I live in the United States.
Most would say that I’m one of 300 million of the luckiest people on the planet. No matter if Americans were born rich or poor; maybe somewhere in the middle. We’re lucky because we were born in a land founded on ideals and not the blood of innocents. Men like George Washington, Baron von Steuben, and Marquis de Lafayette allowed men like James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and Thomas Jefferson to build the country that is an example to every country around the world.
The United States has made mistakes in the past and will continue to make them. Nothing is perfect. However, we strive to make the world a better place when it is at all possible. I look at what has happened in Syria and weep for them. Millions displaced. Hundreds of thousands killed at the hands of their own government. I hope nothing like this happens in the United States but I am not beyond denying that it won’t. The Western and Eastern worlds are colliding in Geneva and Montreux in the hopes of finding any solution, big or small, to this catastrophe. Russia, ever increasingly resembling it’s old Soviet self, refuses to consider the murderous Assad regime’s removal. The United States will not accept any large proposal that doesn’t include Assad’s ouster.
Syria has taken center stage. Yet something else has been smoldering since November, something that would weaken Russia significantly and could possibly force their hand in this Syria situation. Their former satellite Ukraine is having a go at their oppressive and corrupt government. What started out as mere protests, pushing and shoving, and crowds that peaked at hundreds of thousands of people has now found itself on the brink of revolution. The movement calls itself Euromaidan and is lead by Ukraine’s favorite son Vitali Klitschko. The world champion boxer has become the main voice of the protesters and leads direct talks with President Viktor Yanukovych.
Since the protests erupted into conflict protesters have been shot dead by Berkut government officers and Berkut officers have been kidnapped by a faction of protesters. Molotov cocktails and fireworks seem to be the favorite choice of weapon of the protesters while the Berkut has standard military weaponry.
The issue at hand is President Yanukovych’s 180 turn on an association agreement as well as a free trade agreement with the European Union which would have drawn Ukraine toward the West and away from their former occupier Russia. However, Vladimir Putin decided to stick his nose where it didn’t belong and inject 15 billion dollars in loans into Ukraine in order to barely bring the country back off the brink of bankruptcy.
Russia wants Ukraine to forego closer ties to the EU and instead join a Customs Union with itself, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Western Ukraine wants no part of it and is more than willing to show that it means business.
Protesters have seized Kiev’s city hall, Agriculture ministry, and Energy Ministry and there have been several governorates that have been taken over across Western Ukraine. A very plausible conclusion to this is the United Nations getting involved and separating Ukraine into two sovereign states since the futures of Western and Eastern Ukraine are so wildly at odds. Although Ukraine’s government could always crack under pressure from the religious authorities and the defections of government ministers and Berkut agents that have already began. That is, if Yanukovych doesn’t sick his dogs on his own people before anything constructive can be accomplished.
There is hope, however, in news breaking an hour ago that Yanukovych has offered the office of Prime Minister to Arseniy Yatsenyuk an ex-foreign minister who had led efforts to integrate Ukraine with the European Union. He also extended an offer to Klitschko to a deputy-premier post.
Ukraine has always been a wild card in Russo-American relations and it is once more. The future of Ukraine lies solely in their hands but I’m sitting here in New York, praying, that Ukraine will join the European Union and with it an opportunity to leave behind the scarred nightmares of “The Ukraine” a pawn of the Soviet Union, and embrace a bright and beautiful future.