What to do About Ukraine? – “Rukh” and Lviv

It appears that US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, and President Biden have a very good idea what to do after their recent embassy move from Kiev to Lviv!

While these two are close to seeing another (de facto) allied country lose their de facto sovereignty to an invading power due to their weakness, they have improved from Afghanistan with this move.

See, Americans do not want their military to go into any wars right now, as many people have misconstrued protecting a country with war. It is a very semantic game right now, where in Afghanistan, you could have the case where 0 American soldiers had died for a year and a half and yet the main reason you are leaving is because of soldiers dying. People seem to not understand that labelling something as a war does not equal death, nor does not labeling something as a war equals less death. Just look at the “forever war in Afghanistan” verse the Southside of Chicago. One was much more deadly for Americans in the previous years before the disastrous pullout, and that was not called a war.

Yet, Americans have chosen their path, and President Biden seems hard pressed to give the majority what they want, even if it would do detrimental harm to millions of people and weaken the USA. This is partly because he is on their side too.

But, in Afghanistan, there were other ways to leave than just abandoning the Afghan people completely. For example, the USA could have supported the Panjshir and Hazara Resistance. The USA could have moved their supplies to a secured location, and kept the Resistance to the Taliban strong. The USA could still do this. There are many areas of Afghanistan very resistant to Taliban rule, and these are the areas where the USA could go to and should have gone to at the very least.

Likewise, the same exists in Ukraine. And, the Americans have found the perfect place in Lviv!

Lviv is perfect because it is home to the Patriotic Ukrainians who vote for the pro-Ukrainian parties and candidates most! It is Western Ukraine’s capital! It has been a part of Poland, Lithuania, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and other more Western aligned states in the past, such as their own in Galicia (Galicia–Volhynia) who looked West to defend against the Mongols in the 1200s. In fact, it is the home city to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome. And culturally, almost everyone sees themselves as Ukrainian first and speaking Ukrainian first! From a political, historical, present-day, cultural, and religious point of view, Lviv is Ukrainian and Western!

This is St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv, which is the mother church or main Cathedral for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. From Fed4ev.
A helpful map of Ukraine that shows the major cities including Lviv, Kiev, Donetsk, and Luhansk. The map may be a bit older because it is focused on the Chernobyl incident, but nonetheless, it is good to see for context. From Lonely Planet.
A simple map which shows where Ukraine is in relation to other countries. You can see here that Lviv is close to not just Poland, but also Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. From Britannica.
The Lviv Oblast in red with Lviv, its capital, being the red dot/circle. In Ukraine, they are a unitary state, but they are very similar to a federated state in that they have 27 states/provinces. 24 of them are called oblasts, two are called cities with special status (Kiev (the capital of Ukraine) and Sevastopol (on Crimea and controlled and claimed by Russia), and one autonomous republic (Crimea, controlled and claimed by Russia). From Skluesener.

Thus, moving the US Embassy to Lviv may still be a net loss, but it is not a complete loss. It creates the resistance capital and thus the de facto capital of an Independent Western-Aligned Ukraine!

If the USA is not willing to protect Ukraine, at the very least, Western Ukraine it should protect because the Ukrainians themselves want to protect it. What the USA should do is continue to supply weapons to the Ukrainians, and then possibly, supply Ukraine with private contractors who will teach them and update their weaponry. In Afghanistan, this is mostly what the USA was doing, in addition to air support, in their last 4 years there and it was working very well. The USA stopped doing this which was arguably the biggest reason for the collapse there.

But, the USA can continue to do this in Lviv. The USA though will have to be more careful with air support and will probably have to use drone intelligence gathering because the Russians have good air support whereas the Taliban did not. Even the Russian-aligned separatists in Eastern Ukraine have shot down planes unfortunately (an airline plane actually), and thus, if the goal is to eliminate American death, then air support needs to be done through drones (This does not mean drone strikes, rather, intelligence gathering).

Lviv is also a strategically important capital for the United Arab Emirates whose deputy Prime Minister, HH Sheikh Mansour, often is forward thinking with where he places his City Football Group resources, and he made Rukh Lviv (Ukrainian Premier League side) a partnership last year, potentially a first signal to the Western world that Russia was focused on invading, especially since the UAE and Russia have a strong partnership too.

