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West can’t offer Ukraine much, except more unemployment

William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst and strategic risk consultant whose internationally best-selling books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages.

Published time: September 27, 2013 02:20
Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Shale gas exploration contracts with Western companies would only result in the environmental degradation of Ukraine, geopolitical analyst William Engdahl told RT, adding that Kiev’s future is not with the West but with Russia.

RT: What would the US and Ukraine get out of a gas deal?

William Engdahl:
First of all the shale gas option is a very overplayed bubble by Wall Street. The gas depletes so rapidly, if you take the example of shale gas in the US, the same companies have now moved into shale oil because the cost of extracting gas and drilling evermore wells is just prohibitive, to say nothing of the environmental impact of that on the ground water tables with the injection of millions of gallons of toxic chemicals and also the question of water usage. I do not think that shale gas is at all, and certainly not from Exxon, Shell or Chevron, to turn from Russian gas companies for conventional gas to develop unknown quantity of shale gas and have it deplete within a matter of less than 10 years is really going to be a dead end for Ukraine.

RT: President Yanukovych is actively lobbying for creation of a free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU, claiming it would boost Europe's markets by seven percent. What do you make of the forecasts?

WE: President Yanukovych is living in a dream world. I think this is a huge geopolitical blunder by him and by his government to go for this EU Free Trade Area. First of all, the EU is in the throes of a deep, deep, recession. It is by no means out of the woods on that front. Countries like Spain, Portugal, Greece of course and other countries are in a deep recession. The EU has very little to offer to Ukraine, except more unemployment, if you will, kind of a shock therapy MAK 2 that would come with the trade agreement conditions as they stand now. Ukraine itself, excuse me, but it is one of the most corrupt countries by all accounts from Ukrainians that I know, businessmen and others.

RT: So Ukraine is not getting anything out of this partnership?

WE: Absolutely not.

RT: Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said a partnership with the EU will most-likely eliminate Ukraine's participation in the Customs Union. What effect might that have on Kiev?

WE:
It would be a severe blow to the Ukrainian economy. I think the comments of the new US ambassador to Kiev are indicative. This has been a Washington geo-political strategy since 2003-2004, with the Orange revolution which was a NATO-US ploy to pull Ukraine out of the orbit of the Central Asia/Russia and bring it into that orbit of NATO so that Russia is more and more surrounded by the hostile powers on its borders. This is an extremely foolish thing for Ukraine to be doing right now. Perhaps Moscow has made too many blunders in playing hard ball with Ukraine, that I can’t judge. Ukraine’s future is not with the EU. They have illusions if they think IMF loans are going to bail them out of any economic troubles and the Western investors are going to come in there and just cherry-pick what they want and just leave Ukraine poor  and with higher unemployment. It is hard to imagine that they are so foolish at this point in time, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Reuters / Konstantin Chernichkin

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.