Ukraine in Crisis a US perspective
Ukraine is of strategic importance for the United States (Exactly in what way it is not stated. The US does not rely on Ukraine for any trade, resources or energy nor does it share any borders)
First Speaker David Kramer – Topic: Internal politics and economic situation in Ukraine
Allegations of Ukraine being a failed state in perpetual crisis, a country that is in dire situation.
Closer analysis reveals that while Ukraine is going though great difficulty it is not a failed a state or a state that is at risk of losing its independence or sovereignty but the economic situation is a serious threat to Ukraine. Ukraine’s leaders need to focus on this and if need be put their political differences aside.
GDP has declined since last fall (Autumn) 14% to 15%. First quarter this year GDP declined 20.3% with estimates of the first half of the year averaging out at 18% In contrast this follows on from an average growth over the past seven years of nearly 7% per year.
The local currency plunged 40% this year and has stabilized as a result of the IMF assistance stimulus package of 10 billion US dollars since the start of the world economic crisis.
Ukraine has experienced a significant impact on the economic crisis due to it reliance on the price of heavy metals and chemicals which have fallen as a result of the world economic crisis.
Budget deficit has risen to 6.5% of GDP. Prime-minister Yulia Tymoshenko has promised to reduce spending and reign in the budget deficit. The IMF has demanded a reduction in the subsidy and an increase in energy prices. Ukraine needs to focus on Energy efficiency and develop its own resources.
President Yushchenko, who is on 2.3% in the polls, chances for re-election are not that significant
There are many in Ukraine who want better relations with Russia and with the west. They should be able to do both.
Ukraine remains a fragile democracy.
The last question proposed a follow up question, “What is the biggest threat to Ukrainian security to day?” All participants appeared to agree on the answer, “Ukrainians”. Ukraine’s inability to formalize a compromise position and pursue that in a focused way.
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