The Ukranian Crisis
One of the most interesting backfixes on the crisis is provided by George Soros, who wrote just yesterday about the role he played in Ukranian events and his hope for a German-led dominion of Central Europe:
I established the Renaissance Foundation in Ukraine in 1990 -- before the country achieved independence. The foundation did not participate in the recent uprising, but it did serve as a defender of those targeted by official repression. The foundation is now ready to support Ukrainians’ strongly felt desire to establish resilient democratic institutions (above all, an independent and professional judiciary). But Ukraine will need outside assistance that only the EU can provide: management expertise and access to markets.
Ukraine would thus open its domestic market to goods manufactured or assembled by European companies’ wholly- or partly-owned subsidiaries, while the EU would increase market access for Ukrainian companies and help them integrate into global markets.
I hope and trust that Europe under German leadership will rise to the occasion. I have been arguing for several years that Germany should accept the responsibilities and liabilities of its dominant position in Europe. Today, Ukraine needs a modern-day equivalent of the Marshall Plan, by which the United States helped to reconstruct Europe after World War II. Germany ought to play the same role today as the US did then.
I must, however, end with a word of caution. The Marshall Plan did not include the Soviet bloc, thereby reinforcing the Cold War division of Europe. A replay of the Cold War would cause immense damage to both Russia and Europe, and most of all to Ukraine, which is situated between them. Ukraine depends on Russian gas, and it needs access to European markets for its products; it must have good relations with both sides.
Here, too, Germany should take the lead. Chancellor Angela Merkel must reach out to President Vladimir Putin to ensure that Russia is a partner, not an opponent, in the Ukrainian renaissance.
One is almost tempted ask: what could go wrong? How much danger could there be in putting German and Russian interests in opposition in the Ukraine? In carrying out the ambitions of George Soros? For many years the single most important function that America played was to stand between the fuel and spark. That was the thankless role of the hegemon. To keep China and Japan apart. And so it was through all those decades until someone came to Washington convinced he knew better. But as President Obama put it so well, who needs a George Kennan?
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