February 3rd, 2014
11:18 PM ET

What I'm reading: How Europe missed Ukraine chance

By Fareed Zakaria

To understand the opportunity lost in Ukraine, look to the southwest, writes Doug Sanders in Globe and Mail. "Serbia, a decade ago, was also about to be lost to Europe. Its protest movements had pulled it away from the ethno-nationalist demagoguery of Slobodan Milosevic, but Serbia was teetering on the edge of extremism. Its population and leaders leaned heavily toward Moscow – not just out of Slavic unity, but also because the 1999 NATO bombing and the humiliation of defeat were fresh in every Serb’s mind. Extremist forces in the military had just assassinated the prime minister. The economy, employment and the rule of law were all but absent."

"What turned Serbia into a normal country was the carrot of European Union membership."


“When the euro crisis was at its height it became commonplace for struggling European economies to insist that they were not outliers like Greece. Whatever their woes, they declared, Greece’s were in a class of their own,” The Economist says. “In Latin America, by contrast, the unwanted title of outlier has two contenders: Argentina and Venezuela.”

“Both have been living high on the hog for years, blithely dishing out the proceeds of an unrepeatable commodities boom (oil in Venezuela; soya in Argentina). Both have been using a mix of central-bank interventions and administrative controls to keep overvalued exchange rates from falling and inflation from rising. Both now face a come-uppance.”


“In no other theater of World War I are the results of that epochal conflict still as current as they are in the Middle East. Nowhere else does the early 20th century orgy of violence still determine political conditions to the same degree,” writes Bernhard Zand in Der Spiegel. “The so-called European Civil War, a term used to describe the period of bloody violence that racked Europe from 1914 onwards, came to an end in 1945. The Cold War ceased in 1990. But the tensions unleashed on the Arab world by World War I remain as acute as ever. Essentially, the Middle East finds itself in the same situation now as Europe did following the 1919 Treaty of Versailles: standing before a map that disregards the region's ethnic and confessional realities.”

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Glen Wright

    You need to research the development of the present situation in Ukraine better. What happened was that the IMF were going to impose such a heavy burden on Ukraine (similar to Greece) that the Ukraine politicians couldn't accept it without a mass uprising (similar to Greece). When these negotiations failed, the only alternative was to turn to Russia for a bailout. Russia naturally extracted a high price, no EU treaty. When Ukraine had to accept this, they calculated that this would cause less of a political problem that what would have happened if they had imposed huge social and economic sacrifices. The situation escalated not because people are overwhelmingly for EU, especially from the eastern side of the country. But because of the stupid political moves by the regime. So, this is where we are. What is going on now. Well, it seems the US/EC are fixing a fiscal package for Ukraine to bail them out. Something the IMF could have done and avoided all of this. As many countries have learned, when you have the IMF for a friend, you don't need an enemy.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:26 am |
    • Quinton8

      Good posting, Glen. Thank you.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Mark Borg

      Western Ukrainians want to go into the EU just as many EU citizens want to get out. In the EU hitherto "diehard enemies" Socialists and Conservatives, playing after-you-Claude once one side governing in one election, followed by the other sidein the next one , now stand shouder-to-shoulder against strong, new (but without any funds) populist and nationalist parties.

      No doubt the new parties have noticed that mob violence, and breaking into token administration offices is the way forward. The unelected EU cadre and the far-off US not only approved of changing fair election results by mob violence, but interfered publicly in the square in which mob rule reigns supreme and now are trying to bribe the Ukrainian President with a financial package. Also politicians from Lithuania and Poland notorious for secretly allowing the CIA to torture people in their countries were very actively encouraging the mob.

      The new European populist parties would no doubt have also noticed how both the US and the unelected EU cadre have never condemned the Azerbaijani dictator who inherited the country from his father and who being super-efficient had mistakenly divulged the election results before the people had actually voted. One can assume that they have drawn the obvious conclusions.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:28 am |
  2. Joseph McCarthy

    Good grief Fareed, you make a perfect mouthpiece for the right-wing thugs in both Europe and Washington by the way you're trying to sell us all on the EU. Evidently, you know little about the history of China during the last half of the nineteenth century when the Europeans literally bled that country white eventually leading to the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 which was most brutally put down by an international army which committed all kinds of atrocities later on. Do you honestly want the same thing for Ukraine? Evidently, yes!

    February 4, 2014 at 11:52 am |
    • Quinton8

      I wonder Joseph, just how many other people here know about what went on in China at that time besides you. Very few, I bet!

      February 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
  3. j. von hettlingen

    Geographically, Ukraine has the pro-European West and pro-Russian East divide and the Yanukovich's cabinet is pro Russia.

    February 5, 2014 at 6:42 am |
    • j. von hettlingen

      Serbia is different. Its government is seeking to join the EU. The Serbs are torn between pro Russian and pro European spirit.

      February 5, 2014 at 6:48 am |
  4. Glen Wright

    Way to go Viktoria Nuland, You are a great help in Ukraine. Join the IMF in helping Ukraine. With you and IMF/EU Ukraine is on its way to destruction. Can't wait to hear you next phone conversation.

    February 8, 2014 at 4:27 am |
  5. Vital

    Slavic world now lost to Russia: it remains only Belarusians. The majority of Ukrainian citizens hate invaders now. Putin ideal it's has gone over with Hitler Russian General Vlasov.

    April 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm |

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