Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ukraine and Georgia NATO membership not in US Interest.

Serious risk of destabilising region

Former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock said on Tuesday

By Susan Cornwell, Reuters, Washington, Tuesday, September 16, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine is not in Washington's or the alliance's interest, former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock said on Tuesday as he and other ex-U.S. envoys decried the poor state of ties with Russia.

At a gathering of five former U.S. and Russian ambassadors, Matlock, the last U.S. envoy to the Soviet Union, questioned a central tenet of Bush administration policy: its firm support for the NATO membership bids of both Georgia and Ukraine.

Some European countries have doubts about the policy, and some U.S. analysts have blamed it for helping provoke the brief war last month between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Since Russian troops crushed Georgian forces in that conflict, U.S. ties with Moscow have plummeted. "To simply say every country should have the right to apply to any alliance it wants, that's true. But an alliance and its members should also have the right to determine whether it's in their interests to take in a member," Matlock told the forum in Washington, sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"I'm saying it's not in the United States' interests, and it's not in NATO's interests," said Matlock, who was ambassador to Moscow from 1987 to 1991 under former President George H.W. Bush, the current president's father. Georgia had not settled territorial disputes with its neighbours, and appeared to want to use the NATO military alliance to help resolve them, Matlock said, in a reference to its conflict with Russia.

As for Ukraine, which like Georgia is a former Soviet republic, most of its population opposed membership and joining NATO would risk splitting the country, Matlock said. He added that genuine strategic cooperation with Moscow, which vehemently opposes NATO membership for the two former Soviet republics, would be nearly impossible "as long as we're pushing this."

In New York on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Ukraine's foreign minister and pledged Washington's firm support for Ukraine's bid to join NATO. But in Washington, Matlock and former U.S. envoys to Moscow James Collins and Arthur Hartman pointed to the consequences of ignoring Russia's attitude on NATO expansion.

They shared a platform with two former Soviet ambassadors to Washington, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Yuri Dubinin, who denounced the NATO expansion policy as a major irritant in relations. "I personally believe that we need to go slow. ... If we don't, we will find that this is not something that stabilizes but rather divides," Collins said.

Hartman said that at the time the Soviet Union was collapsing in the early 90s, it was a "great failure" that the West didn't think creatively about a structure to replace NATO -- because the main purpose of its existence, to defend against a Soviet threat, no longer existed.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Ukraine Presidential power stuggle to decimate President's support and claim to govern

Notional seats based on poll results
Parliamentary Seats  
Publication Date   19-Sep-08 04-Sep-08 27-Aug-08 21-Apr-08 30-Sep-07
Poll Dates from 01-Sep-08 15-Aug-08 08-Aug-08 11-Apr-08  
to to to to Election Results
07-Sep-08 27-Aug-08 08-Aug-08 17-Apr-08 30-Sep-07
Poll Source   Kyiv International Institute of Sociology  FOM-Ukraina FOM-Ukraina Ukrainian Center for Economical and Political Studies  CEC
PoR 180 189 164 162 175
BYuT 186 158 189 171 156
OU-PSD 29 28 37 51 72
CPU 29 38 37 35 27
LPB 26 36 23 31 20
    450 450 450 450 450
A-(PoR+CPU) 209 228 201 197 202
B- (OUPSD+BYuT) 215 186 226 222 228
Lytvyn 26 36 23 31 20
    450 450 450 450 450

Poll Details
Publication Date   19-Sep-08 04-Sep-08 27-Aug-08 21-Apr-08 30-Sep-07
Poll Dates from   01-Sep-08 15-Aug-08 08-Aug-08 11-Apr-08  
  to to to to Election Results
  07-Sep-08 27-Aug-08 08-Aug-08 17-Apr-08 30-Sep-07
Poll Source   Kyiv International Institute of Sociology  FOM-Ukraina FOM-Ukraina Ukrainian Center for Economical and Political Studies  CEC
PoR 23.30% 26.60% 20.30% 26.80% 34.36%
BYuT 24.10% 22.20% 23.40% 28.30% 30.72%
OU-PSD 3.80% 3.90% 4.60% 8.40% 14.16%
CPU 3.80% 5.40% 4.60% 5.80% 5.39%
LPB 3.40% 5.10% 2.80% 5.10% 3.96%
SPU 1.10% 1.70% 2.86%
PSPU 1.00% 1.90% 0.40%  
Peoples Self-Defence 1.10% 1.80%  
Others 3.10% 2.90% 5.78%
Undecided 19.80% 11.40%  
None 9.10% 9.20% 2.77%
Uknown 0.00%  
Sum (Participation Rate) 60.50% 100.00% 55.70% 100.00% 100.00%


