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Wednesday, November 24, 2004


indirect empire

raimondo is scathing in his rejection of western manipulation in the aftermath of elections in the ukraine -- with the united states threatening to withdraw its $143mm aid package if the pro-western candidate yushchenko is not installed -- as the former soviet holding teeters on the edge of political violence.

from chicago, i can hardly have an idea as to the quality of the election or the veracity of the results. all i can do is read the ukrainian bloggers. the economist notes:

All through the campaign, Ukraine’s news media have been highly skewed towards Mr Yanukovich, barely giving the opposition leader a mention. Ahead of the first round of voting, the official candidate’s supporters were accused of intimidating electoral officials to try to swing the vote his way. Mr Yushchenko even accused them of being behind an attempt to poison him, which has left his face bloated and scarred. In Sunday’s run-off, suspicions centred on possible fraudulent multiple voting in the Russian-speaking east of the country, where support for Mr Yanukovich is strongest. According to the official electoral figures, turnouts there were implausibly high, at up to 96%.
did yanukovich and the pro-russian bloc manipulate the ballot box? probably -- and so too did yushchenko. this is the reality of eastern european (and, frankly, american) democracy.

what i certainly do know is that the united states is attempting to intimidate the ukrainians by its considerable leverage -- not only direct aid, which would constitute nearly 5% of the ukrainian government budget, but commercial and military -- which is a good illustration of how the united states uses foreign aid as a lever to indirect rule.

the ukraine could hardly be called an american possession. its very close ties within the old soviet network make it reliant to a great degree on good relations with much-wealthier russia, whose gdp per capita is nearly four times that of the ukraine.

but the united states has been making inroads into the old soviet nations since the collapse of 1991. (more on guuam here.) the base structure report hasn't caught up yet, as is typical (neither camp bondsteel nor any iraqi base has yet been listed, nor have central asian bases), but the result of such military compacts is usually american troops.

establishing a presence in these nations is important for strategic thinkers for a few different reasons. some see a central asian presence as a strategic bulwark against china and russia. others feel a need to guarantee caucasian oil supplies (bondsteel, for instance, is situated along a proposed bp pipeline route). others wishfully think american influence in the region will encourage the growth of pro-american democracy -- which, in the end, constitutes yushchenko's utility to us.

whatever the reason, the united states is growing more heavily involved in ukrainian affairs, and this manipulation in an example of how. this is no different a tactic than any of a hundred empires past have exerted their will upon loosely affiliated nations, and it is yet more evidence of the indirect american empire at work.

I haven't slept for a week, and I don't have the energy to hash this out tonight. I'm only going to say a couple of things, and say them gently.

You're forgetting someone in all of these grand geopolitical thoughts of yours -- the Ukrainian people. If you could be here in the trenches with them and see the giddiness they're feeling, if you took a moment to recognize their humanity rather than just seeing them as pawns in your geopolitical calculations. . .

Life here has been gray and fatalistic for 70+ years, and the fall of Communism in many ways only worsened that. I cannot find words to express what a difference a week makes.

Maybe it seems archaic to you, but I think the will of the people should count for something.

Rather than just reading raimondo, actually look into the reports of some reputable human rights groups or journalist freedom groups and learn about the real nature of the regime here. Take the time to examine the evidence of massive fraud for yourself. Think for yourself.


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i would not doubt you, mr disco. i think one can relate the contagious feeling of awakening in eastern europe directly to the renaissance that i'm confident the ukraine will be a part of. the future of eastern europe is very bright, imo.

but, at the same time, it would be foolish -- for both of us -- to ignore that american power is at work here. the ukrainian people suffered under soviet rule, it seems to me; i hope they are careful, in their euphoria, not to entangle themselves too deeply in indirect american rule by an expedient faustian bargain.

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... i should say, "american power is also at work here." the primary driver is plainly the ukrainian people's (or some significant portion thereof) agitation for a greater degree of self-rule.

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