Crimea reunion with Russia sets back U.S., EU and NATO drive in Ukraine
The ongoing turmoil in Ukraine is a threat to world peace. We, the people have no interest in backing the wrongful actions taken in Ukraine by the U.S. government. All U.S. interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine must stop at once!
The big recent news is that in a March 16 referendum, 96% of voters in Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, formerly part of Ukraine, voted for unification with Russia. The turnout was 80% of those eligible.
A majority of the Crimean population is ethnic Russians. The Western media said no one in Crimea wanted unification with Russia but them. The huge margin of the vote makes it clear that large majorities of all Crimean nationalities approve of unification with Russia. The corporate media are part of the problem.
A few days after the referendum, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Crimea was once again part of Russia, as it had been up until 1956.
U.S. government officials and the media, always ready to come up with their own version of reality, are grumbling that the referendum was somehow fixed. International observers saw no evidence of voting irregularities. So far the U.S. has been able to come up with nothing more to oppose the Crimean people’s will than sanctions.
The significance of the Crimea-Russia reunification must be seen against the background of a previous month of events. On Feb. 21 a coup backed by the European Union overthrew the legitimate government of Ukraine. An illegal neo-Nazi junta was imposed amidst lawlessness and violence.
The security and military posts of the Kiev junta are filled by fascists. Andriy Paruby of the Svoboda party, which traces back politically to forces that fought alongside the Nazis in WW II, is commander of the National Defense and Security Council. Second in command is Dmitry Yarosh of the neo-Nazi Right Sector. The ‘prime minister’ of the junta, Arseniy Yatseniuk, is the person okayed for the post by U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland in the notorious leaked phone call.
The objectives of the U.S and EU-backed coup are to seize control of the country and open its markets to a flood or EU products, which would harm its economy; impose austerity measures under the International Monetary Fund – longer work hours, lower pay, cuts in social benefits, etc., in order to recoup billions in foreign debts; bring the country into NATO, which would allow the stationing of U.S. missiles within minutes of flight-time from Moscow.
The Crimean events have turned the political momentum against the U.S.-EU junta. The junta is a hodgepodge of petty thugs and corrupt billionaires, with no program and no capacity to rule. It has no legitimacy and no positive way to win the people’s loyalty. Its thugs can only attempt to terrorize the people to bow down before its rule. The Crimean setback unsettles its fragile grip on power. The people’s resistance to the neo-Nazi takeover has been heartened.
As to Russia itself, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, no one at all saw it coming. The successor Russian Federation fell into chaos. Gangster capitalists became billionaires by seizing formerly public assets like oil and gas industries. They used any and all means, including criminal violence. These bloated ‘oligarchs’ do not function according to capitalist norms, such as they are. Russia is only now recovering from weakness.
The last Soviet leader, Gorbachev, was ‘promised’ by the Western imperialists that they would not advance NATO into the former Warsaw Pact countries. But to imperialists, any agreement not backed by strength is, as Hitler said, just a “scrap of paper.” Today a reunified Germany, Poland and many other former East Bloc countries are in NATO. Two, Latvia and Lithuania, actually border Russia, although far to the west of Ukraine.
The Crimean developments have stalled stopped the aggressive NATO project Ukraine. The overall picture remains conflicted and dangerous. It will continue to be so for some time.
The aggressiveness of U.S. policy is driven by deep and unsolvable problems in its economy. The ‘recovery’ from the financial collapse of 2008 is really only a return to profitability of the giant financial companies.
Wall Street’s demand for profits is impossible to satisfy. It attacks workers with union-busting, speed-up and lower pay. It plunders hundreds of billions in homeowner savings through predatory mortgages. Trillions of dollars are ripped off through the ‘your money or your life’ healthcare system. Consumers are chiseled out of a dollar here and a hundred bucks there every time they turn around.
The same hunger for profits drives U.S. interference and aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and many more countries. Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine are all presently being attacked by the U.S, which uses the tactic of playing on local grievances – meanwhile pumping in money, arms, etc. to make the situation worse.
In the aggression against Ukraine, there is considerable division between the U.S. and the European Union. Russian business ties to the EU are much greater than those with the U.S. Broad economic sanctions would harm the EU far more than the U.S. The EU has its own problems. It is only an association of countries, within which Germany swings by far the most weight. Thus the U.S. cannot act against Russia without stepping on the toes of some of its ‘allies.’
On March 17 the Russian Foreign Ministry offered a proposal to the U.S. and the EU to form an international support group for Ukraine and the following principles for a settlement of the crisis were offered by Russia:
- Respect for the interests of the multiethnic peoples of Ukraine;
- Support of the legitimate aspirations of all Ukrainians and all regions of the country to live safely in accordance with their customs and traditions, to speak their native language freely, to have unimpeded access to their culture and maintain extensive contacts with their compatriots and neighbors;
- Inadmissibility of the revival of neo-Nazi ideology and the necessity that Ukrainian politicians dissociate themselves from ultra-nationalists and suppress their attempts to destabilize the various regions of the country;
- Importance of civil peace and national concord in Ukraine must be recognized to promote constructive relations in the Euro-Atlantic region on the basis of equality and mutual consideration of interests of all regional states.
There are ominous developments. On March 18 the New York Times reported, “Highlighting the tensions, the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev approved a presidential decree authorizing the call-up of 20,000 reservists, and another 20,000 for a newly formed national guard. The interim government also increased the military budget with an emergency allotment of about $680 million.”
Ukraine is a destitute country. The junta has no means on its own to make an emergency allotment of $680 million. The money must be coming from outside – and certainly not from Russia!
On March 20, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen threw the full hand of imperialist cards on the table. He wrote that Ukraine, i.e., the neo-Nazi junta, “is seeking communications gear, mine-clearing equipment, vehicles, ammunition, fuel and medical gear, and the sharing of intelligence. Provide it. Hurt the oligarchs with their London mansions and untold billions parked in Western banks. Crimea may not be recoverable but the West must make clear it will not accept a Russian veto on E.U. and NATO expansion.”
Voices like Cohen’s are not isolated. The aggressive U.S.-EU ambitions will continue to endanger world peace. The imperialist media are spreading lies and confusion. The genuine forces of the people must wage a determined struggle to expose the lies of the war makers, and enlighten the vast majority about the real sources of danger.