I am reissuing four pieces from 2009 and 2010 about the Ukraine. The importance of Ukraine to the EU and Russia should not be diminished and therefore what we have seen over the weekend is just another scene in a very long drama. The most positive news has been that Victor Yanukovich seems to have abdicated his position as President and that previous leader Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed from prison. But, caution should be the watch word as the Winter Olympics come to an end and Russian President Putin will turn from being a congenial host to a grand-master of the political chess game.
The initial results from the Ukraine is that the radical reformers have appeared victorious as the decision by Yanukovich to pivot away from the EU and toward Russia was met by political dissent and “revolution.” With Russia’s energy pipelines traversing the Ukraine, much is at stake for the energy giant GAZPROM and Russia’s control of supplying oil and gas to the EU. Also, the history of Russian Empire has made Ukraine a very strategic element in Russia’s desire to play an important role in European politics. During the 2008 Summer Olympics, Russian forces dealt a serious military blow to Georgia and the response from the EU and the rest of the world was tepid at best. Western Europe had very mixed views and the U.S. was too busy with Iraq and Afghanistan. Will Putin again push the envelope of power politics and challenge the U.S. and the EU by engaging in military activity in the Ukraine? Or will the Russian President utilize more covert tactics to undermine western support for the Ukraine democratic movement?
[Click links below to read]
December 29, 2009: Putin, You Wily Rascal?
January 18, 2010: Are British Assets Cheap? Kraft Pursues Cadbury with Sweeter Deal
February 3, 2010: If the G7 can have 8 members then 2+2=5
***Disregard the G-20 communique for it is the most meaningless drivel to fill a printed page. In a measure of its irrelevance, I provide a quote from U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew: “That is why the decision in Sydney to focus on growth strategies is so significant. The strategies can help address the near-term challenge of high unemployment, uneven economic growth, and weak domestic demand.” Upon reading this and other remarks by various financial ministers, all I could say was, “What about the mandates?” Do central bank mandates take second place to the desires of a powerless and unelected global organization? It is all meaningless unless Draghi and Yellen are liars, which they are not. Central bank mandates supercede all the rhetoric of the IMF and G-20. Case closed.