The crisis in Ukraine, which started some eight months ago with a small protest on Maidan Nezalezhnosty, continues to drag on with little sign of abating. Despite increasing sanctions and much public posturing by Western leaders, the gnome in Moscow continues to ratchet up the tensions in Eastern Ukraine as the body counts on both sides reach new heights of tragedy and futility.
Political and media gurus spin out reams of analysis trying to explain what is going on, trying to decipher the complex interweaving of power politics, European Union strategies, Ukrainian nationalism, ethnic tensions and rivalries, renewed Russian imperialism, NATO policies, petroleum dependencies, global economic interconnectedness, democratic renewal and propaganda warfare.
No doubt, a case could be made that what is happening in Ukraine is a complicated mix of factors and players creating an unfortunate crisis that is not going to be easy to resolve. I, for one, don’t think so. What is happening in Ukraine and its corollary effect on European and world affairs is in fact a very simple and straightforward struggle between good and evil being played out on a world stage.
Let me lay it out in clear terms. First of all, there can be no doubt that President Putin is evil incarnate. His mentality was forged in the warped world of Cold War KGB thinking where power and control were the ultimate values and human lives were irrelevant to the achievement of one’s goals. His route to absolute power is littered with death and destruction. He has turned lying and manipulative propaganda into an art form. Facts and truth are what he says they are, regardless of any basis in reality. His hatred for Ukraine and Ukrainians is self-evident and form the basis of his renewed pathological desire to create a new Russia. US Vice President Biden went as far as to say after meeting Putin, that the man had no soul. What Putin is doing in Ukraine is no more complicated than an evil bully beating up on a weak neighbor.
What led to the Euromaidan upheaval can also be explained in simple moral terms. President Yanukovych and his cronies were amoral and greedy opportunists who showed no qualms about robbing Ukraine and its citizens blind. The revelations regarding his wealth after he fled the country were stunning in terms of the scope and extent of his greed and avarice, Mezhyhirya being but one small example of his vanity. When finally faced with an uprising against his corruption and plundering, Yanukovych showed no hesitation in ordering his minions to kill unarmed demonstrators. Again, a prime example of a tyrant with no soul inflicting evil on innocent lives.
Regrettably, this manifestation of evil and lack of moral principles is not restricted to Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs. There are amoral political gnomes throughout the EU, who to this present day, have done everything they can to prevent effective sanctions being placed on Putin and any meaningful aid being provided to Ukraine in her time of need. There are no complex political or diplomatic factors motivating their inaction. The simple truth is that the Russians have invested a great deal of their wealth in European economies and supply a significant chunk of Europe’s natural gas consumption. Russian oligarchs own huge swaths of pricey real estate in Europe’s prime playgrounds. They have many influential European business and political leaders on their payroll. Events of the past few months have shown that money talks, and the avarice of Europe’s economic elite has robbed them of any moral spine in facing up to one of history’s all time bullies.
The charters and constitutions of the European Union and its constituent countries are full of noble ideals and principles touting the primacy of fairness, justice, democracy, free speech, human rights, and self-determination. They mean nothing when they are made subservient to the allure of the almighty dollar. Europe has been challenged with an existential moral dilemma – either act according to your professed principles and morality, or face the deterioration and collapse of the moral foundations on which your countries are built.
The Ukrainian crisis is not complicated. It is the age old struggle of good vs evil. It is time to choose sides.