Inside the building, fights broke out as pro-government deputies blocked the opposition’s effort to submit a draft resolution to reinstate the 2004 constitution that would limit President Yanukovich’s power.
As protests against Ukraine’s pro-Russian president enter their fourth month, it is clear that the battle cannot be resolved by compromise. Both sides are employing scorched earth polices from which there will emerge one winner and one loser. The United States and Europe have so far abdicated the opportunity to provide real assistance to the opposition. Putin, on the other hand, will leave no stone unturned to insure that his allies emerge victorious. In such confrontations, the street fighter wins and the gentlemen lose.
Yanukovich and his allies are playing for time, stretching out negotiations, pleading illness, and hoping for the steam to run out of the protests. The protesters are characterized as Nazis, skin heads, and criminals in the pay of hostile European powers and the United States. The United States and Europe are to blame for their blatant intervention in Ukraine’s internal affairs. Yanukovich trump card is his confidence that Putin will do all that is necessary to break the backs of the protesters and keep Ukraine in his proposed Eurasian Community. It was Putin’s pledge of $15 billion and cheap energy that broke the momentum of the protests in December. With the Sochi Olympics out of the way, Putin is again free to deploy his bag of dirty tricks.
The protesters understand that they cannot lose the momentum by ramping down the protests. They understand that Yanukovich’s promises of shared government and amnesty are sham plays for time. He has no intention of going anywhere, and he will not give up control of the police, military, tax authorities, and the prosecutor’s office. Any compromise which leaves these “power ministries” in his hands will allow him to exact heavy revenge once things settle down.
While Yanukovich has the steadfast “money bags” Putin on his side, the Ukrainian protesters have no real allies, only well wishers who stand as observers on the side line. In response to today’s loss of life, the US declared itself “appalled by the violence” and urged President Yanukovych to “immediately de-escalate the situation and end the confrontation.” The German Foreign Minister called on both sides to “return urgently” to their attempts to find a political solution. The UK’s Minister for Europe urged “all parties to return to the path of compromise and genuine negotiation.” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (who is she?) declared herself “deeply worried” by the escalation of violence.
It is the height of naïveté for the protesters’ Western supporters to see the solution in dialogue and compromise. There can be no compromise when there are no compromises to be had. The Ukrainian crisis boils down to a simple question: Will the pro-Russian Yanukovich remain in power, use Putin’s largess to join Putin’s Eurasian Union, keep Ukraine outside of Europe, and limp along with a corrupt government and failing economy propped up by the Russian bear. Or can the protesters drive Yanukovich from power, install a democratic pro-European government that will pave the way for Ukraine’s entry into the EU? It will be one or the other. There can be no compromise.
The Ukrainian protesters are fighting a solitary battle with no real allies. Putin offers real money and low energy prices. The United States and Europe express concern and press for compromises that do not exist. We offer no money or other economic incentives on the lame argument that civilized countries do not enter into bidding wars over such matters. Since when?
A Europe that encompasses Ukraine will put an end to Putin’s expansionary vision of restoring the former Soviet empire. It will diminish his ability to be a trouble maker around the globe. Putin punches above his weight because of the weakness of the West, not because of his strength. He understands that the ones who enter a street fight with brass knuckles will win against gentlemen who insist on fighting fair.
Having Ukraine firmly in the Western camp is worth tens or hundreds of billion dollars over the long haul, and we cannot put together a measly $15 billion spread among ourselves to give the protesters some real ammunition? Why refuse to enter into a bidding war for a valuable outcome when the other side is not constrained by such gentlemen’s diplomacy?
It is time for the Western powers to face reality. Why negotiate when we know that Assad will leave Syria only feet first or under an armed escort. We know that Iran will eventually get its atomic weaponry and negotiations, at best, delay the timing a little. We know that North Korea will continue to develop its weapons programs. That is all it has. Why give that up?
It is patently unclear what the United States hopes to gain from fruitless negotiations? Does it look good on the resumes of past, present and futures secretaries of state or presidents? That’s the only reason I can see. Sorry
KIEV, Ukraine—The whereabouts of President Viktor Yanukovych were unknown Sunday, the day after he left the capital, protesters took control of the city center, and opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison.
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On Tuesday, Ukraine experienced the bloodiest day in its post-Soviet history as police clashed with opposition forces camped out in Kiev's main square. Even if they are forced out, the protesters won't give up the fight
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At least four people have been shot dead and hundreds injured as demonstrators clash with police over new laws limiting the right to protest in Ukraine, the head of the protest movement's volunteer medical service, Oleg Musiy, told CNN on Wednesday.
8 years, 6 months ago