Scapegoating the Left for the Failure of Neoliberalism
It’s impressive watching the contortions of Democrat interventionists regarding Ukraine. At Daily Kos, this post asserts the US “Did Not Spend $5 Billion to Destabilize Yanukovich”. There is literally nothing of substance, so I won’t quote any of it.
I will quote from the latest scapegoating of the left from PW, titled The American Left has Failed on Ukraine, which starts with this:
The American Left has absolutely and utterly failed to reach correct conclusions or make correct decisions in Ukraine. The result is that John McCain, who never met an ‘enemy of my enemy’ he couldn’t get behind, no matter how horrific, looks almost (almost) sane by comparison. Where a few weeks or months ago there could be legitimate debates, smart money was never on the side of the contrarian Left, and events have shown this to be true in at least two major ways.
I guess the smart money PW is referring to is that totally non-de-stabilizing 5 billion the conspiracy theorists speculate about. Because that cash was all just for good democracy building stuff, right? Let’s give PW a chance to provide some substance to his claim lefty contrarianism has failed to reach correct conclusions regarding the crisis in Ukraine:
1. The government currently in Ukraine is not a threat to Russians living in Ukraine. Quite the opposite – Russians in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are actively undermining the government of Ukraine (No, the status of Russian as an official regional language, by the way, has not changed. Russia Today reported that it has, and to my knowledge has failed to note that the president of Ukraine never signed into law that act).
On what authority are we to accept such a sweeping claim that “The government currently in Ukraine is not a threat to Russians...”? In my previous post, the link to Andre Vltchek’s piece reports on legitimate fear from people in Eastern Ukraine. Maybe PW can tell us if anyone with thoughts not aligned with the current government should be considered a separatist “actively undermining the government of Ukraine” and, once labeled, what should be done with them?
Instead of acknowledging legitimate fears sweeping Ukraine on all sides, PW launches a weak spin on the fascist element now in positions of power, post-coup:
2. The government is not dominated by neo-fascists, at least, not yet. Svoboda and Pravdiy Sektor are both still extreme minority parties, and the armed right wing is under heavy police pressure by the Ukrainian government. Indeed, the only party that has anything to gain from Pravdiy Sektor’s gaining power, and the only party acting to make that more likely, is Russia. Both Svoboda and Pravdiy Sektor have loudly opposed admission to the EU or the involvement of the IMF in Ukraine (interestingly, the exact same position toward Ukraine advocated by our local ‘progressive’ blogs), making it seem highly unlikely that they will continue to have Euro-American backing. Hard core nationalism in a multi-ethnic state like Ukraine can only lead to instability, the exact outcome Russia desires, and it can only be strengthened by the constant threat (and fact) of Russian intervention.
I love how #2 starts off with an attempt to minimize the presence of the neo-fascist element (a tacit acknowledgement of their presence) while simultaneously implying this fascist threat may become more dangerous if…what? If the instability “Russia desires” develops?
Just to be clear, I have not specifically claimed that the post-coup government in Ukraine is “dominated” by neo-fascists, but it’s a fact right-sector elements grabbed top cabinet positions in the vacuum, post-coup:
The ultra-right Svoboda Party has scored six major cabinet ministries in the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk approved by the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday. Svoboda is an ultra-right, anti-Semitic, Russophobic party with its base of support in the Western Ukraine.
The most important post was claimed by a co-founder of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy. He was named Secretary of the Security and National Defense Committee, which supervises the defense ministry and the armed forces.
What else does PW have to say?
The Left continues to breezily describe Yanukovych as the ‘democratic’ leader of Ukraine, ignoring the fact that since his election, Ukraine has markedly regressed in terms of fair and transparent elections. History is full of ‘democratic’ leaders who ended democracy once it was done serving their purposes. Some even act as though the Crimean referendum, which was conducted under military occupation without any outside observers and didn’t even present the status quo as an option on the ballot, has some kind of validity. Perhaps the biggest failing of Leftist analysis, though, is the consistent belief that somehow this is related to NATO’s eastward expansion, or that a reasonable solution can include preventing Ukraine from ever joining NATO. If one knows the history, this is absolute hogwash. Note that Russian intervention in neighboring countries has been a constant fact since the Napoleonic wars – and NATO membership has shown to be the strongest preventive measure of that outcome. Georgia has been invaded; Turkey has not. Ukraine has been invaded; Estonia, almost incalculably weaker, has not.
First, let me say PW is correct. It is quite breezy to remind interventionists that nations who at least go through the trouble of staging elections should have their respective processes respected. Of course that’s before I learned that Ukraine “has markedly regressed in terms of fair and transparent elections” I’m starting to think maybe that 5 billion wasn’t so well spent after all. Maybe we could get an accurate accounting of exactly where that money went? I’m also concerned that maybe American democracy has also markedly regressed. Does that mean violence against the US state is justified? Think of that justification coming from sovereign citizens.
PW’s fundamental disagreement with critics like me centers on the expansion of NATO. His argument focuses on how the protection racket of NATO expansionism has, so far, worked for member nations, thanks to article 5. I think that’s a dangerously short-sighted measure of success.
I guess the failure of the left is so bad, PW considers John McCain almost sane. That’s something, and emphasizes what actually most concerns me.
How strong does Obama think he needs to look for midterms?
PW ends his lesson on the failure of the left with this:
I realize that calling for further expansion of NATO means I’m at odds with most Leftist foreign policy practitioners in the US, but for me, personal experience, the testimony of my friends and acquaintances, the demographic and statistical evidence, and the historical record all indicate that on this point, the Left has gotten it wrong.
I hope I am wrong.