Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The Land Where History Died

Posted by M. C. on February 28, 2022

Needless to say, Washington continues to create its “own reality” almost weekly, and this one’s a doozy. There manifestly would be no war in the Ukraine today save for Washington’s machinations back in February 2014, but that bit of crucial history is now deader than a doornail.

by David Stockman

In light of the grotesquely one-sided Ukrainian war news on the MSM, it can be well and truly said that America circa February 2022 has become the land where history died.

From the sophomoric coverage of CNN and NBC, for instance, you would think that Ukraine’s borders have been universally agreed upon by one and all for eons; that the government in Kiev has done absolutely nothing to provoke Russian suspicion and anger; and that Uncle Sam, NATO and the European Union have flitted around the neighborhoods on Russia’s borders merely cheer-leading for democracy and selflessly passing out economic aid and cookies to the long-suffering Ukrainian peoples.

Well, no. Today’s hot war eruption in Ukraine would absolutely not be happening save for the violent coup of February 2014 that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected pro-Russian President; and which coup was funded, organized and choreographed by Washington-based neocons, busybodies and arms merchants who otherwise had no reason for even existing in the post-Soviet world.

Moreover, by reviewing the voting patterns of the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election we can see exactly how Washington’s blunderbuss intervention in support of the Maidan putsch put the kibosh on stable governance in Kiev and friendly relations with Ukraine’s historic neighbor and suzerain, Russia. That’s because while the 2010 election reflected the stark divisions of the Ukrainian electorate (see map below) it still produced a government that was reasonably acceptable to most of the electorate, and one which proceeded to work toward new arrangements with both Ukraine’s EU neighbors to the west and Russia to the east.

In the end, that tolerable governing balance was abruptly and unilaterally canceled by Washington’s writ, especially when it then almost instantly embraced and recognized an ad hoc, anti-Russian government which came from the extreme right side of the political/ethnic spectrum.

The effect was to send Kiev on a path toward massive economic and military aid from the US/EU and NATO membership that was bound to produce the adverse Russian reaction that Ambassador George Kennan had warned about two decades earlier.

As to the aid matter, Ukraine received only minor assistance from the west prior to 2014, but upwards of $15 billion since then. That included nearly $3 billion of military aid from the US, $6 billion of development and economic aid from Western donors, $3 billion of subsidized Ex-Im Bank funding from the US and $3 billion of other humanitarian aid. The effect was to turn Ukraine into a ward of Washington — a new post-coup fact on the ground that was blatantly obvious to Moscow.

As to the adverse shock effect of the Maidan coup on Ukrainian governance and external policy, the map below tells you all you need to know. The dark blue parts of the map to the far east (Donbas) indicate an 80% or better vote for Viktor Janukovych in the 2010 election. By contrast, the dark red areas in the west voted 80% or more for the Ukrainian nationalist, Yulie Tymoshenko. That is to say, the skew in the Ukrainian electorate was so extreme as to make America’s current red state/blue state divide seem hardly noteworthy by comparison.

As it happened, the sum of the pro-Janukovych skews from the east and south (Donbas and Crimea) added up to 12.48 million votes and 48.95% of the total, while the sum of the extreme red skews in the center and west (the old eastern Galicia) amounted to 11.59 million votes and 45.47% of the total.

Stated differently, it is hard to imagine an electorate more sharply divided on a regional/ethnic/language basis, but one which still produced a decisive enough victory margin (3.6 percentage points) for Janukovych — so as to be accepted by all parties. That became especially clear when Tymoshenko, who was the incumbent prime minister, withdrew her election challenge a few weeks after the run-off in February 2010.

At that point, of course, Russia had no beef with the Kiev government at all because essentially Janukovych’s “Regions Party” was based on the pro-Russian parts (blue areas) of the Ukrainian electorate.

During the next several years the economic basket case which was Ukraine attempted to improve its circumstances by running a bake-off of sorts between the European Union and Russia with respect to aid and trade deals.

And well its leaders might have: Ukraine had become a cesspool of financial corruption in which a handful of oligarchs had robbed the country blind. Its 2013 real GDP consequently fell to $600 billion (2017 $) — a 33% shrinkage from its 1990 level.

See the rest here

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