Former NATO Chief Appointed as ‘Advisor’ to Ukraine President

News Brief — May 28, 2016

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L) greets Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko (L) greets Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Click to enlarge

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has named former NATO secretary General and Danish prime minister Anders Rasmussen as advisor.
Although Rasmussen has yet to officially announce whether he will accept the post, choosing a former NATO head as an ‘advisor’ to the Ukrainian president marks another step for the Western military alliance into Russia’s front yard.
Over the past two decades NATO has been steadily creeping ever closer to Russia’s eastern borders. Since the demise of the former Soviet Union more and more eastern European states that had formerly been members of the rival Warsaw Pact have joined NATO: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have all signed up.
Although it is not formerly a NATO member yet, Ukraine also appears to be warming to the Western military; U.S. paratroopers are currently helping to train Ukraine’s National Guard.
To most in the U.S. this may not seem like a direct threat to Russia, particularly given ordinary American’s notorious parochialism and ignorance of the wider world. However, imagine if Russian paratroopers were training the Mexican National Guard and that a former Russian defence minister had been named as an ‘advisor’ to the Mexican president.
In the unlikely event that were ever to happen Americans would be growing understandably concerned.
Nor will Rasmussen be the first foreign citizen in Ukraine’s Presidential Administration, if he accepts the offer. Some foreigners have even held ministerial posts in the Ukrainian government. In 2014, Poroshenko appointed Natalie Ann Jaresko, an American-born Ukrainian investment banker, as Ukraine’s Minister of Finance, while former Georgian Health Minister Alexander Kvitashvili took the post of the head of the Ukrainian Health ministry and Aivaras Abromavicius, a Lithuanian businessman, became Ukraine’s Minister of Economy and Trade. They held their posts till the new government was installed in April 2016.
Leszek Balcerowicz, Poland’s former deputy prime minister, now serves as Poroshenko’s representative in the Ukrainian government while former Slovakian Finance Minister Ivan Miklos is now the head of a group of Ukrainian prime minister’s advisers.
Last year, US Senator John McCain, was also offered a similar position, although he eventually turned it down claiming that the US constitution prohibited him from accepting.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was one of the most recent to be named by Poroshenko as a member of Ukraine’s ‘international advisory council’.
The naming of Rasmussen as possible advisor comes soon after Ukraine adopted a program for the reorganization of its defense industry as well as its military in line with NATO standards on May 20.
Meanwhile, former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, wanted for trial on corruption charges at home, was granted Ukrainian citizenship so that he could take the post of governor of the Ukrainian Odessa region.
In other words, as Russian influence declines Ukraine increasingly finds itself in the thrall of a group of international ‘advisors’ whose primary concern may not be the welfare of ordinary Ukrainians.

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