Unrest in the Ukraine: Will the U.S. Get Involved?

I was reading about the unrest in the Ukraine that resulted in the eventual overthrow of President Viktor F. Yanukovych by the Parliament.  A couple of years ago the toppling of Dictators in the Arab spring riveted the attention of the world on Africa and some Middle Eastern countries.  The biggest ally of the United States, Egypt, lost its leader after weeks of protests in Tahir Square.  In this situation, there seems to be a latent tug of war between the United States and Russia for the eventual influence over the direction that this country takes.

One of the images that will remain as events unfold in this country is the awe that regular citizens are feeling as they walk the grounds of the former presidential palace.  Mr. Yanukovych is a leader who prides himself on his relationship with Russia.  At the heart of the protests were people's desire to align themselves with the European Union.  The following excerpt from Wikipedia indicates that the President was outwardly Russian but inwardly a person with a fondness for creature comforts:

 Bubbling fountains, vintage cars, several ostriches and a golf course - the overwhelming opulence of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's estate, Mezhyhirya, used to be a well-guarded secret. But this once carefully fortified residence is now under the control of EuroMaidan activists, who opened up the territory to the public as a "Museum of Corruption" on Saturday morning.

This is a country where a majority of the people live on less than $500.00 a month.  Why would the leader need to have at least 300 armed guards and a strict policy of no press access to his estate?  It is amazing that this is one of the places where many people are now taking pictures and maligning the excesses of their former leader.

One of the reasons I also took notice of this conflict was when former heavyweight champion Vitaly Klitschko, who became an opposition leader, resigned his heavyweight crown to stand with his people.
His voice rose when the President rejected an accord with the European Union on November 21st, 2013.  Some people then toppled statues of Vladimir Lenin.  For  many of the people living in the Ukraine of Russian descent, this was an act of treason.  On the other hand, those wanting to sever ties with Russia are ecstatic.  Reports today are that protesters in the town of Donetsk, in the eastern part of the country, are clearly split between the proposed new government and their loyalty to the recently deposed President.

I also learned about Yulia Tymoshenko while researching for this blog post.  Ms. Tymoshenko was a former Prime Minister and a founder of the Fatherland Party.  She amassed a sizable personal fortune based on what some considered questionable energy deals.  She was also credited with being one of the leaders of the Orange Revolution in this country.  She was jailed almost two years ago based on a trumped up corruption charge by the former President.  She addressed an adoring crowd in Kiev Independence Square on Saturday and could be a leader going forward as the Eastern European Winter of Change, as I call it, moves forward.

There have been a number of local protests here in this country based on the violence in the Ukraine.  Descendants of this country do not like to see the bloodshed and continuing unrest.  The United States has called for an end to the violence and for an orderly transition of power.  We said the same thing in Egypt and sat back while Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the military.  President Vladimir Putin, of Russia, while attending to the closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, is watching with interest.  Many people said that he does not want this country to fall totally under the control of the European Union.  Could this current unrest lead to a split in this country?  I do not feel that we should intervene militarily.  We still need to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan.  I wish the people of the Ukraine luck as they establish a new ruling structure.  God Bless all of the protesters who lost their lives in the fight for what they believed in.

P.S. Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was on television this morning talking about President Obama's lack of foresight with regard to Russia.  Even today, the US should not do more than sanctions to counteract Russia's move to take over Crimea.  We cannot police the world and still maintain our status as a Super Power.  Bye Mitt!!

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