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the Ukrainian problem goes back to hollow promises

Reader comment on item: Obama's Hollow Promises Abroad
in response to reader comment: Why are we surprised ?

Submitted by myth (Germany), Mar 2, 2014 at 13:52

Stephen, I believe the Ukrainian problem goes back to 1939 when Ribbentrop and Molotow signed and sealed the partition of Poland after a very hollow promise that Hitler made to Britain. When Germany invaded Poland Britain made another hollow promise declaring war with little forces to fight it. Those events would place Ukraine on the frontline between East and West in the summer of 1941. When WW2 came to an end Poland remained within the Soviet Empire. At the time the Soviets were the smaller evil compared to the Nazis. In any event Britain could not keep its promise to Poland.

1955 West-Germany joined NATO. As an implicit consequence West-Germany accepted partition from East-Germany and resigned all claims to former Eastern-European territories. 1999 Poland decidedly joined NATO and thereby resigned all claims to former Eastern-European territories it lost 60 years earlier with the Ribbentrop Molotow accord.

Ukraine rejected NATO membership 2010. This is where Poland's and Ukraine's fates part. The significant Russian polulation accounts for that fact. It is a remainder of the SU's Russian-nationalist face. I have talked to many people from former SU republics. They all remember the Russian-nationalist burden more than they remember the communist outlook.

The West certainly defeated the Soviet Union as a communist empire. The West never defeated Russian nationalism. Today the EU's economic power cannot accomplish what the Wehrmacht couldn't by force and NATO does not intend to. NATO's alliance is and should be with Poland.

Ukraine could follow the example of West-Germany and Poland. That is for Western Ukrainian to accept partition as the price for a NATO membership. Western civilization is based on shared values rather than territory of ethnicity. Ukraine does not need Charkov any more than I need Kaliningrad ( former Königsberg ).

Putin did the right thing making no hollow promises. He sent in massive forces to deter anti-Russian protesters from attacking Russians at the cost of lives. He prevented a civil war.

Ukraine is quite lucky to have Klitschko. He enjoys great popularity and credibility here in Germany. Facing Putin he does not even need to boast his alpha-male qualities.


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