Lighthouse of freedom
In the next ten years, it will become clear whether liberal democracy will be able to withstand the growing threat from increasingly expansive authoritarian states, especially Russia and China.
The danger that under their influence the freedom-loving foundations of the West will be destroyed is quite real. However, the political elites and the general public of the West are far from fully aware of the full drama of this urgent decisive struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. Western democracies are far from a common decisive response to such an epoch-making challenge in the domestic and world political arena.
Therefore, Ukraine will also have to adjust to a certain unpredictability of the international balance of power. So whether it has a future as a full member of the EU is unclear from a double point of view.
Firstly, it will be difficult to obtain the consent of all Member States to join it, even if Ukraine succeeds in fulfilling all the conditions. In many EU countries, corruption on the part of Putin’s mafia state has gone too far, there are very deep-seated false hopes of winning Russia over as a “partner” for a common European security strategy, despite its outright hostility to the West. Therefore, in order not to anger or “provoke” the Kremlin, they do not dare to fully integrate Ukraine into the Western world.
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Thus, Germany, as the most powerful leading power in the EU, pursues an ambiguous policy towards Ukraine. On the one hand, Berlin strongly supports its approximation to the political, economic and legal standards of the European Union. At the same time, he is open to all possible options for the most rapid “normalization” of relations with Russia. That is why German persistence in Nord Stream 2 is based on the idea that in the face of political tensions, maintaining and expanding economic and social ties with Russia is more important than ever. In order not to risk a severe break with Moscow, Berlin declares the supply of weapons to Kyiv taboo and categorically opposes its accession to NATO. The point of such a German dual strategy is to allow Ukraine to fully integrate with the Western community only if Moscow has no fundamental objections to it.
UKRAINE MUST STEADFASTLY AND WITH INTENSIFIED EFFORTS CONTINUE ITS PRO-WESTERN COURSE OF REFORMS AND UPHOLD WESTERN VALUES WHEN THEY ARE INCREASINGLY BEING QUESTIONED BY THE WEST ITSELF. IT CAN SET AN EXAMPLE FOR THE WHOLE OF EUROPE
But recently, Putin has once again made it clear that he will never accept Kyiv’s final departure from the “Russian world” (a euphemism for the territory of influence claimed by Russian neo-imperialism). If the Kremlin takes this threat of forcible conquest of all of Ukraine seriously, then Berlin, Paris, and Brussels will end the policy of swinging between Kyiv and Moscow. Then they will have to side with one side or the other. There are doubts whether this decision will be consistently in favor of Ukraine.
However, the future of the EU itself is uncertain. In some countries of the Union, especially in Hungary and Poland, governments are in power that are not ready to abide by the legal norms of the community. This could lead to a situation where the European Union either disintegrates or abandons some of its fundamental principles for its own preservation. However, the presidential election in France next year poses an even greater threat to the continued existence of the EU and the Transatlantic Alliance. They can be defeated by Marine Le Pen, an extremist opponent of the universal values on which the idea of European unity is based, as well as Europe’s alliance with the United States. In addition, Le Pen is a close ally of the Kremlin.
Thus, Ukraine will have to continue its path to the Western community and resist Russian aggression without certainty as to whether it can really rely on the support of its European partners (and ultimately the United States). But on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian Independence, one can indulge in optimistic dreams: what if Ukraine, despite the fact that it cannot join the EU and NATO in the near future, becomes the guardian and flagship of the European idea? The revolution of dignity in this country set political and ideal standards for the whole of free Europe. Ukrainians have shown the perseverance and sacrifice needed to defeat European and universal values of freedom against their authoritarian antipodes. Given that even seemingly certain Western democracies are under increasing pressure from authoritarianism, they should remember this example and recognize Ukraine as a beacon of freedom.
However, in order to do so, Ukraine must steadily and with intensified efforts continue its pro-Western course of reforms and uphold Western values at a time when they are increasingly being questioned by the West itself. If Ukraine continues to resist Russian aggression, win the fight against corruption and the domination of the oligarchs, and use economically its great innovative potential in IT and renewable energy, it can set an example for the whole of Europe that can be freed by boldly defending its own values of freedom. Ukraine as a savior of a united democratic Europe and the creator of its necessary renewal? Someone smart once said that nothing in history is impossible, even well possible. I think this is a great slogan for the 30th anniversary of free Ukraine.