U.S. foreign policy from Vietnam to Afghanistan has mostly been counter-productive – enabling the happening of what policies were intended to prevent. The disturbing manner in which the crisis in Ukraine is unfolding — more and more provocative — demonstrates once again that U.S. policy is doomed to be counter-productive.
Because healthy thought opposes senseless speculation, analyzing the statements of the “movers” and “shakers” of the United States provides awareness to the U.S. agenda on the situation in Ukraine. If comments by U.S. government officials and media actors represent the thoughts that are guiding U.S. policy toward Ukraine, then its time to ask: “Who is in charge of this madhouse?”
Arizona Senator John McCain claimed that “Russia wants to re-establish the Russian Empire,” which evidently means bringing back the Tsar. Crimea’s entrance to the warmer waters of the Black Sea is important to Russia, but its territory is less to a Russian Empire then Gibraltar is to the British Empire or Puerto Rico is to the American Empire. The Russian speaking and Russian looking Crimea, which has a Russian majority, was part of Russia from 1792 until Premier Nikita Khrushchev, in 1952, transferred the peninsula from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, leaving the land hanging like an awkward appendage to Ukraine. If the Arizona senator insinuated that Russia is taking advantage of a crisis to regain territory, he may have focused on a real situation and gained support. Instead he turned thoughts toward a ridiculous assertion and diverted attention from the actual happening.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s response to the situation included “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests. This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext.”
The Secretary should then answer why he voted to invade Iraq on the phony pretext that Saddam Hussein was on the way to develop an atomic bomb? Russia may be (???) re-seizing territory, but the U.S. destroyed territory, caused deaths to hundreds of thousands and displaced millions of Iraqis. Not a single person has been killed, wounded or displaced by the Russian incursion.
Russia’s military moves in Crimea may be hostile, (although a 1997 treaty between Russia and Ukraine allows up to 25,000 Russia troops in Crimea ), but once the Ukrainian government expressed a hostile attitude toward Russia, and western nations seemed to approve the stance, could Russia be expected to act differently? The usual suspects forced the Russians to either whimper or send troops to Crimea.
Look at it another way. Moscow did not challenge the status of Crimea until a government unfriendly to Russia took power in Ukraine. Because the former followed the latter, it shows that, if Russia has any intent to annex Crimea, the move will result from Putin’s conviction that trouble is coming to Russia’s doorstep. Political analysis precedes political action, but western nations acted before thinking and engineered fear to the Bear, rather than making sure the new government did not upset Moscow.
Crimea is important for its Black Sea location, for who owns the seaport of Sevastopol and who must rent it. Resolving the dilemma affects Russia and Ukraine, but has no affect on the rest of a world that can live with either ownership. So, why are the United States and the European Community involved in the dispute? Would it not be preferable for Washington to concentrate on finally preventing cocaine from entering its nation from Mexico, and for all to resolve the tyranny in Bahrain, the anarchy in Egypt and the problems NATO created for Libya (which might portend what awaits Ukraine) – settle existing disputes before engaging in a new argument.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reacted to the question of “why was Russia’s incursion into Crimea not similar to the NATO war on Yugoslavia?”
CNN reporter Fareed Zakaria asked her:
Madeleine, one of the things Russians often say is that the West set the precedent by detaching Kosovo from Serbia, that, at the end of the day, when U.S. secretary of state, you decided that you were going to allow the Kosovars, who wanted to be free and live in an independent state, to go their own way, and we provided military support. Can they not say that what they’re doing in Crimea is simply the same?
Madeleine, who became infamous by responding to a question on CBS’ 60 Minutes’ program as to whether “the killing of 500,000 children during the Iraq war was worth the price of the war, “with the remark “We think the price was worth it,” showed again that she was not all bright. Mme. Albright answered Zakaria’s question by saying:
Absolutely not. I mean, it’s a completely different situation. Yugoslavia fell apart as a result of the actions of Milosevic. It had been going on for a number of years with Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina. And there is no question that that is something that came internally.
And she was correct; the two situations are entirely different. The Kosovo war resulted in not only the detachment of Kosovo from Yugoslavia but the destruction of Serbia, deaths of many of its people and anarchy and suffering to the entire area. The Serbs in Kosovo ultimately suffered the fate that NATO pretended to prevent to the Kosovars.
The Russian incursion into Crimea has caused no injuries, damage or anarchy, nor does it seem any of that will occur.
Former Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, resurrected Munich appeasement in a Washington Post Opted on March 3.
His [Putin] initial success may tempt him to repeat that performance more directly in the far eastern provinces of Ukraine proper. If successful, the conclusive third phase could then be directed, through a combination of political unrest and increasingly overt use of Russian forces, to overthrow the government in Kiev. The result would thus be similar to the two phases of Hitler’s seizure of the Sudetenland after Munich in 1938 and the final occupation of Prague and Czechoslovakia in early 1939.
