The Ukrainian Crisis and the Role of the European Union: The Great Game in the 21st Century

Written on 7 May 2014.


Above: Cape to Cairo – expansionism in the past. Does the modern EU want to bestride Eurasia like a colossus, from the Atlantic to the Pacific?

The Ukrainian Crisis illustrates the re-emergence of Great Power rivalry in the new multi-polar world order. To blame Russia for this situation is simplistic in the extreme.

It could be argued that the European Union encouraged the violent uprising against President Viktor Yanukovich. This did, after all, follow his abandonment of a trade agreement with the EU. The EU supported the protesters of President Yanukovich because it was in its strategic interests to do so. It opposes those who protest against the new regime in Kiev for exactly the same reasons.

It could also be argued that the EU is now an aggressive expansionist power. Indeed as the Russian sphere was shrinking the EU was expanding into that sphere. Furthermore, the Barcelona Declaration adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in November 1995 could indicate an intention to expand the EU into North Africa and the Levant. This may explain the so called Arab Spring and the ongoing crisis in Syria!

Perhaps Russia is wondering what territory on its borders will be next! Maybe it worries that at some time in the future the EU may repeat the process by sowing division within the Russian Federation itself. The “Manifest Destiny” of the EU currently seems to recognize no bounds.

While the EU does not have a problem with the referendum later this year that gives people in Scotland the opportunity to vote for the partition of the UK, it does not seem to be willing to extend this logic to Ukraine. Partition in the Ukrainian situation makes sense for the sake of international stability, while with Scotland independence is a political whim. Indeed, the call for Scottish independence appears to be personal hobby horse of certain Scottish politicians. Of course having the states within its borders carved up makes the central EU authority stronger and its ‘member states’ less influential! What does this tell us about the ambitions of the EU and its rulers.

The Western media seems eager to back up the propaganda of the EU. We see within EU countries how certain stories both international and domestic are suppressed by those who control the media. We also see an EU elite, using the un-democratic EU executive – the European Commission, to trample on democratic freedoms within the EU, and demonize opponents of the regime. We see this currently in the UK with the negative coverage of the efforts of the resurgent UKIP. The EU as an institution therefore cannot argue that it somehow has more democratic legitimacy than Russia. Indeed unlike in the EU the executive in Russia is elected by the people.

The situation in Ukraine is merely the result of great powers pursuing, promoting, and defending their own self interests. No side can be blamed for that. It is unfortunate that the people of Ukraine are now pawns in a new Great Game.


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