by Xinhua writer Huang Yinjiazi
BEIJING, April 13 (Xinhua) -- As fears for violent clashes have begun simmering in Ukraine, the United States decided Saturday to send its vice president to the country of unique geopolitical significance.
The April 22 trip will make Joe Biden the most high-profile U.S. official to visit the turmoil-torn country since the crisis broke out, and see him underscore Washington's support "for a united, democratic Ukraine."
Ironically, with Crimea having broken away, Ukraine is no longer united. And with pro-Moscow sentiment and cries for independence and integration with Russia bubbling up in its east, the country is on the brink of further chaos.
Adding to the irony is the fact that Western countries, not least the United States, played no small part in plunging Ukraine into the current predicament.
The West planted the seeds of confrontation by fomenting discontent and inciting unrest. They turned sparks of protest into a vicious fire and stoked the flames while Ukraine was burning.
It has turned out that the United States, with all its self-righteousness and sense of moral superiority, is only good at starting and stoking fires, instead of quenching one.
From a geopolitical perspective, the region's balance of power was disrupted after Western countries made Russia feel insecure by pushing their frontier further closer to Moscow.
As it is widely feared, the still escalating situation could snowball into the worst standoff between the West and Russia since the end of the Cold War, a scenario that would not only inflict more pain on Ukraine but undermine regional and global peace.
Immediate de-escalation is needed to prevent the flames of the Ukraine crisis from devouring the whole region and burning down the entire edifice of the current world order.
The only viable exit is a political solution. All parties involved should avoid any action that might deteriorate the situation, and start laying the foundation for dialogue.
Outside powers should be firefighters instead of flame-stokers. They need to play a constructive role by persuading Ukrainians of all sides to calm down and jointly seek a way out.
The prospect is not all dark. EU, Russian, Ukrainian and U.S. diplomats are planning to meet for direct talks on the Ukraine crisis in Geneva in the coming days.
The four-party meeting, the first of its kind during the months-old crisis, offers an opportunity. It is imperative that the participants make good use of it and turn the sparks of hope into a bright beacon for dialogue and peace.