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Georgia and Ukraine 'shouldn't join Nato'

Russian armour in South Ossetia: who started the war?

In a potentially significant swing of expert Western opinion, a leading British think tank has urged that Nato membership should not be granted to Georgia or Ukraine

"The policy of Nato enlargement now would be a strategic error," said Dr John Chipman, Director General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

"There is no case for accelerating membership for Georgia and Ukraine. There is a strong case for a pause," he said in remarks introducing the IISS's annual review of world affairs, the Strategic Survey.

The IISS intervention shows that following the war in Georgia, a debate is growing about whether a confrontational approach to Russia is the best one.

The IISS is critical of Georgia's actions during the conflict

The IISS is highly critical of Georgian actions - in contrast to the support Georgia has received from the US and some European countries, notably Britain. Naturally, if Georgia is faulted, then less blame can be put on Russia, whatever its reaction or, as some hold, its over-reaction.

Dr Chipman said that the "balance of evidence suggests that Georgia started this war".


Hryhoriy Nemyria

Hryhoriy Nemyria Interview BBC

Ukraine crisis is a stuggle between two heads of power and Ukraine's future as a European Parliamentry Democracy. Our Ukraine and Yushchenko destroyed the alliance.



This is not a East versus West stereo type conflict

This is not a East versus West stereo type conflict, as portrayed in the western media and promoted by the US administration. It is false and misleading to present it as such.

The majority of Ukraine's politicians support Ukraine's integration into Europe and also support maintaining close ties with Russia.

The main destabilizing influence in Ukraine today is the US backed President, Viktor Yushchenko, who has divided Ukraine like never before as he pursues a personal power struggle between the Office of the president and the peoples elected Parliament.

This will be the second parliament in less than a year that Yushchenko has dismissed. The previous Parliament was dismissed unconstitutionally in order to prevent the parliament from gaining support for the establishment of European Parliamentary democracy in Ukraine. Every other former Soviet state when they declared independence had adopted a Parliamentary model except Ukraine. The struggle to establish a Parliamentary system of governance existed since Ukraine declared independence. Yushchenko in 2002 opposed the move and transition to a Parliamentary system, amendments to the constitution fell short by five votes of the two thirds required constitutional majority.

All other conflicts in Ukraine are related in part to Ukraine's desire to governed by rule of law as opposed to rule by Presidential decree.

The current conflict is part of that ongoing struggle with Yushchenko in the minority trying desperately to hold on to power.

In 2007 the Parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe (April 17) recommended that Ukraine adopt a full parliamentary system of governance.

Viktor Yushchenko and his political party "Our Ukraine"'s rating in the public opinion polls is below 5%.

What does this tell you?

If anyone should face the people of Ukraine it should be the President, his actions and policies do not reflect the wishes and aspirations of the Ukrainian people.

Yushchenko's push to have Ukraine join NATO against the will of the people of Ukraine (60% are opposed to the NATO membership) Yushchenko's constant attempts to undermine successively Ukraine’s democratically elected Parliament(s) has seriously impacted on Ukraine’s economic and social development and the security of the region.

The only real long term solution is for Ukraine to initiate constitutional reform, establish a truly democratic Parliamentary system of governance in line with other European States. Remove power from the Office of the President and hold fresh Parliamentary and Presidential elections under the new system and soon as possible. Putting an end to the destructive and divisive personal power struggle between The President of Ukraine and the people’s democratically elected Parliamentary representatives.

