The sacred faith of Neoliberalism may eventually bring us all down, is Ukraine the next US casualty?
Ukraine is in a Unique position but ill equipped to take care of itself. Even less knowledgeable about politics or economics than older European nations and stuck between two despotic super powers who show little compunction about using them as a battleground or worse, the future looks grim.
The wrong move could not only shatter the future aspirations of all Ukrainians but lead to yet another breakdown of Europe as the world most likely gets dragged in yet again to their battle or they become the battlefield.
The right decision could give them power and influence making them a bigger, more successful and happier nation than the likes of Finland, Norway and Sweden, their close neighbours.
In examining this conundrum, I look at the true motivations of the US and their real interest in Ukraine a country at the other side of the world from them. I examine the geographical. political and economic options Ukraine have in play and I compare these with the success or failure of neighbours and friends like Greece, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
My conclusion is that Ukrainians are almost helpless and in need of a friendly hand to guide them away from the proxy war they have been dragged into by the US and Russia, or they may well end up as a text book calamity.
The US will never admit their dismal failure to prove Neoliberal ideas in Russia any more than they will ever recognise, or stomach the enormous success Putin had in bringing Russia back from the brink and becoming the most popular democratically elected leader of all times in his own country. For these reasons, Ukraine is likely to be used as a weapon as indeed it is being used already and for their safety, they need an exit and soon, but they can’t achieve this alone.
I believe it is not only sensible but incumbent on Europe to step up to the mark and start owning the position they naturally find themselves in.
The voodoo of Socialism versus trickery of Neoliberalism
Even my own grandfather who’d never met a Russian nor a socialist warned me about the danger of Socialism. It sits there with the day he told me to be careful of Queer people. He meant well and his words were of the time if not of our time.
The US v Russia today, represents to Americans of every colour and creed if I’m allowed to say that, their sacred religion of Neoliberalism versus the heathen cult of Socialism, long since dead in Russia as well as Communism.
Back when I had a subscription to the Economist, I often got into deep discussions on the forum with the American readership and what I learned then that despite them seeing themselves as economists or knowledgeable about the subject, I never met one that could distinguish free markets from democracy and even argued the point on a public forum. Now I’m suggesting they were stupid; they were anything but stupid. The problem was a lifetime of socialisation and indoctrination. Indeed, it’s hard in any gathering to find someone who can explain the difference between Socialism and Communism much less in the US.
Why am I digging up my own grandfather?
Well today is a day when Ukraine is in a war with Russia, a war that has been planned, funded, supplied and cheered on by the US as part of a long and doggedly determined campaign to ensure that unlike the USSR when it left communism behind, Ukraine would not be side-lined away form Chicago school US Neoliberal Economics.
The great Russian experiment.
In 1992 American economists were suddenly handed Russia, a country of some 150 million people to run experiments on and prove out their hypotheses.. At conferences about Russia that year US Economists could barely contain themselves, as they planned how they would rebuild the Russia’s economy and society in their own image. They had been presented with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that, a country burdened by a state-run economy, once relieved of that burden, would develop into a prosperous free market system. First they would eliminate central planning and price controls, then they would privatise the state departments into private enterprises, and finally they would open the country to free trade and investment. What could be simpler.
“To stabilize the price level, the plan called for a dose of responsible fiscal and monetary policy, that is, slashing state spending and tightly restricting money and credit.
The famous neoliberal trilogy of liberalization, privatization, and stabilization would rapidly bring a free market utopia to Russia. By doing so, the futility of heresy would be proved once and for all, by the successful conversion of the devil himself.” 2
How they must have celebrated their good luck. Sadly for them, it didn’t turn out as they had predicted. Despite warnings from more grounded economists about the time needed to develop institutions for a free-market economy and the need to support emerging firms trying to compete for the first time in a highly developed and sophisticated society and the severe damage that would be felt by all as a result of tearing down state support before people had learned to survive in this new type of economy, they ploughed on triumphantly with their theories.
