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Ukraine: Dayton Accords Once Again?

The armed coup staged in Kiev, that made Neo-Nazi groups come to power, put Ukraine on the brink of collapse. The events unfold according to traditional pattern of conflict escalation with mass violations of human rights, ethnic cleansing, resistance in some regions, complete anarchy, divisions in the ranks of power agencies and field commanders going on a rampage. The United States and the European Union are rendering aid to the ultranationalist junta. The reunification of Crimea with Russia shows, among other things, that the coercive Eurointegartion of Ukraine has failed. Only an international solution still to be found could lead the country out of the crisis…

* * *

The roots of the problem go back as far as 1845 when John Sullivan offered the concept of American Lebensraum - the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. His follower Joshua Strong filled it with geopolitical essence - the creation of all-American empire. Along with the Monroe doctrine, the concepts have become a kind of theological basis for conquest and subjugation of the world by the United States. In this context the conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and Ukraine are the continuation of the war. Those days Ukraine (Little Russia or Malorussia - most of the territory of modern-day Ukraine before the twentieth century) was part of Great Russia; it did not attract much attention of the Washington's strategists. But Europe watched it more closely. Otto von Bismarck devised the plans to partition Russia by making the Polish Republic with expanded borders secede from it. The remaining territory was to be fragmented into Great Russia and Little Russia, no matter the majority of Little Russia's population would reside in the Polish Republic if his plan went through. About the same time German philosopher Eduard von Hartmann stood for letting the lands surrounding the rivers of Dnieper and Prut join the Kiev kingdom. Later the plans of Little Russia's secession followed by genocide of local population became part of Hitler's general plan Ost.

Zbignew Brzezinski paid a lot of attention to the issue. According to him, «In the short run, the United States should consolidate and perpetuate the prevailing geopolitical pluralism on the map of Eurasia. Tins strategy will put a premium on political maneuvering and diplomatic manipulation, preventing the emergence of a hostile coalition that could challenge America's primacy, not to mention the remote possibility of any one state seeking to do so». Brzezinski does not conceal the fact that he views Ukraine as just a pawn in the strategic game against Russia. In the Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives written in 1997 he wrote that «without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire». According to him, the new world order under the hegemony of the United States «is created against Russia and on the fragments of Russia». Ukraine is «the Western outpost to prevent the recreation of the Soviet Union». He believes that without Ukraine no recreation of empire is possible either through CIS or Eurasian integration. Those are still the stakes in the current struggle over Ukraine.

By and large the same thing was said by Hillary Clinton. She noted that the United States was trying to prevent Russia and its allies from turning into something similar to the Soviet Union under the guise of economic integration. «There is a move to re-Sovietize the region», said the US Secretary of State. «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».

It's clear that the «Ukrainian issue» was doomed to come to the fore. The refusal of Victor Yanukovych to sign the association agreement with the European Union and the fact that he concluded a number of important accords with the Russian Federation became a detonator for actions leading to the coup.

* * *

The decisions taken by European Union emergency session prove that the West started a real fight for Ukraine, the organization declared the introduction of sanctions against the Russian leadership and the intent to urgently sign the political part of the association treaty before the presidential election slated for May 25 by the junta.

The urgency becomes understandable when you look at article 4 of the association agreement which says, that, «Political dialogue in all areas of mutual interest shall be further developed and strengthened between the Parties. This will promote gradual convergence on foreign and security matters with the aim of Ukraine' ever - deeper involvement in the European security». Article 7 says Ukraine is to join the common defense and security policy, «The Parties shall intensify their dialogue and cooperation and promote gradual convergence in the area of foreign and security policy, including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and shall address in particular issues of conflict prevention and crisis management, regional stability, disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and arms export control as well as enhanced mutually-beneficial dialogue in the field of space. Cooperation will be based on common values and mutual interests, and shall aim at increasing policy convergence and effectiveness, and promoting joint policy planning. To this end, the Parties shall make use of bilateral, international and regional fora».

The junta in Kiev avoids talking openly about the plans for Ukraine to join NATO. But a bill has already been introduced into the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) which envisages gradual dragging of the country into NATO structures. Ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus Mikhail Ejel said that Kiev can consider the possibility of installing missile defense elements on Ukraine's territory in exchange for US financial aid. The US, the EU and the puppet Kiev junta have intensified information war efforts against the so-called «Russian aggression» in Crimea rejecting the idea of providing guarantees of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. In reality they prepare public opinion for dragging Ukraine into NATO or the occupation of its territory by the Alliance.

* * *

The West fired informational artillery salvos in the days when the power was firmly in the grasp of Yanukovych and the rapprochement between Ukraine and Customs Union looked inevitable. The return of Ukraine into the sphere of Russia's influence was not acceptable for the Western establishment, so in December 2013 Western media outlets launched a campaign aimed at partition of Ukraine.

Italian experts published an outlook in Limes journal which foresaw a Ukraine's partition into three zones, two out of which could be integrated with Russia. The third - the western part of the country - would remain hostile to its north-eastern neighbor.

At the 23rd Economic Forum (2013) Towards a New Deal held in Krynica-Zdrój the participants discussed the need for new approaches in the hard times while Europe and the world faced crisis. One of the issues was Ukraine's partition. West European and West Ukrainian delegates spoke with one voice affirming that Ukraine could not exist as one state. The representatives of Galicia openly said they wanted the western part of Ukraine to be part of Europe while the eastern part could become part of Russia.

Foreign Affairs published the article Is There One Ukraine? By Orlando Figes, who notes that «Given how divided Ukraine is on these issues -- and how incompatible Russia's desires are with the European Union's - Ukraine ought to consider applying a precedent from elsewhere in eastern Europe: deciding the country's fate by referendum».

