In ‘The Matrix’, Neo gets offered a choice. The blue pill would reset his life to normal (a sort of ctrl-alt-del in an easily swallowed package) while the red pill would take him into a dangerous new world.
The people of the Ukraine aren’t being offered red or blue pills, but a choice between red or blue flags. Unfortunately for them, whichever one they choose, they are likely to find that both flags do pretty much the same thing. Their choice, like so many choices these days, is just an illusion.
Ukraine is in an important place. A strategically important place both militarily and economically. Russia does not want the West controlling it and the West does not want Russia controlling it.
The grown-up solution would be for Ukraine to declare neutrality and allow both sides trade access but allow neither side any form of influence or control. In fact, that would be the grown-up solution for every country – but the human race is a long way from growing up.
That’s why we are forced to cringe at the finger-wagging now being directed at Russia. ‘Now you leave those little countries alone, Russia, and don’t go interfering in their game’ – and this comes from countries that have poked their noses into every last crevice on the planet and always ended up making things far worse.
Half of Ukraine wants to join the EU and half wants to stay in Russia. America thinks it is in nobody’s interests to see the country split but why not? Countries are not natural things. They are collections of people who all like to live in a certain way – or at least, that’s how they should be. In a situation where half a country want to live one way and the other half want to live differently the solution is simple. Divide the land and make it into two countries. Otherwise the only possible outcome is eventual civil war as each half tries to impose itself on the other.
If that happened it would soon make clear that those who took the red flag and those who took the blue flag are actually living the same lives. Communism or commEUnism, that’s their choice now.
They’ve already had a taste of the blue flag, as Frank points out. However, they think it’s the red flag. An understandable error since both flags taste the same.
The Blue Flag side claim that the EU will give them freedom (ha!) and let them escape corrupt officials (hoho!). The Red Flag side are likely to be of ‘better the devil you know’ mind, or maybe they are the ones who looked under the blue flag and saw that it was worse.
Russia makes no pretence about it. It is a communist country. It is still possible to get rich there as long as you navigate the bureaucracy carefully and don’t offend the government. China is much the same. For an oppressive regime, it’s surprising how many stories come out about people refusing to move house so that roads and new housing estates have to be built around them. In the UK, council enforcers would turn up with bulldozers.
Anyway, those who choose the red flag know exactly what they are getting. They know how the corruption works. Those who choose the blue flag think they are getting freedom – they are not. They are getting corrupt officials, mountains of meaningless paperwork and jumped-up hi-vis idiots enforcing a whole slew of petty regulations. The EU will not build its road around your house. It’s coming through, and it does not care if you are still in it.
For a real cringeworthy moment, we only have to hear the mouse that roared…
Russia should not intervene in the Ukraine crisis, William Hague warned as he called for the urgent formation of a national unity government to help manage divisions in the country.
Really? We are ‘warning’ Russia? Backed up with what exactly? The days when the British could quell a rebellion by sending an old man to shout and wave a stick at them are long gone. Even at the height of British world influence, we didn’t want to poke that bear.
The USA has also set out its demands –
Rice said the United States wants a de-escalation of the violence in Ukraine, constitutional changes, democratic elections ‘in very short order,’ and the opportunity for Ukrainians to come together in a coalition unity government.
I’d have thought all that was up to the people of the Ukraine because – and I realise this might be contentious – it’s their country. Then we have this –
She said U.S. authorities are not sure where Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich has fled.
‘He is in a place that will reveal itself. Yesterday we knew where he was. Today we’re not so sure,’ Rice said.
Why? Why does it matter? He was not a dictator. He was not put in place by Russia. He was elected by the people of the Ukraine and then booted out by the people of Ukraine. What is he wanted for? His only crime as far as the West was concerned was that he ‘dreamed different dreams’. He wanted closer ties with Russia so the EU and US wanted him out. They have that. What do they want the man himself for? To make some kind of example?
So all this talk of Russia having to leave Ukraine alone is nothing to do with letting those people decide their own future. It’s about keeping Russia out of the way so the West can interfere. Again.
Look closely at that blue flag, Ukraine. You might find there’s more blood on it than there is on the red one.