07 March 2014

Ukraine and American arrogance

The New York Times ran an intriguing headline earlier this week. It read "Debate Over Who, in U.S., is to Blame for Ukraine." Apparently American politicians are debating which among them is responsible for recent events in Ukraine, Republicans blaming Obama and Democrats blaming Bush.

The arrogance is extraordinary. The debate seems predicated on the notion that if something goes awry in the world, it's because the Americans in charge aren't managing things properly. Somebody must have slipped up. In other words, it's their job to run the world. It seems incomprehensible to the American political class that they should not be involved in everything that's happening everywhere.

Sadly, there's a certain truth to the notion. The U.S. is constantly interfering in the affairs of other nations, and apparently they have been interfering in the Ukraine. That they should leave the Ukrainians and the Russians alone to sort out their own quarrels just doesn't seem to cross the American mind, or at least the political minds.

Nonetheless, if they can help negotiate a truce between the various parties, that would be helpful indeed. Unfortunately their standing in Russia at the moment is at a very low ebb. They have created the distinct impression of being partial to the anti-Russian elements, and their credibility wasn't helped by John Kerry accusing Russia of 19th century behaviour for "invading another country on completely trumped up pretext" when a mere 10 years ago the U.S. did exactly that. And of course, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland's well-publicized comment "fuck the EU" won't help bring the Europeans on side. Running the world isn't easy.

1 comment:

  1. Bill: It is not only arrogance. It is also sheer stupidity. Did the U.S. and its NATO allies really believed that Putin and Russia would give up its second most important naval base, and its gateway to the Mediterranean, without a fight? As someone asked: did they expect Putin to rent space in Sevastopol for his naval base from NATO? They should have seen this coming.

    Surely someone must have warned the U.S. Administration that by directly or indirectly encouraging the game of chicken being played between the new Kyiv administration (which had ousted the democratically elected Yanukovych) and the Crimean Administration, and its Russian backers, they are risking a confrontation with Russia that no U.S. administration in its right mind would want to risk over Ukraine. There are no apparent American strategic interests at play here.

    Putin may be no angel but he is not stupid either and he has been around longer than Obama or Harper.

    Will be interesting to see Putin's response to Harper's actions next week. Putin might have to suffer a bit of fools from the U.S. but I doubt he will accord Canada the same allowance.