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The Skeptics

Washington’s embrace of Petro Poroshenko was slower and later in coming. The Ukrainian oligarch, known as the “chocolate king” for his ownership of a large food corporation, was not even a leading figure in that country’s 2014 Maidan Revolution—the U.S.-encouraged street demonstrations that unseated the elected pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Washington’s preferred client was Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Although Yatsenyuk would become the prime minister after the revolution, Poroshenko used his economic and political clout to emerge as the country’s new president. Whatever its earlier preferences, the Obama administration quickly embraced him.

Poroshenko’s track record has been mixed at best. Ukraine has witnessed a growing authoritarian trend, with efforts to suppress political opponents and freedom of the press. Ultranationalist and outright neo-Nazi elements continue to have a worrisome presence. And Poroshenko’s administration has exhibited pervasive corruption, much like its predecessors.

At first, the two darlings of Washington’s foreign policy establishment collaborated and seemed to be close friends. Indeed, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili governor of Odessa in late May 2015. It was a highly controversial move to give a foreign national such a high post, especially an individual facing criminal charges in his home country. Saakashvili sought to neutralize the former objection by acquiring Ukrainian citizenship, which Poroshenko quickly granted, but the overall controversy never dissipated.

The two leaders soon began to clash. Under a growing cloud of graft and other corruption charges, Saakashvili resigned in November 2016 and left the country. But the quarrel with Poroshenko was just getting started. It culminated when the Ukrainian government stripped Saakashvili of his new citizenship in June 2017. The now stateless Saakashvili illegally re-entered Ukraine in September, and the authorities finally arrested him in December.

It would be tempting to view this affair with bemusement. However, it underscores just how gullible U.S. officials have been in embracing so-called democratic reformers in other countries.    And that lack of judgment is no laughing matter.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of ten books, the contributing editor of ten books, and the author of more than seven hundred articles on international affairs.

Image: Ukrainian opposition figure and Georgian former President Mikheil Saakashvili speaks during a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

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The Skeptics

Washington’s embrace of Petro Poroshenko was slower and later in coming. The Ukrainian oligarch, known as the “chocolate king” for his ownership of a large food corporation, was not even a leading figure in that country’s 2014 Maidan Revolution—the U.S.-encouraged street demonstrations that unseated the elected pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Washington’s preferred client was Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Although Yatsenyuk would become the prime minister after the revolution, Poroshenko used his economic and political clout to emerge as the country’s new president. Whatever its earlier preferences, the Obama administration quickly embraced him.

Poroshenko’s track record has been mixed at best. Ukraine has witnessed a growing authoritarian trend, with efforts to suppress political opponents and freedom of the press. Ultranationalist and outright neo-Nazi elements continue to have a worrisome presence. And Poroshenko’s administration has exhibited pervasive corruption, much like its predecessors.

At first, the two darlings of Washington’s foreign policy establishment collaborated and seemed to be close friends. Indeed, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili governor of Odessa in late May 2015. It was a highly controversial move to give a foreign national such a high post, especially an individual facing criminal charges in his home country. Saakashvili sought to neutralize the former objection by acquiring Ukrainian citizenship, which Poroshenko quickly granted, but the overall controversy never dissipated.

The two leaders soon began to clash. Under a growing cloud of graft and other corruption charges, Saakashvili resigned in November 2016 and left the country. But the quarrel with Poroshenko was just getting started. It culminated when the Ukrainian government stripped Saakashvili of his new citizenship in June 2017. The now stateless Saakashvili illegally re-entered Ukraine in September, and the authorities finally arrested him in December.

It would be tempting to view this affair with bemusement. However, it underscores just how gullible U.S. officials have been in embracing so-called democratic reformers in other countries.    And that lack of judgment is no laughing matter.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of ten books, the contributing editor of ten books, and the author of more than seven hundred articles on international affairs.

