Monday, May 12, 2014

Does America Have Ukraine's Back? | The National Interest

In March 1992, as war loomed on the horizon, the various factions met in Lisbon to try and craft a deal that would hold Bosnia together and avert the predictable tragedy. Reluctantly, the country's Muslims, Croats and Serbs grappled with the creation of a decentralized country in which each ethnic group would have predominance in different cantons, bound together in a loose federation. At the last minute, the agreement was torpedoed. Many asserted that the president of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic, whose own authority (and that of the Muslim community over all of Bosnia) would have been diminished by the accord, had rejected it, having supposedly received assurances from the Americans (who did not like the overt partition of Bosnia on ethnic lines) that Washington would support the Bosnian government in the event of war. Three years later, after a brutal and devastating conflict in which the Bosnian government was dealt a series of devastating blows, a U.S.-sponsored peace agreement at Dayton ratified the division of Bosnia into distinct ethnic entities.

Fifteen years later, a young, energetic, pro-Western president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was eagerly promoting his country's movement towards the Euro-Atlantic world. He contributed military forces to the U.S.-led coalitions in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and promoted the development of a "Community of Democratic Choice" that would act as a counterweight to a Russian-dominated Eurasia. With Moscow backing two separatist regimes — in South Ossetia and Abkhazia — Saakashvili pushed for military reform and for developing Georgia's capacity to regain control of its lost territory. Fawned over by many American politicians, who loudly proclaimed their support for Saakashvili and his vision for Georgia, expansive and grandiose language flowed from the lips of U.S. statesmen, including use of the "a" word (alliance) to describe Georgian-American relations. However, in August 2008, when Georgia ended up in a direct clash with Russian forces, that rhetoric was exposed, as Moscow proceeded to crush Saakashvili's military and formally detach territories from the control of the government in Tbilisi — and suffer no long-lasting consequences.

Recently, vice president Joe Biden visited an embattled Kyiv, promising support to a besieged Ukrainian interim government, utilizing all the familiar talking points about Ukraine not standing alone and of the United States being at Ukraine's side during this time of crisis. His visit followed what was supposed to be a more secret trip by CIA Director John Brennan, who arrived in the country prior to the ill-fated first launch of the government's "anti-terrorist operation" to regain control of cities and towns in eastern Ukraine that have fallen under the sway of anti-government, pro-Russian militias.

Complete story at - Does America Have Ukraine's Back? | The National Interest

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