No surprise to anyone now with hindsight, the dismantling of the public sector destroyed a huge chunk of the economy (20–30% in most free market economies) and left ordinary Russians starving. Firms struggled to survive and the whole sorry episode failed and collapsed proving only what a bunch of daydreamers and hypocrites the majority of economists really are.
“The result of the neoliberal experiment in Russia has been nearly seven years of economic devastation on a scale unseen anywhere else in peacetime in this century. As of the end of 1997, according to official statistics Russia=s gross domestic product had fallen by half since 1991 and its investment in new plant and equipment by three-fourths.” 3
One study estimated that in 1996; 30% of workers were paid in full and on time, 31% were paid late, and 39% were not paid at all. Much of Russias population survives by growing vegetables in small back-yard plots for their own consumption.
Since 1991 more than two million premature deaths have resulted from increases in alcoholism, suicide and murder, infectious diseases, and stress-related ailments. A recent study estimated that 2 million children have no family caring for them, of whom only 650,000 are in orphanages. The rest lived in abandoned houses or in the sewer system of large cities. Such is the mess that US Economists and the IMF created in Russia.
Newly emerged oil and gas magnates, bankers, speculators, on the other hand lived out a life of conspicuous consumption. They control the major mass media and, for a time dominated the government. These are the people who ended up in London when the game was up and they needed to hide their money.
If Russians felt the need for revenge, they need have done nothing but wait, because these same dizzy policies were rolled out across the US and UK in parallel with the fall of the Russian experiment and reeked the same sort of havoc everywhere it went. Markets grew while the real economy collapsed and ordinary people starved in their cold homes while billionaires showed off their new toys. 1998 saw an end to the Neoliberal era in Russia,
“I cannot imagine my own country in isolation from Europe and what we often call the civilised world,” said Putin, who was still acting president after Boris Yeltsin’s sudden resignation on New Year’s Eve 1999.
16 years later in 2016, Putin had an 85% approval rating with the Russian electorate, He had transformed the economy and eliminated a great deal of the poverty that existed in 1998, but still had a long way to go and battled a non-stop barrage of US sour grapes sanctions at every turn.
Putin has shown the ability to be autocratic and has played media in a way that made many global politicians jealous of his popularity. Watching his press conferences is like stepping into another world as the press engage with him like a long-lost friend and the exchanges are expressive of trust and friendship. Few politicians have ever achieved that. What westerners need to understand is that Russia is unlike the West just as the West is unlike Russia. That is a relationship of equals. Neither has to like how the other runs his own house, but they have to respect it. The reality is of course far from this sort of respect.
The US has never recovered from their humiliation nor the success of Putin in stabilising what looked in 1998 like a lost cause. Not only that he has restored some of Russia’s umph and is even able to stand up to the US once in a while when pushed. The list of US sanctions against Russia since 2014 reads like the memoirs of an angry school girl whose boyfriend slept with her best friend. 4
It’s a real shame that we can’t get over this silliness and move on when so much in the world is on a knife edge and so many vital and urgent global issues need to be resolved, but alas.
The US will never allow itself forgiveness, for as they see it in Chicago School, having spurned this chance to convert the prodigal son and for once and for all to create a shining example of just why it is that Uncle Sam’s bible is the only one to be seen thumping.
Perhaps it could be to do with the continuous stream of evidence that Neoliberalism is in fact evil and more corrupt than the Oligarchs who grabbed power in Russia back in the nineties or more recently in Ukraine.
Round two the starting bell.
Not everyone gets a second crack of the whip and especially not in a geopolitical situation where one might be able one day; all going well this time, to rub the sinner’s nose in it: Enter Ukraine.
