04:06 GMT21 June 2021
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    The Maidan coup turned out to be US policymakers' 'most adventurous power assertion' of the post-Cold War period, costing Ukraine its political stability, economic well-being, and tens of thousands of lives, writes Salon foreign affairs contributor Patrick L. Smith; at the same time, the journalist says, Maidan's utter bankruptcy is on the horizon.

    In the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup d'état, which marked its second anniversary earlier this week, Ukraine has gone from political crisis to armed conflict to humanitarian crisis with no break in between, Smith suggests, in his latest column for US politics and current affairs website Salon.

    Ukraine, Washington's "most daring attempt at 'regime change' since righteous Clintonians invented this self-deceiving euphemism in the 1990s, has come to six-figure casualties, mass deprivation, a divided nation and a wrecked economy," the journalist notes.

    Moreover, the political crisis in Kiev now reported on by the Western press has been compounded by ultranationalist militia pressing the government to resume military operations in the country's southeast, "and there is no letup in the blockade Kiev imposes on rebelling regions. The last differs from a punitive starvation strategy only in degree." 

    US policy in Ukraine, Smith notes, has turned the country into the front line in Washington's campaign against Russia, with Ukraine's Russian-speakers, comprising half the population, forced to coexist with a government that would ban the Russian language if it could. Unfortunately, the longer the crisis continues to stew, the less hope there is for its peaceful resolution, the journalist warns.

    With Ukrainian authorities now facing criticism even from the mass media of its patrons in the United States and Europe, Smith suggests that "the very short of it is that the more or less complete failure of Washington's most adventurous assertion of power in the post-Cold War period can no longer be papered over."

    "Even the most corrupted correspondents have to file something when political mutiny and warfare break into the open – and when non-American media, as is their particular habit, report on these things. It is for this reason alone you can read a smidge – but only a smidge – about the events now unfolding in Ukraine in the New York Times…"

    Predicting that the failure of US policy in Ukraine is on the horizon, Smith suggests that frankly, it's about time. "The only regret, a great regret of mind and heart, is that American failures almost always prove so costly in consequence of the blindness and arrogance of the policy cliques," the journalist laments.

    Ultimately, the commentator suggests that the Western media's newfound concern over Ukraine's two main problems, corruption and an inability to make peace in southeastern Ukraine, are worth considering separately.

    "The corruption question is easy," Smith writes. "Nothing gets done because the same people in power when Viktor Yanukovych was ousted two years ago are in power now."

    "Washington's problem with Yanukovych was never corruption…It was his view of Ukraine: An easterner, he considered that the nation's long and close involvement with Russia had to be accommodated along with the western region's tilt toward Europe. Many deaths and much destruction later, this is what Minsk II is intended to do."

    "No, Washington has a problem with Ukraine's corruption now for the reasons Joe Biden and Geoffrey Pyatt [have made] perfectly plain: Western corporations cannot put their money down on the table so long as Ukrainian bureaucrats, generals and business people keep stealing it at so obnoxious a rate."

    And when it comes to the peace plan, Smith suggests that actually, "the Poroshenko government is incapable of moving on Minsk II…[because it is] the hostage of right-wing militias that were long said to exist only in the imaginations of Russian propagandists. Azov and other militias, the Svoboda Party and Right Sector, a Svoboda offspring, have made their position clear since Germany, France and [IMF Managing Director] Christine Lagarde forced Poroshenko to sign Minsk II last year: Make one move to accommodate the accord and we will bring you down."

    "At this point," Smith laments, "the barely competent maker of chocolates is squeezed into a corner so tight it is not clear he will be able to breathe much longer."

    Ultimately, with the government facing a new political crisis, right-wing militias once again gathering in Kiev, and reports of renewed skirmishes in the southeast, the journalist writes that obviously, "there is movement in Ukraine…Sometime this year [Washington] and the IMF may quietly acknowledge that they chose the wrong puppets and step back, in which case failure will be self-evident.  This is doubtful, however. They are not smart enough and lack sufficient integrity."

    Another possibility is that "Berlin, Paris and Moscow may continue to make common cause and more or less impose Minsk II on Kiev. It is quite possible. In this case the American failure will also be evident, if more subtly."

    "Or the war in the eastern regions will escalate and grow very dangerous well beyond Ukraine. This [too] is all too possible at the moment. It is probably the favored way forward in Washington and Kiev, but will turn out to be merely failure of another, more brutal kind," the journalist bleakly concludes.

    Smith's piece, where he talks about everything from Congressional support for Ukraine's ultranationalist militias, to details on US politicians' use of political euphemisms in relation to Ukraine, can be found here.


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    political consequences, opinion piece, op-ed, analysis, commentary, Maidan, Patrick L. Smith, Ukraine
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