Escalation Over Ukraine Continues
I agree with George Ochenski. Washington has gone insane over the Ukraine:
It’s very difficult to discern what possible interest the United States could have in the current situation in Crimea and Ukraine. Yet, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are waving sabers and directly threatening Russia over what they call its incursion into a sovereign state.
In the meantime, members of Congress are coming up with some seriously inane ideas they think might have some effect on Russia without considering the effects they will undoubtedly produce on our own lands, waters and citizens.
Let’s start with the over-the-top reaction of the Obama administration, which pledged a billion dollars to Ukraine without even bothering to ask Congress or the American people what we thought.
A billion dollars is a thousand million. What will that thousand million dollars be used for in Ukraine that’s more important than spending it here at home for our long and growing list of domestic needs? It’ll go to pay off some of the natural gas debt Ukraine has racked up to Russian energy company Gazprom.
But hey, why stop there? Obama has also ordered economic sanctions against Russia and, in a Cold War redux, positioned a destroyer in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, sent F-15s to Lithuania and a dozen F-16s to Poland along with 300 troops. It’s safe to say many of our citizens are shocked by this leap to wartime actions – without a shred of consultation with Congress – by the same president who won the Nobel Peace Prize.
So our tax money is in for a cool billion, and the World Bank recently announced a “loan” of 3 billion dollars:
The World Bank on Monday said it plans to provide Ukraine up to $3 billion in 2014 to support the country’s new government in the midst of its current crisis, though only part of the money would be new.
The bank, a Washington-based lender that focuses on ending poverty, already has several projects in Ukraine. About $2 billion in the funds will be disbursed this year as part of ongoing projects.
And another pot of cash, up to $1 billion, would go directly to the government if it implements economic reforms to get its finances in order.
So this nice, new government will get a billion dollars “directly” IF it “implements economic reforms”. I like how this short CNBC piece describes the World Bank’s focus as “ending poverty”. Because it’s the exact opposite—it’s Orwellian doublespeak for imposing neoliberal austerity.
Speaking of the new government, I’m sure that neo-Nazi fascist meme is just Russian propaganda, right? Wrong:
Some have noted that, for the first time since 1945, neo-fascists hold cabinet posts in a European country. They include the Ukrainian interim defense minister, Ihor Tenyukh (a naval commander who has studied at the Pentagon and favors NATO membership); deputy prime minster for economic affairs Oleksandr Sych (chief Svoboda ideologist who as a member of parliament co-authored a bill banning abortion, who’s said that women have the right to avoid pregnancy by “leading an orderly life”); minister of agriculture Ihor Svaika (an agro-oligarch); and minister of ecology Andriy Moknyk (who has served as Svoboda’s envoy to Italy’s neo-fascist Forzo Nuovo. Group).
Other appointments worth noting include the National Security Council chief, Andry Parubiy (co-founder of Svoboda, leader of the U.S.-backed “Orange Revolution” in 2004, and “security commandant” during the Maidan protests directing attacks by the paramilitary organization “Right Sector”); and Deputy NSC chief, Dmytro Yarosh (founder of the “Right Sector”). The Prosecuter-general, Oleh Makhnitsky and Minister of Education Serhiy Kvit are also members of the Svoboda Party.
Imagine a National Security Council controlled by people whom (it now appears) hired snipers to fire on the Maidan crowd, with the intention of blaming this on Yanukovich’s security forces.) This is not business as usual. This is a leap into darkness.
That Oleksandr Sych dude sounds like he’s cut from the same cloth of crusading anti-abortion social conservatives here at home, like the ones in Texas who have decimated access to clinics for women.
The Ochenski piece mentioned Obama’s saber rattling. In Crimea, there is a referendum that may go down on Sunday, which is escalating the situation:
Ukraine’s parliament has warned Crimea’s regional assembly it will be dissolved unless it cancels a referendum over joining Russia.
Kyiv said Crimea had until Wednesday to call it off.
Meanwhile the Crimean Parliament stated on Tuesday it would declare itself an independent state if people vote in favour of joining Russia. It would then officially ask to become part of the Russian federation. In a secret sitting, MPs voted 78 to 3 in favour of a declaration of independence from Ukraine. The declaration cites Kosovo’s separation from Serbia as a legal precedent.
Yep, Kosovo is a good precedent to cite. That’s the problem with America’s blatant hypocrisy. Our actions on the international stage have precedent-setting consequences down the road.
This situation will only get worse. I don’t see how Obama has any room to deescalate rising tensions. The propaganda here at home is just too good to counter with a few speeches. Unfortunately I don’t think Obama has any incentive to step back. The President can’t look weak with midterms coming and control of the Senate in jeopardy.
So let’s escalate a confrontation with a nuclear-armed Russia.
Ochenski has it right, Washington has gone insane.