Friday, February 28, 2014

Maybe it's time to leave the Ukraine to the Ukrainians


International manipulation underway by Russia, the United States and the European Union to control the fate and future of the Ukraine might be the way we like to play the game of foreign policy but recent events raise serious questions as to the validity of such an approach.

Sometimes it just seems like the big boys, those so called more civilized Western nations don't know when to leave well enough alone.  I think most countries like to give lip service to respecting the will of the people indigenous to a region like the Ukraine, but darn if we can really keep our word when it comes to actions.
Perhaps we forget little historical facts like the Ukraine has been settled by members of the homo genus since 43,000-45,000 BC when they were first called Neanderthals and discovered in the Molodova archaeological sites.  And Gravettian settlements were unearthed dating to 32,000 BC in the Buran-Kaya cave site of the Crimean Mountains.
It was part of the Khazar kingdom when time changed from BC to AD, the time of the birth and life of Jesus, and by 800 AD became Jewish.  Prior to that the Roman Emperor Constantine, a non-Christian, was convinced by his mother Helena to first issue the Edict of Milan in 313 AD granting religious tolerance to all religions.
Twelve years later there was the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, when he ordered the adoption of the Nicene Creed which evolved into the universal creed of Christendom.  Thus Constantine embraced Christianity and became the first Holy Roman (Christian) emperor.  From that time on Christianity was also evolving in the Ukraine.
However, it took until the Great Moravia empire under the Grand Duke Vladimir the Great before the Ukraine formally embraced Christianity in 988 AD.  Like Emperor Constantine earlier Vladimir was influenced by a strong Christian female in the family, his grandmother, Princess Olga.
The Ukraine, like every country or kingdom in the world, was beset by war after war throughout the centuries, the rather odd consequence of the evolution of civilization in the western world.
So commonplace were wars that The New York Times reported in 2003 that in the prior 3,400 years humans have been entirely at peace for just 268 years, or just 8 percent of recorded history.  You can throw in the last 11 years since The New York Times article because wars continued (Iraq & Afghanistan).
In Europe alone which includes the Ukraine there have been 550 wars recorded throughout history.  Ironically during the most recent 20th century a staggering 76 wars were recorded, the most of any century in history.  Included were the largest, most expensive and most devastating wars ever including World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam wars, though neither Korea nor Vietnam count in the European total.
So nations like the Ukraine and most of Europe have been buried in a deluge of wars since recorded history began and as mankind matured and became more civilized the pace and terror of war increased proportionately.  What in the world does that tell you about the nature of mankind?
The Ukraine took the first step in actual independence, something they really haven't had since the Neanderthal age some 45,000 years ago.  They revolted and threw out the President Viktor Yanukovych accusing him of murdering civilians during the recent demonstrations and stealing billions of dollars from the nation.
In the meantime in Crimea thugs seized government buildings and today two airports and raised Russian flags.  Crimea has been pro-Russia ever since the Soviet Union quashed a Ukrainian revolt and brought on the great famine of 1921, leaving 1.5 million Ukrainians dead.
From then on the Soviets under Josef Stalin tried to liquidate opposition and to repopulate the country with Russians.  With the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1991 independence seemed to return to the nation but economic difficulties, foreign interference and competitive manipulation by Russia, the European Union and United States made it impossible.
The people of the Ukraine and Crimea have been forced together for so long and manipulated by so many that the Crimea favors strong ties to Russia and the Ukraine to Europe.  Perhaps in the end the two must become separate countries so they can align with the nations they desire.
My plea is for all competitors to stop this game of international chess and for the first time in about 45,000 years let the people of the Ukraine and Crimea decide for themselves how to structure and align their nation.
Hasn't our brand of western civilization ruined enough lives and nations over the centuries?  The people of the Ukraine and Crimea know what is best, what kind of government they want, and what kind of relationships they want with the rest of the world.  Give them the few billions of dollars of foreign aid they need and step back and let it happen.

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