Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko will speak in Sydney on 12 December at a Lowy Institute function:
Why is he doing this? And why it is a bad idea!
Whatever one’s view of the actions of Putin and Russia in the Ukraine conflict, the authorities in Kiev have continually acted with considerable stupidity – and, effectively, invited some of the Russian responses!!
My own view is that Putin would have got away with the annexation of Crimea without too much trouble if he had stopped there. Kiev should have recognized that Crimea was permanently lost — and used the occasion to extract considerable concessions from Russia.
But, both Kiev and Moscow then played their card-hands badly; both got carried away by events, and too easily resorted to force.
It seems to me that Poroshenko (like Putin) is continuing with that stupidity.
First of all, at least some of Poroshenko’s early December appointments will inevitably cause considerable problems with reform efforts in the Ukraine.
Ukraine has granted citizenship to Georgia-born Aleksandr Kvitashvili, US-national Natalie Jaresko and Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius – so that they can serve as ministers in the government!
Kvitashvili was appointed as Ukraine’s health minister after serving in the same role in Georgia during 2008 and 2010. Jaresko, who will serve as the country’s finance minister, has spent a lot of time in the Ukraine over the last two decades, including working in the US Embassy. Abromavicius, who will be economy minister, has been a investment fund manager concentrating on eastern Europe.
I know much less about the Ukraine than I do about Russia, but basic political psychology says that these appointments will put many Ukrainian political noses out-of-joint, irrespective of any qualities that these particular foreigners may have. Indeed, the reaction of some Ukrainian political noses will be so great that they will work to ensure that these foreigners fail in their appointed tasks – even if it damages the Ukraine!!
But, that still leaves the question of why Poroshenko chose foreigners in the first place?
The obvious answer is that he wants to demonstrate to the “West” that he is serious about economic reform. That is, he has put marketing of a product before he actually has a product. He wants up-front financial and political support to counter Russia; which certainly means some toughening of sanctions against Russia and some lethal military supplies!
And, what better place to gain some extra support for this than the Lowy Institute in Australia!
Thirty eight Australian lives were lost when flight MH17 was shot-down. The Australian mass-media, lacking any real knowledge of the ex-USSR and subsequent events in the region, will hardly ask Poroshenko a single difficult question.
Moreover, the US-subservient Lowy staff will frown upon any attempts to do so at their 12 December function. This is the pro-US fakery of the Lowy Institue’s executive director:
Australian prime-minister Tony Abbott and the Australian security-defence establishment are not particularly knowledgeable or sophisticated in their thinking about much of the world; they let the US do much of their thinking for them! And, what is the US now thinking? What does the US now want?
Answer: a tough attitude toward Russia (with the added benefit of providing a lesson for China, so that it knows who is “boss” in the world!)
Rightly or wrongly, both Poroshenko and the US will get what they want from Australia!
Poroshenko is on a “road-show” in Australia, and Australia will sign up for what-ever quota (of stupidity) that the US allocates it.
In my view, Poroshenko should be staying in Kiev to ensure that Ukrainian economic reform and prosperity becomes a reality; and there would be no better way to win back support in the eastern-part of the Ukraine than by doing this.
While he is away from Kiev, infighting involving the newly minted ministers (not much more than a week ago) will surely set-in! The chances of successful reform will be significantly reduced.
Neither Putin nor Poroshenko are now handling the issue well! So, conflict in some form will continue!