Monday, January 27, 2020

Can you point to Ukraine on a map?

The big geopolitical question of the week is:

Can you point to Ukraine on a map?

On Friday Mike Pompeo was asked by NPR's Mary Louise Kelly, whether he, as Secretary of State, owed Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, an apology. Marie Yovanovitch was the American ambassador to Ukraine who Trump ordered removed from her position because he believed she was hampering his efforts to force Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden. Yovanovitch has also been the victim of a long running smear campaign by Trump and his supporters. Documents released in November in response to a Freedom of Information Act revealed that the State Department had deliberately deceived Congress about the rationale for Marie Yovanovitch's removal as Ambassador to Ukraine.

When Pompeo was asked on Friday whether he should apologize to Marie Yovanovitch he responded by screaming at the NPR reporter and asking her 'Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?' Pompeo then asked his aides to bring out a blank map with no map labels and asked Mary Louise Kelley if she could find Ukraine on a map.

Mary Louise Kelley says that she correctly pointed to Ukraine on the map. On Saturday Mark Pompeo released a statement implying that Kelley had not identified Ukraine and had instead pointed to Bangladesh, "It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine." Mary Louise Kelley has a masters degree in European studies from Cambridge University, she has worked in Europe for the BBC and extensively reported on foreign policy issues from many parts of the world. Mark Pompeo's accusation that Kelley thinks that one of Europe's largest countries is actually in Asia has been met with almost universal derision and disbelief.

So can you point to Ukraine on a map?

The question is can you point to Ukraine on a map? Well can ya punk?

Let's find out. Chris Zubak-Skees has created an interactive blank map of the world. All you have to do is click on Ukraine on the map. After you have clicked on his Can you point to Ukraine on a map? interactive map you can view all the guesses made by everyone else. I'm pleased to see that so far only two people have identified Bangladesh as Ukraine, that's two less than the number of people who think that the United States is Ukraine.

This isn't the first time when the question of whether people can point to Ukraine on a map has arisen. Back in 2014, when Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula, the Washington Post asked 2,066 Americans if they could locate Ukraine on a map of the world. The experiment, carried out by political scientists from Dartmouth College, Harvard University and Princeton University, found that at the time only one in six Americans could correctly locate Ukraine on a map.

The Americans were also asked a number of questions about how the USA should respond to Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula. The further the respondents guess was from the correct location then the more likely they were to support military intervention by the USA.

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