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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Let’s Sleep With an Elephant (Russia), Says Ukrainian Diplomat

Obviously, some senior Ukrainian diplomats see little difference between diplomacy and prostitution.

Oleksandr Chaly: We really shouldn’t have inferiority, but we should understand that we’re a not-so-large state and we’re no match for Russia. Canada taught us, from 1998 to 2002, how to build relations with a big neighbor — because they have a history of relations with the United States. And the first thing they taught us: Remember that these relations are asymmetrical. And when Trudeau was asked how he was building relations with the United States, he said, “Very simple. Imagine you’re in the same bed: [pause] a not-so-large person and an elephant — and you have to sleep. If you accommodate the elephant, you’ll sleep very well.” [some applause] And we should understand this: That we’ll never make Russia accommodate us.

Sleeping with an elephant. What an enlightening realpolitik perspective from a senior Ukrainian diplomat and Yushchenko’s former deputy chief of staff! (As if one fake degree wasn't enough.)

Did you notice how this guy fantastically rejuvenates Trudeau’s terms of office and enriches his original
elephant quote?

Nitpicking aside, either the U.S. is questioning Canada’s sovereignty and territorial integrity — like Russia keeps questioning Ukraine’s — or I’m missing something important here. (That’s not to mention not-so-large countries like Israel, Pakistan, France and the UK and their anti-elephant nuclear deterrents.)

Mr. Chaly, do you prefer that the elephants use condoms while sleeping with us or do you prefer love at first sight?

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Ropi said...

The other problem with this elephant comparism things is that the following equation is not true: US:Canada=Russia:Ukraine. A further proof for that if we "multiply" by Canada and Ukraine then we get: US*Ukraine=Russia*Canada. Multiplication means hypothetical alliances and as you can see these wouldn't be equal, so this comparism can be thrown out after a brief calculation.

Leopolis said...

Canada is also the largest foreign source for U.S. energy imports.

elmer said...

What Ukrainians don't seem to get is that Ukraine could easily be one of the G8 if the stranglehold of the oligarchs was eliminated.

England has 51 million people,with far less territory than Ukraine. France as about the same territory.

Germany has a bit less territory, more population.


Even Poland is a better example than Ukraine.

Case in point- newly appointed Foreign Minister Poroshenko, the chocolate king and auto magnate, has called for "better relations" with roosha.

Turns out, he sells a lot of chocolates in roosha.

Also, he wants to build an auto plant in Nizhny Novgorod. Why not in Ukraine???!!!


elmer said...

A few other things occur to me.

In India and elsewhere, elephants are trained to do their master's bidding.

Why this putz would rely on Trudeau, who was an idiot, is beyond me, except that it exemplifies the sovok legacy of bass ackwards (ass backwards) "thinking" that is still prevalent in Ukraine.

It has everything to do with oligarchs still wanting to satisfy their own personal business interests in roosha - it has nothing to do with the interests of Ukraine.

It's one thing to recognize an elephant. As I said, in India and elsewhere, they master elephants.

It's quite another to deliberately stick your head up an elephant's ass, as this guy is doing.

John Kalitka said...

Weird.... Perhaps Mr. Chaly's statement was the impetus for President Yushchenko's statment on a reversal of Ukraine's prevailing demographic trends.

Lingüista said...

Indeed. Canadians "accommodating" the US are in a very different situation from Ukraine's with respect to Russia--especially considering current Russian policy with respect to Ukraine.

A better comparison for US-Canada relations would be, say, Portugal and Spain. A better comparison for Russia-Ukraine relations would be... I don't know, Germany and Czechoslovakia in the early and mid 1930's? Or perhaps Spain and Catalonia, except that Catalonia lost its independence in the 18th century and never recovered it. But if its current autonomy is taken as a kind of independence, and if its problems with two similar languages -- Spanish and Catalan -- and discussions about how to interpret the history and the in(ter)dependence of the Catalonian and Spanish people, then it might be a good parallel for Russian and Ukraine.

Taras said...


Neither mathematical nor political proportions make for an apple-to-apple comparison.