By Xmas 1991,Ukraine’s independence had been recognised by nearly 70 countries including the US. It wasn’t until 2014 when a transcript of a tapped phone call emerged that the world began to realise just the extent of US interference in the affairs of Ukraine, but Americans will quite rightly point out that Russia sends aid into Eastern Ukraine regions to cultivate soft power and is believed to be behind the well-armed Russian separatists in that region who guard locals against attackers from Western Ukraine. We’ll return to this.
This telephone discourse tells you plenty:
” given some of the comments from Vladimir Putin’s adviser on Ukraine Sergei Glazyev — for example his interview with the Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper the other day — you don’t need your own listening station to be clear about Russia’s intentions. Russia he said “must interfere in Ukraine” and the authorities there should use force against the demonstrators.”
Bear in mind that NATO has never been officially involved in Ukrainian affairs and neither for that matter has the EU other than an attempt to negotiate an agreement at Minsk and discussions about possible membership. For NATO to offer membership would have been in violation of agreements already in place with Russia.
Azov and its power over Zelensky.
Ukraine’s early leaders were believed to be Russian leaning including Poroshenko who was ousted in the 2014 revolution and replaced with the US leaning Zelensky, a former stage comedian. During his rule, Zelensky, at least, allowed the establishment of the Azov group as an official Ukrainian battalion despite their being an international collection of far-Right Neo-Nazi misfits from every corner of the globe. His support of such a group makes little sense to me given what I know of him, for example that he is a Jew and I assume it must simply be a response to the lack of sufficient armed forces in Ukraine at that time unless it was a result of external interference. In any case, he was later to regret getting involved with them. It is now well known that Ukrainian Oligarch Igor Kolomoisky provided most of the recent funding for AZOV battalion.
While that news may slip by you and seem unimportant, it is all the same, critical to understand that if all of this is true and it seems likely to be; this represents Oligarchy running its own private army within a Conflict Zone and seemingly ordering around the leader of a very large state with threats. I believe that is precisely what it was. Add to that the fact the US government have been encouraging and funding Azove too and you will probably be confused.
In reality, we know that AZOV had in fact threatened Zelensky with death if he so much as negotiated with the separatist leaders in Donbas. You can probably guess where that instruction really came form. You have to bear in mind that Minsk came about because of the abuse of Russian separatists by the previous Kyiv governments that led to Russia demanding a peaceful settlement. The settlement was agreed at Minsk.
That settlement left Ukraine intact, but they had to respect the independence of the two separatist countries within to run their own governments much like happens in UK and Germany. They never did respect any part of either of these two agreements that they signed, supposedly in good faith.
After 8 years of patience with Kyiv and being alarmed by the activity of US in Poland and Ukraine and asking them to remember their agreements, but receiving no acknowledgement, Russia laid down the law and followed through when they were ignored. I have read accounts from numerous experts both US and non US all of whom agree that Russia had been left with little option at this point. I cant judge that, but I can say that my patience would have run out were in such a position because it was clear, that normal diplomacy was being ignored and something was clearly afoot. What Russia was seeing is the same as what Kennedy was seeing in Cuba. He was left with no choice, they’d simple trample on him if he flinched.
Whether the Azov pressure is the reason, I can’t say, but Zelensky refused to negotiate when offered a chance before the Russian troops moved in and on several occasions afterwards and did not honour the Minsk agreements of 2014 or of 2015, both of which he signed. These agreements, were they honoured, even late in the day, would have prevented today’s Russian invasion crisis and saved him a potential loss of land in Donbas. Even if responding to threats, it would seem that he feared the threat from Azov greater than that from Russia, or perhaps placed too much faith in promises intimated by Uncle Sam. We may never know.
Reports through 2014 and 2020 described the Azov as the main artery of attacks by Kiev government on the separatist defence battalions in the East of Ukraine and on the civilians of Donbas.
