between-a-rock and a-hard-place scenario is not new. Historically, and to its
own detriment, Europe has not favoured Ukraine. This time it needs to be wiser.
In 1919, as new European
nations were being born Ukraine was determined to be one of them. It’s
independence, however, was negated. Britain’s Prime Minister Lloyd George,
unfamiliar with the Slavic world, gave Galicia to Poland and the rest to Russia
rather than grant those “who are they if they’re neither Poles nor Russians”
independence. The Treaty of Versailles led to atrocities never seen before nor
after, World War II and its bloodlands with some 14 million– primarily Ukrainians—dead.
Russia-controlled USSR and the Cold War followed.
The post-Soviet era has not
treated Ukraine fairly either. At its expense, the West’s Russo-centrism
allowed Russia to reap unwarranted rewards. It became the inheritor of the vast
Soviet nuclear arsenal, a G-8 member, and received a de facto carte blanche
to dominate in its near abroad. Russia has yet to atone for its reigns of
terror, starvations, the Gulag, national genocides: all its crimes against humanity
and hopes to continue getting away with murder; and why not?