State Department official Victoria Nuland famously was caught on tape saying “F*** the EU.” The comment pertained to Ukraine. Apparently, it was prompted by concerns that the EU might not sign on to a deal the Obama administration favored that called for power-sharing between the pro-Russia government and the opposition, along with the exclusion of opposition leader Vitali Klitschko.
The final chapters of the current Ukraine saga have not necessarily been written. But as things stand now, it looks like, once again, the Obama administration got it wrong. The current state of play, with the thuggish pro-Russian government ousted, is preferable to the deal Obama was hoping to broker.
What happens next? Even if the pro-Western government is able to withstand whatever response comes from the pro-Russia forces and from Russia itself, it must still deal with what Max Boot calls the “deep-seated malaise of the economy, the pervasive corruption, and all the other ills that afflict this troubled land.” The government’s failure to do so after the “Orange Revolution” of 2004-05 led to resurgence of Viktor Yanukovych.
For the new government to succeed, it will need considerable support from both the U.S. and the EU. As Boot reminds us, it was Russia’s offer of a $15 billion loan to the Ukraine that persuaded Yanukovych to turn his back on closer ties with the EU. If the U.S. and the EU want a sustainable pro-West Ukraine, I believe they will have to show Ukraine the money.
They should also show Ukraine a united front.