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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From Hawk to Dove, or Tymoshenko’s Ghostwritten Adventures

After meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko “wrote” an article in the The Guardian:

Europe must pull together in this crisis
It is in no country's interest that eastern Europe feels cast adrift. As in the past, we should look to France for leadership.

As if France couldn’t make it on its own, the article promotes the role of Paris in the Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis, with Ukraine trailing somewhere behind, at the back of beyond.

The Prime Minister of Ukraine “mentions” Germany 14 times; France, 11 times; Russia, 10 times; and Ukraine, 3 times.

Moreover, this new article flies in the face of Containing Russia, her May/June 2007 article in Foreign Affairs.

If you compare these two articles, you will see Tymoshenko arguing with herself:

Encouraging economic and political reform -- the West's preferred means of engaging Russia since communism's end -- is of course an important foreign policy tool. But it cannot substitute for a serious effort to counter Russia's long-standing expansionism and its present desire to recapture its great-power status at the expense of its neighbors.
But keeping Russia at arm's length from Europe has only strengthened the sense of isolation that many Russians feel, tempting them to define the country's interests in ways that are irreconcilable with those of Europe. It has also heightened Russia's desire to construct a special, bilateral Russo-German relationship, heedless of the context of the EU.
Europe must pull together in this crisis

I wonder who paid for these flip-flopping placements and what foreign policy credentials they hoped to achieve.

I also found two videos that I think put Tymoshenko’s multivector foreign policy in motion.

Videos embedded from:


John Kalitka said...

To underscore your point about her duplicitous messaging, isn't it interesting that in looking to France for leadership, Tymoshenko decides to make her pitch in English?

Regardless, I do agree with her point about embracing a free trade agreement with the rest of Europe.

Taras said...

Well, it doesn’t take a Tymoshenko to realize that free and fair trade would benefit Ukraine:)

Btw, while in France, she did an interview with Le Monde Le Monde.

“Her” line of English articles leaves me scratching my head. For a person who doesn’t speak English, “writing” scholarly articles in English turns the idea of credibility on its head. (That’s not to mention the flip-flopping.)

Interestingly, France already seems to be making a comeback to NATO, while Tymoshenko courts the Kremlin and remains NATO-averse.

John Kalitka said...

One positive aspect of Tymoshenko's sudden Francophilia?

Taras said...

Je ne sais pas. I dunno:)

So far, France has not been a big friend of Ukraine, some casual overtures notwithstanding.

Here’s a short timeline:

March 2007 Tymoshenko visits France and meets with presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, despite Ségolène Royal being the more obvious choice. (In 2006, Tymoshenko planned to join the Socialist International.)

October 2007 Sarkozy writes a romantic letter to Tymoshenko, addressing her on a first-name basis, inviting her to France, and promising support for Ukraine.

January 2008 Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Yatsenyuk write a letter of application for a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP).

April 2008 France joins Germany in refusing to grant a MAP to Ukraine.

When I think of Tymoshenko, Sarkozy and Putin, I think of weird science.

elmer said...

Let's see about ties between Ukraine and France.

As I recall, there was something about a daughter of one of the ancient rulers of Ukraine who married the French king. All in accordance with the "royal" custom of giving away daughters to solidify political alliances in Europe.

Along with that came a Bible from Ukraine, which was used for many years to swear in French rulers.

Can you fill in the blanks, Taras?

Taras said...

Of those French people who know Anne de Kiev, most think of her as “Russian” anyway.

The credit goes to Russian historians (imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet), who glorifyingly traced Rossiya to Kyivan Rus, skipping a few centuries of Tatar rule and Muscovy.

A non-country for centuries, Ukraine has yet to set the record straight on history, revive its identity, and break away from the shadow of colonialism.

It’s hard to think of our elite as up to the task.

That goes for Yulia de Kyiv, too.