Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hypocrisy, incompetence and cold inhumanity: Ukraine heads for its most gruesome hour -

We had better brace ourselves. The civil war in Ukraine appears headed for its most gruesome hour. Those in the east of the country who resist what amounts to the crude chauvinism of the new government in Kiev may very soon remind us of fish in a barrel. The heart sickens at the hypocrisy, incompetence and cold inhumanity that have brought this crisis so unnecessarily to this.

Victor Poroshenko has been in office a matter of weeks, and it is already clear he has not an ounce of statesmanship in him. Strip away all the foggy, misleading language — a self-help exercise, as your media are complicit in reproducing it — and the candy bar magnate now turned president displays a governing principle that comes to, “I’d rather shoot you than talk to you.”

It will be criminal if, as now appears likely, Kiev sends warplanes and troops to Luhansk and Donetsk, where anti-chauvinist rebels have retreated in anticipation of a showdown with the army Kiev has, without hesitation or conscience, turned on its own people. Know what you are watching if it comes to blood running in the streets of these two eastern cities: A minority of Ukrainians entertaining a fantastic ideal of life as part of “the West” will attempt to erase that part of its national identity it holds in contempt.

Depending on events over the very near term, it may tempt some to conclude that the Ukrainian crisis has reached its denouement. Ukraine should be so fortunate. There is no triumphing over the aspirations of others, not in the long run. Defeating the rebels in the east will simply confirm the splitting up of the country, in fact if not on maps, and fix eastern-dwellers in a poisonous state of ressentiment.

Join me, please, in refusing to let anyone get away with calling such an outcome either victory or success. Kiev will have won the battle and lost the war, in my view, given the damage the Ukrainian polity will have sustained. And if what remains counts as a successful transformation of the nation into a Western-tilted liberal democracy, well, the rest of this sentence is not printable in a wholesome publication such as Salon.

Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatsenyuk and their colleagues are still not done calling the eastern rebels “terrorists” — the single most preposterous use of the term I have heard to date. This seems to foreclose the only road to success now open to Kiev, the opening of talks with rebel representatives without preconditions. So it is time to talk about failure in Ukraine, and to consider just whose it is.

Complete story at - Hypocrisy, incompetence and cold inhumanity: Ukraine heads for its most gruesome hour -

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