tv Documentary RT November 29, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm EST
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and welcome to crossfire all things are considered i'm peter lavelle ukraine a country divided it's government's decision not to pursue integration with the european union and opt for russia instead because western politicians and media in an uproar brussels feel snubbed while moscow has a wait and see approach as ukrainian politics is anything but stable the so-called struggle for ukraine is far from over. to cross-talk ukraine i'm joined by my guest live would give again in london she is a senior economist at i.h.s. global insight into. yes we have john laughlin he is the director of studies at the institute of democracy and cooperation and in moscow we cross to mark the boulder he is a senior lecturer and researcher at moscow state university orange folks cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want john if i go to you
first all this media coverage of this for the past week it's the tussle between the european union and russia for control of ukraine it's put very much in cold war terms here but very few people want to focus on the real deep deep troubles that are occurring in ukraine and how ukraine is trying to get itself out of a really nasty fix i want to point out to our viewers here that the i.m.f. is knocking on the door if they don't do certain things are not going to get any more money there's hardly any money left in the bank and they have a lot of foreign reserve debts to pay in the first quarter of next year it's dire straits in ukraine and in brussels is blaming moscow go ahead john i think you put the question peter in exactly the right way. this whole issue is being talked about in cold water but in fact ukraine's real interests have been completely neglected i've had occasion to say this now on several other interviews people have asked me whether ukraine has an interest in joining the e.u. and my reply has always been that from the u.s.
point of view the only interest is in the political defeat that ukrainian signature would inflict on russia in other words the e.u. does not have ukraine's interests at heart what it has at heart is a geo political program of ideological and geopolitical strengthening of its own institutions and enlargement of course of its own writ deep into the heart of historic russia ukraine is not the interests of ukrainians are not what the european union is interested in this and that is why of course the ukrainian government hasn't signed because the quite simply they've seen the writing on the wall they know that they're running out of money they know that as president and the coach said all they get from europe is nice words and they realize that if they had signed association agreement it would have been. to paraphrase a british politician the sort the longest suicide note in history a little bit i mean if we look at what the european union was offering and what the russians supposedly are offering with customs ok because ukraine is being given
a choice here and both russia and the european union would like integration with ukraine but eunuch over to the end of the day just said it's not a good enough deal i mean irrespective of the or if one's opinion of you know a covert he didn't like the deal because he's thinking about his political future. well i agree with you that he has he had a number of reasons behind his decision and one of his political survival. thousand and fifteen president and presidential elections are coming up and the president is quite keen to get the economic deal that will help him to get reelected i have to say i disagree with john in saying about intentions when it comes to ukraine and that it doesn't really fit with the country's interest it does it with ukraine's long term economic interest if ukraine is seeking economic convergence european union cannot really. afford the
association agreement and what it involves but at the same time and the short term it appears the russian deal whatever peace because we don't really have the details is probably more suitable for economic and political needs of the current ukrainian government ok we'll talk about the future and leave this point exactly a little bit later marc if i can go to you i want to ask you a question that nobody in western media wants to touch really because it doesn't suit their their agenda but the party of regions at the end of the summer all the way to the president was pushing for this to happen this is you know cold which is party and almost no one wants to say well the party of regions is run by a group of oligarchy they don't want to reform the economy and they just want to get in bed with the e.u. so they can clean their money and clean up their reputations because they're not so interested in integrating with russia is well another note you never really come across in western media go ahead mark i think john perhaps you've put it better
than i could myself janak overages party of regions has often been characterized in the western media as a pro russia party which russia could only hope and wish that they were they aren't at all they are a party that represents the interests of a russian speaking eastern and southern demographic. but even more particularly a group of elite all of dark side of the donbass and dust real region and. the principal interests of these all of darkness is integration with the european union on conditions that will allow them to legitimize and probably abscond with a great deal of what wealth they have acquired through london or one of the other european financial centers and in pursuit of this the party of regions has actually been waging an amazing state television propaganda campaign for the past half a year in support of the e.u. association agreement and this has within the last few months helped swing public