Americans do not have a parliamentary system and as such they do not understand the benefits of a parliamentary democracy. Canada,Great britain, Australia, Scandinavia and all or Europe except France) are governed under a Parliament system.

If Ukraine wants to become part of Europe then it should model itself on European systems and adopt European values and not have forced on them the dictates of Presidential rule. Democracy is about representing the people and rule of law not Presidential decrees based on the wishes of the minority.

Fresh elections without constitutional reform will do noting to resolve Ukraine's ongoing political crisis and the personal power struggle between the President of Ukraine and the Parliament.

As long as Yushchenko remains President Ukraine will be continue to suffer perpetual political crisis.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New crisis envelopes Ukraine

President threatens Ukraine with a state of emergency

The James Foundation published a recent article on the current crisis facing Ukraine. Whilst the article is worth reading there is a fair bit of important background information missing from the article.

The problem facing Ukraine today is the President, Viktor Yushchenko.

What we are seeing, but has not been properly reported in the article, is an ongoing power struggle between the Office of The President and the people's democratically elected representative Parliament (Pure and simple).

Yushchenko and his political party Our Ukraine continuously seek to undermine Ukraine's economic and democratic development. They have opposed every effort to see Ukraine become at democratic parliamentary republic.

Last years snap parliamentary election and Yushchenko's illegal interference in the independence of Ukraine's Constitutional Court was in response to the Parliament gaining strength and support to initiate reform to Ukraine's Constitution. Reform that would see Ukraine finally break free from the former soviet style "rule by decree" presidential dictatorship. Yushchenko is opposed to Ukraine becoming a Parliamentary democracy, in line with other European states, and will do what ever is necessary to hold on to power.

Again we are witnessing support for Constitutional change and again Yushchenko, faced with losing power, has indicate that he will fight to retain power going as far as declaring declare a state of emergency and creating yet again another political and constitutional crisis.

Yushchenko's and his party "Our Ukraine's" public support has dropped to below 5%. An all time low for a head of state.

With ongoing political instability since Yushchenko was elected, the ongoing power struggle between the Office of the President and the peoples' representation Parliament has severely damaged Ukraine's economic development. As a result of Yushchenko's policies and actions Ukraine's inflation is at a much higher rate then its neighbouring states.

The plot thickens

Yushchenko is looking and sounding more like a man who has lost control of his senses.

Yushchencko has even gone to the absurd by now accusing his ally and previous supporter Yulia Tymoshenko of being involved in a plot to have him poison back in 2004. He also recently accused Yulia Tymoshenko of "High Treason". It seams that everyone but Yushchenko himself is engaged in a plot to have him assigned. He also recently accused another Ukrainian political leader and past associate of conspiracy to murder.

Again anyone that has been watching developments closely in Ukraine know that the real problem facing Ukraine today is Yushchenko himself. It seams no one can work with him and they are all against him.

If there is to be fresh elections then it is the President that must face the people.

In 2007 Yushchenko divided the nation and brought it close to civil disobedience. Yushchenko gambled with the outcome of fresh parliamentary elections and lost leaving Ukraine to pick up the pieces.

It is Yushchenko that should resign and seek to renew his mandate by facing the people in early Presidential elections.

The best option forward now is for Ukraine to adopt changes to its Constitution, compleating is transition to a full European style parliamentary democracy to be followed by fresh Parliamentary elections and appointment of anew head of state under the democratic system of governance.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

President's party falls below 4%

Our Ukraine takes a dive

Support for Victor Yushchenko's Politcial party Our Ukraine has fallen to below 4% as the President seeks to hold on to power by dismissing his second parliament in as many years.

The poll undertaken by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine indicates that 5 Polictial Parties would be elected to parliament if fresh elctions were held between August 15-27.

Party of Regions (26.6%) 189 Seats
BYuT (22.2%) 158 Seats
CPU (5.4%) 38 Seats
Lytvyn’s Bloc (5.1%) 36 Seats
Our Ukraine (3.9%) 28 Seats *

Other parties in contention but below the 3% representation threshold include

Progressive Socialist Party (1.9%)
The People’s Self-Defense Bloc (1.8%)
The Socialist Party of Ukraine (1.1%)
The United Center party (0.5%)

Others parties and blocs would receive 2.6%.

