happens and what little that has been achieved is not lost or sacrificed along the way.

It is pointless to look at Ukrainian democracy and living standards……or politics…….through the eyes of 200 year old democracies.  It is pertinent to look at it through the eyes of 46 million people looking to improve their individual living conditions and opportunities…..for this is where the revolution is.

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