The country of Ukraine finds itself as the rope amidst the game of international tug-of-war between the West and Russia. A history marked by Soviet affiliation and a modern population inclined toward Europe helps to complicate the Ukrainian future. Now, in recent weeks, we have seen the nation of Ukraine become divided against itself and fall victim to external pressures rooted in economic development. While many issues stand complicating this crisis, special consideration ought to be devoted to maintaining the international norm of state sovereignty.
While varying news agencies and the U.N. have called for peacekeeping intervention, and Russia considers employing troops to protect its interests, it would appear that the integrity of Ukraine’s constitutional institutions ARE responding appropriately. The disparity between the Ukrainian populous and the Yanukovych government has been initially addressed through a unanimous parliamentary vote to remove the current administration.
Some have remarked on the duty that the U.S. and others might have to respond to governments turning upon their own citizens. More importantly, though, is the fact that Ukraine itself (as the parliament) has responded. As a sovereign nation, especially as one equipped with the citizenry to hold their government accountable, it remains essential to regard this situation as a domestic concern of Ukraine and not as an invitation to react from the international community—especially the U.S.
The international concern here remains not in responsibility of action but conversely on knowing where not to act. Many are unaware that much of this conflict has risen out the existence of competing external economic pressures from Europe and Russia. Both Russia and the E.U. are guilty of creating an artificial economic promise for Ukraine. The economic success of Ukraine becomes political when external governments decide that Ukraine’s economic development falls under their jurisdiction—which it should not.
How much more peacefully can lenders and borrowers, buyers and sellers, or businesses and individuals interact when not forcibly introduced to one another at the command of a government (which comes with a long list of dirty and polarizing politics)? Russia, Europe and the U.S. offer no help in creating these artificial economic packages to other nations.
The principle of economic development, as a long-term aid in development, has little evidence to suggest it as a positive. In principle, free-market economies should not be subject to their artificial disbursements occurring at the hands of governments. Since it remains impossible for governments to act impartially or selflessly toward another state, how can we expect any external economic solution to offer meaningful stability for Ukraine? In reality, we have just witnessed heightened instability as a result of external influence creeping in on the realm of Ukrainian domestic free-choice markets.
We can be confident in the Ukrainian constitution to uphold checks on its branches of government and additionally in the Ukrainian economy, which has the potential to freely engage in economic activity with partners of its choosing. As such, our hopes should be directed at Russia and the West respecting Ukrainian sovereignty and refusing to promulgate this damaging practice of “economic development packages.” Let us look forward to and hope for a peaceful and swift recovery of the Ukrainian people and their state, noticing that a democratic society will hold accountable a government gone astray from its will.