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What exactly should the West do in Ukraine?

2 March 2014

8:25 PM

2 March 2014

8:25 PM

I’ve seen and read an awful lot of criticism about how weak and pathetic the West has been in responding to the developing crisis in the Ukraine, but scarcely a single word offering advice as to what it SHOULD do.

It may well be that making vague threats about the Sochi G8 Summit and a few muttered threats of economic ‘isolation’, whatever that is, may fall a little short of say, Operation Barbarossa as a statement of intent.

But none of the pundits I have read come close to suggesting that the West should take any form of military action (or ‘World War Three’, as it used to be known), so given a universal reluctance to go down this route, what left is there for the West to do? So why the derision?

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  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    What the so-called west can do in places like the UKraine is kick-start that vital spark of competition right where ordinary people could really make a do with in the world of technical devices and applications.

    If it is so easy for technical set-ups to enable private citizens to be bombarded with marketing and other distractions – why can’t governments concerned here with this really dangerous situation use the same bare-faced cheek?

    For example; the west could help provide a simple form enabling people to choose whichever set-up of government/public administration they want ( here;Russia or UKraine). Surely this would be in order to avoid the frustrations associated with traditional democratic processes that remain too slow and too general ( after some all or nothing philosophy) and as such are simply not designed or capable of treating the wishes of modern, individual members of any community with due respect.

    It’s a huge grey area.. why not take advantage?

  • Neil Saunders

    Mind its own fucking business. Next question!

  • 1stworldview

    There’s one sure benefactor of the current political – economic crisis in
    Ukraine. Here’s a hint: It’s not Yanukovich, the recently
    deposed President who absconded to Russia with literally billions of
    Ukrainian hryvna belonging to the country’s financial reserves.
    Yanukovich, however wealthy he may currently be, is a wanted man who will
    ultimately be handed over to The Hague for trial. Unfortunately,
    it’s also not the Ukrainian people, who no sooner shed enough blood to
    unseat a number of corrupt high officials then woke to an occupied
    Crimea. Russian-armed “protesters” occupying the regional airports
    and parliament buildings will be embedded there a long time unless
    Ukraine takes violent countermeasures. Bad, bad idea.

    The one immediate benefactor to Ukraine’s turmoil is George
    Washington. Or rather, George Washington’s image. On the
    dollar bill.

    According to an article from the UK media source Euronews:

    “Ukraine’s currency, the hryvna, fell to a new record low against the
    dollar on Thursday. It has been falling in value for weeks due to the
    political and economic uncertainty in the country. But the decline
    accelerated after parliament stripped President Viktor Yanukovych of his
    powers on Saturday. Ukraine’s central bank said it was not going to buy
    the hryvnia to support it – anyway it is running out of foreign currency
    reserves to do that.

    Economists believe devaluation is justified given the country’s economic
    circumstances. Ukraine’s new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said
    securing a loan agreement with the International Monetary fund is vital
    for the country to stabilize the hrynia. He told parliament: “We
    need immediately to sign an agreement with the IMF. As soon as a deal on
    an IMF program has been signed, money will come for our reserves

    At one point in the last
    week, the hryvna exchanged at a rate of twelve – twelve US
    dollars! I suppose a further benefit to the decline of the hryvna
    is that with so many Russian roubles previously invested in the Ukrainian
    economy and the military exercises now being conducted on and near
    Ukrainian soil, the rouble appears to be falling along with it.

    From the Moscow Times, February 14th:

    “The Russian currency continued its recent slide Wednesday, reaching
    its lowest level against the dollar since 2009 and recording a historic
    minimum against the euro. The euro was worth more than 49 rubles
    during morning trading, while the dollar rose to 35.59 rubles, its
    highest level against the ruble since March 2009, according to data from
    the Moscow Exchange.

    The ruble has led 2014 declines by emerging market currencies. This year
    the currency has lost over 6 percent of its value against the euro-dollar
    basket, the benchmark used by the Central Bank.

    Russian officials have denied that the authorities are deliberately
    allowing the ruble to weaken in order to raise export revenue and
    stimulate the country’s flagging economy.”

