Nel's New Day

March 12, 2014

Ukraine – Follow the Money

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:30 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

The media flavor of the month is Ukraine. Everyone has an opinion about what we should do with the country, but most people don’t know anything about the country and its issues. GOP members vary taking military action to free Ukraine weeks ago, as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and only 8 percent of CPAC attendees want, to a position that would “secure and guarantee American safety at home and abroad.” Sen. Paul Rand (R-KY) is a strict isolationist, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants a fight against “totalitarianism,” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wobbles somewhere in between. The only thing that the GOP members agree on is that President Obama is wrong, no matter what he does.

Those vilifying President Obama for not taking action need to look back prior to Election Day 2008 about anyone criticizing the president’s approach toward foreign conflict when this was described as “traitor” and “fifth columnist.” They were accused of “treason,”  and characterizing the president as weak or inept was to encourage enemies to act aggressively against the United States.  Ed Koch wrote:

“Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are seeking to humble, embarrass and, if they can, destroy the President and the prestige of his position as the Commander-in-Chief who is responsible for the safety of our military forces and the nation’s defenses. By doing so, they are adding to the dangers that face our nation.”

Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation to help Ukraine and sanction Russia. If the entire Senate doesn’t pass the bill tomorrow, it must wait until after the senators return from another recess and after Crimea votes on whether to leave Ukraine for Russia. The bill, supposedly paid for by cuts in Army and Air Force procurement, would pay $315 million to Russia and Russia’s gas company and lend Ukraine an additional $1 billion that the House has already approved.  

The basis of most conservatives’ attitudes in the United States is that Russia is a bad country and whatever it does is bad unless it’s persecuting LGBT people. There is, however, another perspective about Ukraine. In describing Ukraine’s revolution, Robert Parry wrote about the “neo-Nazis running four ministries running four ministries including the Ministry of Defense.” Although Parry is no fan of Russia, he wrote that, unlike Ukraine, it at least has “a functioning economy.”

In Ukraine, ten “oligarchs” (in the United States we call them billionaires) are buying up media outlets and politicians while almost everyone else in the country faces austerity through great reductions in pensions and already inadequate social services. Continuing political issues there will surely encourage the “rise of right-wing extremists who espouse not only the goal of expelling ethnic Russians from Ukraine but Jews and other peoples considered not pure Ukrainian.” None of this information appears in U.S. media, but a BBC Newsnight entitled “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine” gives more information.

President Viktor Yanukovych signed an agreement on February 21 to relinquish much of his power, hold early elections, and order police to withdraw. European nations co-signed the agreement and then did nothing while neo-Nazi militias overran government buildings, forcing officials to flee the country. The U.S. didn’t complain when they violated Ukraine’s constitution, but the U.S. perceives Crimea’s vote to secede as criminal.

Crimea wants to stay with Russia because most of the people are Russian and many speak Russian, but the U.S. opposes that action. Yet the U.S. supported the separation of 15 nations from the Soviet Union in 1991 and the separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. That same decade, U.S. facilitated the ethnic divisions of Yugoslavia and bombed Serbia to give Kosovo independence. The U.S. helped oil-rich South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011. Strategists may say that Crimea and Ukraine are far different from all these, but all secessions are unique.

The question that the U.S. doesn’t address is whether the regions of Crimea and eastern Ukraine should be able to vote on a separation. Part of Ukraine goes with Russia, giving Russians more security from the neo-Nazis’ ethnic cleansing. The rest of Ukraine can vote whether to join the European Union.

Russia is threatening to cut off natural gas to Ukraine as it has done before. The European Union also gets 20 percent of its fuel source from Russia through pipelines that cross Ukraine, and that country gets 70 to 80 percent of its natural gas from Russia. This situation makes the U.S. fat-cats gleefully rub their hands together as they consider the potential of Russia going up against Ukraine. It’s 2003 all over again when the U.S. went into Iraq to take over its oil fields.

Ukraine pipeline

Politicians are demanding that the U.S. sell its “surplus” natural gas to Europe and Ukraine as well as remove any controls on fracking in the U.S. Rand Paul wants to drill ” in every possible conceivable place” and send all the U.S. energy resources overseas. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced a bill in the House requiring the Department of Energy to approve and expedite permits to ship U.S. natural gas to Ukraine and other countries, and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a similar measure in the Senate.

Expanding the exports of natural gas would largely benefit only the wealthy and the corporations because they are the ones who make a decision about where to send their product. Asia pays more than Europe, and there is no impetus to shift the direction of the shipping. The expansion of producing and exporting natural gas would only increase the rate at which resources in the U.S. are depleted and the destruction to the environment. Another problem is the lack of existing infrastructure to send natural gas to Europe. And the third is that the need for this product is seasonal, making the idea undesirable for corporations only interested in profit.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s accusation that Vladimir Putin is violating international law by sending Russian troops into Crimea flies in the face of reason. Ukraine’s president was democratically elected, and the neo-Nazis attacked the country. As for invasions, the United States is guilty of this multiple times, including Afghanistan and Iraq a little more than a decade ago. This invasion ended up killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and left their country a bitterly divided mess. Currently the Obama administration is blowing up people in other nations though the use of drones.

Since World War II, the list of countries where the United States have overthrown democratically-elected leaders includes Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Allende in Chile in 1973, Aristide in Haiti twice, Chavez in Venezuela briefly in 2002, Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and now Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela is getting nervous in case the U.S. turns its effort for “democracy” on him. And now the right-wing in the U.S. wants this nation to toss out another democratically-elected leader. 

United States agents have indulged in murder and torture, and the government has a history of training and working with fascists, dictators, drug lords, and terrorists in places including Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Korea, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Panama, The Philippines, Syria, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, and Zaire. And that’s just since 1944. It’s hard for the United States to take the high ground with Russia when one considers the country’s history.

The United States employs a foreign policy, including with Ukraine, is follow-the-money. The Congress is buying into the philosophy. It is willingly sending money to a foreign country while refusing  to help desperate people within its own borders, and it providing big energy companies with everything they want. This investment will be paid back many-fold in the future with corporate campaign donations.

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2 Comments »

  1. The US is all over democracy–as long as the country’s subjects, excuse me, people– vote the way the US wants. If they don’t the US has no problem ‘correcting’ the mistake.

    The US is nothing but a bully whose schoolyard is the whole world. Disgusting.

    Like

    Comment by gkparker — March 13, 2014 @ 7:54 PM | Reply

  2. Thanks for explaining the complexities. Bottom line is always profits.

    Like

    Comment by Lee Lynch — March 13, 2014 @ 12:25 AM | Reply


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