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Roundup: Opinions on Ukraine From American and Foreign Media

A woman holds a banner that reads: "Putin is Occupier" during a rally against the breakup of the country in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, March 11, 2014.
A woman holds a banner that reads: "Putin is Occupier" during a rally against the breakup of the country in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, March 11, 2014.
The crisis in Ukraine has captured global attention and is generating a wide spectrum of opinion on its causes and solutions. Newspapers, blogs and other media are publishing a variety of commentaries and editorials on what’s to be done and who’s to blame.

Each day, VOA will curate a selection of these editorial opinions, highlight selections, and offer them for our readers’ consideration.

The opinions expressed below are, of course, those of the authors, not the Voice of America.


"Kissinger's Flawed and Offensive Analysis" Editorial response to commentary by Henry Kissinger, by Ben Carnes, communications director for Rep. Trent Frank and President, Congressional Ukrainian Association, published in the Washington Times.

"Due, perhaps, to his extensive dealings with the Soviet Union during his career, Mr. Kissinger makes an unforgivable mistake in his analysis, he states. “The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries …
 

Hundreds of years of Ukrainian history - including many brutal years under the Soviet system that specifically targeted and killed literally millions of Ukrainians — have been marked by Russian attempts to not only subjugate Ukrainians, but to rob them of their history entirely by claiming there is no separate Ukrainian history.

 

There may be a variety of views regarding the best resolution to the crisis in Ukraine. However, joining the very chorus of forces that have held down Ukrainians for hundreds of years and from whose shackles Ukrainians overwhelmingly freed themselves in 1991 and 1917 is neither “balanced,” as Mr. Kissinger suggests, nor is it helpful in advancing solutions to the crisis in Ukraine."

 
"Ukraine Choas is the Fruit of Western Expansion" Commentary by Seumas Milne, British political columnist, published in South Africa's Mail & Guardian.

"Clearly, Putin's justifications for intervention – 'humanitarian' protection for Russians and an appeal by the deposed president – are legally and politically flaky, even if nothing like on the scale of 'weapons of mass destruction'. Nor does Putin's conservative nationalism or oligarchic regime have much wider international appeal.

 

But Russia's role as a limited counterweight to unilateral western power certainly does. And in a world where the US, Britain, France and their allies have turned international lawlessness with a moral veneer into a permanent routine, others are bound to try the same game.
 

Fortunately, the only shots fired by Russian forces have been into the air. But the dangers of escalating foreign intervention are obvious. What is needed instead is a negotiated settlement for Ukraine, including a broad-based government in Kiev shorn of fascists; a federal constitution that guarantees regional autonomy; economic support that doesn't pauperise the majority; and a chance for people in Crimea to choose their own future. Anything else risks spreading the conflict."

"The Ukraine Balancing Act" Editorial published in the Japan Times.

"Putin’s bold intervention erased any doubts about his objectives and the lengths to which he will go to achieve them. The glow from the success of the Sochi Olympics has dimmed, and talk of a Nobel Prize for engineering a solution to the Syrian crisis has evaporated. Putin has been revealed as an authoritarian with scant respect for international law as many have long charged.

 

The developments in Ukraine pose dilemmas for Japan’s leadership. While some suggest that the prospect of Moscow’s isolation might increase its willingness to make a deal with Japan, the move in the Crimea should strip away all illusions about Putin’s readiness to hand over any of the disputed islands that comprise the Northern Territories.

 

And while Japan is increasingly engaging with Russia to secure much needed energy supplies, Tokyo must not be seen as unconcerned about solidarity with the West. There is a fine diplomatic line to be walked that acknowledges Russian interests in Ukraine without conceding the dismembering of a sovereign state. That balancing act is just beginning."


"In Ukraine, We've Agreed to Have Our Differences - Until Now" Commentary by Ukrainian novelst Andrey Kurkov, published in the Washington Post.
 

"In the past I’ve thought of Ukraine’s revolutions as seasonal phenomena, tending to start after the harvest in the fall and end before potato planting in the spring. And in some ways it did feel as if spring arrived Tuesday morning. Russia had given Ukrainian troops in Crimea an ultimatum: Surrender by 5 a.m., or the Russian army will initiate an armed assault. I stayed awake all night, checking the news online every two hours. And when the Ukrainian military did not surrender and Russia did not attack, I felt a sense of relief that war had been averted.

 

Yet this spring may be very different from previous ones. Even if tensions subside in Crimea, Ukraine will be left with its newly deepened divisions. My fear is that Putin, looking in the mirror, sees Stalin on May 9, 1945, preparing to greet the victory parade in Moscow’s Red Square."

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by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
March 11, 2014 12:14 PM
Almost two hundred years ago brilliant Russian writer by name of Alexander Griboedov has asked: “Who are the judges?” in his “The Mischief of Being Clever” comedy, the Masterpiece of the Slavonic literature. In other words, who are they to judge? The same question is relevant to nowadays. Who is the nobody by the name of Ben Carnes, communications director for Rep. Trent Frank and President, Congressional Ukrainian Association, as is cited above, when he has tried to argue with majestic Henry Kissinger, great personality with his vast knowledge of life in the world? I completely agree with the commentary by Seumas Milne, British political columnist, published in South Africa's Mail & Guardian, also cited above. Both of them know the real life and comprehend it in all nuances, understand what is going on.


by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
March 11, 2014 11:53 AM
Henry Kissinger is correct, and Ben Carnes is wrong. Kissinger's evaluation is correct, but he used a historical analogy, not a geopolitical and a trade/commerce analogy that is more realistic in today's global economy. Here is the correct analogy:

Ukraine and Russia have been, and still are today, what Canada and the U.S. have been -in geopolitical and trade/commerce terms and relations. It won't be easy for a Canadian crowd to demand a cut off of Canada's dependence
on the U.S. and re-align Canada with, say, Russia or another political block. French nationalists tried in the 1980's to break away from Canada and join France, but the effort failed.

Canada and the U.S. are as interconnected as Ukraine and Russia are, like Siamese twins, and taking them apart - as the West Ukrainians nationalists try to do now , won't be easy. Canada cannot survive if it is cut off from the U.S. Ukraine "may" survive, but probably not "whole," and its damage would be much greater than any geopolitical or societal benefit! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

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