George Soros, the well known public philanthropist who is noted for his political interests, has suggestions about how to address the situation in Ukraine. For the last few years Russia has made several military incursions into Ukrainian territory, and attempted to solidify its influence in the region. While international attention was directed at the area in 2014 in the immediate aftermath of the initial Russian assault, since that time media commentators and the general public have not kept in touch with developments.
Nonetheless, the recent election of Viktor Yanukovych has provided a sense of hope, and made clear the strongly pro-European leanings of much of the Ukrainian population. George Soros, who has maintained an interest in the region throughout, suggests that the US and Europe must invest much greater energy in protecting the “new Ukraine” which has emerged since the election. Primarily, Soros notes that the sanctions applied to the Russian economy by the EU were far more effective than expected, and have done much to negatively impact the Russian economy and therefore stall their more expansive ambitions in the Ukraine region. This provides an opportunity which it is vital that Western elements seize upon.
In addition to intensifying sanctions against Russia, Soros stresses the need to provide wide ranging support and assistance to the new Ukrainian government in a time of fragility and instability. Soros makes clear that this would not only have the direct consequence of aiding the Ukrainian effort, but it would also help strengthen Europe as a whole. As he states in this article examining the Ukrainian situation, “by enabling Ukraine to defend itself, Europe would be indirectly also defending itself”.
George Soros – The New York Times
Soros also observes that the burden of, as he puts it, “sustaining Ukraine’s breakthrough” falls especially heavily on Germany. As symbolic figureheads of the European idea, with especially hefty economic clout, much of the responsibility in providing help to the Ukrainians while establishing a clear message to the Russians must go to the Russians.
In following the trajectory of the crisis, George Soros has understood that this is essentially a battle over the future of Europe, and a watershed moment in the future of a united Europe. If Europe can send a clear message to Russia and to powerful nations that do not take the threat of Europe seriously, then it is much more likely to be able to move forward as a community that is taken seriously. As Soros observes, the European community often seems like it is “kicking the can down the road” fumbling from one crisis to the next. This strategy is never likely to expand the influence or prestige of the organization, nor is it going to allow the EU to act as a strong deterrent to aggression within the continent. It is therefore vital that, as Soros urges, the European community, with the help of the US, employ decisive action in the form of robust economic sanctions against Russia, and political and financial support to the new Ukrainian regime.
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