Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Ukrainian Spring - We've learned nothing

Lately I’ve been poring over official statements from the U.S. State Department in an attempt to figure out what their play in Ukraine is. The more I try and see a clever strategy at work the more disappointed I get. I keep going back to a speech Secretary of State John Kerry gave on March 3rd from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

It really couldn’t be any more clear after listening to that speech. The U.S. intends to encourage and straight up support populist movements and uprisings. Quite possibly to the detriment to the nations involved and their peripheries as well.

Mr Kerry first set the stage by attaching a strong emotional bond with the listeners in an attempt to reel them in. Such a common tactic used in American politics today. Kerry wanted to show them what to be afraid of, who was to blame for it, and that he shared in their pain.

“Let me say, first of all, how incredibly moving it was to walk down Institutska Street”

“ It was really quite remarkable, I have to tell you, to see the barricades, see the tires, see the barbed wire, see the bullet holes in street lamps, the extraordinary number of flowers, the people still standing beside a barrel with a fire to keep them warm, the shrouded vision in the clouds and the fog of the buildings from which the shots came, and the pictures, the photographs, of those who lost their lives, of the people who put themselves on the line for the future of Ukraine.”

It was deeply moving to walk into a group of Ukrainians spontaneously gathered there and to listen to them, to listen to their pleas of passion for the right not to go back to life as it was under former president Yanukovych.”

“One woman who pleadingly said how poor they were, how the rich lived well, and how those in power took the money, and how they were left behind.”

So it was very moving, and it gave me a deep, personal sense of how closely linked the people of Ukraine are to not just Americans, but to people all across the world who today are asking for their rights, asking for the privilege to be able to live, defining their own nation, defining their futures.  That’s what this is about.”

Really? How many times did he say he was moved? That last quote was meant to resonate to those on the front lines of the protest groups in not only Ukraine but throughout the entire region and throughout the world.
“but to people all across the world who today are asking for their rights, asking for the privilege to be able to live, defining their own nation, defining their futures.  That’s what this is about.”
It’s a call for populist movements to continue their uprisings. What a complete lack of leadership from the U.S. State Department. Rather than providing support we’re advocating anarchy.

These brave Ukrainians took to the streets in order to stand peacefully against tyranny and to demand democracy.”

“They raised their voices for dignity and for freedom.  But what they stood for so bravely, I say with full conviction, will never be stolen by bullets or by invasions.  It cannot be silenced by thugs from rooftops.  It is universal, it’s unmistakable, and it’s called freedom.”

“Ukrainians are demanding a government with the consent of the people.”

“we’ve watched with extraordinary awe the power of individuals unarmed except with ideas, people with beliefs and principles and values who have reached for freedom, for equality, for opportunity.  There’s nothing more important in this world.  That is what drives change in so many parts of the world today.”


Have we learned nothing from the Arab Spring?

(NED President Carl Gershman Presents an award to an Arab Spring leader in Tunisia)

Have we learned nothing from the situation in Iraq, Syria, etc? We can’t force democracy on nations that aren’t ready for it. Since when did democracy equal morality? Forcing democracy prematurely on an area that has been oppressed by an authoritarian regime can have dangerous consequences. Will the citizens react in a moral way or will populism steer them in an evil and dangerous direction?

W.H. Auden once said on Epitaph on a Tyrant, When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter, And when he cried the little children died in the streets.”

What happens when populist movements upend these brutal regimes without letting the citizens take care of it themselves on their own timeline? When they’re actually ready for it.

W.H. Auden had an answer in one of his poems:

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.”

John Kerry and the U.S. State Department are using organizations like Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy to influence the populations of sovereign nations.NED_logo.jpeg82px-Freedom_House_logo.svg.png
These NGO’s act like CIA substations in countries where the poor social status’ of the middle class can be manipulated to overthrow governments.

The State Department’s gamble is that hopefully these populist uprisings will produce the American Revolution. How can we be so certain they won’t produce the French Revolution instead? Democracy is an advanced form of government and carries with it an advanced form of citizenship. Our foreign policy right now is dangerous and irresponsible.

Today, the far right group Right Sector killed two ethnic Russians and wounded several others in a shootout in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. With the U.S. government pushing the French Revolution and the Russian Government encouraging fascism we’re in for some dark times ahead.