    Despite gains by the dollar
    against both currencies, it’s doubtful John Kerry will gloat over the
    phone to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as they discuss the
    political crisis in Crimea. Though the dollar always fairs well
    against the rouble, Russia has invested billions of roubles in America’s
    economy, a sticking point in negotiations over Russian aggression
    campaigns like this one, and the 2004 invasion of Georgia.

    Businesses specializing in
    tourism and travel, such as Phoenix, Arizona-based A Foreign Affair, see
    an advantage coming to the hundreds of men it will accompany to Ukraine
    this year. “Obviously, we feel tremendously for the people of
    Ukraine. Yet, clearly, with these kinds of gains, Americans will simply
    get more for their money in cafes, restaurants and shopping malls and
    will see better prices for hotels and airfare options.” Says Bud
    Patterson, A Foreign Affair Vice President. “I can just see guys’ eyes
    light up at the currency exchanges.” Good news for A Foreign Affair
    this is, as many of its clients will visit Ukraine in pursuit of it’s
    greatest natural assets – millions of beautiful, marriage minded

    American ex-pats looking to purchase real estate or start business
    ventures might encounter a bureaucratic snag here or there, but Ukraine’s
    growing interest in the dollar should encourage investor brevity.
    What remains to be seen, is whether or not anticipated loans from the
    International Monetary Fund and additional loans from the US and UK to
    restore Ukraine’s reserves will return the dollar to it’s previous


  • Andrew Saint

    The hypocritical (and lightweight) US foreign secretary, John Kerry, on television the other day: “In the 21st century you just don’t go invading other countries…..”

    Erm………Iraq (2003)?

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  • mandelson

    Beeboid interviewers seem rather cross that military action has been ruled out. such warmongers these liberal leftists.

    • Neil Saunders

      You can see why, though, can’t you? It’d be a rolling media circus for years to come, with journos sent out to report from the field, i.e. 5-star hotels in St Petersburg.

  • DDownie

    The West should ‘do’ sanctions. Worked (eventually) in South Africa. Appears to be working in Iran. The Russian economy only survives by exporting gas and oil to the West.
    Let’s get fracking.

  • David davis

    Old Montgomery said once, when he came to my school and spoke – it was sometime in the 1950s: “Never Attack Russia”. He also said other stuff about Eisenhower’s politically-driven refusal to concentrate Allied Forces in late 1944 against a spearhead drive plan into North West Germany, isolating the Ruhr and getting to Berlin by December, but it’s not the time to go into that here…specially with the Ukraine little-difficulty going on right now.

    • William Haworth

      The three rules of armed combat: Never lose sight of your kit, never trust the RAF and never march on Moscow.

  • heracletian

    There’s lots we can do, Rod. Don’t be so defeatist.
    1. Flower shirts. With truly nasty colour combinations. The Photoshopping possibilities on huntin’, fishin’, shootin’ Putin horseback pics. I believe they call this cyber-warfare.
    2. Shirts made with deckchair remnants. The MO as above.
    3. Either 1. or 2. with penny collars. The nuclear option.
    4. Deny Putin the possibility of ever ever winning the Nobel Peace Prize. And really, like, mean it.
    5. Challenge him to a game of conkers and play his two-er with your six-er. But don’t tell him beforehand.

    • heracletian

      6. Gather malcontents from favoured interest groups; give them special training to weaponize their sense of offence. Then get them to feel disgusted and very let down in Putin’s general direction.
      7. Make him sit on the naughty steppe.

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Oh Rod, the answer is obvious. We must send Millitant (from Viz) to take a strong feminist line and insist VP changes his ways – NOW. All she’ll need to do is: point to his homophobia; his misogyny; his disrespect for animal others (eg., sofa based companions such as dogs, and wilder creatures such as reindeer and mousse); and most importantly his failure to prevent Russian men from wearing those awful leather cheescutters…I’m sure that’ll then VP’ll fix it..

  • Monima O’Connor

    Only that what it is obliged to do by law. Nothing more.