Comment: Political developments in Ukraine, and its fast deteriorating governmental structure should not come as a surprise. Naturally there are a multitude of promises from the West that Ukraine will have help to repair the country. The results of the same efforts made Kosovo provide sobering reading.
Foreign missions are ostensibly sent to monitor and correct perceived problems on the ground. They are equipped with the language of appropriate righteousness, and the clothing of good will. That, at least, is what the operation brief is meant to state. Often, the language fades.
The mission suffers metamorphosis. Deals are done on the ground. Money changes hands. Favours are done. It is not so much building Rome as becoming Rome that becomes important. Join what one cannot change - many local conditions simply resist transformation from the outside.
The EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo, Eulex, was one such creation. It remains the EU's biggest foreign crisis mission, despite a slimming operation that cut staff from 2,200 to 1,600. The Economist suggested, rather freely, that the deployment of Eulex in 2008 "delighted" Kosovars. "Many hoped it would stamp out organised crime and corruption." Certainly, the legal infrastructure on the ground proved sparse and susceptible to manipulation. But the big fish were never going to enter Eulex's nets. They were the political untouchables, at least without sufficient evidence for conviction. The reputation of the group, as a result, waned.
Critics started gathering ammunition. Andrea Capussela, formerly involved in the economic side of things in the EU's policy in Kosovo, found Eulex indifferent, even timid, in getting the cores of corruption. At worst, it proved craven. The errors in the prosecution side of things started mounting. Prominent local Kosovars, instead of facing a legal brief, found themselves in clover.