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View Diary: Russia Throws Rhetorical Gauntlet On Ukraine (64 comments)

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  •  The linkages are extensive (6+ / 0-)

    and not easily broken.

    •  And here we are right in the middle. (8+ / 0-)

      from the guardian article:

      The US treasury secretary, Jacob Lew, told Arseniy Yatsenyuk, tipped as Ukraine's next prime minister, that the US, "together with Europe and others in the international community, are ready to supplement an IMF programme to cushion the impact of reforms," according to a treasury statement.
      Which fits right in with my comment on this subject a couple days ago:
      The US/Neo-Cons have been meddling there for years, most recently led by Victoria Nuland former foreign policy advisor to Cheney, and then as an Obama State Department spokesperson. Nuland is also the wife of Robert Kagan, co-founder of the Project for A New American Century.  
      In an eight minute, 46 second speech at the National Press Club sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation, Chevron, and Ukraine-in-Washington Lobby Group, Nuland boasted that Washington has spent $5 billion to foment agitation to bring Ukraine into the EU. Once captured by the EU, Ukraine will be “helped” by the West acting through the IMF. Nuland, of course, presented the IMF as Ukraine’s rescuer, not as the iron hand of the West that will squeeze all life out of Ukraine’s struggling economy
      .

      If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

      by LieparDestin on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:45:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That sounds like they aren't willing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Robert, Azazello

        to replace the IMF money. That still comes with the austerity strings. That is not likely to work in this situation.

        •  anyone in Ukraine with any knowledge (9+ / 0-)

          of foreign events will have observed what has transpired in Greece under the hand of the Troika. They will be wary of the IMF.

          Unlike Greece, they have an alternative sugar daddy who will surely be happy to welcome his prodigal child back into his loving embrace--for a price, to be sure, but perhaps a lower price than the West will demand. They can play the west and Russia against each other. A dangerous game, but one that may be worth it, if the IMF doesn't loosen its purse strings.

          Merkel may think that the EU has secured Ukraine at a cheap price. I rather doubt she's thought through the long-term picture.

          Any political party with any sense will steer clear of being in an austerity government. If the fascists are excluded from the next Ukrainian government (as is only sensible) and the government proceeds to impose austerity, that leaves them as one of the few viable alternatives when austerity fails (again, as happened in Greece). That is not where anyone wants to be--not the EU, not Russia, and almost surely not the majority of Ukrainians.

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 11:57:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  On the other hand (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thomask

            The may well take some comfort (and some caution) from the experience of another ex-Soviet state, Estonia which is one of the powerhouse economies of the Eurozone. It was an early adopter of fiscally responsible measures as its President explained in an interview with CNN at the end of last year.

            Asked why Estonia is the poster child for economic stability, Ilves joked: "Well, for one, we followed the rules."
            He added: "It is quite clear that if the eurozone is to be viable, that the kinds of behavior that we have seen, either fiscal irresponsibility, or in some cases even lying about deficits, well that is completely unacceptable."
            A fully-fledged member of the European Union since 2004 and the latest country to officially adopt the euro currency in 2011, Estonia's dark days 19% high unemployment and grave recession appear to be at an end.
            Estonia's Prime Minister yesterday announced he will resign in a couple of months so his party can choose a new leader (and therefore PM) in time for the elections that are due next year. Andrus Ansip has been PM since 2005 and has led three different coalitions following elections. One interesting point is that the center-right wants to reduce the flat rate of income tax from 21% to 20% whereas the parties to the left want to introduce a progressive taxation system with higher rates for higher income.

            "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

            by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 01:29:20 PM PST

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            •  "Fiscally responsible" = austerity (5+ / 0-)

              Estonia, population 1.33 million, has been adopted as the poster-child by the austerians. I guess it's because of their people's exceptional willingness to swallow the medicine without complaining. After years of contraction & declining economic output, years of people suffering, growth has finally returned to some of the less developed economies of the EU's periphery, & now the austerity advocates point to this as proof that they were right all along.

              •  OK then, the UK (0+ / 0-)

                The UK adopted comparatively fairly mild austerity (old age pensions have been increased by more than inflation for example) from the election in May 2010. In case you are not aware of the situation, a coalition had to be formed before the markets opened on the Monday following the Thursday election. If it had not been, the UK would likely have gone into default with proportionally more debt than Greece.

                Yet now the UK has a faster growth rate than any other major Western country apart from the USA (which has benefitted from oil produced using fracking!).

                The major factor for Estonia was that the people were behind the government's austerity measures as a necessary short term evil. Now they are reaping the rewards. No doubt you would deny them that democratic choice.

                "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

                by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 02:21:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Please see my comment (0+ / 0-)

                  on your last Ukrainian diary.  At the end.

