Sunday, March 9, 2014

Again With The Who and What of "New Citizen" and "Center UA"

This exploration of the Ukrainian orgs under the umbrella of "New Citizen" and "Center UA" -- funded by Omidyar Network -- has become a long-term project.

I'm only half way through the list -- if that far -- and what I've found so far can be fairly characterized as a coordinated and concerted effort to inject (shall we say) pro-EU and anti-Russian attitudes and perspectives into Ukrainian politics and culture over many years, decades in fact, openly funded by US and EU interests through the regular channels of USAID and NED along with many others, some of which are acknowledged, but it appears many are not.

"New Citizen" is an umbrella for 58 orgs, most of which are focused on integration of Ukraine into the EU orbit, even if it means Ukraine is on the Periphery indefinitely. "New Citizen," in turn, is a project of "Center UA" -- which I haven't had time to explore more than superficially, but which appears to be a front for US and EU interests in Ukraine.

What, exactly, are those interests? From a geopolitical and strategic point of view, those interests seem to pivot on "stopping" the Soviet Union (er... Russia) from expanding to the West. But that's silly. Russia is not expanding to the West. Russia is organizing and protecting its borders. Whether it needs to or should do so "in the 21st Century" is a question for consideration, but that it is doing so shouldn't be.

Russia has a historical and national interest in protecting its western and southern borders from incursions from would-be conquerors. The idea of detaching Ukraine from Russian influence (which is  the obvious point of attaching Ukraine and the other Eastern Territories to the EU) and -- let's say -- from Russian "oversight" must be psychologically terrifying to Russians and to a lot of Ukrainians as well. The long and deep historical and cultural ties between Russia and Ukraine can't be dismissed out of hand.

On the other hand, the decades-long effort to condition and accustom Ukrainians to reject Russian influence and culture and to turn toward Europe instead has had results in repeated overthrows of more Russian-friendly governments, including the latest one.

"Democracy" -- on the European model -- is still a somewhat foreign concept in Ukraine, and the people and governing class are clearly unskilled in its operations. "Democracy" is still largely seen through the Soviet lens which is both more inclusive and more authoritarian than that of Europe or the United States.

"Free markets" and "capitalism" are likewise muddled and confusing notions. When oligarchs are provided with so much and the people get little or nothing for their devotions to free markets and capitalism, it's hard to justify either one, and yet both are supposedly among the benefits Ukrainians are to receive once their official association with the EU is achieved. Of course many understand that this association will come with requirements for "reform" -- which means austerity on the Greek model or even more severe than the Greek model.

Is this what Ukrainians really want?

From appearances, they aren't asked, and they don't have an alternative option, as the 'interim government' is rushing headlong into the arms of the EU, damn the consequences, damn the people, damn everything.

It's not clear how things will settle out, but it is more and more clear that the situation now is pretty much what the EU enthusiasts set out to accomplish, even if it had to be done with the use of fascist and neo-Nazi shock troops. "Whatever it takes" seems to be the motto for the advocates of EU integration.

No comments:

Post a Comment