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China and North Korea: friends again?

Relaxed summit between North Korean and Chinese leaders confirms restored friendship, commonality of aims, of the two countries

Alexander Mercouris

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Even as US President Trump’s forthcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to be the subject of negotiation and speculation, the North Korean leader has just wrapped up his second unannounced meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Western commentary continues to see Kim Jong-un’s forthcoming summit meeting with Donald Trump as they key goal of North Korea’s diplomacy, and the most important summit of Kim Jong-un’s career.  Kim Jong-un’s meetings with Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are interpreted as steps to that goal.

I take the diametrically opposite view.  I suspect that far from seeing his forthcoming summit meeting with Donald Trump as the culmination of his diplomacy, Kim Jong-un rather sees his meeting with Donald Trump as the price he must pay to further his diplomacy with South Korea and China.

South Korea and China are North Korea’s immediate neighbours.  China is the colossus on North Korea’s border, the ultimate guarantor of North Korea’s survival, and North Korea’s major, in fact practically its only significant trade partner.

For Kim Jong-un that makes establishing good and close (but not too close) relations with China an overriding priority.

As for South Korea, as the deeply nationalist North Korean government never forgets – even if Western commentators and Western nations all too often do – South Korean represents that greater part of the Korean nation from which North Korea is separated by the division of the Korean Peninsula following the Second World War and the Korean War.

For North Korea overcoming that division is an existential need.  For Kim Jong-un it is the mission he has inherited from his revered grandfather – North Korea’s founder Kim Il-song – and from his father Kim Jong-il.

Pursuing it is what gives Kim Jong-un’s rule its legitimacy in the eyes of the North Korean people and North Korea’s elite, and everything Kim Jong-un has said and done since he became North Korea’s leader shows that doing what he can to erase this division whilst preserving North Korea’s current political system is his priority.

As for China, the Chinese have made no secret of their dismay as North Korea, contrary to their publicly expressed wishes, has pursued a ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme which the Chinese almost certainly correctly construe as intended at least in part to secure North Korea’s independence from China.

However that has never changed the fact that China continues to see North Korea’s survival as essential and in its national interests

This is both for emotional grounds – the collapse of a fellow socialist state and Chinese ally neighbouring China which China would be a massive psychological blow for China – and on national security grounds, with China having no wish to see a collapse of North Korea which would extend US influence right up to China’s border in a region where China has for millennia been the dominant power.

What all this means is that as soon as moves got underway to bring about a rapprochement between North and South Korea, with the possibility that North Korea might scale down or even entirely eliminate its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capability, relations between that North Korea and China were bound to improve.

China’s position was explained in a carefully worded editorial in Global Times dated 9th March 2018 ie. before the first Kim-Xi summit but whilst steps to arrange it would have been underway.

China’s prime interest on the Korean Peninsula is its denuclearization and peace, both of which are more important than China’s relations with North and South Korea and power politics. That is because China’s northeastern region is next to North Korea and under constant threat by the latter’s nuclear activities and unrest on the peninsula.

China is incomparable with the US. The US is far away from the Korean Peninsula and has a lot of room to maneuver. Besides, the US is an ally of South Korea and maintains its ability to influence it.

China’s huge influence on North Korea has ceased. China does not station troops in North Korea after it pulled negotiation representatives from Panmunjeom in the mid-1990s. China and North Korea only have normal relations, apart from the ideological connection, and their economic cooperation is mutually beneficial. It is a misconception that China still provides huge amounts of economic aid to North Korea.

China’s influence on North Korea is based on China’s increasing national strength and geopolitical closeness. China is capable of impacting international sanctions, and remains a stakeholder in the Korean Peninsula situation. However, China cannot lead the efforts to solve peninsula problem.

However, the trend of the peninsula situation is in the direction that China has been pushing and this shows China’s efforts worked. The “suspension for suspension” that China has advocated appeared, and the “dual-track” approach is taking shape. In the recent past, China has been part of international sanctions against North Korea while preventing the blocking of North Korea and other extreme situations that may cause military conflicts, and retained room for a favorable turn between the US and North Korea.

