Democracy in Ukraine and USA
The problem with the United Nations is that it is an association of governments not peoples. So when push comes to shove it often sides with government not peoples. Thomas Jefferson in his Declaration of Independence recognizes in his second paragraph the right of peoples to change or overthrow governments that do not serve the people well. While we can see the United Kingdom letting Scotland become its own country peaceably, our government does not extend the same right to the Russians living in Eastern Ukraine. Putin is painted as a villain for standing up for the rights of these peoples. Just as the arbitrary borders set up by Western powers in 1921 in the Middle East have lead to trouble, and the arbitrary borders of African states set up in the post colonial Africa have lead to trouble, we still do not respect the rights of peoples over those of arbitrarily bordered nation-states.
On C-SPAN book TV I once watched someone describe his whole book about how the 40% or more minority in the South did not want to secede and cause a Civil War in the United States. But the aggressive faction won out, succeeding in dividing the country. In the case of the War between the States in America, the rights of slaves were ignored by this Southern faction. Since that group of slaves had no representation in the South, it was up to the North to give them their rights. Britain ended slavery in 1838 peaceably. Why did we have to have a war to do so?
When Texas seceded from Mexico in 1845, and then later joined the United States, the situation was very much like that in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The difference now is that Putin seems to be content with just the Russian part of Ukraine that has expressed its will by referendum in Crimea and by open rebellion in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. Then Polk claimed a false incident with Mexican troops justifying the taking over of all of Northern Mexico including Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. Ironically, by 2030 all those states will have Mexican American majorities. Abraham Lincoln furiously demanded of President Polk information on where this alleged incident took place, and never got satisfaction for the famous Spot Resolution out of congress. Putin was willing to let them seek autonomy within Ukraine, but the Ukrainians chose to go to war against them instead and Russia is finally overcoming its reluctance and coming to their aid against the corrupt government installed under false pretenses in Kiev.
We must remember that when the Cold War ended we promised the Russians we would not push NATO Eastward into Eastern Europe and the Western Soviet Republics. When we broke that promise, the Russians must have felt like the Native Americans felt in the nineteenth century as treaty after treaty was broken at the settlers’ convenience. We must further remember that Crimea and the Donetsk region were for centuries a part of Russia until the Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev became the leader of the Soviet Union. Nikita then took them away from Russia and added them to Ukraine in the 1950s. So Putin looks to be a moderate in the face of that history.
Lastly, the $5 billion CIA campaign to “restore” democracy to Ukraine would not have won out without a false flag incident where agent provocateurs shot their own demonstrators in order to blame the pro-Russian president and get him removed from office. Only after that dirty trick was Ukraine turned away from Russia. Note that $5 billion is the entire cost of the congressional and presidential elections of 2008 in the United States. Imagine how much you could do with that amount of money for just one side in a country one fourth the size of America. So it is no wonder that such a group would resort to violence again to reassert claims to the Eastern fringe of Ukraine that was administratively taken from Russia during the Cold War. It seemed like a minor change to Khrushchev, like giving the Upper Peninsula to Michigan and not Wisconsin, like adjusting a county boundary within a state, like separating Kuwait from Iraq in 1921. No big deal, it’s just an administrative change within a common entity. What could possibly go wrong?
Bureaucrats everywhere are eager to simplify their lives by removing the rights of the people because as we all know, democracy is messy, and who wants messy. It has even happened to me recently when a community radio station went against their own mission statement to provide community access to the airwaves and stopped granting two minute commentary privileges to the public, including me after about fifty weeks in a row. No exceptions, but they will use repeats of an out of state two minute broadcaster rather than repeats of my fifty broadcasts. Democracy, you see, is just too bothersome to keep going. Dictatorship and authoritarianism are so much easier to administer. So when the US transgresses, as it has in Ukraine, it is so much easier to blame the other guy, Putin, for trying to protect his people living in Ukraine. Don’t we always say, no justice no peace? Doesn’t the US protect its citizens living abroad? Why the double standard?
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