Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
“Federated Russian Air 342 hijacked at Chicago Metro 20 minutes ago. A WHO mission was hoping to cross into Ukraine, deliver medical supplies.” This is how the opening episode of ABC’s “Designated Survivor” second season, which was aired on September 27, began.
“These people [Ukrainians] hijacked a plane on U.S. soil in an effort to pull the West into a regional conflict, and they are willing to kill Americans to do it.” This short phrase by President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) contains at least two fallacies which are troubling for Ukrainians.
The first one is that the West needs to be pulled into the Ukrainian conflict. In fact, the West, represented by the U.S. first and foremost, is already involved in the Ukrainian conflict since it pressured Ukraine into giving up its nuclear weapons by signing the Budapest Memorandum in 1994. That Memorandum guaranteed Ukraine’s sovereignty which Russia and the United States as co-signatories with Ukraine and the United Kingdom were pledged to uphold. Russia brutally violated that agreement and the U.S. has done too little about it, having imposed some economic sanctions on Russia.
The second false notion is that the conflict is regional. The conflict has been contained to its current regional limits only by the sacrifice of more than 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers and the NATO military preparations in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe have shown that the West does not consider this conflict to be merely regional.
When President Kirkman said “Russia will use this as an excuse to attack Ukraine” and “the Ukrainian ambassador Shevchenko” said the words “illegal Russian invasion of my country,” I thought that, maybe, the series’ creators after all had some knowledge of the subject.
But then, the nonsense continued. The “Ukrainian ambassador” bargains with “the American Security Advisor” almost like a terrorist: “Terror happening in America, Ukraine must fix. With pleasure, right after America fix terror in Ukraine.” The Ukrainian ambassador’s English was much worse than the Russian one’s, I wonder why.
The vilification of Ukraine went on: along with Russia, it rejected American diplomatic initiatives. Then, the U.S. President engaged a UN Secretary-General who, in turn, complained that neither Russia nor Ukraine were willing to engage the UN. This is an outrageous thing to say, even in a TV series. Thousands of Ukrainians have died in the Donbas and Ukraine has been asking the U.N. for a peacekeeping force to stave off the Russian aggression since 2015. Yet this fictional UN Secretary-General stated, “both sides want the situation to deteriorate.”
I wonder, considering the growing ignorance in the West towards the Russian aggression in Ukraine, if the public is going to pay more attention to this drivel, than to the objective information and analysis of what is going on in eastern Ukraine? Given the Designated Survivor’s marked liberal stance, are the American liberals ready to sympathize with Ukraine only insofar as they criticize Russia for its meddling in the U.S. elections, or is this TV series episode just an aberration created by some filmmakers’ ignorance?
This latter explanation does not appear to be far from the truth considering that the episode is full of ridiculous errors: “the Ukrainian nationalist” group has a Russian name, “Osvobodit Ukrainu”; the Russian naval build-up in the Sea of Azov (a hilarious detail for anyone who has at least a foggy idea about geography – you don’t even need to know that the Sea of Azov’s depth does not allow for any serious naval build-up, you just need to have heard an expression “Russian Black Sea Fleet” or take a glance at the map to see that Turkey is not as close to the Sea of Azov as the film suggests).
These ludicrous mistakes made me think at some point that it’s simply a half-baked show which should not be taken seriously. But the insult at the end spoiled my reconciliatory mood. “Ukraine … has an inferiority complex,” says some “White House staffer”. What nation would the American filmmakers dare offend like this? After Borat, this episode is the most offensive American film industry’s product I’ve seen. The Ukrainian Diaspora needs to express its disgust at the Designated Survivor’s Season 2 premiere and demand an apology from its creators.