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21 Mar, 2014

Lessons from the Ukraine crisis: How Many Wars Does the West Seek to Wage?

By Wang Yiwei

Beijing, (People’s Daily Online) March 19, 2014 – Ukraine has become the final battlefield in the “cold war”, and it is becoming a possibility that the crisis will trigger a second “cold war”. The Crimean parliament’s declaration of independence from Ukraine ahead of the March 16 referendum indicates that Crimea may go ahead and join Russia. The tug of war between Russia and western countries teaches us four things.

A geostrategic conflict leads to the tragedy of big-power politics

Most people in west Ukraine are Catholics while in east Ukraine most are Russian Orthodox believers. The financial crisis caused conflict between civilizations, pushing Ukraine to the brink of bankruptcy and fragmentation. This created a vacuum that provided the big powers wth an incentive to meddle in Ukraine’s affairs.

Ukraine’s economic over-reliance on Russia is the soft underbelly of its national security

In recent years, the western countries have succeeded in promoting several regime changes. Ukraine is on the brink of debt default and bankruptcy. Ukraine’s economic over-reliance on Russia is the soft underbelly of its national security. Western countries have taken advantage of this weak spot in their efforts to promote regime change in Ukraine.

Western countries’ failure to grasp the lessons of history results in conflict

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war generated a degree of complacency in the West. Subsequently, with the rise of Neo-Conservatism and Neo-imperialism, the US has embroiled itself in conflicts such as theinvasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. These stress points are a result of the West’s inability to understand the lessons of history.

The double standards of western countries demonstrate their hypocrisy

Some Western countries were quick to back the independence referendum held in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija between Sept. 26 and 30, 1991; now they voice their objections to the referendum in the Crimea. In the past they have advocated that human rights – for example the right to self-determination – take precedence over sovereignty; now they claim that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine are paramount. Such double standards are rooted in the fact that in the final analysis, the values of the western powers are entirely determined by their own self-interest.

On March 17, first results showed that 96.6 percent of Crimeans had voted to join Russia in Sunday’s referendum. The US refuses to accept the outcome of referendum. The Ukraine crisis will continue to pose a huge challenge to the major powers.

The article is edited and translated from《乌克兰危机的四点启示》, source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition, author: Wang Yiwei.