Steve Rosenberg of BBC is the author of reports on separatist tendencies in Ukraine, something that meets the aspirations of Europeans who keep guessing about the border lines of the state in case it got partitioned. The attempts to draw the lines were made by the authors of the Guardian who separated the Kharkov, Donbass, Kherson regions and Crimea from the country, while France Press gave a chance to speak to those who were generous enough to include a number of regions into the alleged territory of eastern Ukraine.

Ethan S. Burger put an end to the discussion in his Could Partition Solve Ukraine's Problems? where he puts forward the arguments for partition, «Ukrainians who are apprehensive over the country's future might consider division of the country. This would be difficult to accomplish, and it might provoke a good deal of instability. It would be particularly hard to decide exactly where precisely to partition the country. But the alternatives might be worse. On the positive side, for those Ukrainians who regard the prospect of renewed subordination to Moscow with repugnance, it would provide an opportunity to create a new state more consistent with their desires. The Russian government might even favor the idea. It could be accomplished through a referendum overseen by the OSCE».

* * *

The expansionist plans of the United States and the European Union were countered by resolute stance of Russia and Crimea and the growing resistance of Donbass, Kharkov and other regions of Ukraine.

Washington had to reckon with reality so it proposed to hold direct talks between Ukraine and the Russian Federation with the participation of international community. The plan presupposes the presence of international observers to guarantee the rights of all Ukrainians, including ethnic Russians, the return of Russian military to the places of dislocation and international assistance to prepare presidential election to be held in May.

It's clear the plan is not acceptable neither for Russia, nor Ukraine. The parties and organizations which support the Kiev rulers want coercive Ukrainization and the creation of monoethnic state to automatically exclude any guarantees for Russians and Russian speaking citizens. Holding direct talks with illegal Ukrainian authorities and the support of the presidential election arranged by putschists would mean outright legitimization of the Kiev junta.

* * *

Crimea has moved to Russia while the contradictions between the West and the South-East continue unsolved. There is a precedent for solving civil conflicts in multiethnic state which could be used by the West to drag Ukraine into NATO and the European Union. The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Agreement (or Dayton Accords), is the peace agreement reached at Wright - Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, the United States, by Alija Izetbegovic', the leader of Bosnian Muslims, Slobodan Milosevic the President of Serbia representing the Bosnian Serb interests due to absence of Bosnian Serbs leader Karadzic, President of Croatia Franjo Tudjman, as well as states - guarantors: the United States, Russia, Germany, Great Britain and France. The agreement came into force on December 1995 after being signed in Paris. The state of Bosnia Herzegovina was set to include the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a complete state, as opposed to a confederation; no entity or entities could ever be separated from Bosnia and Herzegovina unless through due legal process. Although highly decentralized in its entities to guarantee the rights of Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats, it still retained a central government, with a rotating State Presidency, a central bank and a constitutional court. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. 55 states are guarantors of the accords, including Russia. The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina was created in 1995 immediately after the Dayton Peace Agreements to oversee the civilian implementation of this agreement.

No matter Russia is a guarantor state, the Dayton accords have not put an end to the West's efforts aimed at integrating the country into NATO and the European Union as well as exerting pressure on Serbs.

The European Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) on 16 June 2008 in Luxembourg. It stipulates that the central state is to get more authority at the expense of autonomous entities with corresponding constitutional changes. According to article V, annex 10, «The High Representative is the final authority in theater regarding interpretation of this Agreement on the civilian implementation of the peace settlement». It leads to dismissal of legally elected representatives of Bosnia.

Eurointegration has entailed the collapse of even those branches of industry which made it through the 1992-1995 civil war. The national statistics agency reports that the unemployment rate has gone up to 44% and one fifth of Bosnia and Herzegovina's population is under the poverty line. It has recently led to protests called «Bosnian autumn». In response Valentin Inzko, the international High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, raised the prospect of sending in European Union soldiers if the current unrest in the country escalates.

Inzko told the Austrian «Kurier» daily on February 9 that the situation in Bosnia was «the worst» since the end of the 1992-95 war.

«If the situation escalates, we will possibly have to think about EU troops. But not right now», he said. «I think what happened there was a wake-up call for the European Union and to the international community», UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said there is a need to focus more effort on helping Bosnia towards European Union membership, so that stagnation in Bosnian politics and government can come to an end. «I think this will become a more important issue over the coming months», he noted.

* * *

The experience of Dayton Accords is relevant. It allows seeing what problems Ukraine would face in case it becomes part of international efforts aimed at the management of on-going political crisis according to the Washington-offered pattern.

Moscow has come up with a plan of its own. The March 17 statement of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs envisions the creation of a contact group with a composition acceptable for all Ukrainian political forces. The group is to respect the interests of the Ukraine's multiethnic nation and all regions which want security and the chance to live according to established traditions and customs, use freely native tongues and prevent the revival of fascist ideology.

Moscow offers a multi-phased approach based on the agreements of February 21, the convention of constitutional assembly with equal representation of all regions to work on a new federal constitution to be approved by national referendum, the election of all state and regional executive and legislative organs of power under broad international supervision and the recognition of the right of Crimea to self-determination in accordance with the results of March 16, 2014 referendum. The state structure established on the basis of principle mentioned above, the state sovereignty of state, its territorial integrity and neutrality are to be proclaimed by the United Nations Security Council and guaranteed by Russia, the European Union and the United States. That's what Russia believes would solve the crisis. Ukraine is unique because it makes surface the geopolitical contradictions in Europe what may lead to standoff between world forces, or it can put a final end to the Cold War. Will the West use this opportunity?

[Source: By Olga Shedrova, Strategic Culture Foundation, Moscow, 24Mar14]

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