ukraineballThe crisis in Ukraine: World Cup needle-match or boring friendly?

FROM FOOTIE TO FASCISM, NEOLIBERAL GLOBALISTS ARE THE REAL ENEMY

With the Arab States playing synchronised Ambassador withdrawal against Qatar, once again one is left wondering exactly what sort of World Cup tournament is going to be possible given the increasingly Islamist slant of the Government, the 45 degree temperatures, and the possibility of everyone boycotting everyone else. The assumption underlying even that, of course, is that there’ll be a world of which to be champion by then. Last night, England scraped a late goal 1-0 win over very poor Danish opposition, in a match so tediously coached on both sides I turned it off after half an hour. Our plucky boys in white have now scored just the one goal in their last three home matches. We simply aren’t good enough, thanks to Rupert Murdoch – the Undead One who sucked all the money out of the grassroots game and gave it to the performing ego-monkeys we see prancing about on the turf these days.

Take from the poor and give to the rich is the watchword of the neoliberal century, for without this (they keep insisting) nothing will work. With it, however, we find ourselves with the NHS going broke, malaria back in Greece, massive unemployment throughout the West, in a world slump and, seemingly, on the brink of World War 3. So if there’s still a choice (because deregulation was always supposed to be about choice) my vote goes to ‘without it’.

I say “seemingly” on the verge of nuclear war, because for myself I think all this ‘tension’ is so much hogwash. A US Navy warship is heading across the Black Sea today, but it doesn’t have nuclear weapons. Hillary Clinton says Vlad is Mad, but 71% of Russian citizens said in a poll yesterday that the country should more actively defend the interests of Russians in Crimea….and Putin’s personal ratings are sky high. The UN is meeting with EU officials to discuss the ‘crisis’, but Ukraine is not in the EU, so why is he doing that? And as Ukraine is not in the EU, why is it the EU that has frozen the assets of pro-Russian Ukrainian bigwigs? And why has Fatso Barroso lent the new Ukrainian Government €11 billion?

But here’s the one pair of quotes that sum it up or me, at euronews today:

An anti-Russian Ukrainian leader in Donetsk: “I’m against the war, against the separation. One thing is federation or autonomy – but I want to live under the Ukrainian flag. I don’t want to live in Russia.”

A pro-Russian leader in Donetsk: “We don’t want to be separated from Ukraine, but we want a federation here so nobody can touch us.”

Now it would be something of an understatement to say that euronews is biased in favour of the European Commission of the EU. Yet here it is quite freely reporting that while non-Russian speaking Ukrainians found President Viktor Yanukovych something of a corrupt fascist arsehole (which he undoubtedly is) they don’t want separation, with a pro-Yanukovych bloke saying he’d like a federation and remain Ukrainian. Very few people, it seems, want to be either a Russian satellite or an EU vassal. Hmm.

I posted recently to suggest that ‘the EU is way out of its depth in Ukraine. It hasn’t so much bitten off more than it can chew as popped a red-hot potato into its omnivorous mouth’. That was back on February 23rd.

So here’s another conundrum to chew upon. Hungary’s Viktor Orban has, on several occasions, told the EU to f**k off and mind its own business. Hungary is part of the EU, it has rejected almost all the Troika guff about repayment schedules and gone its own way. Orban is every bit as anti-press freedom, anti-fair voting and equivocal about the EU as Viktor Yanukovych. But he is, as it were, already inside the tent.

President Yanukovych, on the other hand, is dangerously outside the EU concentration camp tent, and thus when his government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013 in favour of stronger ties with Russia, well….join up the dots.

Now of course, there were protests immediately from Ukrainian speaking opponents of the President’s high-handed very-big-house-all-to-myself style of Baronial rule; but on the other hand, Mario Draghi also has a big f**k-off building in Frankfurt all to the greater glory of a bankrupt currency, and the EC itself is so crooked, after nineteen years in existence there is still not an accountancy firm on the planet that will sign its accounts.

The bottom line remains this: an EU member every bit as truculent and illiberal as the rest of the gargoyles has been left alone, but a non-EU member with few if any ties to Western Europe has been encouraged to revolt, and then lent money to tide it over.

What is the difference, qualitatively, between Putin withdrawing funds because his man is facing revolt, and the EU supplying funds for the same reason?

I suspect we need a new word for geopolitics these days. Something that would fit well in the context of what I believe we are witnessing here – a blockbuster Hollywood production-cum-pissing contest. No doubt Darryl Zanuck would’ve called such a movie, “UKRAINE IF YOU WANT TO: IN FULL HYPOCRISURROUND SOUND’.

It’s too early to diagnose the moves behind this one as yet. But I smell the acrid odour now of fomentation, now of a set-up designed to benefit both sides. What I don’t see is anybody listening very hard to what the people of Ukraine want…that is, a canton-style federation. It seems to work for Switzerland, and they have three cultures with which to contend.

The case continues. Stay tuned.

Yesterday at The Slog: The Labour Party –  a big fat bubble that’s really a zero-sign