The Tug of War Continues: So Does Obama’s Indifference

Ukraine with the bear

I don’t agree with some of the sentiments (like Ukraine was our ally) expressed by this person who made a comment to the OP-Ed by John Bolton (a neo con who never saw a war he didn’t like) in the Los Angeles Times but for the most part it tells a story of Ukraine that should be heard. (hat tip to Elmer)

Although I am a fervent supporter of Obama (I worked as a campaign volunteer for his election and re-election), I agree with the author on this. The outcomes of the Bolshevik revolution, the second world war and the cold war are being fought for this very moment in Kyiv. These protests are for more than an EU agreement. They are about whether Ukraine will become a legitimate democracy. And how that will affect the future of Europe, Russia and NATO.

People in the CIS countries (including 140 million Russians) are watching the Ukraine protests with interest and envy. If Ukraine does it, others will be inspired to follow.

 Ukraine was our ally in the second world war. Yet more Ukrainian civilians died in the war than in Germany and Japan combined (and that does not include the Holodomyr or Stalin’s terrors). Europe and the US largely forgot about Ukraine as it was absorbed into the Soviet Union. The protestors, the children and grandchildren of one of the most wounded generations in human history, are now asking for our help. And they have already handed Europe and the US a NATO sized Christmas gift. Imagine a post-Putin democratic Russia. Imagine the peace dividend. This is not a simple slam dunk. And the EU diplomats are not up to the task alone. Putin also understands all this and has quite different plans. Game on.”

The importance of Ukraine is beginning to be realized by the American people and some of their leaders. Secretary of State John Kerry statement of “disgust” was forceful and needed to insure the safety of the protestors. Our local Congressman William Keating has also taken an active stand. He has stated:

“Since the beginning of my Ranking Membership, I have been impressed with the progress Ukraine has made in meeting the European Union’s conditions for signing an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. As such, the Ukrainian government’s decision to suspend – even temporarily – this process comes not just as a surprise, but as a disappointment. Twenty-five years ago no-one could have imagined that Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine – then Soviet republics – would be on the verge of signing or initialing Association Agreements with the European Union. Their laudable progress demonstrates each country’s resilience and the strength of their citizenry’s desire for transparent governance, rule of law, and prosperity.  Despite the considerable pressure, signing an Association Agreement is the best long term guarantor of rule of law and prosperity in Ukraine. There is still time for the Ukrainian government to do what is right for its people. Our European partners have assured Ukraine that the door is open, but it is up to Ukraine to walk through. The United States will continue to stand by Ukraine in the face of outside pressure. In the meantime, we in Congress will continue to watch the developments closely.” 

Congressman Keating has provided some well needed leadership in Congress. Not only is he out front along with Senators McCain and Murphy in Congress on the Ukraine issue; he is also providing the leadership in the investigation of the FBI’s involvement in the April 15 Marathon terrorist attack.

Right now it looks like the Ukrainian protestors are still being ignored by their rulers. We only can hope that the pressures from Kerry and our members of Congress deter Yanukovich from sending in the brutal special police.

But the situation is tenuous.  Ukrainian leader Yanukovich meets with Putin tomorrow. For Putin, this is a huge embarrassment showing to the world that his Russia of today is more like the Soviet Union of yesterday than a democratic state.

As I see it this is a telling moment for the USA. It’s nice that the State Department tells Yanokovic not to brutalize the people; but where is the leader of the free world in this decisive tug of war. Strangely our president continues to be silent. Why won’t he respond to the brave protestors who only want to be able to say: “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”


14 replies on “The Tug of War Continues: So Does Obama’s Indifference”

  1. There’s an interesting article by Mykola Riabchuk in Al-Jazeera English today (Go to the opinions section). Riabchuk says that attempts to divide Ukraine by emphasizing the distinctions between East, and, West Ukraine, promote a false dichotomy.

    1. khalid:

      Thanks. I had a hard time finding it but finally did. Youth claiming its rightful role in its future. Out with the old and in with the new.

  2. Ukraine has had weeks of protest, yet, no fatalities have been reported. The riot-police beat demonstrators in Kiev, but, there’s been, as yet, no opposition figures disappeared, or, assassinated. Although the regime may dream of being a Stalinist state, it doesn’t possess the totalitarian police power necessary to enforce its dictates. If Yanuchyk (Sp.?) possessed such power, he’d have used it by now.
    Putin has been clever. The economic enticements he’s offered Ukraine can’t be matched by the EU. That has given Yanuchyk room to maneuver. Moscow would like to end up controlling the entire country, but, will settle for the eastern oblasts. Historically, the Soviets invested great resources in eastern Ukraine. They created an infrastructure to support heavy industry, and, mineral extraction.
    Have there been any recent polls taken in eastern Ukraine regarding people’s attitudes toward the West, and, Russia? A poll would provide some metric to measure public opinion.

    For the revolution to succeed in Ukraine, it will need it’s apocalyptic moment.