How much of reports from either side is completely genuine deception or genuine self-deception will most-likely never be known, but there is ample evidence of the horrors of daily attacks on helpless ethnic Russians in Donbas region carried out by these Neo-Nazis. Again this is as likely to be a breakdown of any discipline that might ever have existed as opposed to a strategy of terror, but it was promoted or at best rubber stamped by Kiev and for a time it was funded and encouraged by Washington. Obama had blocked the funding of Ukraine military aspirations, but funding was restored by Trump whose liking for such groups is a matter of record.
It’s worth noting that Azov is believed to number as many as 17,000 members globally. Recruited online, trained and funded in secrecy around Mariupol city. They have been involved in terrorism around the globe.
“Violent foreign extremists with links to Azov include Brenton Tarrant, who massacred 51 worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch in New Zealand in 2019, and several members of the US Rise Above Movement who were prosecuted for attacking counter-protesters at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and last week at a gay rally . . . . The Soufan Center has compared the Azov Battalion’s international networking strategy to that of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. US and NATO support for the Azov Battalion poses similar risks as their support for al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria 10 years ago. Those chickens quickly came home to roost, of course.
The complex politics and ethnicity of Ukraine as a region.
Far be it from me to claim expertise in such a complex area and I won’t do that. I know that 17% of East Ukrainians speak Russian and most Ukrainians can speak it as a second language. In a vote,70% of East Ukrainians described their ethnicity as Russian and .7m hold Russian passports while a further 1 million have applied to Moscow. Given the ethic issues that cause so much suffering around the world even involving people unlucky enough to live a few miles the wrong side of one of these divisive borders; the sort of scenario you find in Texas for example where close ties with Mexican family and friends were cut off by Trumps wall and in Northern Ireland before the border was finally opened up, it’s clear that a hard line is not the answer.
Most logical thinkers will look at the mistakes we have all been making and make huge allowance for a country that’s only a couple of decades old, but stuck in the middle in a war between Russia and The US where providing the battlefield is not a pleasant occupation.
At the very least, there is fear on both sides, a fear made worse for East Ukrainians by the banning of Russian language and refusal to even teach it at school. It would be clear to anyone placed in their position that they were living in a hostile environment,
“If Russian democracy ends where Ukraine begins, as a popular saying goes, then Ukrainian democracy ends when the conversation about language begins. The “language issue” can make anyone hate each other and lead to additional friction in society.”
As the daily fighting has progressed between the Russian aided (we believe) separatist fighters defending Donbas citizens and the US funded (we know) Azov battalion attacking them, villages, schools, housing estates, factories and everything that stands has been attacked. Before the clean-up of Ukraine material happened online, after the Russian invasion; there were ample reports of mass graves, bombed out schools and worse.
The outcome of this civil war has been that before the Russian invasion, 1.4 million East Ukrainians were deemed to be displaced by the war. A heart-breaking aspect was the pensioners made homeless by the attacks and then denies their pensions by Ukraine and left to starve unless they trekked across the most dangerous minefields in the world today that separate East Ukraine for the West of the country. What the situation truthfully is, at this stage after months of Russian invasion doesn’t bear thinking about.
Ukraine’s bid for Neoliberalism
Ukraine is an industrialised nation with highly productive manufacturing sector in the disputed East. It is also the worlds largest producer of wheat and has large untapped reserves of Fossil fuels.
The attraction for Oligarchs is not hard to work out.
Lets tackle this enigma of labels right here and now to save any confusion. When listening to CNBC or whatever your poison you can substitute your favourite meanings for the purpose of this piece, I want to to be crystal clear what certain terms mean.
It comes form Greek like so many words in so many languages.
ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos) ‘few’, and ἄρχω (arkho) ‘to rule or to command’
Think Monarch “Mono” and” arch”, anglicisations of two words one being the second half of Oligarch. Now if a Monarch rules alone and is all powerful, an Oligarch rules as part of a small group and is very, very powerful, but that small group is all powerful when they work together and the suggestion is that they generally do.
Nothing at all about yachts or even theft. That may happen, but it has nothing to do with the label Oligarch.
