Both America and the world are still reeling in disbelief from the results of Tuesday’s Presidential election. Political pundits and sociologists have enough material to keep them in business for years. For example, why did the white American industrial working class (or what is left of it, at least) vote for a billionaire oligarch? Was this just the final Hail Mary pass of a dying nation? That sort of thing…
Although this election admittedly engaged my flagging interest in American politics, I will leave most of the punditry to others more qualified. My specialty is the Russian world. Hence, I have this relatively short piece on the effect of the U.S. election on the nation of Ukraine.
Bottom line: It sucks to be a colony. It’s bad enough when your vital interests are held hostage to bad decisions made by your friends and neighbors. But when you have to sit on the edge of your seat watching an election taking place across the ocean among people whose culture and way of thinking is completely alien… People you thought you understood when they sent their mysterious emissaries to greet you with cookies on the Maidan… People who urged you to rise up and trash your own country, promising you Nirvana in return… And now your very physical survival might depend on a single hanging chad in a remote polling place thousands of miles away…
Bottom line: It sucks to be the Ukrainian government of Petro Poroshenko. Petro who hitched his wagon to Hillary Clinton’s star. Crudely speaking, he bet on the wrong horse.
Reporter Nikita Golobokov writes in his piece that the Ukrainian ruling elite found themselves in a state of high panic on Wednesday, the day after the American election. In the first stage of Denial, they tweeted a stream of imprecations and insults against the President-elect. Towards Wednesday evening, as if taking a cold shower, they sobered up, deleted and wiped those insults. In the process, learning a valuable life’s lesson: Never send an email or tweet when you are drunk, high, or in a state of emotional distress.
Ukrainian support for Clinton was not just platonic: The Ukrainian government actively interfered in the American election. They, along with other Clinton surrogates, had raised a stink about Trump advisor Paul Manafort. As a result of the ensuing scandal, Manafort was forced to resign from the Trump campaign. Both Manafort and Trump may well retain long memories about this incident. Trump, in particular, is known for being vindictive. Like a woman or an elephant, he never forgets anything. And he certainly didn’t get to where he is now, without knowing the difference between a friend and a foe.
Bottom line: Ukrainian elite, along with the marionettes of the other Eastern European colonies, totally bought into the Clinton propaganda line that Donald Trump is a puppet of their arch-enemy, Vladimir Putin. Are their primeval fears justified? Probably not. But it was what they believed, and what they were led to believe, by the Clintonistas. In the primitive and narcissistic Ukrainian mindset, everything is always just about them. Nothing else, just them. And when their candidate lost, they lashed out in the first moments of fury.
Well, even Blanche Dubois eventually had to accept that an external reality exists. President Poroshenko, who is nothing if not a realist, especially when it comes to his wallet, fairly quickly came to his senses. His tenor voice soon joined the chorus of congratulations flowing into the emotional coffers of Donald Trump. Even there, Petro couldn’t resist tossing in his own special pleading: Inviting Trump to visit Ukraine; expressing his hope that America would continue to support Ukrainian “reforms” and would assist Ukraine in restoring its “territorial integrity”. Translating into real-speak: “We Ukrainian compradore class expect you to continue the policies of the Obama-Clintons. We expect you to give us lots of money. We expect you to go to war against Russia, to shed your own and NATO’s blood, in order to return the Crimean Peninsula to us.”
Joining the chorus of passive-aggressive fealty, Ukrainian Speaker of the House Andriy Parubiy made the following utterance in ritual congratulations of his new imperial sovereign: “The Republican Party of the USA — this is a party which traditionally supports Ukraine and which defines its cooperation with our government as one of the priorities of its foreign politics.”
Yup. Ukraine should be the first thing on Trump’s mind when he wakes up every morning henceforth.
But none of this backstroking can erase the effect made earlier by Ukraine’s top supporter Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia in the Obama administration. A drunken and depressed McFaul, at 3:45 in the morning, once the election was called for Trump, tweeted this: “Biggest loser in the world tonight– Ukraine. Your only hope is to get really serious about reform and keep Euros supportive.”
Ukrainians: When even your best friend calls you a loser — that really hurts!
Golobokov goes on to cite Ukrainian economist Alexander Okhrimenko, who reckons that Kiev’s former anti-Trump rhetoric might come back to bite them: “The completely mindless hopes placed on American and European handouts, have completely destroyed Ukraine’s economy. Instead of working to rebuild the Ukrainian economy and establish normal conditions for business, the Ukrainian government did nothing except try to please the American and European ambassadors. As a result the Ukrainian government is left with no real support in the world financial market, and all it ended up with, is a new U.S. president whom they previously insulted and covered with grime.”
Valeriya Hontareva adds an extra lash to the dying mule’s carcass. As Head of the National Bank of Ukraine, she reckons that the IMF will probably not hand-out Ukraine’s next tranche of $1.3 billion dollars. The IMF has been keeping Ukraine strung out on nickels and dimes, just feeding its fix with tiny shots of cash. Will even those meager hand-outs end during the Trump Presidency? Only time will tell.