We all know what is currently happening in Ukraine close to the Eastern border of Europe, but not all of what we know is really and truly what is happening there. There are some new media/perception mythologies which have influenced our judgement on the matter and we ought to get rid of so as to clearly see the picture. Here I will try to list these myths and explain why should we not consider them when debating the issue.
- A SYRIA ASSAULT WOULD HAVE AVOIDED THIS
Apart from the fact that history cannot be undone and ‘try again’ just like on a game, such arguments could never be discussed … how can we say yes or no to that? How can we test it and try it out? It may be very true that Russia had and still has great interest in the international debate about Syria, the argument about Ukraine is somewhat different. As different as it may be, a justified attack on Syria by the US with the help of allies, nothing would have deterred Russia from claiming influence or property over Ukraine or at least part of it. History and influence there is far more at heart that any other tie with Syria.
- IT’S ALL THE FAULT OF THE US
When Russia attacked other parts of Europe/Asia in the past, the US was not involved in any way. Interests (political, social and economical) are not always the recipe of anti-US strategies. Not enough? OK. One may criticise President Obama in many ways, but one has to admit that his international role was never so aggressive, nor was it provocative. Obama’s intervention in Libya which was hailed by the international community will not always (perhaps never) work anywhere else.
- COLD WAR
Though history might repeat itself, this notion cannot be romanticised that much. First of all we should realise that it’s not two superpowers threatening each other and we should not forget the recent past. Difficult as it was, the attitude of Putin in relation to his US counterparts was never aggressive. One might also concede the fact that Putin is a very powerful, power-chasing person, but in no way is he challenging the US or anyone else over some ideological revolution. Any other issue in the Russian agenda is not ideological but political and thus singular international issues would not revamp a relatively recent-past historical even which is now acqua-passata.
As powerful and as mythologised, Putin and Russia are not Hitler and Germany. Nor is Putin invading a land which he wants to govern as his own so as to spread his might and power. It is not the case that Putin is on an invasion spree which should be stopped. There’s no assault over a sector of society but a cultural influence which is more deep-rooted than we could ever imagine. Perhaps we could criticise Putin as much as we could like, but we are not facing an issue of a maniac government which is in any way threatening an international community. Invading Crimea is a political situation which is contained and can be understood/discussed and/or disagreed politically and culturally. However, it’s not a third world war against Putinism anyway.
- UKRAINE’S STORY COULD END DRAMATICALLY
Such a story which Ukraine has faced since the fall of the Soviet Union and the iron curtain, needs more understanding than a quick-fix technocrat solution. We are facing a nation which is not in anyway united as to which direction to follow. Ukraine is a country which fought for and declared independence three times (last time was in 1991). The orange revolution of 2004-5 gave us a situation very similar to today’s Ukrainian political situation which was democratically reversed a few years later. Now we saw a President which was not going against the will of the people (who elected him not to be anti-Russian) but also found the Russian push to his favour. Political underpinnings pushed the Euromaidan revolution to where it is today … what’s next?
Perhaps it’s too much of a dream that it will “all’s well that ends well” or “they all lived happily ever after”. The fresh wounds which have breached the Ukrainian political sphere will eventually result in new waves and currents. Thus, we ought to understand clearly the dynamics and not perceive the situation prima facie but well informed.