Now bear in mind that this was written at the onset of what is now the Ukrainian Civil War. I hope that you will keep an open mind, and regardless of whether or not you find this informative I truly hope that the premise of "food for thought" will be indulged.
declared: “Nation’s do not simply draw up borders or make decisions at the
expense of their neighbors, simply because they are larger or more powerful”.
It is not the content of that statement that incites indignation, rather the
approbation these kinds of remarks receive from the general public. Has the
teaching of history been omitted in our schools or are individuals just more
inclined to have others think on their behalf? We live in a world where
information can be exchanged at the click of a mouse; the truth is literally at
our fingertips if one cares to look.
Just watching the 24-hour news channels from BBC to CNN, France 24, Euronews or RT, it’s difficult to understand why war has not
been declared! All are starting to sound like propaganda newsreels from World
War II! For example, the secretary general of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen was quoted, recently stating that: “Russia’s Annexation of Crimea through a so
called referendum held at gun point is illegal and illegitimate.”
First of all, the expression “annexation by
referendum” coming from one of the leaders of the “free world” leads to
confusion and creates a very strong image out of a surprisingly
inaccurate statement. To analyze this lets take the first point.
If the EU, US, NATO and the UN are supposed to be
champions of the principles of constitutional sovereignty since the Helsinki
accords in 1975, and vilify any and all who would challenge the territorial
integrity of another sovereign state, then should not their outrage be
consistent and not equivocal or is it more of a pick and choose principle?
Applicable to some yet denied to others.
According to the Ukrainian Constitution the whole
nation must vote in a referendum of an oblast’s succession. However, the interim government’s legitimacy is then also put into question, since it is not
elected and doesn’t represent the interests of the entire population?
Technically, the same applies to revolution, but then why argue constitutional
legitimacy? Was president Yanukovych’s removal from office legal? Was the impeachment process correctly carried out?
Logically, this claim should be analyzed from a historical perspective as to the origins of the Crimean population (an
overwhelming majority of ethnic Russians in this case). Would that not be more
ethical, never mind rational? Take the case of Cyprus for example and the Turkish invasion of July 1974 on the pretext of restoring the constitutional
order. So why was this argument not brought up by any of our media or
Do we truly understand Ukraine’s history? Did
Crimea always belong to Ukraine? From what has continued to circulate in some
of the most prestigious media outlets in the western world, one could argue
that this is simply not the case. This entire crisis has been presented to the
public under the form of black versus white, good versus evil. That’s all fine
when enjoying a Marvel comic book, however all analysis has been left out of
the equation. At best, the coverage has established is a very limited and warped picture, under the standard of “fair and balanced”.
Apart from Ukraine being closer to our sphere of
influence, what’s so special about this conflict? Why was there was no outrage
when France organized a coup in the Ivory Coast, to put Alassane Ouattara in
power? Or Mali, where France’s pretext for invasion was a plea of assistance
from Mali’s embattled non-elected president, Dioncounda Traoré! How is that
different than Yanukovych asking Putin for Russian military assistance?
Even Catherine Ashton admitted of the opposition, (in
a taped interview with the Estonian foreign minister) the ambiguous origins of
the snipers, stating that it was likely that they were members of extreme right
factions of the protesters that are now in power. Western politicians, for
their part, draw analogies between Hitler’s seizure of the Sudetenland and
Vladimir Putin’s “audacious advance into Crimea”. From Kiev to New York,
protestors crudely characterize Putin as a second Hitler!
This all reminds me of a speech by Steven Colbert at
the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, in regards to the Iraq war: “we
(the people) did not want to know the facts and the media had the courtesy not
to try and find out.” Like the old saying goes; “in the land of the blind the
one eyed man is king”. I know that not everyone can be buying into this children`s book version of events and I believe that there are still some journalists out there of some integrity, with the audacity to perhaps provide
us with so much as a whiff of some pertinent historical data on Crimea and
Russia’s claim to it?
The problem here is the rise of an overpowering fervor
of hypocrisy and denial. How is the subversion of a weaker nation’s sovereignty by a more powerful nation shocking? Furthermore, is the Russian course of
action really a violation of international law? That seems to be determined by
what facts or “spin” either side decides the media should take into account.
What is apparent to the neutral observer is certainly that nobody cares about
what the Crimean’s want! Somehow the cries of indignation always ring
loudest when some other non-western country commits a violation, our memories
appear to be fleeting. Both sides have been undermining Ukrainian sovereignty
ever since the fall of the USSR. In this crisis both played their hands, but
Russia simply has an extra card: the fact that the Ukraine is part of their
sphere of influence, making swift military intervention possible, and the
overwhelming Russian majority living there.
This is sadly the real extent of our commitment to
democracy: unfortunately, it’s just sound geopolitics. We’ve created entire
institutions to meddle in other nations politics. Being appalled by one states
intervention with another’s internal affairs is just ridiculous.
John Kerry made the following statement: “Its really
19th century behavior in the 20th century and there is nowhere to start with!
You don’t invade a country on phony pretext in order to assert your interest”.
Then how can he justify America’s intervention in the Philippines, Panama,
Syria, Guatemala, Iran, Tibet, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Iraq,
Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Libya, Syria and Vietnam?
Denouncing the actions of another nation’s 19th
century behavior when 30 years ago he denounced the same 19th century behavior
from his own country in a different situation seems hypocritical (see full
speech at http://www.wintersoldier.com/index.php?topic=Testimony). Would it not
be wise for him to listen to his own advice?
Seems that Europe, the US and NATO has been losing the
moral high ground since the 2nd Iraq War. The proof of that is blatantly
apparent when one questions an Uzbek, Iranian, Lebanese, Palestinian,
Vietnamese, Bahraini or an Egyptian. Try to make them understand that we are
the bastions of human rights and freedom! When for the last 50 years we armed
and funded their despots as they murdered and tortured their peoples, while we
turned a blind eye as they squandered their nations resources and
lifeblood! In closing, the speech from Dominique de Villepin on the eve
of the II Iraq war stills rings out today. “In this temple of the United
Nations, we are the guardians of an ideal, the guardians of a conscience. The
onerous responsibility and immense honor we have must lead us to give priority
to disarmament in peace ». Those words define the principles of what it is to
be European and the values that make her great. Ideals worth fighting
for! If only Europe would champion those ideals consistently what a world
that could be.