It is not bad enough that the Middle East remains an ongoing SNAFU (an old Marine acronym for: Situation normal all fowled up – in its polite version), the situation in Ukraine is now reaching crisis proportions. “Crisis” is such an overused term these days, it has lost its punch, but I believe it fits here, as it is easy to imagine how much can go wrong and little right.
As I type there are urgent meetings taking place in Europe discussing what is to be done about the fact that the eastern separatists are winning the war against government forces.
For months it has been clear that Vladimir Putin has provided all sorts of military assistance to the separatists in eastern Ukraine, while denying it. Now the separatists are stronger than the government forces and pushing them back. And the European allies can’t agree on what to do about that. There is talk of sending defensive arms (e. g. anti-tank guns) to aid government troops, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel is dead set against the idea and I don’t see much other support for it in Europe.
Merkel is trying to broker another cease fire, but this one gives more to the separatists than the last cease fire and who is to say Putin will honor it any more than he did the last one (even Merkel has her doubts), but of course Putin will say he is. And Ukraine’s problems go way beyond the civil war. The government is broke and the economic system corrupt, all of which has made me reluctant to even broach the subject in a simple post.
But MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’ Donnell freed me yesterday morning by saying when it comes to the Ukraine: “I’ve thought about these things all my life and I don’t know what to do.” He went on to say it would be great if some columnist would begin his or her opinion piece saying that.
Though only a humble occasional blogger, I decided to take on that roll and I feel such a relief. The problem is I also feel some thing, or things, should be done to counter Putin’s continued aggression and lies about it, a feeling many in the West have but we can’t agree upon what to do.
For those who want to do more than throw up their hands, I suggest a blog by Judy Dempsey on the Carnegie Europe web site called Strategic Europe. She has been giving daily posts covering the Ukraine crisis which include the opinions of numerous people who think they have a clue.
Check out this post: The Tragedy of Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president and commander in chief of its armed forces. It’s short and provides a sense of the fundamental nature of this dilemma. Reading about Poroshenko I recall the tragic position of Czechoslovakia’s president Edward Benes during the Munich agreement of the 30’s which led to German annexation.
I know, Munich analogies tend to distort more than illuminate, but there unfortunately seems potential for some application here. I can only hope the potential goes unfulfilled.
If you like the Poroshenko piece, click the HOME button on the upper left of the post and find other illuminating posts by Dempsey.