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Trump Represents a Great Danger to Kiev's Maidan Government, Huge Opportunity for Ukraine

A more sensible and less extremist Ukraine may reassert itself against the post-Maidan insanity


Once sworn in is Trump going to seriously move to try and "get along with Russia" as he indicated repeatedly during his campaign run? We can not know for sure but the US Senate and American press certainly believes so. Senate Russia hawks are already mobilizing to preempt any Trump moves in that direction by opening the question of additional Russia sanctions.

Nonetheless foreign policy is one area where a US president can really do a lot by himself -- with or without support from the legislature.

But the group of people most worried about this are probably not in Washington but in Kiev. The problem for Ukraine's post-Maidan government is two-fold.

Firstly with Trump espousing economic nationalism the IMF billions the government relies on to survive look a lot less assured.

Then there is the political and moral problem. If Trump makes nice with Russia Kiev will have lost its most important backer.

In such a world Kiev's post-Maidan move to the right, its embrace of intolerant and historically tainted nationalism and refusal to negotiate with its regions in rebellion may very well appear a very serious miscalculation -- one that leaves Ukraine as the only country clinging to the old, outdated hard line anti-rebel and anti-Russian line.

Nonetheless this would also be a great opportunity for Ukraine. The Ukraine-Russia conflict was always an unnatural one given the many ties between the two. In fact Kiev passed its economic Russia sanctions only half a year after the EU and the US had already done so. So extensive and so critical were Russia ties (including in defense industry) to Ukraine's economy that Kiev did not dare introduce them even as it was calling for western countries to do so.

Needless to say Ukraine has also paid the biggest price for introducing Russia sanctions. Quite possibly Ukraine's own Russia sanctions have hurt Ukraine more than the western sanctions have hurt Russia.

So really the danger of Kiev's isolation in Trump's new order also represents an opportunity for the Ukrainian people. An opportunity to throw out the bandits in government, resolve their differences peacefully, and restore economic ties to Russia.

As the most impoverished people of Europe they can scarcely afford the luxury of cutting themselves off from their more numerous and wealthier Russian cousins across the border -- for the sake of the very dubious honor of remaining committed to bringing rebel East Ukrainians into the fold by means of war.


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