Image: Ukrainian opposition figure and Georgian former President Mikheil Saakashvili speaks during a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

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The Skeptics

Washington’s embrace of Petro Poroshenko was slower and later in coming. The Ukrainian oligarch, known as the “chocolate king” for his ownership of a large food corporation, was not even a leading figure in that country’s 2014 Maidan Revolution—the U.S.-encouraged street demonstrations that unseated the elected pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Washington’s preferred client was Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Although Yatsenyuk would become the prime minister after the revolution, Poroshenko used his economic and political clout to emerge as the country’s new president. Whatever its earlier preferences, the Obama administration quickly embraced him.

Poroshenko’s track record has been mixed at best. Ukraine has witnessed a growing authoritarian trend, with efforts to suppress political opponents and freedom of the press. Ultranationalist and outright neo-Nazi elements continue to have a worrisome presence. And Poroshenko’s administration has exhibited pervasive corruption, much like its predecessors.

At first, the two darlings of Washington’s foreign policy establishment collaborated and seemed to be close friends. Indeed, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili governor of Odessa in late May 2015. It was a highly controversial move to give a foreign national such a high post, especially an individual facing criminal charges in his home country. Saakashvili sought to neutralize the former objection by acquiring Ukrainian citizenship, which Poroshenko quickly granted, but the overall controversy never dissipated.

The two leaders soon began to clash. Under a growing cloud of graft and other corruption charges, Saakashvili resigned in November 2016 and left the country. But the quarrel with Poroshenko was just getting started. It culminated when the Ukrainian government stripped Saakashvili of his new citizenship in June 2017. The now stateless Saakashvili illegally re-entered Ukraine in September, and the authorities finally arrested him in December.

It would be tempting to view this affair with bemusement. However, it underscores just how gullible U.S. officials have been in embracing so-called democratic reformers in other countries.    And that lack of judgment is no laughing matter.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of ten books, the contributing editor of ten books, and the author of more than seven hundred articles on international affairs.

Image: Ukrainian opposition figure and Georgian former President Mikheil Saakashvili speaks during a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

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The Skeptics

Washington’s embrace of Petro Poroshenko was slower and later in coming. The Ukrainian oligarch, known as the “chocolate king” for his ownership of a large food corporation, was not even a leading figure in that country’s 2014 Maidan Revolution—the U.S.-encouraged street demonstrations that unseated the elected pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Washington’s preferred client was Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Although Yatsenyuk would become the prime minister after the revolution, Poroshenko used his economic and political clout to emerge as the country’s new president. Whatever its earlier preferences, the Obama administration quickly embraced him.

Poroshenko’s track record has been mixed at best. Ukraine has witnessed a growing authoritarian trend, with efforts to suppress political opponents and freedom of the press. Ultranationalist and outright neo-Nazi elements continue to have a worrisome presence. And Poroshenko’s administration has exhibited pervasive corruption, much like its predecessors.

At first, the two darlings of Washington’s foreign policy establishment collaborated and seemed to be close friends. Indeed, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili governor of Odessa in late May 2015. It was a highly controversial move to give a foreign national such a high post, especially an individual facing criminal charges in his home country. Saakashvili sought to neutralize the former objection by acquiring Ukrainian citizenship, which Poroshenko quickly granted, but the overall controversy never dissipated.

The two leaders soon began to clash. Under a growing cloud of graft and other corruption charges, Saakashvili resigned in November 2016 and left the country. But the quarrel with Poroshenko was just getting started. It culminated when the Ukrainian government stripped Saakashvili of his new citizenship in June 2017. The now stateless Saakashvili illegally re-entered Ukraine in September, and the authorities finally arrested him in December.

It would be tempting to view this affair with bemusement. However, it underscores just how gullible U.S. officials have been in embracing so-called democratic reformers in other countries.    And that lack of judgment is no laughing matter.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of ten books, the contributing editor of ten books, and the author of more than seven hundred articles on international affairs.

Image: Ukrainian opposition figure and Georgian former President Mikheil Saakashvili speaks during a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

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Why North Korea's Air Force is Total Junk 

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Pages

Pages