Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Is the US Getting Ready to Dump Poroshenko?

It looks like Poroshenko's days are numbered. His most likely replacement? The extreme right.

originally written by The Saker for Russia Insider

So the "great genius" of Ukrainian military strategy, the man who promised to organize a victory parade for the Ukrainian army in Sevastopol was fired.

Officially, of course, Ukrainian Defence Minister Valerii Geletei submitted his resignation which was accepted. But the truth of the matter is that Heletey was sacked for gross incompetence and for making idiotic claims that the Russian military had used two tactical nuclear weapons at the Lugansk airport. The question is, of course, whether that will solve Poroshenko's problem.

After all, if Geletei promised a victory parade in Sevastopol, Poroshenko promised one in Donetsk. He did get one, but not the one he hoped for: a parade of Ukrainian prisoners followed by street-cleaning trucks. Poroshenko also promised to liquidate the "terrorists" in a matter of days, but instead his military suffered a crushing and most humiliating defeat. Finally, Poroshenko did go to the US to get a special ally status for the Ukraine, a conference of "friends of the Ukraine", lethal aid and lots of money. In the end, he got nothing besides standing ovations and smiles. The critical question is, why did the US gave nothing meaningful to Poroshenko? Could it be that the US has decided that he is unable to deliver anything useful?

Most analysts agree that the Ukrainians are about to attack Novorussia again and that the only reason for the current "kind of" cease-fire (the Ukrainians are continuing to shell and kill people every day) is that the government in Kiev does not want to take the risk of yet another humiliating defeat right before the elections. But as soon as the elections are over the regime will resume the war. It is quite possible that the US has decided that Poroshenko cannot be trusted with this task again.

The rump-Ukraine is officially a parliamentary republic and president's powers are limited. The current prime minister, has in reality more power than the president, especially over budgetary decisions which is what really matters. Which leaves Poroshenko the title of Commander in Chief of the armed forces, no necessarily a safe title to hold in the current situation.

Things look very grim for Ukraine. There is a very real possibility that many deathsquad leaders (aka "volunteer battalion commanders") will make it into the Rada (parliament), that extreme right-winger Lyashko will become the next Rada Speaker and that the next Rada might be generally even more extremist than the last one. The cold season has barely started and already there are shortages and protests in many places. The economy is dead and in free fall.

What all this means is that Poroshenko is in a hopeless situation and that seems to be the conclusion in Washington too. The question now is who would the US appoint to replace him? Yatsenyuk or Turchinov are probably the best candidates, but just as the US lost control of al-Qaeda/ISIS in Syria and in Iraq, there are increasing signs that it is losing control of the situation in Kiev and it is by no means sure that a 3rd Maidan would leave these two men in power.

Will the US turn to the extreme-right next?