Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We won’t get fooled again!

The wheels of democracy at times seem to turn extremely quickly, however, when it comes to diplomacy they clearly move at a cadence that few can understand. There have been many statements of warning from Western leaders condemning the seven-year sentence handed down to former prime minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, however, will such statements ever materialize into action?

Yanukovych clearly by his rhetoric does not seem concerned with the statements made by the west, and why should this surprise anyone? I have mentioned this thrice, he does not understand diplospeak, and the only way that he will understand is to be dealt with in a manner that those in his world deal with one another, with force.

"It appears that they have been stringing us along," said a senior Western diplomat in Kyiv, to the Financial Times. Maybe some diplomats out there do understand the way Yanukovych and his band of robber barons operate, but maybe they don’t. When I read these kinds of comments veiled behind anonymity there seems to me a preponderance of the later.

It is time for Western diplomats to think beyond the box of Western diplomacy, and start to think they way those who are now holding court in Ukraine think. The polite statements in a language that is as foreign to the regime of Yanukovych might as well be delivered in Old Church Slavonic, which is just as foreign to him and his henchmen as the language of diplomacy which to them is an artillery of words, which they simply do not understand.

Clearly, the West has been strung along by this jester and those who preceded him. But somehow, his predecessors understood diplospeak, and in the past those words were backed up with actions. Because as the idiom goes: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” It seems that the West for the last couple of years have been in the “shame on me” mode in its relationship with Ukraine, and until their recent statements are followed through with targeted actions which will have direct repercussions on those who have and continue to rape Kateryna, economically and culturally, very little headway will be made.

The barrage of statements delivered in the direction of those in power in Ukraine has clearly fallen up deaf ears, because until someone finds a way to deliver the message using vocabulary used in the criminal underworld that they will understand there will be no reaction. However, such language just may be understood: “You son of a bitch, you are such a petukh that you are afraid of Volodymyrivna! All you can do is lock her up! You shit; you know the only way you can win an election is with her out of the way! You good for nothing mudak! This is the end for you and your groups who care nothing about your country, but only wish to rob its people!” And once the message is delivered in a language that is understood, then clear and forceful action is required.

Some tough love is necessary and has to be delivered by clear and targeted actions. The passage of legislation which would allow countries to freeze and arrest of the assets of those associated with the current regime; travel restrictions on all those associated with the regime; a complete and total review of all companies owned by these individuals and to ensure that no foreign aid intended to help the development of the country in different spheres, is being skimmed by these characters; and pressure on the EUFA by countries of Europe and its football fans to revoke Ukraine’s right to act as host of the Euro-2012 Football Championships. These and other creative and targeted actions are required, because without them the civilized democratic countries of the world will continue to be stuck in the mode of “shame on me!” and will take on a new mantra, first voiced by Pete Townsend of “The Who” back in 1971, where they will:

Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again

The question remains: Will they be strung along and fooled again?

Vasyl Pawlowsky Independent Consultant

The commentary of this was first published on the Ukraine Business Online site.

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