“In the early 20th century Robert Michels developed the theory that democracies, like all large organizations, tend to turn into oligarchies. In his “Iron law of oligarchy” he suggests that the necessary division of labour in large organizations leads to the establishment of a ruling class mostly concerned with protecting their own power.”
Because ex managers in the USSR state managed to grab ownership of previously state owned industries such as oil, the name developed a different tint to it, but in reality the US, UK, Germany or any other ageing democracy also has over powerful people controlling huge groups of businesses and buying the loyalty of politicians and Prime ministers and if the word is to be used in this way,, then it would be wrong to confine that usage to Russian businessmen.
New Liberal Economics. It doesn’t require translation. It is a relatively new term born of Chicago School Economics. The basic principle is a very simple one often described as “trickle down” economics. What it means is, work to make the rich more and more rich and eventually, some of that wealth will trickle down to the poor people and they will be better off.
The obvious flaw is the lack of any sense of fair play, but soon there is no motivation to innovate or grow because they control everything. QE feeds well into this theory as free loans are dished out year in and year out to big business who simply buy back their own shares with it thus causing the share price to rise and enriching themselves further. These men do precisely what an Oligarch is deemed to do only in a slightly disguised manner.
Did you by any chance notice a strong comparison between the principals embodied in the two words Neoliberal and Oligarchy?
Anyhow, now that we have that out of the way, lets jump in.
Like we had Monarch and Oligarch we also have these two lovelies:
Monopoly is when a single individual or company controls an entire market or other space.
Oligopoly is when a small group of individuals or companies control a single market or space.
Its less serious sometimes than a Monarch or Oligarch, but nevertheless its not healthy and there are laws, though weak and poorly monitored that are intended to prevent such things occurring. The fact that they proliferate in spite of the law tells us a lot of the power of Oligopoly and Monopoly and even more about the very similar power of Oligarchs.
The reality today in virtually all developed economies is that powerful businesses and their leaders use vast amounts of money to corrupt politicians into giving them unfair advantage and this is fundamentally what is at the root of all that is evil about Oligarchy. That makes the two terms more or less interchangeable for all intents and purposes. Its also a good time to point out that a state like Ukraine about to privatise state businesses with huge assets is an irresistible opportunity for Oligarchs to get their hands on more monopolies like telecoms, broadcast stations, newspapers, oil wells, etc.
“On the eve of the conference, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a significant step in the fight against oligarchs by presenting a corresponding draft law titled “On the prevention of threats to national security associated with the excessive influence of persons of significant economic or political importance in public life (oligarchs).”
· Read also: Why can’t Ukraine just get rid of its oligarchs?
According to the bill, a person can be deemed an oligarch if at least three of the following four criteria are met:
1. Involvement in political life;
2. Significant influence over the media;
3. Being the ultimate owner of a company that is a subject of natural monopolies or a monopolist in one of the markets;
4. Having assets exceeding UAH 2.27bn ($83m).
“Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre NGO, stressed that it is crucial to distinguish oligarchs from entrepreneurs because oligarchs usually claim they are entrepreneurs and the draft law is the first step in making that distinction. While the expert praised the very fact of having a discussion on de-oligarchization and the president calling oligarchs a national threat, she also shared numerous concerns civil society has regarding the president’s draft law on de-oligarchization.” 6
You may also have noticed the trends; yet another “de-I don’t likeit, ization” ; de-oligarchization, derussifaction and now denazification from the US, Ukraine and now Russia. What did they get themselves into?
The challenge facing Ukraine once it digs itself out of this ridiculous war situation.
Ukraine, like Russia and many other breakaways from the Soviet Union have extra challenges to deal with. These are precisely the same challenges that UK, France, Sweden and many others have tackled with not inconsiderable pain and expense over the past 40 years and it strikes me that surely we could not only offer help and advice, but quite likely learn some useful lessons in the process.
