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The Vineyard of the Saker: The geopolitics of the Ukrainian conflict: back to basics
Having rapidly looked at the locals, let us now turn to the folks that do matter:

The Ukrainian oligarchs:

Most of them believe that as long as the Ukraine maintains an anti-Russian stance the EU will let them do whatever the hell they want inside the Ukraine.  They are correct.  For them, signing an otherwise meaningless agreement with the EU is basically accepting the following deal: they become the faithful servants of their EU overlords in exchange for what the EU overlords will let them continue to pillage the Ukraine in pretty much any way they want.

There is a smaller group of oligarchs who still stands to lose more than win if the Russian-Ukrainian relations sour and if Russia introduces barriers to trade with the Ukraine (which Russia would have to do if the Ukraine signs an free trade agreement with the EU).  These oligarchs believe that more money can be made from Russia than form the EU and they are the folks who convinced Yanukovich to make his infamous "zag" from the EU towards Russia.  Thus, there is a split inside the Ukrainian oligarchy whose representatives can be found on both sides of the current struggle.

The EU:

The EU is in a deep, systemic, economic, social and political crisis and it is absolutely desperate for new opportunities to rescue itself from its slow-motion collapse.  For the EU, the Ukraine is first and foremost a market to sells is goods and services.  The Ukraine is also a way to make the EU look bigger, more powerful, more relevant.  Some believe that the Ukraine can also provide cheap labor for the EU, but I don't believe that this is a major consideration for the following reasons: the EU already has way too many immigrants, and the there has already been a steady stream of Ukrainians (and Balts) leaving their country for a better life in the West.  Thus, what the EU really wants is a way to benefit from the Ukraine but without suffering too many negative consequences from any agreement.  Hence the 1500 pages of the proposed agreement with the EU.

The USA:

The goals of the USA in the Ukraine are completely different from the goals of the EU, hence the very real tensions between their diplomats so well expressed by the "fuck the EU!" of Madam Nuland.  Furthermore, and unlike the bankrupt EU, the US has spent over 5'000'000'000 dollars to achieve its goals in the Ukraine.  But so what are these goals really?

This is were it gets really interesting.

First, we have to go back to the crucial statement made by Hillary Clinton in early December of 2012:
"There is a move to re-Sovietise the region," (...) "It's not going to be called that. It's going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,"   (...) "But let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it."
Now, it is absolutely irrelevant to argue about whether Hillary was right or wrong in her interpretation of what the Eurasian Union is supposed to become, what matters is that she, and her political masters, believe, and they really believe is that Putin wants to re-create the Soviet Union.  No matter how stupid this notion is, we have to always keep in mind that this is what the likes of Hillary sincerely believe.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 04:07:48 AM EST

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