Chaos In Ukraine Continues, Shows Need For US Global Leadership

The truce in Ukraine came to a quick end as clashes continued and the death toll continued to rise, reports Bloomberg News. The truce announced between President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders lasted overnight, but was broken early on Thursday morning.

Some in the US have called for sanctions, but President Obama has yet to formally advocate for those measures. His European counterparts have called for sanctions, or at least, “targeted measures” against the government.

Benjamin Bidder of Der Spiegel says that any outcome is possible in Ukraine.

“At this point, it no longer seems possible to rule out any scenario, including Ukraine’s collapse. Since its independence, the country has been constantly divided, with multiple and disparate centers of power. In the structurally weak west, nationalists who loathe Russia are in power.”

Gwynne Dyer notes in The Toronto Star the significant change that has occurred on the ground. Previously peaceful protests have turned violent as the government overestimated the reaction to Ukraine’s decision to turn away from Europe toward Russia. Dyer says it would appear President Yanukovych has run out of options.

“It is hard to see him staying in office unless he turns Ukraine into a full-scale police state, and it’s not easy to see how he could make that stick. The opposition is probably going to win. Then they’ll have to figure out what they want, apart from an end to Yanukovych.”

Who Is Protesting?
The protestors have been labeled as “terrorists” by the government, but, the Christian Science Monitor reports, they actually are “professors, doctors, members of nationalist Ukrainian political groups, journalists, and police officers were among the hundreds wounded and some two dozen killed in the clashes throughout the day.”

The makeup of the protesters has certainly changed since demonstrations began, particularly with the arrival of units of ‘self-defense’ groups, who began appearing in January, the paper continues.

Ukraine Shows Why US Leadership Is Needed
Seth Mandel makes the case in Commentary that Ukraine is one example of why US leadership in the world is needed more than ever.

“Ukraine represents the kind of conflict that is complicated and nuanced and does not involve an American military component. The Obama administration’s spectacular diplomatic failures should serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of clinging to preconceived notions as a substitute for genuine curiosity about the world,” he writes.

In addition, “how conservatives in general view such crises is probably as important now as it’s ever been. At no previous time have the Republican Party’s candidates been so responsive to the grassroots. (The party’s base might think those candidates are still not responsive enough, but that’s a different story.)”

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