Without the US dangling carrots and whispering in ears 24/7, Ukraine would eventually build a government and an economy capable of supporting its people.
The state of play
“Ukraine’s oligarchs typically exercise their influence through corrupt MPs, members of government, law enforcement officers, and judges. The role of Ukraine’s bureaucracy is also significant, especially the middle and upper ranks of the civil service. In contrast to elected bodies, this element within the civil service is quite deeply entrenched and resists change at every step. Entire clusters of high-level civil servants receive lucrative illicit incomes for their cooperation with oligarchs. . . This is a problem in every such transition.
The 2016–19 government of Volodymyr Groysman were particularly important. These reforms sought to establish a clear separation between political appointees and those who had gained their positions through a competitive recruitment process. For the first time in independent Ukraine’s history, the administrative chain of command within the government bureaucracy underwent a dramatic revamp and talented young professionals began to enter the system. . . . Thanks to a number of dubious court rulings predominantly by the Constitutional Court, the anti-corruption architecture established over the past six years is now under threat, as are many other landmark reforms.” 7
Serihy Verlanov, writing for the Atlantic Council goes on to say: “One major step towards curbing oligarch influence would be privatizing Ukraine’s vast portfolio of state-owned enterprises, many of which serve as major sources of corruption. This issue is not new but keeps getting laid aside. Under the current government, things now appear to be going backwards. Many directors of state enterprises have been replaced over the past year due to pressure from oligarchic groups, resulting in huge losses to the state budget.”
I’d advise anybody with any doubts to have a conversation with the Greeks about the wisdom of getting into bed with the IMF and being sucked into selling off state assets. It has gone horribly wrong too many times to keep on ignoring it.
We all in UK remember a huge state with enormous inefficiencies, the culture of do nothing, cosy smug attitudes, huge pensions, lack of targets, recruitment via friend of a friend and all that good old stuff.
We all listened to the promises of tax cuts once we had efficiently run services managed by the private sector and we all know what an incredible pile of steaming horse manure all of those promises amounted to. We ended up with enormous fanfare and enormous privatisations and the money disappeared leaving us with useless services, oligarchs in charge of services and nobody accountable. We now pay huge profit margins to foreign companies for our oil and gas, health services, public transport and even running the civil service. Vast assets that were owned by the people have now gone and the money form the sale has gone too.
Privatisations in Russia reputedly ended up in massive deposits of cash belonging to the Russian people deposited in British offshore facilities and used to buy passports, titles, prime property, yachts, jets and all the trimmings.
The IMF once again
“Lagarde told reporters that the IMF team working in Kiev had reached an agreement with the Ukraine government on a new economic programme with about $17.5 billion coming from the IMF and additional resources from the international community.
“From these various sources taken together, a total financing package of around $40 billion is estimated over the four-year period,” she said.
The IMF’s staff-level agreement, which still needs to be approved by the IMF’s board, came after Ukraine’s government showed “a determination to reform like we have never seen,” Lagarde said.
Ukraine has agreed to front-load reforms including energy tariff increases, bank restructuring, governance reform of state-owned enterprises and an anti-corruption agenda, she added. “ Reuters 2015
What we have seen in Greece and all over the world is, it seems happening again in Ukraine as The IMF arrives to roll out the USA playbook, effectively crippling and stifling yet another struggling little country. I’m not suggesting for a moment that this is their intention but that they refuse to see what is staring them in the face, the abysmal failure of their policies and founding ideals.
Conclusion, we all owe the Ukraine better than this.
Trying one more time to prove that this disastrous route of Neoliberalism can work at the expense of lives and eventual collapse of a flegling state is no better than a criminal activity. Leading a helpless and inexperienced young nation astray just to prove a point not worth proving to Russia even if it were not also criminally stupid, is without question in my view criminal. The US should cease and desist.