One obvious misrepresentation – Hitler acted with an already prepared scenario for seizing Czechoslovakia. Putin re-acted, and Big Nev has concocted a scenario, which, except for the final occupation, is strangely similar to U.S. attacks on its Latin American neighbors – Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Dominica, Dominican Republic, and many more. Remember The Maine.
CNN’s Christine Amanpour related her usual Hollywood style scenario to Wolf Blitzer, the host of The Situation Room. Paraphrasing, the journalist who knows how to cater to the popular view said, “We fought World War II with great loss of American lives to bring democracy to the European countries. We cannot fail those who fought before.” [Ed: Not an exact quote]
Did not the U.S. enter the war after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and not with any pre-conceived design?
Were not most of the European nations already democracies?
Did the U.S. fight Germany and Italy only to make them into democracies?
Was not the U.S. allied with Russia during World War II?
If 100% and not 20% of the German army was available to repulse the Anglo-American attacks and that army did not have 80% of its forces defending against the Russian attacks, would the allies been able to win World War II, or more likely, would Great Britain have eventually capitulated?
Did not the Soviet Union’s offensive save the western world?
Evidently Ms. Amanpour believes Hollywood accurately describes events. President Obama claims the U.S. is on the side of history. Christine Amanpour is on the side of ancient history. What do the events in Ukraine have to do with World War II?
If preserving democracy is the driving force to assist Ukraine, then why does not Ms. Amanpour argue against the obvious non-democratic manner by which the Ukraine Parliament deposed President Viktor Yanukovych?
The present presidential site of the Ukrainian nation explains the disposition of Yanukovych by the following legal act: Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada No.764-VII of 23.02.2014 “On conferring powers of the President of Ukraine on the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada according to article 112 of the Constitution of Ukraine”
Given that President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych withdrew from performing the constitutional powers The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine hereby resolves:
1. To confer the powers of the President of Ukraine on Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Turchynov Oleksandr Valentynovych according to article 112 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
2. The given Resolution shall enter into force upon its adoption.
Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada OTURCHYNOV
(1) Did President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych withdraw from performing the constitutional powers?
(2) Why is this Article 112 different than Article 112 in the Ukraine constitution?
Article 112 of the Ukraine constitution states:
In the event of an early termination of the authority of the President of Ukraine in accordance with Articles 108, 109, 110 and 111 of this Constitution, the discharge of the duties of the President of Ukraine, for the period pending the elections and the assumption of the office by the next President of Ukraine, shall be vested on the Prime Minister of Ukraine.
Articles 108, 109, 110 and 111 of the Ukrainian Constitution refer to an elaborate impeachment process, which was not followed, and says that:
The President of Ukraine may be removed from office by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by the procedure of impeachment, in the event that he or she commits state treason or other crime.
The reasons for impeachment must first be proven before a vote on impeachment can occur. Did this happen?
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on the program Meet the Press, recited his usual bland comments, peppered with patriotic slogans for his constituents.
They (Russia) are an enemy of that and certainly an enemy of the United States. And regards to those things I outlined, if you look at the positions they’ve taken on issue after issue, Russia has been an obstacle to U.S. national interests.
Kudos for Vladimir Putin. Aren’t leaders elected to protect their nation’s interests and not the interests of others? For much of the world, Senator Rubio’s declaration may be the best compliment given to a world leader – willing to combat U.S. interferences. And also a smart maneuver – if past history is a clue then the probability of a U.S. foreign policy resulting in success is less than the chances of the New York Knicks winning the NBA championship. Wise not to follow a loser.
However, is the Florida Senator’s statement true? Has Russia been an obstacle to U.S. national interests?
Putin’s Russia endorsed the Security Council resolution on Libya and has not criticized or interfered with U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. Criticism and lack of support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq coincided with France’s and Germany’s attitudes at that time. No actions were taken to halt the invasion. The only two prominent disagreements have been with U.S. policies toward Iran (which is changing) and Syria – not different than the attitudes of many other nations.
However, these are foreign policies and not national interests. The U.S. has no economic or other major interests in Iran and Syria, except for those it conceives. Russia has definite economic and other interest in Iran and Syria. So, has not the U.S. been an obstacle to Russian national interests?
Senator Marco Rubio has shown why he should never be considered a presidential candidate.
Russia should remove its troops from the Crimea, but events may not permit this to happen. If a government, which is unfriendly to Russia, remains in power in Kiev, it is more likely the Crimeans will vote to rejoin Russia. For that event, Kiev, United States and the European Union can blame themselves. Careless assemblage of facts, inadequate analysis and bewildering actions characterize their responses to the events in Ukraine. Frenetic, paranoid, chaotic and illogical policies derive from those who do not have stable thought, and that is not an exaggeration — the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, and engagements in Somalia, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, Libya and other places confirm the thesis.