Which Dog Will Smile?

Ukraine. There are a few American commentators able to cogently address the vagaries of that forever trampled land. I am not one of them. Though a couple of obvious lessons percolated up from the cauldron in Kiev.

First, men do not quail before Internet assaults. This revolution, and nearly all past and future, occurred because boots went to ground. Fists were raised, slogans screamed, demands issued, fires lit, punches thrown, projectiles launched, and ultimately…streets stained crimson. If Yanukovich had instead faced only a piquant bill of particulars submitted by Ukraine’s aggrieved parties, his only concern this evening would be what vodka to pair with his borshch. It’s always telling how much position changes posture. Recall Saddam Hussein’s response when pulled from his burrow by US troops: I’m willing to negotiate!

Second, the emotional phalanx can’t be overstated. Protestors persevered for one reason: they enjoyed the open support of their people. Old men offered admiration, young women offered more. And that, as Frost would conclude, has made all the difference. One does not attempt to swat incoming 5.45mm rounds into left-field with a baseball bat when no fans are cheering in the stands. The fellowship of men and the affection of women are history’s surest inducements to heroism.

And so what now? Almost certainly AmeriGlobe views the Ukrainian nationalists as its cat’s paw. And a quite gauche one at that, to be quickly replaced when the true business of Ukrainian multiculturalism commences. Svoboda seems encouraging to an outside observer, and one hopes they are as cunning as they are determined. Though their adversary in this game masticates nations to pulp as dully and inevitably as a cow chews its cud.

Will the Ukrainians lung for the money stick when the US says “fetch!” Or once securely in power, will they watch the lure float past, glance at their shapely future as Ukrainians, and as they start to trot forward, turn back once toward the wreckers…and smile.

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Coda: Perhaps the Ukrainians most immediate challenge will be their most ironic: how to deal with half a country of generally hostile, and undoubtedly outraged ethnic rivals. And how would the provisional government react to a now-familiar occupational demonstration by Russian nationalists? Would they seek advice from Viktor Yanukovych? And what would be his counsel? Eschew violence entirely…or go thermobaric? Whichever course chosen, I’m sure of the guiding principal: move all of your chips or none.

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