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August 27, 2014 / Congau

Ukraine or Free Choice

Ukraine was always a divided country. In it we may perceive the micro-cosmos of a divided world, a bi-polar world, a world fighting in eternal dichotomy. Dualism is a natural law, for any organism will want to fight within itself, but Ukraine is more than an organism; it mirrors the world.

What then are the forces struggling in our world? Good and evil? Right and wrong? Western liberals frown at such a suggestion. The truth is subjective, they tell us, and everyone must choose his own believes. It is just that in Ukraine the truth lies in the West. Reading the European press should be enough to convince any half interested observer; in Kiev the democrats dwell, while Donetsk is the nest of terrorists. That has been the simple tune throughout the conflict; one side is fundamentally right, and the other one is wrong.

But there is no right or wrong, liberalism has taught us, the only real value is autonomy; the right to decide for oneself. That is the fundamental of the so-called Western values, isn’t it, and accordingly that is the basic reason why Ukraine must choose the West. It has no choice: It must choose the freedom to choose. Who can solve this paradox?: The Freedom to choose leaves you with no choice.

If the Ukrainian conflict is a struggle for values on the Western side, being true to those values means letting the people of Ukraine, including those of the eastern Ukraine, decide. On the other hand, if it is just a classical struggle for power between old cold warriors, then let it be so and there is no need to refer to values.

In either case, maybe both sides of the conflict will have to be understood. Maybe there are no terrorists and no democrats. Maybe the world is complicated.

It may just happen that the majority of the people of Eastern Ukraine actually want to have closer ties to Russia. That wouldn’t seem so incredible when looking at the history, both recent and ancient, of the area that is now called Ukraine. It is divided and it has been divided. Then, shouldn’t this division be respected? In the name of freedom and autonomy, shouldn’t each part be allowed to choose for itself?

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