Friday, November 7, 2008

Yulia Tymoshenko Congratulates Obama On Victory

In Ukraine, where Obama will confront a region where Russia is playing an increasingly assertive role, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko called Obama's victory "an inspiration for us. That which appeared impossible has become possible."

Blacks everywhere have a reason to celebrate, as do whites, about electing the first black (or actually half-black) man for the Presidency of the most developed and most powerful nation on earth. But that's about the only thing to celebrate, for those who don't see socialism as progress.

Tymoshenko's response to Obama doesn't surprise me. In some ways she has a similar ideology to Obama's. She believes in a strong role for the government in the economy and in income redistribution (to a point). That's why I think she would be much better as a president of Ukraine than as a prime minister, because she would not be able to do much damage to the economy as a president of Ukraine and would be able to do quite a few good things for Ukraine in foreign affairs.

One of the reasons for the struggles between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko is the ideological difference. Even though Nasha Ukraina and Byut both stand for clean elections and a Western civilizational choice for Ukraine, ideologically Nasha Ukraina is actually closer to the Party of Regions than to Byut. NU and PR both believe in a "rising tide lifts all boats" philosophy that resulted in the bettering of economic conditions in Ukraine in the past decade. It's not a secret that most of this growth was achieved by large enterprises, "big business" so to speak, that drove economic growth in Ukraine, especially the metals industry.

It's hard to parse Ukrainian politics by ideology, because all three major forces are still representatives of particular major business interests, including Byut. Nevertheless, the ideological difference is there and it can be seen in how Yulia Tymoshenko acted when she was in government. I would call her ideology "social-democrat" .

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