opinion so that there is a slim majority now in favor of. well it's falsely phrased as joining the european union which the european association agreement is far from vise joining the customs union john it what do you know can you tell our viewers what the european union is actually offering ukraine if i remember correctly one point six billion euros over a seven year period only if the i.m.f. agrees to previous agreements with ukraine i mean if i think again you don't have to be unit coverture you shango or even mickey mouse in kiev to say hey that's a great deal because it's not. that's right and the fact is the european union doesn't have money to hand out ukraine needs an awful lot of money and everyone knows that the european union and its member states are broke they have debt up to their eyeballs and they can't afford to pay their own bills let alone other peoples
but you ask me what is the european union offering it's a very good question and a very important one because people as you say in the media have presented ukraine's choice as between east and west as if you crane was a donkey between two equal bales of hay the fact is that the agreement that the european union is proposing and that's why i called it geo political earlier is of a radically different nature from anything that ukraine might potentially sign with russia and other states on the european side you have an association agreement which is basically a political agreement the economic aspect of it is more or less negligible it's about reforming the political system reforming the judiciary reforming the energy the energy sector reforming everything in order to make it your are compatible and in order to get ukraine politically politically and economically but politically into the european orbit on the other hand the customs union assuming ukraine were
to sign it which of course it is an assumption is a much more flexible structure it does not involve anything like the amount of political engagements and ideological engagements which the european union demands so we're dealing with two radically different projects here. can you speak to that because it would it is very different here because russia is not looking to reform ukraine i mean only under the terms of having good business relations but the european agenda is very much different and we all know on this program that ukraine is in dire dire straits it needs money it needs a rescue package not do you know what i mean great i think we digital system system should be reformed but that's not their top priority at the moment is it. well no that's exactly what i was saying previously that you have short term goals and long term goals and they are not necessarily compatible at the moment in the short term as you said ukraine really needs liquidity external liquidity. european union
cannot really provide all the financial needs for ukraine's financial needs really and needs i.m.f. but go back to your second point of s. to what you could you is a really offering to ukraine yes it is a political commitment and an economic commitment it's a long term choice it cannot really be imposed on on ukraine the association agreement doesn't really have the capacity to impose on the country to choose policies that are long term potentially not so popular in the beginning that will reform or that will eventually reform the business environment the free trade agreement is actually quite beneficial and that is why some of the large businesses that you've mentioned earlier have been quite inclined to persecute association agreement because it will it will increase their market possibilities unlike what russia is offering in the form of customs union which really has to lift off here
you know market i mean a cynic would say is that view in considering its economic situation is interested in ukraine for like cheap labor to export goods to a large market in india it's a one way street for the average ukrainian. i don't even think that that is what the european union wants out of the ukraine the euro korean the european union has plenty of cheap unskilled uneducated labor flooding its markets and countries which are bringing nationalist backlash in europe and other countries and it doesn't the ukraine doesn't present that big of a market for its goods as john mentioned earlier the only reason the european union is interested in this deal with the ukrainians is not because of integrating ukraine it's not because of out of concern for the ukrainian people or
any shared values which are vastly different between the two but it's about denying russia a geopolitical piece that would see russia's customs union and eurasian union right folks i have to jump in here we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on ukraine stay with our team. a. very. happy
i would rather ask questions to people in positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf and that's why you can find my show larry king now right here on our t.v. question for. please . welcome back to cross talk where all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the fate of ukraine.
