Ukrainian affairs have been major news items for more than two years. Although in recent times other events have pushed this Eastern European nation out of the headlines, namely Syria and Europe’s immigration crisis, Ukraine should not be forgotten. The West in particular, must keep this country in focus. This is true for a number of important reasons. Ukraine, as a European nation, is politically, economically and culturally closely intertwined with the rest of the continent. It is a large nation with an advanced industrial complex, significant agricultural capacities and highly educated population. Most importantly, there exists an armed conflict, and this could be very unhealthy for the continent.
The immigrant crisis, now more or less one of the troubling episodes in Europe, could actually be ended swiftly, if certain European governments would start to place more importance on their nations and their people, instead of trying to accomplish something that’s impossible. Neither now nor anytime in the future can Europe help the millions of refugees by simply letting them pour into the union. There are currently an estimated 60 million refugees worldwide. Other solutions must be sought after, lest the continent’s unity and social order breaks apart. Above all Germany should take this to heart.
Syria, the other problematic event, is the current focal point of the West. This five-year civil war has wreaked havoc in this Near East nation, and caused millions to flee. The IS and a number of other rebel groups are involved with fighting one another and the government troops of Bashar al-Assad. Since October 2015, Russia has also gotten involved militarily, adding yet another facet of complexness.
As precarious as the situation in Syria is, posing a far greater danger to the European continent’s security than either the war there or the IS, is Ukraine’s war with Russia and its puppet states in the Donbas. Alone the fact that this conflict is in Europe is dangerous. If we want it or not, but we’re in the midst of a new Cold War. It might not be quite as intense as the first one, but its here, nevertheless. If the fragile ceasefire breaks down and the Russian coalition expands their operations in Ukraine, the conflict could easily spill over into other nations, especially to bordering EU/NATO member states.
Ukraine is at a crossroads. It’s not only currently involved militarily with its giant neighbor, but it must achieve several other very important goals; carry through comprehensible reforms to eliminate corruption, overhaul its political and judicial systems, cure its ailing economy and rebuild its dilapidated infrastructure and industries. It’s an incredibly tough job, but essential and unavoidable if the Ukrainian people want to have a modern, democratic and prosperous nation.
It can be argued which of Ukraine’s many problems need to be attended to first. Some say all must be worked on concurrently. Be it as it may, this work will begin with the economy. This doesn’t mean that it’s of primary importance, only that it’s the start.