The mention of cookies being given to opposition protesters refers to the appearance of US Assistance Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffery Pyatt handing out treats to protesters in Independence Square last month. Subsequently, the diplomatic pair were the source of outrage after a private conversation of them discussing the situation in the country was made public. In the conversation, Nuland was widely chided for employing the phrase "f*ck the EU," but Cohen, among others, argues that the real scandal of the conversation had nothing to do with use of a curse word.
"Well, here again," said Cohen, after being played a clip of the conversation by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman,"the American political media establishment, including the right and the left and the center -- because they're all complicit in this nonsense -- focused on the too sensational, they thought, aspect of that leaked conversation. She said, 'F-- the European Union.'" But the significant part is what the conversation actually represented, continued Cohen: "The highest-ranking State Department official, who presumably represents the Obama administration, and the American ambassador in Kiev are, to put it in blunt terms, plotting a coup d'état against the elected president of Ukraine."
Neither of these critics of U.S. involvement suggest that the Kremlin is a supremely noble actor in the ongoing events and stipulate that Putin's government is also operating to serve its own financial and geopolitical interests. And the same is said of Yanukovych, who was forced in many ways to "choose" between dueling financial bailout deals offered by his European neighbors to the west and his backers in Moscow in the east.
As Aris explains:
"It's critical to understand the economics of the situation. Ukrainian hard currency reserves have dwindled from $35 to $17 billion -- not enough to ensure the stability of the government. Ukraine is bankrupt. Under the terms of the EU offer of last year -- which virtually nobody in the Western media seriously examined, the EU was offering $160 million per year for the next five years while just the bond repayments to IMF were greater than that. In contrast, Russia offered $15 billion in cash and immediately paid $3 billion. Another $3 billion was to be paid today but that was just suspended. Now [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych is indeed very corrupt, but it's being reported as if he is some sort of Putin puppet -- and somehow Putin ends up demonized on the cover of the Economist. Had Yanukovych accepted the EU deal, the country would have collapsed."
As Thursday ended in Kiev, the Guardian was still tracking live updates and developments on the ground and reactions from around the world on the dynamic and complex situation.
Watch Cohen's complete interview with Democracy Now! below:
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