Europe's Failure in Ukraine
Published: January 23, 2014 (Issue # 1794)
The protests in Ukraine have been a powerful inspiration for European politicians, many of whom have flown to Kiev to address the jubilant crowds. The demonstrations quickly turned into an attempt to stage another "color revolution" and overthrow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The protests have come to symbolize Europe's political weakness, not its strength. After all, the European Union lost control of its strongly anti-Russian Eastern Partnership program when it handed the reigns over to irresponsible politicians from the Baltic states.
Second, the Euromaidan protests demonstrated the EU's economic weakness. The EU was unable to make its Association Agreement attractive enough for Ukraine, and when Kiev requested financial compensation to make up for the billions of losses the agreement would have entailed, Brussels could not come up with the necessary funds.
Also by the same author: How Russia and EU Can Build a Greater Europe
Third, Ukraine's political turmoil has definitively exposed the moral weakness of Europe. For many years, the EU held influence over Eastern Europe and Eurasian states by virtue of its use of "soft power" and its moral authority. Just the word "European" signified a high level of development and responsibility thanks to its rule of law, democratic institutions, excellent education and developed social welfare system. All of that remains, but the EU's policy toward Ukraine has cast doubt on its claim of moral leadership.
The problem started with the EU making protracted arguments as to how the Association Agreement was beneficial to Ukraine. And when Yanukovych refused to sign it, Europe, along with the U.S., became hysterical, making countless allegations that Russia was exerting undue pressure on Ukraine when, in fact, Moscow behaved with the utmost restraint.
In reality, it was the EU that blatantly interfered in Ukraine's internal affairs. Politicians from EU member countries threatened Kiev with sanctions for not signing the agreement, although it is the sovereign right of the Ukrainian president to make that decision. What's more, EU and U.S. politicians took part in the anti-government rallies, lending support to angry crowds from the stage. This was outrageous behavior and a gross violation of established diplomatic protocol.
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