The depiction of the European Union as an economic giant but political dwarf is a classic, and criticisms for its failure to get its act together when it comes to foreign and security policy are an old hat. With the recent events in Ukraine, however, EU bashing has reached a new dimension. Political commentators and journalists sing from the same song book. And the tune goes as follows: In the 21st century, Russia and the US play a geostrategic game of the 19th century according to the rules of the 20th century. In their competition over exclusive spheres of influence, Russia got the Crimean (back) and the US keeps the rest in the West. Europe has either been irrelevant in this power game or dealt one or two cards to the US. Either way, the European Union and its member states have betrayed the values they seek to uphold bowing to the power of Western energy companies, Russian oligarchs, US imperialism, or Russia’s ambition to re-build the Soviet Union – pick your choice.
There is no question that the conflict over the Crimean involves geopolitics. While all parties justify their actions by the need to protect democracy and human rights, the bidding over Ukraine’s territorial integrity is also about economic and security interests. Yet, in the 21st century, immaterial and material interests are intimately linked. For once, in a globalized economy, the prosperity of Western democracies and the survival of the Russian rent-economy both depend as much on the energy supply from Russia. More importantly, Western democracies share the belief that democracy is the best way to ensure security and prosperity in the long run. So do many Ukrainians that have been holding out in Maidan, first, to dispose of an autocratic and corrupt regime, and then to protest against the land-grab by an external autocratic regime. The European Union has been an important reference point for their demands of democracy and (international) rule of law ...Zum vollständigen Artikel