By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Saturday, March 15, 2014
My good friends, the crisis deepening in Ukraine has attracted global attention because it risks sparking off a catastrophe that will belittle the first two world wars. Unless stemmed without any ill-thought-of use of military action by the United States and its European allies against Russia whose interest in Ukraine is beyond dispute.
Much hot air is being blown, even as diplomatic efforts falter because none of the interested parties will budge. While the US and its allies have begun imposing sanctions on Russia and threatening more wide-ranging ones, Russia has dug in and is determined to do what it seeks to ensure that Ukraine doesn’t fall into the hands of the US and is NATO allies.
Losing its former Warsaw Pact allies (Poland and Romania, particularly) to NATO, Russia must have learnt the lesson to be on its quivive to prevent the same fate befalling Ukraine. It will do all in its power to rein Ukraine in and ensure that its backyard is not encroached upon by forces threatening its very existence.
And Russia has said a lot on its resolve and taken practical military action to consolidate its territorial ambitions and to defend its interests. Those thinking otherwise are inserting themselves into the Ukrainian issue and reinforcing that Russian resolve all the move.
The manouevres have virtually gone beyond plain rhetoric to one that is gradually taking us to the use of force, especially if any foolhardiness is used in reaction to the referendum to be held in Crimea tomorrow.
The stage is set for more nerve-wracking rhetoric—or military force. Steel is set to cut steel as the world shivers in fear of the unthinkable in this nuclear age!!
The UN Security Council has just voted against Russia—with Russia vetoing the resolution condemning its stance on Crimea (Ukraine) and China abstaining (apparently because of its own stance on Tibet and other parts of the country that have been forcibly controlled all these years.
The fear of letting loose agitations for independence in those restive areas scares China!!). Russia remains unfazed and is awaiting the outcome of the done deal called referendum in Crimea.
In all this happening, nothing has come from Africa so far. No African voice has said anything for us to know how our leaders face global affairs. They haven’t said anything so far because they are themselves facing serious internal crisis as a result of their incompetence, murderous thievery of national assets, and plain connivance with outsiders undermining their own African countries.
One may say that Africa should stay away from that crisis to deal with its own crisis of identity, governance, and under-development. Or that the Ukrainian crisis is too removed from its interest areas to warrant putting any stake in it.
Of course, Africa has no direct interest in Ukraine; but seen from a wider angle, happenings in that country have an unavoidable impact on Africa, especially within the context of the forces confronting each other over Ukraine: the United States, European Union, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other hand.
I am being brunt here to say that these African leaders are in a bind: first they could have easily faced the same fate as befell the deposed Ukrainian leader (Yanukovych) but for the patience and tolerance of the citizens; and second, for the fact that the citizens want to continue sacrificing in the hope that governance will improve.
More encompassing, though, is the support they get from the West as they remain as underdogs or puppets to be manipulated into creating the congenial atmosphere that the West exploits.
We are aware of moves by the United States, particularly, to establish military bases in some of those countries and the stiff opposition given by the proud and resolute citizens. In this sense, then, the African leaders have no moral urge to say anything scathing to the US and its allies. They fear being exposed for their underhand deeds in office. They also fear that they will be removed from office if forces are mobilized against them. We know of uprisings and their huge impact on some of those leaders.
That some African leaders have also sold their conscience to Russia is no secret. At the same time, they are in bed with the West. So, they have pushed themselves into a labyrinthine relationship that will cut them to size wherever they turn as the pendulum swings. Now, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, what else should they do but keep their mouths shut and their eyes squinting to catch any faint glimpse of daily happenings regarding Ukraine. They can’t talk because their tongues will be slashed off for them to learn how not to cross the red line.
I am not surprised, then, that despite the massing up of rhetorical, diplomatic, and military forces as the Ukrainian crisis deepens, no African leader has said anything. The umbrella African Union is recognizable only for its incompetence—or its death!
Unfortunately, though, anything happening now will have a long-lasting direct or indirect impact on Africa because of over-dependence on foreign aid and the huge support given it by all these countries concentrating attention on Ukraine.
One thing is sure, though. Trust the African leaders to keep their mouths shut while the rest of the world reacts to the Ukrainian crisis, the latest development to threaten global peace.
Depending on how this crisis is handled, it is likely that global politics will definitely take a turn for alarm. Africa may not become the theatre of any war related to the Ukrainian crisis but it will suffer serious negative backlash in diverse ways, which is why an African voice must be heard on the matter.
I shall return…