Ukraine Decides – For The Moment – To Go East, Spurring The West

Ukraine Backs Out Of Accord With European Union Giving Russia A Victory
Ukranian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov explained his decision to back out of political and free trade agreements with the European Union by placing blame at the feet of the International Monetary Fund and its stance on debt refinancing.

“The I.M.F. position presented in the letter dated November 20 was the last straw. This decision is hard but it’s the only one possible in the economic situation in Ukraine,” he told a session of Parliament, according to the New York Times.

Others, however, cite growing pressure by Russia for prompting his unexpected move, while Putin blamed the EU for pressuring Ukraine and forcing them to suspend trade talks.

“When we heard (I just found out yesterday) that Ukraine has  suspended – not canceled but suspended – negotiations with the EU  and wants to review everything, we heard a threat from the EU to  Ukraine up to the point of holding mass protests. This is pressure and blackmail,” said Putin, who added that Russia was open to hold three-way talks with the EU and Ukraine on trade and the economy.

Wacław Radziwinowicz argues in WorldCrunch that Putin viewed Ukraine’s move toward the EU as a threat, spurring him to make every effort to bring the former Soviet bloc nation back under its wing.

“Now, Putin is busy doing everything to stop the Ukrainian accession to the European Union. (On Thursday, he got some welcome news as Ukraine’s parliament rejected a bill that would have led to the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, which may scuttle a key trade deal with the EU.)

“The Russian borders have closed for products imported from Ukraine. The pro-Russian lobbyist like local communists, Viktor Medvedchuk (the former Head of Presidential Administration of Leonid Kuchma) and industrialists doing business with Russia work full speed to do Moscow’s bidding. Russian TV channels available in Ukraine spread the vision of the disaster which joining the EU would bring on Ukraine: loss of the eastern market, poverty, unemployment, the end of independence,” he writes.

European Elections Will Be A Reality Check For EU Leadership
Geert Wilders argues that the upcoming elections in Brussels will reflect a growing patriotism in the nations that comprise the European Union.

“Next May’s European elections, in which almost 400 million people in the 28 EU member states will be allowed to cast their votes, will in all likelihood produce a landslide against the Eurocrats. What will manifest itself, however, is not a rise of populism, but a victory for democracy. For decades, Brussels has been able to do what it pleases. That period is over. People have finally come to realize that so-called europhiles aim to destroy Europe’s nations, the homes of national democracies. And people are not going to let it happen. They are no longer buying the lie that patriotism is dangerous, that it is a vice and not a virtue. They are reasserting their national pride and identity,” writes Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV).

Can Obama Get His Credibility Mojo Back?
The editors at The Economist conclude their series on US foreign policy by offering their thoughts on how the Barack Obama can regain his credibility on the world stage.

“Free-trade deals could tie in allies across the Atlantic and the Pacific. Having over-reached in Asia and with a string of domestic problems, China needs Mr Obama to keep the world stable. If Mr. Obama can build a better relationship with China, he will advance both countries’ interests. An immediate test is Iran: an interim agreement to halt its nuclear programme would be a first step towards re-engaging America in the Middle East. But only if Mr. Obama works at it and sells a deal to Israel and his Arab allies,” the write.


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