Ukrainians know their relationship with Russia exists only if Russia is allowed to be in control.
April 17, 2014
Springtime For Putin And Russia
Many Americans could care less about Ukraine. Few can even show you Ukraine on a map. But my heart is in Ukraine right now, for a number of reasons. I lived there for nearly two years. My wife is from Ukraine. Our family lives in South-Eastern Ukraine. But there are other reasons why I am concerned about Ukraine. Very important global reasons. Reasons why I think you should care about Ukraine.
There are some good, accurate news stories online about the situation in Ukraine, but the comments from readers are filled with misnomers and misinformation. Most comments are just childish volleying and name-calling from people who don’t care about the articles, they just like to argue. But some comments come from paid Muscovites, exclaiming how the Ukrainian government is a bunch of Nazis, being controlled by the West. At any rate, the comment section is useless. It leaves you with the feeling that no one really knows or cares about what is going on. The effect is the same as knowing you are being hit with propaganda and not information, that effect being indecision and non-action. This is why I don’t have a comment section on my website. You can decide for yourself on the merit of the piece if you agree or disagree. My approach is: I can learn from all, discuss with some, but decide with God alone.
One of the major misconceptions about the situation in Ukraine is the subject of language: Ukrainian verses Russian; that somehow Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian, and those Ukrainians who speak Russian, don’t like each other. This is absolutely untrue. There may be pockets of this attitude, but the vast majority of Ukrainians think of themselves as Ukrainian, regardless of the language they speak. My wife’s family speaks Russian. My wife’s best friend speaks Ukrainian. When my wife and her friend speak to each other, my wife speaks Russian, her friend speaks Ukrainian. They are not even aware they are speaking to each other in different languages. It is amusing to watch.
Just because someone speaks Russian, doesn’t make them Russian, anymore than just because someone speaks English makes them British or American. If most or all of Southern California’s Spanish speakers decided tomorrow it wanted a referendum to become part of Mexico, it would still be illegitimate, and especially so if orchestrated by Mexico.
Another misconception: Eastern Ukraine wants to be with Russia. Even if it were true, it would be illegitimate, especially since Moscow is doing the orchestrating. But it is just not true. My in-laws have many Russian speaking friends in Crimea. Their friends are just heartsick about what has happened in Crimea. They didn’t ask for this. The vast majority of Ukrainians are absolutely heartsick about what is happening in Eastern Ukraine. They didn’t ask for this either. Ukrainians, whatever their language, do not want a Russian Occupation. They just want to be left alone and to live their lives in peace.
Another misconception: Ethic Russians [? – Mr. Putin says they exist] are being mistreated. Any mistreatment has been in pockets (not an excuse for a Russian invasion), or orchestrated by Russia itself as a pretense for invasion. The truth is, Ukraine has had a workable relationship with Russia, as well as with the West. But Ukrainians have always been aware that their relationship with Russia existed only if Russia was allowed to control the relationship. Older people in Ukraine don’t care about this. They just want their daily slice of bread. But young people want to improve their lives and have been gravitating toward the EU for some time now. Many have already left Ukraine (as many young people have left Russia also) for the EU, America, and other counties. The death rate in Ukraine is higher than the birth rate, and the number of people leaving Ukraine is greater than immigration. Why are people leaving? Opportunity.
For the most part, Ukrainians don’t want interference from the West or Russia, but they don’t mind help – investment, which means jobs! A lot of money was invested in Ukraine for the recent Euro 2012 games. I couldn’t believe the difference in Kiev between the time I left in 2009 and when I returned for a visit in 2013. The roads had improved. Boryspil airport went from being a little dingy one, to being a world class airport. Many hotels were upgraded. People on the streets seemed happier. The change was amazing. Everyone saw the improvements, and it seemed like they were proud of their city. The young people began to see opportunity right in their own country. President Yanukovych promised they were going to join the EU.
But then came the surprise (which was no surprise to many). No EU. But rather, a bail out from Russia. The cost? Once again, Russian control. More of the same corruption in government, with a predetermined future – a future where politicians get rich, and the people get screwed; one where Moscow calls the shots (even if covertly) for Ukraine.
Ukrainians had had enough, and finally said NO to their abusive boyfriend, Vladimir Putin, and his proxy, Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and Ukraine could still be friends. In fact, they need to be, as they still have significant mutual interest, dependencies, and cultural ties. But Vladimir Putin will have none of it. If he can’t be her only (controlling) boyfriend, no one will have her. Bottom line.
Why should the world care? Because when the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world. America, Russia, and Great Britain signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, assuring Ukraine that if it gave up its nuclear weapons, they would protect it and honor its territorial integrity. If this is protection, I’d hate to see what aggression looks like.
The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is not the only international contract in play in this situation. The reason people make contacts and agreements with one another is because they expect them to be honored, and they expect forced compliance if they are not. All parties understand this before a contract is made. By its actions, Russia has shown it does not honor international law or contacts, or fear enforcement. By its inaction, the USA and Europe have allowed them to do this. Unless contacts are enforced, and enforced in kind (economic sanctions for economic violations; military enforcement for military violations), there is little hope for a civil future for the world. This is why America should care.
Our very own president, Barack Bialystock, and his “failure by design” of America has contributed to this mess, allowing Putin to do what he has done, and is doing, in Ukraine. What we have here is Springtime For Putin and The Former Soviet Union.
(In case you’ve never seen The Producers: Max Bialystock is a shyster producer that figures out he can make more money on producing a play that’s a failure than he can with a successful play. The surefire failure play he enlists to accomplish his scheme is entitled, “Springtime For Hitler.”)
Maybe if we had a president that was less concerned with getting approval from those who want to protect the yellow-bellied sap-sucker, and more concerned with American energy independence (which also equals jobs for Americans), the Keystone Pipeline would already be built, and Putin would back off, seeing as the foundation of Russia’s entire economy is oil, as is Iran’s and Syria’s. But our president’s motto is, “Walk softly, and carry a limp stick, an empty oil-can, an EBT card, and an unloaded gun.”
Maybe our president feels Putin is committing an “act of love” (a la Jeb Bush) by annexing Ukraine. Mr. Putin says that’s what he is doing. Maybe our president thinks the guy who robs a convenience store to feed his family is committing an act of love. But if our president would focus on policies that create jobs, people could get off of welfare. That would be a real act of love. If our president were more interested in the issues that are important to ALL Americans (like jobs) welfare wouldn’t even be an issue.
Maybe if we had a president that was less interested in the hangnails of special interest groups, and more interested in the gaping wounds of all Americans (jobs!), America would have a more positive influence in the world. What good is it if Bill and Todd can get married, if they don’t have jobs, of if they are paying $3-$4 a gallon for gas, instead of the $1.78 per gallon they were paying when the president took office?
But instead of focusing on the problems common to all Americans, our president insists on feeding the problems of certain groups so it will look like he and his party are the only ones who care about “the little guy.” Well, you’ve kept the little guy little, Mr. President, for your own agenda’s sake. Now America is little, and Ukraine is about to become Russia. No, Ukrainians don’t want it, but what can they do? Buy a shotgun? (per Joe Biden). Yanukovych gutted their military. Ukrainians don’t want to die. They just want peace.
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