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Krauthammer’s Plan For More Instability

Krauthammer is eager to throw money at the problems in Ukraine:

Start with a declaration of full-throated support for Ukraine’s revolution. Follow that with a serious loan/aid package–say, replacing Moscow’s $15 billion–to get Ukraine through its immediate financial crisis….Then join with the E.U. to extend a longer substitute package, preferably through the International Monetary Fund.

It doesn’t make sense for the U.S. to offer “full-throated support” for the change in government in Ukraine. For one thing, I don’t think most Americans fully support what the “revolution” in Ukraine represents, but more to the point a declaration of “full-throated support” potentially commits the U.S. to the defense of what remains just one side in an ongoing internal political struggle. Now that events in Crimea make greater U.S. involvement even riskier and contain the potential to destabilize the country further, it is more important than ever to think about how declaring “full-throated support” for one side of the dispute will be perceived and what responses it is likely to provoke. It would almost certainly be taken as confirmation that the “revolution” was always a U.S.-backed movement, and that could be viewed in Moscow as license to take more aggressive actions than it already has. At the very least, there is no reason to think that making such a declaration will reduce tensions or contribute to stability in Ukraine. Then again, Krauthammer has rarely seen a politically divided foreign country that he hasn’t wanted to destabilize.

As I mentioned yesterday, Ukraine’s immediate financial need is reportedly closer to $35 billion, and there are some good reasons to be reluctant to lend this support. Unless the U.S. and EU are prepared to give away this huge amount of money, the loan will come with demanding conditions. A new Ukrainian government is likely not going to be able to meet these conditions because of the deep unpopularity of the measures that will be required by the IMF or by whichever governments provide the loan. On the other hand, if the new government carries out the required changes, it will probably run into fierce popular opposition. It will then probably be forced to renege on the agreement with its creditors or risk being driven from power. It is a very strange way to show support for the “revolution” by requiring its leaders to pursue an agenda that will be ruinous to their political fortunes, but then this is the sort of short-sighted and self-defeating thinking that hawks are best known for.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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