Ukraine: Sliced and diced

Ukraine had an offer from the EU, basically (to borrow from David Cameron) to support the embedding of “conditions that enable open economies and open societies to thrive: the rule of law, the absence of conflict and corruption, and the presence of property rights and strong institutions.”

The price that the EU would exact from Ukraine in return for this would be a loss of sovereignty, especially in the economic sector, the arrival of western corporate muscle and a mild degrading of Ukrainian national identities. If you want a governance model, look at Latvia.

Russia offers the same for the same price, more or less, minus the rule of law and the western corporates but with the corruption. If you want a governance model of that, look at Trans-Dniester or South Ossetia. Both options privilege a different political minority in each case, but minorities none the less.

Both options come with strings attached that trail back to sterile Cold War era military hegemonies: desktop warriors in Washington championing US exceptionalism on the one hand and old school Russian advocates of the great game for ‘Eurasia’ on the other. (This is where you’ll find your real fascists, by the way.)

If you embrace the idea that US power poses such a threat to the world, almost any position or alliance is justified in resisting it, or like the oligarchs, you can get a better deal for your ‘biznes’ if Russia runs things, then the latter are your friends. If you are a member of the upper middle class elite and European lifestyle appeals to you, even if the political culture doesn’t, the EU’s for you.

If you are an ordinary Ukrainian, nobody cares what you think.

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