How China Views the Ukraine Conflict

Port, Odessa, Ukraine

Thought better of adding the following analysis under this USA Today piece, just another in the mountain of ‘The Russians are invading!” entries in the Western propaganda sweepstakes:

Yawn … for months there has been large-scale and official U.S. and NATO assistance to Ukraine’s military and large-scale unofficial Russian assistance to the other side. The real story behind the “RUSSIA IS INVADING!!!” distraction is that Novorossiya is now winning the civil war, probably because its people are very angry about Ukraine’s bombing of eastern Ukraine civilians. That’s the real story and it’s a big one you aren’t covering. Finally, and by the way, Novorossiya is as legitimate a government if not more so than Ukraine, which was elected during a civil war with voting by only one side in that war.

There are few independent perspectives on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and even Wikipedia is thoroughly POV as we say there, but maybe China is a reasonable place to look for a degree of neutrality and viewpoint independence. Here’s China’s latest and more or less official view of the cold and hot war over Ukraine:

Ukraine at risk of being West’s pawn
August 31, 2014

… Russia may have the strongest determination to refuse compromise. The EU may be the least determined to confront Russia. The US suffers the least in the Ukraine crisis. If it is not entangled in other troubles, the US will be more than active in challenging Russia.

The conflicting parties are expecting China to take a clear stance in this crisis. However, China has no deciding role in this conflict. …

The EU, Ukraine and Russia are becoming tired of the conflicts. But Washington is not worried much, as the drawn-out crisis will only exhaust the parties on the east and west sides of Ukraine.

No matter how much Ukraine resents Russia, they are still neighbors. Ukraine has to be cautious not to become a chess piece for the West to edge out Russian influence. Also, Russia should avoid making Ukraine its permanent enemy.

That’s very diplomatically put, because from the direct evidence it’s obvious Ukraine has been a puppet since U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland installed her favorite, Yats, as prime minister back in February. The following, rarely if ever heard in the West (except from Stephen Cohen (link under attack or otherwise not working)) is also solid common-sense analysis of the conflict by official China. See what being independent from the two conflicting sides does for power of analysis:

The disagreement between Russia and Ukraine over the settlement of the crisis lies in their competition [for] power in the region …

For Ukraine, the largely Russian-speaking region is where the country’s economic foundation lies. Rich in deposits of coal and iron ore, the eastern part of Ukraine holds almost the entire industry of Ukraine, making the cession of this region unacceptable for Kiev.

Kiev now urgently wants the rebels to hand back the territory they have captured in eastern Ukraine and demands a halt to what it says “arms shipments” from Russia to the fighters, a charge that the Kremlin denies.

Meanwhile Russia also wants to retain some sort of leverage over the region so Ukraine does not join NATO or the European Union. Moscow has frequently called upon Ukraine to become a loose federation with greater regional autonomy, an idea that Kiev repeatedly rejected.

The issue as whether or not to federalize Ukraine has become the key disagreement between Kiev and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. But such conflicts that involve fundamental interests of both countries could hardly get concessions from either side.

Relying essentially on the understanding in the above two blockquotes, I have long thought that this conflict can be worked out in theory, with Russia and most people in eastern Ukraine getting nearly all of what they want and Ukraine getting nearly all of what it desperately needs economically. But the conflict is not just about Russia, Novorossiya and Ukraine. There are other players, unfortunately: the IMF, the U.S. and subordinate military-security complexes, and the ‘armies’ of the neoliberal globalization crusade. Let’s hope they butt out at some point and Ukraine can go back to being a neutral buffer between Russia and the EU/NATO. That certainly is the most economically rational path for Ukraine and the EU to follow …

Photo by DomiKetu under Creative Commons license

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