9.1% of those polled would vote against all, and 19.7% refused to respond.

The poll also reported that 68.5% of respondents would take part in the snap poll with 24.7% stating they wouldnot partipate with 6.7% unable answer the question.

* It is unkown if Peoples' Self-defence will remain a faction partner with Our UkraineThey could stand alone or seek to join Block Yulia Tymoshenko, it isunlikely they will remain a partner with Our Ukaine

Presidential elections.

The same poll indicated that if the presidential elections were held:
Victor Yanukovych PoR (27.8%)
Yulia Tymoshenko -BYuT( 22.5%)
Petro Symonenko - CPU (5%)
* Victor Yushchenko (4.7%)
Volodymyr Lytvyn (3.8%)
Arseniy Yatseniuk - OU (2.7%)
Natalya Vitrenko - PSPU (1.7%)

* Incumbent


Yushchenko Declares War on Democracy

President struggles to stay in power at all costs

Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko, faced with growing disillusionment in his administration, had indicated that he will, once again, dismiss Ukraine's Parliament.

The announcement followed a decision by the President's political faction Our Ukraine to withdraw from the governing coalition sparking a new round of political crisis in Ukraine.

The decision made yesterday comes as no surprise as Yushchenko has been actively undermining Ukraine's democratically elected parliament since his election back in 2004.

The relationship between the President and the governing coalition came to a cross roads last month when the Office of The President attacked Ukraine's Prime-Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, making unsubstantiated allegations and accusations that the prime-minster has committed "high treason".

The catalyst for the latest fall-out was the Prime-minister's determination to not support the President's call to arms over the recent Georgian/Russia conflict.

Cool heads have prevailed.

The decision of Yulia Tymoshenko to refrain from commenting on the crisis and not fueling dissent and conflict was a correct one. The making of rash decisions and irrationally placing blame on either side to the conflict without knowing the full facts would have only destabilized the region, dragging Ukraine into another Presidential manufactured crisis with global consequences.

Yushchenko has been planning his latest assault on Ukraine's Parliamentary Democracy since last years election when his party Our Ukraine won less then 12% of the vote. His party has since declined in support to below 5% with opinion polls consistently indicting that Yushchenko is unable to win a second term.

No longer constrained by the 12 month constitutional limitation on the dismissal of Ukraine's parliament, and hoping to capitalise on the regional conflict and unrest, Victor Yushchenko has falsely accused the Parliament of initiating a Coup D’etat and has threatened to dismiss the Parliament and call fresh elections.

The latest political crisis, in what is essentially an ongoing power struggle between the Office of the President and the peoples' democratically elected Parliament, comes as the Parliament introduces amendments to the the Law on the Constitution of Ukraine seeking to establish proper checks and balances to prevent ongoing and continuing abuse from the Office of the President.

The current situation can not last and something has to give.

The relationship between the Office of the President and the government is irreconcilable, with the President undermining the efforts of the executive government at every step.

Earlier this year Yulia Tymoshenko bloc indicated their support for changes to Ukraine's Constitution completing Ukraine's transition away from soviet Presidential rule and implementing a full European style Parliamentary Democracy. A move that has the support of a constitutional majority of the Parliament, if only they could agree in the terms and detail of the proposed reform.

Yushchenko last year brought Ukraine close to the brink of civil unrest when he unconstitutionally dismissed the previous parliament and illegally interfered with the independence and operation of Ukraine's Constitutional Court in order to prevent the Court from ruling against his decrees.

Faced once again with the possibility of losing power and control Viktor Yushchenko is prepared to throw Ukraine into another political crisis by sacking his second Parliament in as many years in order to prevent the Parliament from initiating change to Ukraine's constitution.

Now is not the time to take such action.

A decision to dismiss Ukraine's Parliament will once again lead to civil unrest and economic decline.

If Victor Yushchenko can not work with, or respect, the Parliamentary majority then he should tender his resignation and seek to renew his mandate and hold an early Presidential election without delay.