Victoria Nuland's "Cookie Recipe" for Ukraine Creates Nightmare Meatloaf
What was supposed to be a quick, textbook regime change has morphed into an international crisis. Now Ukraine and the West have to swallow the nightmare they cooked up
The February coup changed Ukraine forever. The country's constitutional order was shattered and its borders compromised.
This article originally appeared at Sputnik News
The western-backed coup in Kiev was supposed to be a quick and dirty affair. Its elected government would be toppled, politicians and parties wary of "European values" and EU integration would be purged, and Ukraine quickly brought into NATO.
Victoria Nuland's "cookie recipe" for Ukraine was ultimately to serve as a strike against Russia's national security and geopolitical interests.
Well, it didn't actually work out as planned. It may not have been the intention of the Kiev coup leaders and their western patron, but in many ways the tragic Ukraine story changes and challenges some basic political assumptions.
1. Made in Washington: Compromised sovereignty
The February coup changed Ukraine forever. The country's constitution order was shattered and its borders compromised. Crimea voted with its feet and the Donbass has already gone its own way. It is hardly likely the people of "Novorossia" will agree to be ruled by Kiev again. They have been disenfranchised and subjected to military assaults, they have been victims of now well-documented war crimes.
The self-determination of some people who lived in Ukraine and the suffering of the people in the east of the country was something almost unimaginable a year ago. State sovereignty is fragile — even in Europe. Elements of the Maidan protest movement and self-serving oligarchs trusted the "good intentions" of the U.S. State Department and Brussels. What they got in return is a hopelessly divided and broken country. The harsh reality that Ukraine is a failed state will weigh on Europe and Russia for a very long time to come.
2. Kiev wants a romance with an unwilling EU but will get a Russian divorce
What preceded forced regime change in Kiev were protests against democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to postpone an Association agreement with the EU. That's right. He postponed any decision; he did not completely reject the possibility of signing the deal in the future.
At the time Russia had offered to help Ukraine through a tough financial situation to the tune of $15 billion and a generous gas deal. Furthermore, the Kremlin not once, but three times proposed a way to accommodate Russia's trading interests with Ukraine and the EU. Each time the door was slammed in Russia's face.
After the coup the turn to Europe was a given for many who supported the coup. This is not the case for many in Europe and less and less so for the powers-that-be in Brussels. Estimates of the cost of saving Ukraine from complete economic meltdown grow by the billion with every passing month. The EU is unwilling to pay, the IMF is wary of Kiev's reform commitments and the US would rather send military aid. In the short term Ukraine faces bankruptcy and hyperinflation. The longer term may be even bleaker.
The tradition of strong economic and trade ties with Russia is coming to an end and they are unlikely ever to be the same again. Kiev ended one relationship without establishing another to replace Russia. This leaves the country in a very fragile position and Europe has a long-term sick neighbour on its borders.
3. "European values" vs hard realities
Many in western Ukraine and Kiev saw the turn to Europe in terms of embracing an alternative "system of values". Indeed, this is how the titanic changes in Ukraine are sold to western audiences to this day. The so-called protest movement before the coup and since has explained everything as a binary: Europe = good, Russia = bad. This has not only been catastrophic for all Ukrainians, but also for the image Brussels wanted the world to have of the European Union.
Washington is well known for overthrowing governments it doesn't like. NATO since the end of the Cold War too has the reputation for using force as its policy of choice. But this could not be said of the European Union until the Ukraine crisis.
Brussels claimed to be an honest broker and was deeply involved in what would become the February coup. To end the protests in Kiev, EU negotiators called for political reforms and early elections. But when violence was used to overthrow the government, the EU walked away from its own deal.
Brussels should have sanctioned the coup regime immediately to maintain its reputation and claims to the moral high ground. Instead, the Ukraine tragedy is not only an abysmal policy failure of Brussels, but also an exercise in fraud, deceit, and rank arrogance. Soon Brussels will have to answer why it supports a Kiev government that includes patently Nazi elements.
4. Washington gets its desired new Cold War
Washington's neocon crowd never forgave Russia for not completely surrendering after the end of the Cold War. For this group of policy zealots everything is a zero sum game. Instead of folding, Russia merely repositioned itself and went on a modernising drive to preserve, protect and defend its sovereignty.
There is every reason to believe neocons wanted to dismember Russia and sell off its value assets to western corporations for a song. Vladimir Putin put an end to those fantasies (and this is the primary reason why the west demonises him). Putin and his Russia had to be punished for this wayward thinking.
So Washington — with Brussels in a supporting role — decided to capture Ukraine at Russia's geopolitical expense. If that didn't work (and it hasn't) then gut Ukraine and make the Russians pay for this in every way possible. From a neocon perspective "Operation Ukraine" has been an overwhelming success. Every outcome ends with what Washington's neocons have wanted since Putin became Russian president: a new Cold War.
5. Always misunderstanding and underestimating Putin
Vladimir Putin is intentionally misunderstood in the west. As a result he is underestimated. Almost everything western leaders and audiences know about Ukraine comes from the regime in Kiev. This is a closed information loop. Western governments backed the February coup and now support the current leadership in Kiev without question.
The West's media by and large repeats what the Kiev regime says because Washington demands this. So much for the truth and journalism!
On the other hand, read what Putin has said and written about the Ukraine crisis for over a year. Without exception the Russian president has called for compromise, self-determination, de-escalation and, most importantly, dialogue. The West's repeated rejection of all this is a serious political and historical mistake.
Putin has consistently proposed viable solutions for Ukraine, for a crisis that Russia did not create. Now finding a way out of Ukraine's growing debacle may not be possible because of the West's alienation of Putin and Russia. This may be the ultimate disservice the West has bestowed upon Ukraine. In politics some things simply cannot be undone.
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