The dilemma now facing European Union’s leaders, regarding the Ukraine crisis, is less than enviable. While it is relatively easy, and so far free of risks, for the Washington administration to turn a blind eye on the disturbing evidence of the true nature of some of the components of the ‘régime’ now seemingly in control in Kiev – after all, the régime change has been/is generously funded, supported and encouraged by the nexus State Department/CIA/American ultra-right billionaires – the position of the Union, and above all, of Germany, can only be more nuanced.
Western Europe needs Russia, even more than Russia needs Europe; which is not to say that the current crisis is not damaging to Russian interests, now and possibly in the longer term as well. The fragile economic recovery in Europe, German-led and founded on the neo-liberal principles adopted by the EU and its institutions, most notably the European Central Bank, and the quasi totality of member states governments, could receive a death blow should the present confrontation turned into a ‘new’ Cold War.
Confronting the Russian Federation, for example in a futile show of unconditional support for what is effectively a right-wing, ultra-nationalist and neo-fascist pronunciamento, in the Western Ukraine, maybe ‘business as usual’ for the Cold Warriors of Washington, it cannot be to Europe’s interests, and certainly not to the interests of its peace-loving citizens.
The ignorance of recent history and geography, a constant and alarming feature of US foreign policy and ambitions, from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and part of the sinister inheritance from the ‘Raygun era’, does not wash in countries, including those countries issued from the implosion of the USSR in the 90’s, that were directly affected by WWII in Eastern and Central Europe. The grim statistics of casualties in the Ukraine and the whole USSR speak for themselves, and have never been forgotten, except by the hapless and US (mainly) Republican politicians. Anti-Russian and anti-semite pronouncements by the ‘democrats’, the proud fighters against ‘tyranny’, praised by Mr Kerry in Kiev, cannot over-impress those citizens of the Union, who do know some geography, and have a reasonably good understanding and memory of historical facts.
Since the country’s reunification – Einheit – Germany has been looking increasingly toward the Esat, and to those countries, Poland, the Tcheque Republic, Slovakia, the Baltic nations, that have sought and embraced Union membership. This has been concomitant with a growing and healthy cooperation with Russia, which is not limited to natural gas and oil. It will take more than a few bellicose statements from Washington DC to reverse that position.
It remains that a diplomatic and long-lasting solution must be found. Futile threats of sanctions won’t help, and may just prolong the crisis. The neo-nazis in Kiev must be dealt with, the genuine democrats supported. Peace and civil society must be reasserted, and an agreement sought and negotiated that respects the European aspirations of the western majority, while preserving the sensitivities of the Russian and Russian speaking Southern and Eastern regions.
One could dream that a Federal European Union, doted of truly democratic institutions, and freed from undue US interference, would be better equipped to achieve this.