It is unnecessary for China, a major power, to worry about North Korea “turning to the US,” as there will be no one around China that will completely side with the US. Since the very beginning of the peninsula nuclear crisis, China has been actively pushing for a direct dialogue between North Korea and the US, and we should continue to support this approach at this moment. If the Kim-Trump meeting will contribute to denuclearization and peace that China desires the most, China has no reason to be unhappy about it.

The current low in China-North Korea relations is due to the North’s nuclear tests, not the so-called historic or cultural factors or the North Korean leader’s personality, which have been hyped by some people. China-North Korea ties will improve when the nuclear issue is settled. 

With the development of modern technology and the shift of international relations, North Korea’s significance as China’s geopolitical buffer has been greatly reduced. Sound China-North Korea ties are more important to North Korea than to China. China should support the US-North Korea contact and welcome the Kim-Trump meeting. In the meantime, China should actively respond to the sharp change in the situation and improve relations with North Korea to further facilitate the change.

We should respect North Korea. China will, on one hand, uphold the authority of the UN Security Council, while on the other hand, help protect the rights of North Korea when Pyongyang begins denuclearization talks with Washington. China will advocate the international security mechanism and help prevent North Korea from being deceived or squeezed by the US once it begins to denuclearize.

This is just the beginning of peninsula peace, and a great deal of uncertainty lies ahead.  China should stay calm and uphold its principles, and remain focused despite the dramatic changes. China must not pursue a quick solution or become hesitant.

China will welcome the dialogue between the US and North Korea, and resolutely support North Korea securing its due interests in the process of denuclearization. Through these efforts, China’s interests will not be pushed aside.

The careful words about China’s limited influence in North Korea should be seen for what they are: assurances to North Korea’s leaders (who certainly read Global Times) that China is not seeking to dominate them or to subordinate North Korea to itself.  Note the careful words: “We should respect North Korea”.

At the same time the editorial says quite explicitly that “China-North Korea ties will improve when the nuclear issue is settled”.

 That is what we are now seeing.

 The extent to which relations between China and North Korea have been restored has been made clear by the extraordinarily relaxed and cheerful atmosphere during the latest summit between their two leaders.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua has published pictures showing Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un chatting amiably together (see caption picture) and walking together along the seaside

Meanwhile Xinhua – China’s official news agency – has given a summary of Xi Jinping’s remarks during the talks which show how he conceives relations between China and North Korea developing

In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries had an all-round and in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and major issues of common concern……Xi stressed that he and Kim held their historic first meeting in Beijing in March this year, during which they had a long and in-depth communication, and reached principled consensus in four aspects on developing China-DPRK relations in the new era.

Firstly, the China-DPRK traditional friendship has been a treasure of both countries. It is an unswerving principle and the only correct choice for both countries to develop the friendly and cooperative China-DPRK relations.

Secondly, both China and the DPRK are socialist countries, and their bilateral relations are of major strategic significance. Both sides need to enhance unity, cooperation, exchanges and mutual learning.

Thirdly, high-level exchanges between the two parties play an irreplaceably significant role in guiding bilateral relations, Xi said. The two sides should maintain frequent exchanges, strengthen strategic communication, deepen understanding and mutual trust, and safeguard common interests.

Fourthly, cementing the people-to-people friendship foundation is an important channel to advance the development of China-DPRK relations, Xi said. The two sides should, by multiple means, enhance people-to-people communication and exchanges to create a sound foundation of popular will for the advancement of China-DPRK relations.

Xi said that with concerted efforts of both sides, all of these consensuses are being well implemented…..

China supports the DPRK’s adherence to the denuclearization of the peninsula, and backs the dialogue and consultation between the DPRK and the United States for resolving the peninsula issue, Xi said.

“China is willing to continue to work with all relevant parties and play an active role in comprehensively advancing the process of peaceful resolution of the peninsula issue through dialogue, and realizing long-term peace and stability in the region,” he said….

