In Russia’s shadow, Ukraine – a former Soviet Union satellite – is deepening and entrenching its commitment to traditionally Western free market principles. And the economic results are – shocker – phenomenal.
Ukraine’s approach offers much from which we here in the United States can learn.
As we’ve seen on myriad occasions, President Barack Obama and his Democrats are much more comfortable bowing East than leading West. And dragging our economy further toward the failed Eastern model – government-centric, regulation-laden and stiflingly small.
And the economic results are – shocker – terrible.
We – and basically the entire planet predicated upon that Eastern model – have been mired in nearly four years of non-recovery “recovery.”
Westernized free market Ukraine, meanwhile, has exploded.
Ukraine’s economy grew by 4.2% in 2010 – and 5.2% in 2011. Our “growth,” meanwhile, was 3.1% in 2010 – and an anemic, plummeting 1.5% in 2011.
Ukrainian exports grew last year by 37% – that, by the way, is a gi-normous number of new domestic Ukrainian manufacturing jobs. In 2010, they exported €11.4 billion worth of goods to the European Union (EU) alone – and purchased €17.3 billion worth from the EU.
And Ukraine is reforming its energy sector to ensure even more efficient use of its ample coal, oil and natural gas reserves. Which strengthens its position as a European energy conduit – one Russia can’t use to hold the EU hostage.
Ahh, Russia. What can now at best be described as a Cold Adversary nation.
As Ukraine moves in all manners policy further away from Vladimir Putin’s Playhouse – what are we doing?
In a notorious March hot mic exchange with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, President Obama asked of Mother Russia – electoral patience.
President Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Prime Minister Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
(Perhaps this is a reason why when the absurd United Nations recently reconvened President Obama took a complete pass on meeting with any world leaders. It rarely redounds to his – or our – benefit.)
“Transmit to Vladimir” – that would be Putin, the ex-KGB Russian puppet master pulling the strings of the man to whom President Obama is pledging greater “flexibility.”
“Flexibility” – to do what? Even more Russia-appeasing damage to our allies? Things like in 2009 selling out Poland and the Czech Republic on missile defense?
So despite this Presidential abuse of our other one-time confederates in its region, Ukraine remains steadfast in moving away from Russia – and towards free market liberation.
Ukraine also has a looming election – on October 28. And they are not asking for more “flexibility” – they are seeking to unleash even greater economic freedom.
Something we easily could – and should – emulate. If only our elected officials were smart enough to do so.