                  The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

                  by amyzex on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 02:49:16 PM PST

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                •  Austerity doctrine has been fairly well refuted. (4+ / 0-)

                  Refuted by the experience of so many Eurozone countries where it has been imposed. Austerity chokes growth, which causes job losses & declining standards of living, & leads to even greater defecits. That growth has finally, finally returned to these countries - from a much lower base after so much imposed suffering - hardly vindicates the austerity programme. What's it been - 6 years or so - since the start of the financial crisis? And one has the audacity to claim that austerity "works"?

                  And no, the UK would not have gone into default. The UK, unlike Greece, can print its own money & borrow in its own currency.

                  •  Oh dear (0+ / 0-)

                    In order to back up the currency it is necessary to do two things. The first is to ensure that there are enough fungable assets to cover immediate liabilities (ie gold or foreign currency reserves). The UK government was broke - the outgoing Chief Financial Secretary (no 2 to the Chancellor) famously left a note for his successor saying there was no money left!

                    If your economy is in the sort of state it was in the UK in May 2010, you have the choice of fiscal austerity with a long term plan, devaluation by the markets or default on government debts. Argentina is quoted as the poster boy of default - no wonder since it appears to do so every few years and has just done so again. What that does is put your borrowing costs up. Borrowing is essential for the smooth running of an administration to cover periods when your tax income does not meet what you might call "entitlements" but also include the salaries of public employees.  If your currency is devalued you reduce the living standards of the country as a whole - which is not quite how Estonia handled its crisis. They performed an "internal devaluation" by directly reducing wage rates while retaining the same exchange rate with the Euro - which they have now joined.  

                    As I said, UK borrowing is as high as Greece but is more manageable precisely because the markets have confidence in the government's ability to take action. Greece, and to a large extent Spain and Italy, have real problems in collecting taxes combined with situations where they have a vastly inflated public administration which gets 13 month's salary a year. The very fact that they have been unable to implement austerity measures meant that further pain is inevitable.

                    On the other hand in the UK despite the austerity measures,  state pensions have risen by more than inflation, other benefits have risen in line with the RPI, spending on the NHS as remained the same, the UK has met its UN obligation to give 0.7% of GNI as foreign development aid, schools get over £1000 per pupil from poor families to improve their education, millions have been take out of paying income tax by increases in the tax starting point which also gave £700 to those on basic rate tax; the voluntary school starting age (ie before compulsory education at 5) has been reduced and from this September all children in infants schools (5-7) will get a free nutritious school lunch.  On the other hand there have been big reductions in expenditure on the armed forces - something apparently Obama has realized works!

                    Yes, a fairly mild austerity program DOES work. It would have worked in Greece but for their government being unable to take the necessary action which means things are that bad. The Greek tragedy is that its those very pols who have been ripping off the country for decades.

                    Unfortunately for many, the model produced by Keynes has several problems. Not the least of which is it assumes a sort of "closed cycle" which does not take into account, for example, the offshoring of the production stimulated by increases in the money supply. That's where the model fell down for the USA well before the Chicago School came up with their brand of neo-monetarism or indeed the introduction of "New Keynesianism".    

                    Whatever, the experience of Greece is not going to be replicated in Ukraine. Probably the only political figure widely known outside the country who stands a chance of becoming President in the new elections is Vitali Klitschko. He has a strong anti-corruption policy and the political capital as one of the "leaders" of the Maidan movement which would appear to chime with the Ukrainian people. Their determination to face west and the experience of the past week will likely give him the ability to take the necessary measures to push forward the requirements of the Association Agreement - again something few actually know about.

                    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

                    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 05:57:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "Lib" must stand for "libertarian". (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      limpidglass

                      I swear, I'd never expected to get a hard-money Paulite lecture on DKos! Austerity, like conservatism in general, can never fail; it can only BE failed. Geez.

                      For the record, austerity has proven to be an unmitigated disaster in the economic crises of the last few years, just about everywhere it has been imposed. Austerity programs have caused, as a direct consequence, depression levels of unemployment in Spain, Portugal, Greece & Ireland. Austerity policies led to a double-dip recession in the UK. The Tea Party-imposed budget cuts in the U.S. have hamstrung our own economic recovery & kept unemployment unnecessarily high.

                      But to the austerians, this is a good thing, rather like a purgative or shock therapy - to let "weak" or "uncompetitive" enterprises fail & let the strong thrive & then the benefits trickle down to everyone. Suffer, the Ukrainians will be sternly admonished, & emerge stronger tomorrow.

          •  I doubt the fascists will be excluded (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Richard Lyon, Lepanto, limpidglass

            They are perceived as the leaders of the street right now.

            The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

            by amyzex on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 01:39:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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