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American support of Ukrainian politicians is now double-edged

02.04.2019
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Ukrainian question” became very important in a strategy, that the United States are implementing after Donald Trump came to power. A project “America first” has seriously changed the world order and is promising even more serious changes in future. Of course, we’re now speaking about a change of global positioning of the USA, in particular. In the new National Security Strategy countries were listed that are threatening America not from a military side, but more from a point of view of global competition. If we speak about global allies, then we are able to see that there are many changes: The United States today sees itself as a stronghold and chief advocate of liberal democratic values, and all other states, including “well-established democracies”, as Heritage Foundation Vice President James Carafano calls them, can only “join the leader”. Including, for opposition to China and Russia. In the article “Democracy will continue to experience political upheavals in the world,” he writes: “The time has come to abandon unsuccessful strategies. America cannot persuade states to form a democratic convoy; it cannot make failed states valid, and it cannot build democratic nations out of chaos. Instead, the United States needs to unite strong alliances from established free nations as a bastion of freedom, leaving others to stand together around our bank. And Ukraine in these changes has not the last place: in the end, it was the events of 2014 that became the basis for the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions and a change in attitude, including from the US, towards Russia. The possible cancellation of these sanctions directly depends on the de-escalation of the situation in the Donbass and the return of the Crimea. The unequivocal support of the US political forces that came to power in Ukraine as a result of the Maidan, five years later, remains one of their main trump cards. Visits to Washington of all applicants for more or less significant political posts have become almost a ritual. A warm, or, on the contrary, cold reception by an American politician is vividly discussed in the Ukrainian press and political sidelines.

Today it becomes obvious that the political support of the American elites, as well as the various assistance to Ukraine that flows from it, is military, including supplies of lethal weapons, economic, financial, etc. - turns into an ambiguous, if not directly negative factor. Setting the task of preserving power, Ukrainian leaders are striving to preserve the status quo. And if everything depends on the support of the United States, then according to their logic it is necessary to maintain the conditions that provide this support. Therefore, it is difficult to expect significant changes around the Donbass or, for example, the Ukrainian TCU.

At the same time, the Ukrainian question is quite painful for Europe, which suffers from sanctions more than the United State and is forced to reckon with the military conflict in the continent and is at the centre of the confrontation over the construction of Nord Stream-2. It turns out that what is acceptable and even desirable for Ukrainian authorities, at least does not contribute to the stability of the EU and brings dissonance into US-European relations.

In the long run, the Ukrainian government’s focus on American support may lead to complication of relations with its European neighbours, which have deteriorated in recent years. In addition, for the interests of the election campaigns of 2019, the authorities continue to aggravate the church question. The anti-Russian rhetoric used here is in the fairway of the US political strategy, but the accumulating contradictions are threateningly anti-democratic. Further degradation of official relations with Russia also does not contribute to European stability.

It turns out that in seeking US loyalty, the ruling Ukrainian elite uses this support to solve their own problems, without regard for the interests of their close allies. I suspect that if American interests turn out to be on the path to preserving power, Ukrainian politicians will try to step over them.

Taking into account the “free interpretation” of the assistance that the US provides to the current leadership of Ukraine, we should think about implementing a more balanced policy that takes into account the interests of the EU and is aimed at weakening the confrontation with Russia on Ukraine’s issues.

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