I don’t believe for a moment that the US leadership wishes harm to Ukraine, though I doubt they’d lose much sleep either. I simply feel that they are stuck in a rut like the Jehovah witness at your door when you’re nursing a hangover and then there’s the AMIC to feed.
The US is in decline. Its Neoliberal phase has run full-circle and there’s no more fat to feed off. Its AMIC doesn’t even have a decent war to supply arms to. It has an eminent threat of oil drying up and seemingly neither the will not ingenuity to accept that the cheese has moved and tackle the problem by looking somewhere else. Any day someone in Congress will solve all these problems for Ukraine, Russia and Europe by snapping back the purse and locking it away. US spending has reached a new level of fantasy and there's nothing at all useful happening to suggest they can dig themselves out of it. In fact their main band-aid, the petrodollar is now both in decline and running out of lease time. They will disappear from Europe very soon to focus on their own problems, but then again we could be defending ourselves globally from QAnon warriors in Stetsons throwing milkshakes at us. Anything is possible, but US won’t nurse and build Ukraine, nor will they deliberately start a Nuclear war.
A crash course in Neoliberalism, sell-off of services to oligarchs and foreign investment funds, destruction of services and benefits and a resulting hollowed out empty economy with few jobs and no GDP worth talking of is what Russia got for its flirtation with Neoliberalism and thats precisely what Ukraine has to look forward to if this current madness is allowed to continue once it gest back its country full of flattened cities and airports. So who can they turn to?
Europe should get off the pot or get on with the job.
Greece deserves better than their experiences in recent years. Ukraine deserves a future within Europe one in which they can cultivate good relationships with their distant cousins in Russia as opposed to being used as cannon fodder in a mindless war of ideals between Washington and Moscow.
A few months ago Europe was completing another oil pipeline deal with Russia and the US was throwing Wobblies and doing spins to make us believe they were concerned about Our security in Europe. Now look where we are. Europe should have stuck to their guns, only they were somewhat short apparently.
Zelensky’s best case scenario.
It’s still not too late, but without concerted input from Europe, the US will continue to punish helpless Russian children and old folks with their Sanctions, Ukraine will be led further down the road to disaster and one day the US will walk away in favour of a more interesting war. That’s the best-case scenario Zelensky can hope for..
Back to Ukraine
The point of this piece is Ukraine. Ukraine wants to be part of the EU, they are already an inalienable part of Europe. Europe should be defending them form this US onslaught and negotiating peace for them with their cousins.
Russia and Europe should help them transition via trial and error safely to whatever kind of economy and democracy they eventually want when they have learned a little more. I can’t help feeling that in the process, Europe will have its eyes opened too.
Europeans are not cut out for this American flavoured Neoliberal garbage that has in recent years been tearing Europe up. Indeed, some say that the US is out of love with it too, but not free to speak up.
French riots, German unrest, Greek protest, Brexit, Italian protests Irish battle against water services privatisation and much more. A strong and responsible Social Capitalist methodology of the sort that is familiar in Europe will work better for Ukraine and I suspect for everyone if given a chance again in the rest of Europe. A system with strong Capitalist beliefs, but with a sense of responsibility to citizens as a first priority and understanding of the part that public service employment also plays in a flourishing economy.
Europe is now big enough and powerful enough to do things Europe’s way without tipping a hat to anyone. It just needs to start believing in itself.
Europe does not need to follow UK into a low-cost economy attempting to compete with Singapore and Vietnam combined with an oligarch capital.
Europe has principals to uphold, but most of all, Europe simply doesn’t need to compete with China or Vietnam. Europe is the biggest most valuable and most successful economy in the world with the safest currency and if it sets its own strategies it will be much bigger and much more successful, and Ukraine will contribute strongly to that success and in the longer-term Russia should continue to be a close friend and ally and take part in joint defence of the region.
Maybe one day soon, USA will face its demons and come back to us as a sane and valued friend, but right now, they have serious soul searching to do.