Since the early days of the revolutionary uprising, George Soros has argued time and again for Western democracies to come more forcefully to the aid of Ukraine by way of financial assistance and strong political commitment. In fact, Soros has gone so far as to explicitly lay out a “winning strategy” through a series of opinion columns providing actionable steps for the United States and the European Union to undertake in
their support of Ukraine.
The financial side of this strategy mainly consists of a conditional reduction of sanctions against Russia while providing political risk insurance for the developing Ukrainian government. Such a strategy would certainly work wonders to bolster the Ukrainian forces seeking sovereignty while delegitimizing Putin’s claims about the West being the source of Russia’s economic woes. Perhaps what holds back leaders who support Ukraine from latching onto George Soros’ sound logic here is the scale of commitment he suggests having gone as far as suggesting 1% of the EU budget towards Ukrainian aid.
But, when considering the long-term political losses of a Ukraine usurped by Putin and Russia, these investments shrink by comparison. This would strike a devastating blow to the rule-of-law EU model at an already fragile time for the EU not to mention diminishing the hopes of those around the world who have looked to Ukraine as a stunning example of modern-day revolutionary self-determinism. And as tensions escalate once more between the US and Russia, a success for Putin in Ukraine would only bolster his further aims of geopolitical expansion. In light of these factors, it is easy to see why Soros argues for Ukrainian aid to be seen as a necessary component of the defense budget.
The argument is compelling but time is slipping away. Ukraine’s struggle has dragged on for over two years. Now, with the British voting to leave the EU, the US caught in the middle of a volatile election cycle, and the increase of ISIL-affiliated terrorist attacks around the world,it seems Ukraine is no longer a top priority. Can the leaders of these countries still be galvanized into action by Soros’ “winning strategy” in time? How much longer can we expect Maidan to hold out against the relentless assault from Putin?