The U.S. and Europe should continue to stand behind the Ukrainian majority [bold mine-DL], because our interests and theirs are now the same.
There are a few problems with this. First, it isn’t at all clear that “the Ukrainian majority” wants the association agreement with the EU or the early dismissal of the current government and president. That is what the opposition wants, but the U.S. should always be wary of assuming that what opposition groups prefer represents the majority of a country. This is even more important when dealing with countries that have democratically elected governments, since such governments possess a degree of political legitimacy that unelected governments do not. For what I would think are obvious reasons, the U.S. shouldn’t want to encourage opposition parties to force a change in government through street protests when they have the option of competing in normal elections. There isn’t much of an argument for the U.S. taking sides in this dispute, but the argument for siding against another country’s majority is even weaker.
Is it true that “our interests and theirs are now the same”? Unless one has a very expansive definition of U.S. interests, it seems unlikely that there is much overlap, and even then it would be a stretch to say that these interests are the same. The U.S. would prefer that Ukraine be stable, but at least in the short term that seems unlikely to be the result of backing the protesters’ demands. I have yet to see anyone identify a concrete U.S. interest that would be advanced by wading into Ukraine’s turmoil, but there are a few clear risks in doing so. It would not only create another avoidable irritant in the relationship with Russia, but it would also add another U.S. commitment overseas to an already overly long list of them. I don’t believe the U.S. or the EU is prepared to pay the price required to keep Ukraine from foundering, and the U.S. shouldn’t support a change in government if it isn’t willing or able to assume at least part of the responsibility for supporting it later on. More dangerously, backing the protesters has the potential to exacerbate political divisions in Ukraine rather than minimizing them, and that could lead to greater instability in the country as a whole that Russia could seize on as a pretext for more direct interference. This is the sort of dispute that the U.S. should be keeping at arm’s length rather than trying to find a way to become more involved.