On August 1, 1991, US president George Herbert Walker Bush arrived in Kiev with a message not everyone wanted to hear.
Abjuring the temptation toward triumphalism that has since marked the American response to the end of the Cold War, Bush took to the rostrum of the Ukrainian Rada (parliament) and warned that the US would not “not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.”
…The specter of a “suicidal nationalism” has for decades haunted Ukrainian politics and in recent years has become its most dominant force, thanks in no small part to the rhetorical financial and military assistance provided by the late Mr Bush’s successors.
At two key moments in the past 20 years, during 2004’s Orange Revolution and, a decade later, during the 2014 Maidan uprising, Kiev was encouraged to indulge in the nationalist temptations that Bush had warned against. Read more…