UKRAINE IN PERSPECTIVE | Rick Staggenborg


Soldiers For Peace International


UKRAINE IN PERSPECTIVE

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 02:17 PM PDT

This is an editorial I submitted today to the Eugene (Oregon) Register Guard. Regular readers of this blog will note that given the constraints of writing for the corporate media, I have been a bit less blunt and more terse in making my points. I hope that the editor finds that it adds to public understanding of the consequences of not seriously questioning what is happening in Ukraine.

US claims that the referendum on Crimean independence violates international law represent the height of hypocrisy. They cannot be taken seriously by anyone who understands US foreign policy since WWII. It is one unbroken string of violations of national sovereignty, from overthrowing elected governments in Guatemala and Iran in the early 50s to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and support for jihadists in Libya and Syria. Such violations of sovereignty trample basic principles of international law meant to prevent wars. 

There is no basis to claim that peaceful secession is illegal. The International Court of Justice ruled in the case of Kosovo that “international law contains no prohibitions on declarations of independence.” Americans should recall that the US conducted a deadly bombing campaign to enforce that right. US recognition of Israel’s declaration of independence was another example of US acceptance of the right to create a new nation out of an existing geopolitical entity originally created by imperial design in the early 20thcentury, as is US recognition of all the former Soviet Republics that declared their independence from the former USSR in the 90s.

The mainstream media unanimously declares Putin “aggressive, imperialist, a bully” or as Clinton put it, “worse than Hitler.” We have heard that line every time the international corporations who profit from war decide a nation’s leader is uncooperative with their plans for world domination. America’s national interests in the post-WWII era have been equated to those of the oil, gas, banking and “defense” industries.  The implicit assumption is that any challenge to NATO hegemony is a threat to national security. A moment’s reflection on Russia’s real security interests show how self-serving such claims are. 

Ukraine is a major market for Russian products and an important source of agricultural products. Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on revenues from natural gas, 70% of which flows to Europe in pipelines that pass through Ukraine. The Black Sea port in Crimea is a critical part of Russia’s military defense. Under a 2010 treaty, Russia retains the right to use its military bases through 2042. By installing a compliant government in Kiev, the US is trying to disrupt Russian gas supplies, destroy its mutually beneficial trade arrangements with Ukraine and ultimately place yet more “defensive” missiles near Russia’s borders as it has in other former Soviet nations surrounding Russia. Who is the imperial power here?

The EU offer to Ukraine for a trade agreement was likely never meant seriously. It was less than half the $30 million Russia was originally offering. That would have nearly paid off its debts to the international bankers now salivating at the prospect of making Ukraine its latest debt slave, as it has with Greece, Italy, Spain and other European nations now suffering under imposed austerity. The EU offer seems to have been a ruse to justify fomenting dissent in Ukraine that the US could use to overthrow the elected government.  Groundwork for this had been laid since at least the time of the last color revolution in Ukraine that put an anti-Russian, pro-West puppet in office.

US-funded NGOs like USAID and NED (National Endowment for Democracy) operate by funding opposition groups in nations who do not play ball with NATO powers. The first President of NED stated in a Washington Post interview “A lot of what we do today was done covertly by the CIA 25 years ago.” It does not matter if the targeted nation is democratically elected like the Ukraine or Venezuela. The agenda of these largely unknown agencies has little to do with democracy and everything to do with expanding the power of transnational corporations with undue influence over US foreign policy.

JFK’s murder coincided with his efforts to end the Cold War before it got out of hand. He announced his intention in a major speech at American University five months before his death. In his speech, he pointed out that those who suffer most from war are not the leaders of nations but their people, with whom we share a common humanity. If Americans learn to regard the Peoples of other nations as worthy of the same rights as our own, Kennedy will not have died in vain.

Rick Staggenborg, MD
Founder, Soldiers For Peace International

1462 N 10th Court
Coos Bay, OR 97420
541-217-8044

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