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Translated by Ollie Richardson & Sergey Bardashov


What is the difference between Ukrainian so-called experts and politicians and their Western colleagues? The difference is when Americans and Europeans are faced with some serious problems they try to solve them. And when they find a solution they implement it no matter how unpleasant it might be. Ukrainians, on the other hand, instead of solving their problems, they start to noisily dance around them with propaganda tambourines like doped shamans.

From the point of view of the “titans of Ukrainian thinking”, if the word “halva” is said ten thousand times, it will become sweet in the mouth. This is why Ukrainian patriots behave as if Ukraine did not lose Crimea and Donbass, as if there is no civil war in the country, as if their economy is still intact, and as if Ukraine is a fully functioning state. During three years of civil war in Ukraine and its rising financial and economic collapse, Kiev wasn’t able to offer at least once some real solutions to the gigantic problems that are pulling the State to the bottom of the grave. Ukrainian experts and politicians only show various forms of stupid brainwashing, demanding the impossible and dreaming about unrealistic things, and pretending that everything is good and it will be even better. Their kind of thinking is a certain parody on the mentality of an old woman from Pushkin’s “The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish”: “stick out their bottom lip, stamp your feet, shout ‘I want!’, and wait for the ‘wishlist’ to materalize”.

That’s why the results of Ukrainian policies resembles the end of the aforementioned tale:

The old man waited and waited,
But that was all the answer he got;
He went back — to a hut made of mud;
His old woman was sitting outside it,
And before her lay a broken washtub.

Apparently, having realized the inadequate foolishness of Ukrainian partners, western politicians and experts try on their own to poke around for the real means to solve those problems that endanger Ukraine with a full catastrophe. After militant euphoria, the West tries to look for a compromise with Russia. Of course, at the expense of Ukraine.

Thus, a few days ago the former employee of the US Agency for International Development Josh Cohen published an article in The Washington Post under the promising headline “There is a way to reconcile Ukraine and Russia”.

According to Cohen, it is possible to solve the Ukrainian problem only if “any possibility of Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization” should be taken off the table. The American expert is sure that “although NATO offered Ukraine an offer of future membership at a summit in 2008, the reality is that many NATO countries would not support Ukraine’s membership in NATO anyway, and indeed the alliance already denied Ukraine a track toward membership once before”.

The necessity to refuse NATO membership, in his opinion, is caused, firstly, by the fact that the USA and the countries of Europe under no circumstances will be at war with Russia for Ukraine, even if the Russian army will take Ukrainian territories under control. And secondly, Cohen considers that “NATO membership remains divisive even within Ukraine. A Gallup poll released last month discovered that Ukrainians have soured on NATO since 2014, with a plurality now viewing NATO as a threat rather than as protection.

Therefore, according to the American expert, “Kiev’s refusal of NATO membership”, “from a Ukrainian perspective it would constitute a welcome expression of realpolitik”.

Cohen considers that “in exchange for Kiev agreeing not to pursue NATO membership, Russia must reciprocate by explicitly acknowledging Ukraine’s right to pursue both membership in the E.U. as well as any non-military political or economic relationship with Brussels it may choose instead.” Since “it is time for Russia to accept that, like it or not, Ukraine remains determined to pivot toward Europe politically and economically.”

Thus, the former employee of the U.S. Agency on International Development noticed that “luckily for Russia, however, E.U. membership is nowhere on the horizon for Ukraine”. I.e. “Russia gives up little by agreeing that Ukraine has the right to join the E.U.”

Cohen proposes Kiev’s abandonment of the unpromising aspiration of Ukraine in NATO in exchange for recognition by Russia of the Ukrainian right to European integration, which also is impossible due to objective reasons.

In addition, the American expert is deeply convinced that “what does make sense, though, is for Ukraine to decentralize some of its powers to the regions”. From his point of view, “regions should receive greater control over tax and spending, as well as the ability to directly elect their own governors. It also makes sense to allocate control over many social issues such as education, language and culture to Ukraine’s regions. Numerous European countries follow some form of this model”.

At the same time, Cohen considers that it is not advisable to bring up the question of Crimea and “it will likely prove necessary to simply defer Crimea negotiations until some later date”.

Understanding that the Ukrainian leadership will hardly be enthusiastic about the proposed settlement plan, the American expert emphasizes: “Kiev will ultimately need to choose between endless conflict or an imperfect but realistic settlement”. Thus he added: “As Otto von Bismarck once said, ‘politics is the art of the possible, the attainable … the art of the next best’.”

It is clear that Kiev will never agree to “Cohen’s plan”. But it isn’t important. The opinion of the former employee of the U.S Agency on International Development is interesting, first of all, for the fact that it brightly illustrates the moods that now reign in the American expert environment concerning a solution to the Ukrainian problem.

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