Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Much more gas analysis

Here some more analysis of the gas crisis here--One Gas Mask For All. Yulia MOSTOVAYA. Zerkalo Nedeli On The WEB. And it is a crisis.

This is not to say that economically Ukraine wouldn't be better off to eat the higher prices. It would be much better off, in the long run. But it needs to be in manageable bites. Maybe that is impossible to do--industries and governments are not usually motivated to do what they aren't forced to do. But economic devastation could be a real possibility. And Yuschenko and the gains of the Orange Revolution might not be the only casualties. Democracy could also be a casualty. The great cynical irony is that after the Orange Revolution, Russian analysts sneered that Ukraine would dabble in democracy and that it would then be discredited leaving Ukraine on the more natural path that Russia blazed with Putin. "You'll be with us in the end," was what they said.

It looks like it won't be the result of any kind of Slavic inevitability or historical necessity but because of Russian meddling. (And if you don't think it is meddling, just look at the prices Belarus and others who toe the line pay.) They will give history a big shove and then talk about the inevitability of it all. It seems like that is a result no one should want in Ukraine.

Of course, they could just cede the pipeline to Russia if that is what they are really after. Easy to resolve then. But that only makes sure you get eaten last, to paraphrase Winston Churchill.

So the government has to mobilize. But it looks like nothing is being done. And the opposition is looking to what will amount to a carving up of the cadaver. Criminally irresponsible still.

Does Europe see this all with any degree of concern? If appeasement seems to come to mind readily there might be a reason for it. Hunker down and maybe they'll pass us by. If the argument that Lavrov has made that they will use it for their near neighbors gives them any feeling of relief they are naive. Using resources as a tool of foreign policy has no natural limit. If it is in their interest to use them against Ukraine, when it is in their interests again, they will be used again. Anything else is living in a Disneyland world. All is joyous and wonderful inside and all the problems are left outside--for a hefty price. But those problems still press in and eventually you have to come out and deal with them.

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