George Will: Is Ukraine the Cold War’s Final Episode?Posted: February 20, 2014
George Will writes: One hundred years ago this coming Aug. 4, the day Britain declared war on Germany, socialists in the German Reichstag voted for credits to finance the war. Marxists — including Lenin, who that day was in what now is Poland — were scandalized. Marx had preached that the proletariat has no fatherland, only a transnational class loyalty to proletarians everywhere. “In 1918,” wrote Louis Fischer, Lenin’s best biographer, “patriotism and nationalism, born of the ‘subjectivism’ Lenin so disliked, were ideological crimes in Soviet Russia.”
The political elites who cobbled together the European Union hoped that the pooling of national sovereignties would extinguish the nationalism that, they think, ruined Europe’s 20th century. They considered the resulting “democracy deficit” — the transfer of national parliaments’ prerogatives to Brussels bureaucrats — a price well worth paying for tranquillity.
Now comes turbulent Ukraine, incandescent with nationalism and eager to preserve its sovereignty by a closer relationship with the European Union.
Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, is resisting the popular desire for constitutionally limited government and for a national existence more independent of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presence. Yanukovych wants to trade Ukraine’s aspirations for Putin’s billions.
Russia is ruled by a little, strutting Mussolini — the Duce, like Putin, enjoyed being photographed with his chest bare and his biceps flexed. Putin is unreconciled to the “tragedy,” as he calls it, of the Soviet Union’s demise. It was within the Soviet apparatus of oppression that he honed the skills by which he governs — censorship, corruption, brutality, oppression, assassination.
Remember when President George W. Bush peered into Putin’s eyes and got “a sense of his soul” as someone “very straightforward and trustworthy”? Remember when Putin fed the world the fable about rushing naked from his burning dacha — the fire started when Putin was in a sauna — before the rescue of his cherished crucifix, which had belonged to his sainted mother? Ukrainians, whose hard history has immunized them against the folly of wishful thinking, see in Putin’s ferret face the cold eyes of a prison warden…
- Ukraine might be site of Cold War’s final episode (stripes.com)
- Look to the Ukraine for the Cold War’s final episode: George F. Will (oregonlive.com)
- Will: Is unrest in Ukraine the Cold War’s last battle? (newsday.com)
- Ukraine’s EU protests hit Russia’s Putin (thestar.com)
- Cold War Rematch in Kiev (frontpagemag.com)
- Will Ukraine Break Apart? (newyorker.com)
- Obama: Ukraine, Syria aren’t ‘Cold War chessboard’ (usatoday.com)
- Roots and consequences of Ukraine’s violence (metronews.ca)
- George Will: Ukraine ‘Asserting Itself’ Against Russia, Putin (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- The State and Revolution (dissidentvoice.org)