Vice President Biden made a high level and risky visit to the Ukraine yesterday to accomplish what? Here is a list:
- Demonstrate to Ukrainians that the United States is supporting their pursuit of freedom.
- Demonstrate to Russia that the United States intends to support a free and fair election process.
- Encourage Ukrainians that their future can be controlled by their actions and intentions, and that alignment with Russia is not an automatic default option.
Step back, way back, to establish the political context. The Ukraine has become a dysfunctional government and the US and EU believe that this is due to vast corruption. The corruption and dysfunction in government has zapped the nation’s resources and has driven the economy into deep debt from which it cannot recover without outside assistance. Part of that enormous debt load is owed to Russians. Some might argue that the debt is contrived of created surreptitiously through corruption related to exploiting the nation’s need for fuel. How it happened was the result of government policy, energy strategy, economic policy, and political decisions.
As for Russia, the nation has been improving economically, however indications are that it is still below average on quality of life indices. The Russian government is more autocratic than democratic. The leadership is a revolving door that the people either support and love, or for which they have tolerance as there is no other choice. The balance of power in the country is in the hands of the political elite who are former USSR stalwarts.
Meanwhile, back in the USA, capitalists have advanced their control of America. A wealthy minority of persons and their corporations and Political Action Committees have garnered unfair control of the political system by manipulating their interpretation of freedoms. They have employed their power to corrupt the process. A compromised Congress for which leadership is aligned with wealthy constituents have used the Courts to exploit weakness in the law for which the Congress has no intention or motivation to correct. The tug for power between the Executive branch and Legislative branch is visible for all to see, and the jury is out onto which side the will of the people will land in Elections 2014 and 2016.
In conclusion, we see a spectrum of instances of nations whose governments have failed its citizens in matters of degrees. In the Ukraine instance, government collapsed as the people attempt to erect a new one with much outside interference, and much needed economic assistance. In the Russian instance, we see a new-style government that made some progress, but by its aggressive actions has begged for punishment by the free world that will pound it back for decades into subpar performance and likely disruption. In the instance of the United States, the government has fallen into a state of dysfunction, but the system is designed for self-repair so long as the people controlling it are not corrupted by wealth and greed at the expense of the will of the people.
Oddly, Americans have dispatched their Number 2 leader to assist the failed Ukrainians while back at home he is unable to promote collaboration and consensus.
“In Kiev, Biden pledges support for fair election, help to weather economic pressure
By Scott Wilson, Will Englund and William Booth, Updated: Tuesday, April 22, 6:39 AM
KIEV, Ukraine — Vice President Biden pledged American support Tuesday to help Ukraine stage a successful presidential election next month and to defy Russian economic pressure, but he also warned Ukrainian leaders that they must confront the nation’s rampant official corruption to meet the high political demands of a frustrated public.
Speaking to a group of Ukrainian lawmakers that included three presidential candidates, Biden said the political unrest here in the capital and Russian threats in eastern border regions present a “second opportunity to make good on the promise of the Orange Revolution,” the 2004 post-election uprising that led to the nullification of a rigged presidential vote won by pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovych.”
1. Biden speaks about the Ukraine
“Biden presses Ukraine president to find peaceful end to crisis
By Paul Richter
January 23, 2014, 2:08 p.m.
WASHINGTON – Vice President Joe Biden pressed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in a telephone call Thursday to halt his government’s bloody battle with political protesters, warning that further bloodshed “would have consequences for Ukraine’s relationship with the United States.”
In the clearest sign yet of U.S. concern about the confrontation, Biden told Yanukovych the Ukrainian government held primary responsibility in the standoff.
“Only the government of Ukraine can ensure a peaceful end to the crisis,” Biden told him, according to a White House statement.
Biden said the government needed to open talks with the protesters and find a way to “meaningfully address [their] legitimate concerns.””
2. Demonstrate to Russia that the United States intends to support a free and fair election process.
“Republicans demand Obama get tougher with Putin over Ukraine
By Justin Sink and Erik Wasson
President Obama came under mounting pressure on Tuesday to take tougher steps against Moscow amid criticism that the U.S. response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has been too weak.
Calls for more muscular actions, from expelling Russia from the Group of Eight to offering military support to Ukraine, came as Russia’s stock market rallied and the ruble gained value a day after Obama authorized an initial round of sanctions meant to punish the Russian economy.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) called on Obama to “reassess” his entire approach to Russia, while 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized Obama’s foreign policy as promoting U.S. weakness.”
3. Encourage Ukranians that their future can be controlled by their actions and intentions, and that alignment with Russia is not an automatic default option.
““The people of Ukraine determine their own future.”
“Nobody wants to end up owning all the problems that Ukraine faces.”
By ANDREW HIGGINS and ANDREW E. KRAMER
The New York Times
KIEV, Ukraine — Abandoned by his own guards and reviled across the Ukrainian capital but still determined to recover his shredded authority, President Viktor F. Yanukovych fled Kiev on Saturday to denounce what he called a violent coup, as his official residence, his vast, colonnaded office complex and other once impregnable centers of power fell without a fight to throngs of joyous citizens stunned by their triumph.”