Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kiev: Meeting the Next Referendum "Head On"

When the Russian Bear Dreams of Canned Tuna

Even though Vladimir Putin has very ostentatiously donned his "I can handle anything" face at the Kremlin window, MeanMesa suspects that there really is a limit to how long the brave Soviet "wanna-be" can endure the screams coming from clutches of bleeding Russian Federation oligarchs.  Both the RF President AND the oligarchs still have a "cultural memory" of what it feels like to be awkward, isolated, bombastic Soviet no-bodies.

For a Russian oligarch the vision of those grey, bitter days of the Cold War might have grown a "little distant" from that bowl of caviar sitting in the parlor of his $300 million dollar yacht, but the unpleasant fantasy just doesn't enjoy enough historical separation to have become comfortably "unthinkable" just yet.

In fact MeanMesa suspects that the eerie shade of what the Russian economy looked like during the days of Lyndon Johnson and Leonid Brezhnev remains a stubbornly durable, ghostly presence in those St. Petersburg mansions -- and in those London dachas, too.  There is, indeed, the inevitable exhilaration of heartily flexed, sweaty Russian muscle. but there is also the future "toothache" phase which should make even the obscenely rich nervous.

Sanctions - Russian style [CNN]
Owning a mansion could become much more challenging in what still remains an essentially rural economy -- made worse by a huge, unsold oil and gas surplus, no customers and a rapacious mad man at the helm ready to sacrifice everything for a return to the nightmarish dream of past "Soviet glory."

If the thing actually still has any "brakes," the guy at the wheel hasn't touched them -- yet. However, that doesn't mean that the unwilling passengers haven't already been screaming at him from the back seat.

Grabbing A Quick Lunch At the Mousetrap

Making peace is inevitably both the most difficult and the most spectacularly promising at the portentous moment when the odds are horrible and the necessity overwhelming. Kiev's adversary now is the obsessive remnant of its own old ideas even more than the Russian troops across the Eastern border.  

The old ideas of a century ago are dangerous enough, but the bitterness and brutality of events of this year are the issues which must be dispatched to clear the way.  Futures are seldom founded on revenge, illusions of refuge or smoldering resentments, and that is the case for Ukraine, the nation, now in this perilous moment.

Kiev needs an immediate dose of "quiet time."  The path ahead requires clear heads -- and high ambitions.  At least for the time being, all this will be more similar to a chess game than to the triumph of Moses leading his tattered flock to the promised land.

If the East is clamoring for a "referendum," there must be an alternative proposal to counter the blind slide into the Russian Federation.  This is hardly "breaking news."  There must be another side on that ballot.

Further, that "other side" in this contest must have depth and weight -- sufficient to spur hope in those teetering at the brink with such a decision.  It must be credible and persuasive, but most importantly, it must be possible.

Everything done now must be consistent with a single question:  "How does Ukraine win?"

There really are promises to be made but not manipulative promises already crippled by austere conditions or flamboyant excess.  Those in the East are suspicious.

Step one will be to steel in Kiev's reality that there exists the model for a future Ukraine which will resolve this -- with the Russians, with the East and with the incendiary packs infiltrating Kiev.  The moment this existential possibility falters, the wolves will advance.

The "Hope" Crisis

The very best Kiev can propose to the East is an offer appealing to common sense, nationalism and self interest, but that gambit is hardly one of desperation.  Challenging?  Yes.  Servile?  No.

The spark which can once again solidify the present chaos is hope.  When the picture paints a window through which success can be glimpsed, all Ukrainians will be "interested." This motivates them far more than undefined false promises or ideology.

However, for those in Kiev that picture must light its way through all the mud installed by Putin's propaganda. That picture must honestly [and credibly...] explain what's to be done with the fascists in the West, what the economy will look like, how rule of law and peace will be accomplished and the rest.

Most of this is still Ukraine [image]

Desperate hopelessness is a Russian thing.  Don't be Russians -- be Ukrainians.  Be statesmen. Be strong and sensible. Be trusting -- trust Ukrainians.  Be trustworthy -- the burden may be heavy, but so is gold.

Make a plan -- a good one.  Invite all Ukrainians to join; invite all Ukrainians to improve the plan. Then, do it -- together.

The Russians have already used up all the cheap tricks.  Nothing remains to be placed on the table but things which can flourish in a clear sky.  New things. Concrete things.  Hopeful things. Common sense things.

God speed.

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