US President Donald Trump is poised to make one of the gravest errors a statesman can make – disregarding history.
Back in 1991, then-president George H. W. Bush visited Ukraine, where he committed arguably the most serious geopolitical blunder of the late Cold War era. In a speech to the Ukrainian parliament, Bush had an opportunity to lay out a vision for a new kind of Marshall Plan for Ukraine and other Soviet republics seeking to break free of Kremlin control. Instead, he urged Ukraine to abandon its independence aspirations and remain in a revamped Soviet Union.
Bush’s remarks in Kiev – delivered only a few weeks before a failed coup attempt would go on to spark the disintegration of the Soviet Union – were derided by one American political commentator as “the Chicken Kiev speech.” It helped doom the chances for the stable development of democracy and a genuine market-based economic system in Ukraine and elsewhere in Eurasia.
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