ok john i'd like to go back to you in paris so i looked at the media campaign for signing this agreement with the european union and it gave a choice of civilizations which i thought was quite curious because in eastern ukraine it's predominantly ethnic russians and so what kind of message is that sending to them because i've been to eastern ukraine a number of times a lot of them don't even like the fact that they're in ukraine number one and they don't like any kind of discriminatory barriers for them to go to russia to be with their families to have their businesses eccentric cetera i decide it was quite curious that it would be spun is a civilization's as one's better than the other go ahead john. that is absolutely the way the european union sees things i don't think we should ever underestimate the extent to which and i had occasion only recently to confirm this with through personal experience the extent to which european people in the european union think of themselves as civilized civilization least superior and
more advanced to everyone else i only the other week heard a group of experts and diplomats talking about european integration was the most sophisticated political structure construction in the history of humanity these people are like the early bolsheviks who genuinely believe that they are in the vanguard of history and that anybody who is against them or not with them is somehow a barbarian or a reactionary or whatever or whatever snobbery is the word is alive and well in the chancellor is of europe i can assure you and precisely of course the main civilizational rival that the european union sees is with russia russia is seen as or thora tarion corrupt backward reactionary nationalistic homophobic everything you everything all the sort of sins that you know can be committed in post-modern europe are committed in russia and that's why indeed they have placed this issue of signing the agreement in these rather ridiculous manichean civilizational terms which as you know very well peter don't correspond to any reality at all in terms
of the differences between europe and russia will lead you know one of the interesting things is that. a lot of aspersions be cast against russia an obvious and president putin but the russian side said why can't we have a trilateral agreement on this or sit down for three parties here and you know because politics is the art of the possible and brussels turns around and says no we don't do it that way we do it our way i mean that seems to be a very stubborn view in a got nothing at least right now and it's left all three parties up in the air why can't the three parties sit down even if it is not part of their usual procedure if they could actually iron something out where everyone wins because ukraine is in a lose lose situation right now. well i think this this question has been discussed quite in detail the media and the conclusion is that. the provisions for
a customs union and free trade agreement with you of individual countries are in conflict. with these this is been the main argument now if we look at these two political issues john it's been suggesting then surely some of these disagreements could have been ironed out however i've read this the arguments of that this is this has been a geopolitical game for e.u. sites in fact i see sort of a problem in logic for john's argument if this is really a political issue on behalf that allegedly believe that they are superior than russia ukraine. surely in that case the interests come to real politic and that that we should approach the issue in that case you could have done much more and could have been much more flexible to clawing ukraine from russia however they
have been quite insistent that for example should not be dropped and eventually the use statement was the following if you prefer a european way of leaving the european standards then we are more than happy to have these associate association agreement signed if you believe your interest lies elsewhere elsewhere then it's fine as well and i have to. in diplomatic terms this is just sit back in you'll ukraine relations it doesn't mean that the parties are gone forever and when the conditions are right and when the parties are ready i'm sure that these talks will bring you again if you mark what do you think about that because again you know the media will say it's russia trying to keep its hands on. ukraine but if this kind of relationship is going to work out russia is going to have to pay a lot of money and invest and other kinds of reforms on russia's side as well who gives it away money and resources for nothing these days no one does certainly not
the e.u. because they don't have any money and resources to give away i'd like to draw a little bit of exception to a little bit of what both of our guests said earlier john loughlin said that this agreement is political and he said it was entirely political and it certainly is demand political reforms and our other guest lilith said that in the long term that these reforms will be good for the ukraine although she noted that in the short to medium term they will prove. very harmful and disastrous to many of the ukrainian people now we shouldn't mistake these reforms that are demanded by both the e.u. and the i.m.f. this is a radical series of neo liberal shock therapy reforms that will drastically cut the budget raise domestic utility prices on energy by forty percent. reduce
