The interim government in Ukraine is becoming acutely aware of the saying derived from the biblical parable in The Gospel of Mathew, verse 26:52.
“Those who live by the sword, die by the sword”.
It’s ironic that the new government’s successful installation in Kiev, has encouraged the pro Russian activists in cities in the East of the country to use the same strategy.
A strategy of widespread resistance using tactics of roadblocks in the streets and illegal occupation of government buildings.
In a post on 25 February Ukraine, Peaceful Protest or Mob Rule, I pointed out the dangers of mob rule.
It appears that those dangers are now coming back to haunt the new government.
The same factors are now almost certainly hindering the West’s ability to effectively respond to the Russian annexation of Crimea and fomenting of demands for autonomy in Eastern Ukraine.
While most reasonable supporters of democracy will approve of the ousting of former President Yanukovich, the means by which it was achieved were anything but democratic.
It’s somewhat illogical to celebrate mob rule in one part of the country and then condemn the same actions in another.
The new government is now becoming painfully aware of the consequences of its takeover as it contemplates its options in the East.
There were calls for the former president and some of his officials to be tried for war crimes because some protesters were shot.
Is that why the new government is so scared of using force to evict the illegal occupiers of government buildings in Eastern towns?
It is a real predicament, use too much force resulting in casualties, alienate the pro-Russian population, risk accusations of war crimes, invite an invasion by Russian troops.
Don’t use force and see an increasing number of Eastern towns and regions become lawless, controlled by mobs and ripe for annexation by Russia.
Governments have to govern, as distasteful as it may be, the government in Ukraine must take resolute action to regain control of the whole country quickly.
The alternative is a partitioned Ukraine and increased risk of Russian sponsored agitation in other countries which were formerly part of the USSR.
The big question is why the new government did not take immediate steps to bolster the security at its buildings and defence of cities in the East as soon as the Russian activities in Crimea commenced.
Was it concern over the loyalty of its troops? Was it the naivety of a new government? Was it inexperienced leadership?