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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 30th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

With the US insisting on leaving the position of World’s policemen – a job anyhow  it did not do well in the last couple of decades – skimming over the news, we find plenty to worry about.

We read about China scrambling its jets over islands it claims as they think they have oil there, and the US advising passenger liners to submit to the  the Chinese  requests even though backing the other side in this land and sea grab which is just as obnoxious as the spreading of Russia’s flag under the Arctic polar ice cap.

Further, Russia is threatening again the Ukraine it raped last century – this while a large part of the Ukrainian population wants to rejoin their European identity. Russia has in its power to cut the energy supply to the Ukraine and leave them to the throes of a cold winter. What can the EU do?

At the UN, where the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon grew in understanding of subjects like Sustainable Development, Climate Change/Global Warming and for a while was steering the organization towards sun-light, it is the permanent staff – there on behalf of nay-sayer governments – that just continues to hide information about the possibility you can live in a world less dependent on nature’s saved fossil carbon. It is this permanent staff that turned the organization to its freeze and true to inaction on mostly everything. Previously this bureaucracy was run directly by those close to the Oil barrels and now just by their students that learned from their old masters how you stay on by making sure you do absolutely nothing worthwhile.

North Korea? They  flex a muscle from time to time – just to make sure their mischief is not forgotten and their thunder taken over by others envious of the success they had in their past advances. Will one ever use nuclear bombs?

Obviously, from all of the above, we are most concerned with the way the World continues its march downhill with water spreading uphill – the melting of the three ice-caps and the foreseeable increasing misery in the 100 poorest countries – the UN Member States that already cry environment-uncle and see how the UN institution is of no help to them. Nothing has changed from the days Ahmad Fawzi and his henchman Gary Fowlie had the audacity to tell Grenada Ambassador August Friday on whom to invite to his Press Conference and to cow UNFCCC head Yvo de Boer into submission. Now it is Mr. Kandeh Yumkella and his blossoming SE4All which are being cowed by the UN Headquarter Staff bent to freeze this new attempt at UN progress and fit it to their own designs. This is the freeze that lets the ice melt undisturbed and gloats at the uncovering of resources that will enrich some corporations planted at the UN and allowed free hand by its staff.

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In the case of Russia there is hope thanks to 80% of the Ukrainian people. How does this play out at the UN? Are the people of any consequence?

Ukrainians are in the EU, even if Ukraine isn’t.

If Brussels doesn’t learn its lesson from a tactical defeat by Russia and prepare a plan for secure economic integration with Ukraine, tens of millions of Europeans will remain outside of the EU’s borders.

Demotix/Zoya Shu. Some rights reserved.

The European Union has let itself be outplayed by Russia in the struggle over Ukrainian integration. The EU Partnership Summit in Vilnius did not result in the signing of the Association Agreement with Ukraine. It is hard to believe that all it took was so open and primitive a ploy as the embargo imposed by Russia on certain Ukrainian goods several days ago.

Moldova, placed in a similar situation, is bravely hanging on. Ukraine’s trade with Russia is of a similar volume to its trade with the EU, and EU investments in Ukraine are ten times larger than Russia’s. Of course the EU has nothing to be afraid of, which is why it lost. It also lost because it failed to take Ukraine seriously and offer assistance at an adequate level. EU politicians’ stories to the effect that ‘integration is not a trade fair’, contain about as much truth as Yanukovich’s pronouncements that he is upholding human rights. Everyone knows that the greatest marketplace in Europe is not Kapal?çar?? in Istanbul, but the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels.

Proposing Ukrainian integration with the EU at the cost of ruining hundreds of companies and a sudden drop in competitiveness, with a concurrent loss of Russian markets (and, at the same time, fulfilling IMF loan conditions, that involve freezing wage growth, implementing significant budget cuts, and increasing consumer gas prices by 40 percent), is like inviting a poor man for dinner at the most expensive restaurant in town and informing him that he will be responsible for his own bill.

This time around Poland was defeated, but not alone. Putin also thumbed his nose at Berlin and Brussels. And this might be the “positive minus” of the Vilnius summit. There were declarations – strong ones, coming from Jose-Manuel Barroso – such as, “We know how much ordinary Ukrainians feel themselves to be Europeans! We will not abandon them,” or Herman van Rompuy’s words: “We must not submit to Russian pressure.”

We will see. After the Vilnius summit, the ball is definitely in Brussels’ court. If the EU wants to take its own intentions seriously, it should prepare a plan for secure economic integration with Ukraine. This is a basic precondition for fulfilling the EU’s fundamental mission, that is, ensuring lasting peace in Europe.

A Russia swallowing Ukraine is fodder for imperialism and an obliteration of realistic prospects for democratizing the Kremlin. A Russia without Ukraine is a farewell to empire and an end to the Russian authorities’ disregard for their own citizens, who must be distinguished from Putin and his Putinoids. This also represents the only chance for good EU-Russian relations, contrary to the hopes of some European politicians, who believed that they could reach a direct agreement with Russia over the heads of smaller nations.

Integration with Moldova and Georgia without Ukraine is geopolitical nonsense. Nevertheless, Rompuy and Barroso have announced that the just-initialed agreements should be signed as quickly as possible. This is a source of constant friction in relations between Moscow and Brussels, and so represents hope that the EU can avoid embracing Putin at the cost of Ukraine, although assuming anything other than cynicism confronted by today’s politics is self-delusion.

Putin has outplayed the politicians, but he has lost with the Ukrainians themselves. All of a sudden, about 20 per cent of the population wants integration with Russia, far fewer than those who want integration with the EU. And this is the greatest achievement of the recent negotiations. Ukraine has not yet signed the Association Agreement with the EU. But it has been signed by the country’s active citizens, without Yanukovich.

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