For a moment last week, war seemed imminent. A day after Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, warned Ukraine’s leaders against using force in the crisis there, the Ukrainian military attacked a checkpoint outside the separatist-held town of Slovyansk. Russian forces across the border responded with maneuvers labeled “exercises,” coupled with statements from the Kremlin that amounted to “you were warned.” Russian television made Slovyansk look like Guernica; Ukrainian news media reported that separatist militants were using kindergartners as human shields.
As each side revved up its propaganda, the world got another taste of the confusion, uncertainty and distortion of information that have brought this conflict to the brink.… Seguir leyendo »
The outcome of Viktor F. Yanukovich’s trip to Moscow on Tuesday was sobering for Western officials.
After backing away at the last minute from a major trade and integration accord with the European Union, Mr. Yanukovich, Ukraine’s president, signed a wide range of economic agreements during a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
The European and American policy toward Ukraine — urging it to pursue the path of reform that proved so successful in Central Europe — has reached an impasse. This failure stems from a consistent misreading of Ukraine by the West.
Listening to recent commentary from Western officials, you would think that a new nation has been born on the Maidan in Kiev, that Ukrainians are united in their desire to divorce themselves from Russia and return to the fold of Europe, and that it is only their current leaders — bolstered and bullied by their patrons in the Kremlin — who stand in the way of a “Europe whole and free.” This all makes for a nice sound bite, but it bears little relationship to reality.… Seguir leyendo »