    1. Khalid:

      Good points. The internet has brought about a new age that dimishes the ability of the thugs to brutalize the people. You are right that if Yanukovich could have beaten the protestors into submission he would have done so but not being able to control the media the attacks on the crowd was counter-productive. In the good old days of full state control he could have done it and no one would be the wiser.

      Eastern Ukraine leans toward Russia but there’s also a Ukrainian identity there. The article you referred to by
      Riabchuk spelled out the situation pretty well. The thing the Ukraine needs is continuing the protests to get new elections; and then if they can unite around one candidate from the west they can set the country back on the right road. But its history is that it is unable to do that, preferring to fight among themselves rather than uniting. That how the corrupt Yanukovichs get into power.

  3. Does anyone watch RT, the English Language Russian satellite channel? They are putting out the line that the crowds of protestors have been infiltrated by rightwing neo-Nazi nationalist groups. They even claim that these fascist elements are the modern manifestation of OUN, a nationalist group that was popular in Ukraine during the WWII. Tune-in, the Russians produce a slick product. See what Moscow would like the world to think.

    1. Khalid:

      I hope by now the world understands the Russian propaganda. We’re slipping more and more back into the old days of the Cold War. I’m sort of surprised the Russians have not come into Ukraine to save the people from these fascists. Fortunately, the people of Ukraine are on to their tricks. I only hope the people of the West understand the methods of these children of Soviets.

  4. It is indeed a telling moment, as you say. And thank you again for keeping this on your site.

    We are the land of the free and the home of the brave – or so we say – and we have always loudly proclaimed to the world that we support freedom and democracy.

    Well, here they are – people of Ukraine standing up in the freezing cold for freedom and democracy.

    Also, I hope don’t mind my pasting in a letter to Wall Street Journal (I have permission of the author)in response to “How the West Lost Ukraine to Putin,” December 11, 2013



    Edward Lucas is as insightful and no-nonsense a commentator as one can hope for in Western media. His piece in your December 11 issue, “How the West Lost Ukraine to Putin” is typical. . . except in one critical respect. He states that EU officials “do [not]understand Russia. They missed the fundamental point about Russian foreign policy: To feel secure, Moscow needs a geopolitical hinterland of countries that are economically weak and politically pliable.” This is a siren song that includes such variations on the theme as Russia’s “fear of encirclement”, its “legitimate interest” in its own “backyard,” it’s “sphere of influence” in the post-Soviet space, etc.

    “To feel secure.” From what? Ukraine, 2.5% its size? Russia always was and remains a predator nation. How else did it become the largest country in the world, commandeering 11 time zones and enveloping the entire third of Asia? In the 1890’s, the Russian General Staff conducted a study of Russia’s military campaigns, concluding that between 1700 and 1870, Russia fought 38 wars. Only two were defensive. The colonial empire expanded by an area equal to The Netherlands. On a daily basis. But this was not an empire (and the Soviet “union” that followed) modeled after the relationship between Holland and Aruba or St. Martin. Entire nations succumbed to mass murder, slave ships, atrocities, death marches, war crimes, homicidal russification, recreational torture, assassinations, genocide of all stripes, plunder, predation, experimental executions, gang rape, stupefying terror, thought crime, forced starvation. Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell collapsed into one, vaporizing scores of millions of souls. All locked in a straitjacket of mendacity, duplicity, treachery, and all masked by the hydraulic pressure of an exquisitely refined dezinformatsia, other-worldly in its enormity and effectiveness.

    Mr. Lucas’ statement thus unwittingly reverses cause and effect, recasting the perpetrator as the victim. But not a syllable has issued from Western media about the genocidal conquest that Russia has enforced on a score of non-russian nations, some for centuries. It is they, the former Soviet republics, including the pivotal one, Ukraine, that require and are entitled to feel secure, to international recognition of their “strategic interests” vis a vis their historic tormentor. After all, but for their quitting the Party, the USSR would not have imploded. Rote repetitions about Russia’s “security” are endlessly pernicious because the West, and most especially America, catalyzes Russia’s own propaganda. We blindly fuel a virtual reality; nothing more than a hologram floating in air. It is all the prime exemplar of what the Frenchman Marquis de Custine wrote in the 19th century after visiting the Third Rome: “Russia denies the facts, makes war on the evidence, and wins.”.

    Victor Rud
    Ridgewood, N. J.
    Past Chairman, Ukrainian American Bar Association
    Former Counsel to US delegate to the Madrid
    Helsinki Accords Review Conference
    Harvard College
    Duke Law School


    1. Jim:

      Thanks for the comment. We have a president who doesn’t know how to walk the talk. He’s full of fine words but has little to back them up. I like your suggestion that he couldn’t find it on a map and you may be closer to the truth than you imagine.

      1. I just wanted to point out that comments now appear to be depicted in a reverse chronological order, in contrast to the previous forward chronological order (i.e. cascading down, from oldest to newest). I’m unsure if this is intended, but felt the need to point this out, for informational purposes only. Good night and good luck.

        1. Jay:

          Thanks – I was trying to learn more about this blog and I adjusted that but have now set it back to where it should be.

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