||Ukraine cuts itself off from the West
In the article "The West has abandoned Ukraine" ( Oct.
30 ), Jaroslav Koshiw makes a number of complaints about
the West. First, that the European Union has not granted
Ukraine associate membership, but has given privileged
trading status to the Baltic states. I feel the reason for
this falls at Ukraine's door, not the European Union's.
Ukraine still remains a part of the Commonwealth of
Independent States. As long as it is unable to detach itself
from the commonwealth (as the Baltic states did), it will be
disappointed with the offerings from Western Europe.
The consequences of Ukraine's CIS membership can be seen
in the European Union assistance strategy toward the East.
This is divided into two EU programs, PHARE and TACIS. All
East European nations that have obtained associate
membership are under the PHARE umbrella. Those in the CIS
are under TACIS. No one in that program has been given (or
is being considered for) associate membership.
Another complaint is the U.S. government's influence in
selecting the transport of Azeri oil through Turkey rather
than the shorter and more economical route through Ukraine.
From an American viewpoint the Turkish route is attractive
because it would provide greater security control over the
pipelines. Turkey is already a member of NATO. The United
States thus has a security treaty that would allow it to
defend its oil interests in Turkey if they were in danger.
No such arrangement exists with Ukraine.
One of the goals in choosing an Azeri oil route is to
avoid Russian territorial control over the pipelines. If the
United States sought to go through Ukraine, it must be
assured of the relationship that will develop between
Ukraine and Russia in the next century. Today this is not
There are three potential scenarios. First, Ukraine and
Russia could remain separate states and become peaceful
neighbors. That would make Ukraine a sound choice for the
oil pipelines. Second, as separate states they could become
involved in territorial conflicts. That could require
American military intervention in Ukraine against a nuclear
Russia if its oil interests were threatened. A Turkish
route, on the other hand, would only mean a potential
conflict with the Kurds. America could handle that, as it
did Iraq. In the final scenario, Ukraine and Russia could
enter into some type of union. Such an occurrence would
undermine the rationale for selecting the pipeline route.
The last complaint is about Western markets being closed
to Ukrainian grain and other foodstuffs. While that may be
true, the West is not the only market in the world for food.
Ukraine might be rich in food production, but it is poor in
energy production. There are non-Western nations in the
opposite situation. Ukraine could develop trade relations
with them. Ukraine should not view Western barriers as
eliminating any solution to its economic problems.