pensions it will reduce benefits it will devaluate this will have a huge economic effect and that is not even counting the bad effect that this will automatically have abrogating the russian. existing russian ukrainian free trade area and russia is the ukraine's biggest trade partner the volume of russian trade is greater with the ukraine than that of the entire european union as of last year and when you combine bell routes in the ukraine and that is sixty percent of ukrainian trade that they would effectively be losing this is a recipe for as was said earlier economic suicide and this reiteration of the washington . and so this would be absolutely disastrous for the ukraine not just in the short medium term but as we can see the results in bulgaria romania and hungary in the
long term as well john speak to what's from the orange revolution and its failure to the president again you know i started out by saying a country divided ukraine is divided and i don't see and this is my personal opinion the e.u. recognizing that because there are it's very different places if you go to western ukraine i mean all the negative things that the european union's the things that they're against homophobia phobia. anti-semitism is rife in western ukraine but no one likes to talk about that you know because they're on the quote unquote the right side of history. yeah no i mean i totally agree it's absolutely incredible the hypocrisy is unbelievable back in two thousand and four at the time of the orange revolution i myself met pro. demonstrators who were clearly nazis they were clearly neo nazis and when i wrote about this i was ridiculed but i'm afraid it's true i mean i'm sure you're right i don't know western ukraine particularly well i really only know kiev and a little bit of the south of the country but i don't have any difficulty believing
what you say but that's the point that while the european union is a deeply ideological organization while it is determined to impose for example gay marriage and gay rights that gay rights by the way are one of the elements in this agreement and that i think was probably a contributing factor although not a not a decisive one it wants to impose all these things but above all and this where i think we do need to keep her keep the geopolitical aspect in mind it is prepared to look the other way providing that its friends do what it says. it is absolutely incredible that the european union should demand her release for corrupt as she is of course imprisoned on corruption charges when one of the major european states itself has only this week decided to imprison a former prime minister on corruption charges i'm thinking of course of silvio berlusconi so i mean the double standards are absolutely breathtaking well it looks let's turn everything upside down let's look at care of looking at brussels and
looking at moscow we don't have any agreement with either right now if you're a good politician and i don't know if you know which is if you're a good politician you get the best deal from both what you say that. well again i think. complicating this situation and giving it to political and slightly sinister context really on the table ukraine had two different office they've tried to. see during the benefits but at the same time. i think the young college of government was trying to probe and see where that the european union would be able to provide some financial assistance and also whether it would be willing to nudge the i.m.f. to be more lenient and maybe have softer conditions for unlocking the loans however the european union made it very clear that they're not going to make any
concessions once again proving that this has nothing to do with geopolitics if they really want to get ukraine that their realm so to speak they would have been more flexible they say and insisted that this is quite simple it's an association agreement that has been offered not only to ukraine but to other countries of eastern partnership as well and they didn't really feel at this moment with ukrainian interests. the same time i think the ukrainian government was also trying to look to use the e.u. negotiations as leverage on russia to see if it would be possible to renegotiate the two thousand and nine. this is not just about tariffs this is about the mandatory intake of russian natural gas and the transit volumes also at the same time trying to roll over some of the russian debt which they successfully date ok from rockwood we're almost out of time it's almost out of time you know mark i want to give you the last word in the program is this all about unocal which of the
presidential election. it certainly plays a factor yannick over charles to consider his own political future and the interests of his constituency in the south and the east of the country but i'd like to bring to a close on the point that in the western media is often been contrasted as russia a bullying the ukraine and at forcing them to do away with this association agreement. and if there is no doubt that russia has deployed economic and political carrots mark i wish we had more time with you could finish your point we're run out of time i want to thanks to my guests in london paris and in moscow and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember.
the the the. look. all of up i'm abby martin and this is breaking the sat so qatar is roughly the size of connecticut that a small persian gulf state is emerging as a major player on the world stage in fact it's set to host the twenty twenty two world cup of course an event this size requires an unimaginable amount of building and labor and that's where nepal comes in this is a country of two million people there are currently three hundred forty thousand nepalese migrant workers many of which have been assigned to world cup construction but according to several reports from these by the guardian the workers face brutal working conditions long hours lack of pay and wretched living quarters and just yesterday it was confirmed that seventy napoli's labors have already died while we're.
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