Xi said the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh WPK Central Committee advanced a strategic line of concentrating all efforts on socialist economic construction, and announced the decision to discontinue nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic rocket test-fire and dismantle its northern nuclear test ground, which shows the great importance Kim attaches to developing economy and improving people’s livelihood and the resolute determination to safeguard regional peace and stability.

China appreciates the move, and supports the DPRK in shifting its strategic focus to economic construction and the DPRK comrades in taking a development path suitable to their own national situation, Xi said.

(bold italics added)

In other words China is prepared to do all in its power to ensure that North Korea receives all the security guarantees it needs.  It does so with the full understanding that North Korea intends thereafter to focus on its economic development.

This includes support for Kim Jong-un’s goal for the total denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula – which Xinhua says Kim Jong-un told Xi Jinping was North Korea’s “consistent and clear stand” – which as I have explained many times requires the removal from the Korean Peninsula not just of North Korea’s nuclear weapons but the US’s nuclear weapons as well.

There is much misunderstanding about the reasons for the actions of the North Korean government.  In particular all sorts of fanciful theories have made floated about the reasons why North Korea embarked upon its programme to acquire nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.  These theories usually come together with claims that the North Korean leadership is indifferent to the plight of the North Korean people and is uninterested in North Korea’s economic development.

In reality the North Koreans have never made any secret about why they embarked upon the arduous task of developing their nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles: to protect themselves from possible attack by the US.

That means that as soon as North Korea no longer feels threatened by the US its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles will become redundant and can be disposed of.  Kim Jong-un said it again in his talks with Xi Jinping

As long as relevant parties abolish their hostile policies and remove security threats against the DPRK, there is no need for the DPRK to be a nuclear state and denuclearization can be realized

The complex task is to bring to an end “the hostile policies and security threats against the DPRK” which come from the US.

To that end North Korea and China are now working together.  South Korea has joined them, and Russia has to.

The Kim-Trump summit is the US’s chance to join the process and to avoid being left behind by it.

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Ukraine Wants Nuclear Weapons: Will the West Bow to the Regime in Kiev?

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon. The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

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Mike Pompeo lays out his vision for American exceptionalism (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 158.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Mike Pompeo’s shocking Brussels speech, where the U.S. Secretary of State took aim at the European Union and United Nations, citing such institutions as outdated and poorly managed, in need of a new dogma that places America at its epicenter.

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Speaking in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unwittingly underscored why nobody takes the United States seriously on the international stage. Via The Council on Foreign Relations


In a disingenuous speech at the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo depicted the transactional and hypernationalist Trump administration as “rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order.” He did so while launching gratuitous attacks on the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—pillars of the existing postwar order the United States did so much to create. He remained silent, naturally, on the body blows that the current administration has delivered to its erstwhile allies and partners, and to the institutions that once upon a time permitted the United States to legitimate rather than squander its international leadership.

In Pompeo’s telling, Donald J. Trump is simply seeking a return to the world that former Secretary of State George Marshall helped to create. In the decades after 1945, the United States “underwrote new institutions” and “entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.” So doing, the United States “won the Cold War” and—thanks to the late President George H. W. Bush, “we won the peace” that followed. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.”

That leadership is needed because the United States “allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode” once the bipolar conflict ended. “Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself,” Pompeo explained. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.” What is needed is a multilateralism that once again places the nation-state front and center.

Leave aside for the moment that nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges: that multilateralism should be an end in itself; that paper commitments are credible absent implementation, verification, and enforcement; or that the yardstick of success is how many bureaucrats get hired. What sensible people do believe is that multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems. Working with others is typically superior to unilateralism, since going it alone leaves the United States with the choice of trying to do everything itself (with uncertain results) or doing nothing. Multilateralism also provides far more bang for the buck than President Trump’s favored approach to diplomacy, bilateralism.

