Ukraine caught in the middle
Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 06:00 am
I would just like to add my opinion to the arguments over Ukraine in your paper.
Both Doris Eisler and Zenon Wojnowskyj are misinformed/wrong.
Eisler argues that Ukraine should be left with Russia. Economically, Ukraine was/is pretty much a failed state. Its economy was propped up by Russia, with only the oligarchs benefitting. Ukraine was still a democracy, albeit extremely corrupt. This benefitted a small few, but not the majority of the population. It is hard to believe that $15 billion in aid from Russia would somehow kick-start an egalitarian society instead of being squandered by the ruling elites and their cronies as it has before.
Russia did this to keep Ukraine dependent in fear of Western expansion. One only has to read George Kennan's Long Telegram to realize that Russia has a well-deserved fear of being taken over/invaded by the West (Napoleon, First and Second World War). The West simply wants Russian resources and Ukraine and Belarus are the only states left blocking the West from being on all of Russia's European borders.
Wojnowskyj talks of IMF policies benefitting Ukraine, like in Poland. If he is speaking about economist Jeffrey Sachs' Post-USSR Shock Therapy, he is correct in stating that it helped the Polish economy. He also failed to mention that the same policy failed miserably in Russia, with which the Ukrainian economy is more on par.
Also, IMF's modern policies have much to improve on. Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy's economies are sputtering under IMF austerity policies and Europe is far from recovered from the Great Recession.
Neither Russia nor the West have Ukraine's best interest at heart. The West wants to open up Russian resources for its corporations via the dismantling of Russia's few remaining allies in the region, while Russia wishes to not fall victim to its worst fears. The Ukrainians are the pawns in the middle.
Jeremy Sharpe, St. Albert