Canada-U.S. relations may be unequal in some respects, but they have never been colony-empire relations. Canada has never been a part of the United States: has never had Gulags, Holodomors, Russification and repressions.


Exactly! And not the opposite way around. Which means interdependence.

I was very surprised to learn this, a few years ago. I thought Saudi Arabia was the #1 source.


Ukraine indeed could make the G10, or at least the G20, if the stranglehold of the oligarchs were eliminated.

Poroshenko owns a confectionery factory in Lipetsk, Russia. Not that I’m against mutually beneficial relations with Russia — I’m against conflicts of interest.

The funny thing is, Trudeau’s original quote contains none of the sexually suggestive language employed (knowingly or unwittingly) by Chaly.


So Yushchenko says Ukraine has to lose another million of its population before it starts growing?

Very moving. Instead of throwing the “bandits to jail” like he promised in 2004, he’s throwing statistical projections at us.


Thank you for your thoughts!

I have little knowledge of Spain-Catalonia relations. I’d compare US-Canada relations to present-day China-Japan relations. As for Russia-Ukraine relations, it’s a mixture of British Empire-India, India-Pakistan, Serbia-Bosnia-Kosovo and China-Tibet-Taiwan relations.

elmer said...

Scotland, England and Ireland all seem to get along these days.

The US has never invaded Canada - roosha has indeed invaded Ukraine many times.

Trudeau - what a sad sack. Another leftie who fooled around on his wife.

With Chaly's attitude, a soccer team might as well give up before the game, even if it's winning.

With Chaly's attitude, people in India would never have learned to master elephants, and use them for useful labor.

Ropi said...

Well, no. We had some kind of Russification projects in Hungary, but they were not so effective because Hungary has never been part of Russian Empire, Soviet-Russia or USSR.

Stepan said...

I agree to an extent, unless of course, you are Britain, or Israel, both tiny countries, Britain once having held half the world in its pocket, and Israel due to its influential diaspora, controlling other countries foreign policies, and thus being unbeatable although surrounded by hostile Arab state giants in the Middle East.
(Is our diaspora not as capable as Israels?)

And now back to the metaphor game. A more approriate metaphor would be more like "a Tuna fish next to a Great White Shark. Shark eat other fish, which brings me to my main point.

It all depends on the nature of the animal sharing your bed, not the size of it.

What Russia's leaders fear most is not Ukrainian independence itself, but that a succesfull democratic Ukraine will infect the minds and hearts of ordinary Russians to change from citizens of an agressive giant , into a gentle giant that champions real democracy and throws off its imperialist shackles, or to put it in a new metaphor, "a Tuna next to a Blue Whale.

Although the latter is much greater in size than the Great White, it is a much more peaceful state of affairs, as Blue Whales live on plankton".

Stepan "Ludwig" Pasicznyk
London England

Taras said...


We don’t need elephants to do our own labor. What we need is a neighbor who doesn’t behave like an elephant in a china shop.

A Russia that respects my country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, culture and language is the Russia I want to be good neighbors with.


I know. You had a Soviet military presence from 1944 to 1990. And, yes, you’re right: Because Hungary had never been part of the Russian Empire, you challenged your pro-Soviet regime more vigorously than the newly conquered Soviet republics and territories challenged theirs.

After all, being part of the Soviet Union was not exactly the same as being part of the Warsaw Pact.


Thank you for commenting! You do great songs!

Britain and Israel play major regional and global roles by virtue of their military and economic power. Ukraine would be a strong regional player if only we could harness our corruption.

I agree about the Kremlin being afraid of the non-imperialist solution to Russia’s problems. IMHO, Russia will solve its problems by being neither a Yeltsin-style kleptocracy nor a Putin-style guided petrodollar-financed saber-rattling democracy.

So far, Ukraine has failed to be a role model of positive change: We lead Russia in democracy but lag in prosperity.

We have a lot of homework to do before we can change Russia’s ways.

Paul said...

The USA has attempt to invade Canada in 1812. They burnt down York(Toronto), we burnt down Washington and attacked Baltimore. USA also sponsor American Irish to attack the west in the late 1800's.

Canada & USA were a part of British North America much like Rus.