Much of Pompeo’s address was a selective and tendentious critique of international institutions that depicts them as invariably antithetical to national sovereignty. Sure, he conceded, the European Union has “delivered a great deal of prosperity to the continent.” But it has since gone badly off track, as the “political wake-up call” of Brexit showed. All this raised a question in his mind: “Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats and Brussels?”

The answer, as one listener shouted out, is “Yes!” The secretary, like many U.S. conservative critics of European integration, is unaware that EU member states continue to hold the lion’s share of power in the bloc, which remains more intergovernmental than supranational. Pompeo seems equally unaware of how disastrously Brexit is playing out. With each passing day, the costs of this catastrophic, self-inflicted wound are clearer. In its quest for complete policy autonomy—on ostensible “sovereignty” grounds—the United Kingdom will likely have to accept, as the price for EU market access, an entire body of law and regulations that it will have no say in shaping. So much for advancing British sovereignty.

Pompeo similarly mischaracterizes the World Bank and IMF as having gone badly off track. “Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.” This is an odd, hybrid critique. It combines a shopworn, leftist criticism from the 1990s—that the international financial institutions (IFIs) punish poor countries with structural adjustment programs—with the conservative accusation that the IFIs are socialist, big-government behemoths. Both are ridiculous caricatures. They ignore how much soul-searching the IFIs have done since the 1990s, as well as how focused they are on nurturing an enabling institutional environment for the private sector in partner countries.

Pompeo also aims his blunderbuss at the United Nations. He complains that the United Nations’ “peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace,” ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities, as well as a recent Government Accountability Office report documenting how cost-effective such operations are compared to U.S. troops. Similarly, Pompeo claims, “The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations simply as a vehicle to redistribute wealth”—an accusation that is both unsubstantiated and ignores the urgent need to mobilize global climate financing to save the planet.

Bizarrely, Pompeo also turns his sights on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU), for alleged shortcomings. Has the OAS, he asks, done enough “to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development?” Um, no. Could that have something to do with the lack of U.S. leadership in the Americas on democracy and human rights? Yes. Might it have helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15 of this year? Probably.

Equally puzzling is Pompeo’s single line riff on the AU. “In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?” Presumably the answer is yes, or its members would be headed for the door. The AU continues to struggle in financing its budget, but it has made great strides since its founding in 2002 to better advance security, stability, and good governance on the continent.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” Pompeo declared. Sounds reasonable. But where is this “free world” of which the secretary speaks, and what standing does the United States today have to defend, much less reform it? In the two years since he took office, Donald Trump has never expressed any interest in defending the international order, much less “returning [the United States] to its traditional, central leadership role in the world,” as Pompeo claims. Indeed, the phrase “U.S. leadership” has rarely escaped Trump’s lips, and he has gone out of his way to alienate longstanding Western allies and partners in venues from NATO to the G7.

When he looks at the world, the president cares only about what’s in it for the United States (and, naturally, for him). That cynicism explains the president’s deafening silence on human rights violations and indeed his readiness to cozy up to strongmen and killers from Vladimir Putin to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed bin Salman to too many more to list. Given Trump’s authoritarian sympathies and instincts, Pompeo’s warnings about “Orwellian human rights violations” in China and “suppressed opposition voices” in Russia ring hollow.

“The central question that we face,” Pompeo asked in Brussels, “is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today—does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?” The answer, of course, is not as well as it should, and not for nearly enough of them. But if the secretary is seeking to identify impediments to a better functioning multilateral system, he can look to his left in his next Cabinet meeting.

“Principled realism” is the label Pompeo has given Trump’s foreign policy. Alas, it betrays few principles and its connection to reality is tenuous. The president has abandoned any pursuit of universal values, and his single-minded obsession to “reassert our sovereignty” (as Pompeo characterizes it) is actually depriving the United States of joining with others to build the prosperous, secure, and sustainable world that Americans want.

“Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain,” the secretary of state declared in Belgium. “This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat.” How true. Pompeo’s next sentence—“President Trump is determined to reverse that”—was less persuasive.

 

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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