Ukraine, "Collateral Victim" Of The West's Double Standard — And Israeli Bombs
The state of the Ukraine War was growing fragile even before Oct. 7, but the conflict in the Middle East has changed the equation in Moscow's favor. It's not just a shift in attention and resources, but an undermining of the values and rationale behind Kyiv's cause.
PARIS — Ukraine needed some good news, and it arrived from Brussels. The European Commission decided Wednesday to open accession talks with Kyiv to become an EU member. It came as no surprise — Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen had traveled to Kyiv a few days earlier to inform Volodymyr Zelensky.
This does not mean that Ukraine will soon become the 28th member of the European Union, it's a long road, with a number of steps to take. Still, the decision, which also included the same status for Moldova, is important.
For Ukrainian, Brussels' announcement is reassuring: its European allies are not forgetting them, even though the war against Russia has largely disappeared for the past month, overshadowed by the massive crisis between Israel and Hamas.
But this is hardly the only issue facing Ukraine's leaders.
The lack of success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive this summer is a big problem, having failed to break through Russian defensive lines and reach the Sea of Azov before winter, as it had hoped. The front has become static, and the war is likely to go on for a long time.
But Kyiv is also increasingly worried about the divisions that are emerging in the United States, and to a lesser extent in Europe, over support for Ukraine, which will only deepen as the U.S. elections approach. They're calling it "Ukraine fatigue", as if the countries that are supporting the war without actually waging it had the right to grow tired. It's not a good look, but it's reality.
No one, so far, is realizing Kyiv's worst fear: a public push to Ukraine to stop fighting and negotiate with Russia. The West is multiplying its pledges to remain true to its promise to support Ukraine until the end. G7 foreign ministers also reaffirmed this earlier in the week at their meeting in Japan.
Ukrainian soldiers capture a Russian position in the Zaporizhzhia region of southeastern Ukraine
Israel changes the equation
And then there's the "competition" — another bad look — with the Middle East. In addition to the military support the United States provides to Ukraine and Israel, and the diplomatic energy deployed, there is the political equation.
The West's unconditional support for Israel after the attack on October 7 is now confronted by the images of destruction and death caused by the Israeli response in Gaza. Much of the world is loudly expressing its support for the Palestinian cause; and blames the West for doing nothing to stop the tragedy of Gazan civilians. Humanitarianism is not enough.
All the rhetoric about international law on which Westerners based their defense of Ukraine collapses in the face of the decades-long plight of the Palestinians. The American veto at the UN reinforces the accusations of “double standards" that we hear coming from the global South.
Indeed, this inconsistency harms Ukraine's cause, and benefits Vladimir Putin: the Russian aggressor poses as a defender of the bombed-out Palestinians. Ukraine thus runs the risk of becoming another collateral victim of Israeli missiles.
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