The logo for FC Rukh Lviv. From FC Rukh Lviv

In fact, it is in Lviv where the Rukh Movement, the People’s Movement of Ukraine, was arguably strongest that brought down the Soviet Union and created Ukrainian Independence that led to a referendum where 92+% of the people voted for Ukrainian Independence! Thus, the parallels to the Panjshir Resistance which gained almost universal popularity against the Taliban and the Soviet Union as previous editions had fought both is similar to Lviv and their movements they have spurred. And thus, President Biden and Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, appear to be learning from their previous mistake, and thus are now supporting a city and effectively group, that can regain full unity of Ukraine.

The logo for the Rukh Movement. From Rukh Team.

It is true that what the USA should do is seek a neutral Ukraine like prior to their NATO/EU-led overthrow of a democratically elected leader, whereby Ukraine would also be democratic. With a strong constitution, this would make it so that the Russian and Western aligned Ukrainians would have rights and the ability to elect a Head of State that thinks like them, bound to a constitution that protects all Ukrainians. Ironically, by ensuring Russian aligned rights in Ukraine, this would push Ukraine further West because it would display the peaceful resolutions a proper constitutional republic provides with rights for minorities like Carpatho-Ruthenians, Crimean Tatars, and Russians themselves, thus displaying a system Russia should continue to de facto move closer to.

Yet, under President Obama and then Vice President Biden, just like with the Middle East and North Africa, the Americans pushed for revolutions that were disastrous for American interests and the safety of the people in these nations. At least with Ukraine, this administration was pushing for an American aligned regime, but maybe not either, as it appeared to be too pro-EU. Nonetheless, at least it was pro-Western. Therefore, now, the West would be best to try to return Ukraine to its previous state. Crimea probably should stay Russian as history states it is Russian (if not for a Ukrainian dictator of the USSR), but the West would probably be best to not recognize it like Russia does not recognize Kosovo, thus not giving either de jure control. The West would be best to try to crack down on the Eastern Ukraine separatists, and they can do this by giving them back their democracy. As seen from the recent reports in the Russian Gate scandal, the Biden-Obama-Clinton trio are not exactly the best for having integrity with elections, especially when they lose, which is what happened in Ukraine and led to this disastrous revolution to begin with. But, they can try to give all Ukrainians back their rights, which would give less incentive to the Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic Russian-aligned rebel non-recognized states to keep fighting.

Furthermore, as seen with Switzerland and Finland, a country does not have to be in NATO to be an ally and to be a proper republic and Western, as well as protected from invasion. And, as seen with the United Kingdom and Switzerland, nor does a country need to be an EU member, and in fact, with German control of the EU and the softness it possesses toward Russia, it may be best for Ukraine not to be in the EU for Western interests anyway. The truth is that a well-defended populace like the Swiss would be a strong deterrent against Russia, and though it may be too little too late in places like Kiev and Eastern Ukraine, plus Crimea to do this, in Western Ukraine like in Lviv, it is not too late. Thus, supplying Ukraine with a strong base and weaponry there is key to keep some independent territory of Ukraine and to potentially revamp Ukraine if Russia invades, and maybe even will provide a deterrent so they do not invade more anyway.

Lastly, it is best for Ukraine to be a Russian-American/Western Project! Why? Well, Lviv signals this best. Lviv displays how Ukraine is Western (even if they use Cyrillic), just like Donetsk signals how Ukraine is Eastern, and Kiev displays a neutral stomping ground that was ruled by the law before the overthrow. Ukraine can be a place where the Americans and Russians begin to trust one another again, if they promise to rebuild a democracy with strong guarantees for freedoms and democracy for all people there. It would be best to keep it neutral. After all, as bad as Russia can be, it is still a key partner in fighting terrorism, and in promoting the religious values that bind the West to the East in Europe and the Americas together.

For now though, the Russians and the West are enemies in Ukraine, and thus, the USA’s move to Lviv is a really good move.

The Habsburgs ruled Lviv and the Pope is its spiritual leader. The military alliance with the USA and Ukraine are now in Lviv and the most successful diplomatic footballing group led by a US-aligned leader has placed its resources in Lviv. Lviv was also home to the anti-Soviet resistance and the Rukh Movement. By all in tense and purposes, Lviv has been and once again has become the capital of Ukraine in the West and that is the best worst case scenario because it keeps Ukraine not only de jure independent, but also de facto independent, at least in the Western parts of their nation. This keeps the Resistance alive because it shows them the USA and West have not given up on them.

Published by CK 22

I like history, politics, foreign diplomacy, sports, and more. Basically, the most popular things, plus also geography.

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