EU should beware Washington's trap on Ukraine

Updated: 2015-02-09 13:36


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BEIJING - With her scathing criticism of the US proposal of providing Ukraine with arms still ringing in the ears, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Washington on Monday in a trip that is likely to be tinged with embarrassment and bitterness.

The rap and her surprise visit to Moscow on Friday along with French President Francois Hollande have exposed a crack in the Western alignment opposite Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

The European Union (EU) should stand its ground. Its pursuit of contact with Russia for peacefully resolving the Ukraine crisis is the right path forward, while Washington's idea of arming Ukraine will only be counterproductive and dangerous.

As Merkel said while admitting the hardship in the negotiations with Russia, the US proposal will not lead to "the progress Ukraine needs." It is likely to trigger a vicious cycle in the East European country that would eventually threaten regional and even global stability.

As a matter of fact, there are good reasons for the EU -- and Russia -- to stay alert against Washington's hidden agenda, even though that has prompted US accusations of turning its back on an ally.

It is hardly a coincidence that few of the efforts aimed at settling the crisis peacefully, such as the Minsk agreements and the Normandy dialogue, received US participation or support.

Should the Ukraine crisis persist and deteriorate, and should a new round of "Cold War" break out as some fear, the United States would be the only one poised to gain while everyone else was doomed to lose.

For starters, it is improbable for the flames raging in Ukraine to cross the Atlantic Ocean and spread onto US territory, but it is very likely for them to engulf both the EU and Russia should they be kept unchecked.

That is why Washington can afford to make a lethal-weaponry offer to war-torn Ukraine, where violence has already killed thousands of people, while others whose stakes are directly concerned, like the EU and Russia, cannot.

In addition, by stoking the flames of war, Washington can reinforce its leading role in the security affairs of Europe, and possibly reinvigorate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a US-led military alliance whose glamour is fading away.

But the United States seems to have forgotten that the times have changed. Peace and development, instead of war and confrontation, have become the main theme.

It will be extremely unwise for the EU, which has forged strong economic ties with Russia, to stake its future on Washington only to serve US interest in the expense of its own.

As to the Ukraine crisis, the most important and imperative job for now is to promptly halt all violent actions and resume peaceful dialogue between the government and the independence-seeking insurgents.

And the international community should seize all opportunities possible to play a constructive role in bringing an early solution to the crisis, instead of acting selfishly only to complicate and lengthen it.