The Ukraine Impacts Europe
In recent years, financier and philanthropist George Soros has frequently written about the process of encouraging stabilizing political reforms in Europe. In January, 2015, he joined philosopher Bernhard Henry Levy in urging the government of the European Union to offer generous financial aide in the form of some $15 billion to the Ukraine in the hope of promoting permanent civic changes in that Eastern European nation. Their brief op-ed piece appeared in The New York Times.
They argued that during 2014, Ukrainians had made significant progress in implementing democratic reforms when protesters forced President Viktor F. Yanukovych to embrace governmental change within the Ukraine. They hoped a rapid infusion of funds would assist the Ukrainian government in resisting the force of Russian imperialism by helping to create a more democratic society in a nation with a long history of contact with Russia.
Applying Pressure Upon Russia Also
Mr. Soros also in the past has praised the EU’s implementation of economic sanctions against Russia as very effective. In a book excerpt entitled “A New Policy to Rescue Ukraine” published in part in The New York Review of Books during February, 2015, he urged the use of a “two-pronged approach”. In his view at the time, a combination of aggressive economic assistance by the EU to the Ukraine and tough economic sanctions directed against Russia would best promote the goal of directing both nations towards gradual, constructive policy changes. He expressed the hope that carrying forward the tough combination of fiscal incentives for Ukrainian reformers and economic sanctions against the Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin during the first quarter of 2015 might help promote peace in the region.
At the time, George Soros launched harsh criticism against the Russian leader for pursuing an inherently nationalist policy towards the Ukraine. He may have hoped that effecting reforms in the Ukraine might also inspire more progressive democratic reforms within Russia itself. His words from early 2015 may reflect presciently on the importance of governments coordinating their policymaking decisions at opportune moments in the course of larger political events.
Uncertainty in a Post-Brexit Europe
What changes, if any, will transpire in eastern Europe, and the Ukraine, in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in the UK earlier this year? Perhaps the full extent of any impacts will only become apparent in the future.
Advocates for a strong European Union, such as Mr. Soros, probably did not welcome the outcome of the Brexit decision. Perhaps only the passage of time will clarify the impact, if any, of the Brexit vote on EU policies. George Soros has played a leading role in highlighting the global importance of peaceful democratic reforms in the Ukraine.