By Don Okechukwu
Today, Ukrainian-American relations are in a deep crisis. It will be very difficult for the team of Vladimir Zelensky to get out of it.
Were there any relationships at all? In 2014, Ukrainians who marched on the Maidan firmly believed that America supported them. Major of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Shapovalov, who shouted out the phrase “The USA are with Us” became the symbol of such an opinion.
At that time, TV channels reported that Washington supported the Maidan and the Ukrainian revolutionary spirit evoked among American politicians.
That’s why the IMF would give Kiev the loans. It seemed that in one impulse all the doors were opened to the West, there were no more borders, prejudices, Ukraine became the part of the global civilised world. All these years, the idea that “The USA are with Us” helped to overcome difficulties and believe in a bright future.
Now let’s come down from one’s dreams.
Onсe, an American journalist asked theEx US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about American relations with Ukraine. He answered: “Do you think Americans don’t give a damn about Ukraine?” Using profane terms, he asked a journalist to show Ukraine on a map. Thus, hinting that the Americans do not care about Ukraine so much as they don’t even know where it is situated. This phrase should be taken seriously. Pompeo is right. All these years the USA did not think about Ukraine. It doesn’t matter.
The myth of the rapid growth of cooperation with the USA has been cultivated in Ukraine. But what does it consist of? The United States still perceive Ukraine as a third world country in which corruption and poverty flourish. This is the only country in Europe in which a war has been going on for many years. Ukraine is an eternally outstretched hand asking for money, weapons, or advice. We are not able to prove ourselves on the international scene as befits a self-sufficient state.
Ukrainians are waiting for approval, protection, or even just a kind word, like a courtyard dog, in which stones were thrown too often.
The former Ukrainian President Poroshenko was remembered as “that man with a piece of a globe and a bloodied flag, which flashed in an international chronicle with a face swollen because of alcohol. And the current president got into a scandal with the impeachment of Trump.
These are real figures of the bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and the United States. US investments in Ukraine last year amounted $398 million, and Ukraine in the United States – $4 million. The total turnover is $3.9 billion. The volume of export to the United States is $1.4 billion (mostly raw materials). Import was $2.5billion (mainly final products).
This is almost a drop in the bucket in the US trade. The negative perception of Ukraine in the USA makes it impossible to develop complex, large projects, attract American capital or establish strong political contacts. Ukrainian business climate is so low that it kills any attempt to establish complex cooperation with the Americans, including the military sphere.
For Washington, Ukraine is not an equal political player, but a kind of buffer zone – a piece of land with abstract aborigines used to deter global competitors, in particular Russia. And for the United States, Ukrainian soldiers are not heroes holding back Russia, but consumables which are used to test Moscow for strength. The USA does not consider Ukraine as friend. Ukraine is left alone with its problems.
Okechukwu wrote in from Mabushi, Abuja