Home > Columnists > Disappointing Ukraine Debate on DemocracyNow! | Stanley Heller

Disappointing Ukraine Debate on DemocracyNow! | Stanley Heller

Just heard the February 10 debate on DemocracyNow! Prof. John Mearsheimer, who opposes guns to Ukraine, based his argument on the Monroe Doctrine! He said the U.S. was right to force the Soviet Union out of Cuba and Russia had the right to do the same in Ukraine. Mearsheimer said powerful states naturally don’t want forces of other powerful states anywhere near their borders.

OMG! The Monroe Doctrine has long been opposed by Latin Americans and the Left. Supporting imperial privilege is no way to oppose the U.S. getting into another war.

On the other hand General Wald, who wants U.S. weapons to go to Ukraine, said states should abide by international law. “Putin has no claim to any sphere of influence whatsoever in Europe, other than Russia, period,” Wald said. He piously said he believed in the Monroe Doctrine (in a tone like believing in the Trinity), but when he talked about Cuba, Wald disputed Mearsheimer by saying the Soviet Union had invaded Cuba.

What a mess!

Mearsheimer correctly mentioned the U.S. breaks international law whenever it feels it’s against its “interests.” [I hate that word “interests.” It’s an excuse to steal what’s not yours for the benefit of a country’s 1%.] However, he never talked about NATO itself and why its only use is to by-pass the shreds of U.N. authority and international law. It’s a menace that should be disbanded.

Why can’t DemocracyNow! find some leaders of peace groups or socialists who can talk about Ukraine?

Here’s a recent petition from Promoting Enduring Peace. It’s called: “No U.S. Weapons to Ukraine – Stay Out of the Fighting.”

The petition reads:

Don’t send weapons to the Ukraine and start down the path to another war. The U.S. government should stay out of the conflict. No threats, no advisers, no weapons and no soldiers. That’s the ticket. After all recent administrations have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, etc., etc., the U.S. government is the last body on earth to be asked to intervene with weapons.

I wrote about Ukraine last March and have been updating an archive of articles about it. Best as I can figure out it’s oligarchs all around, two groups in Ukraine, Putin and his pals in Russia, plus the U.S. State Department which does the bidding of our dear U.S. 1%. There are also fascists and Nazis all around. During the mass movement on the Maidan last year, fascists beat up every socialist and anarchist group and drove them from the square. Fascist parties are now part of the Ukrainian government. Here’s an article from The Guardian last September about the Ukrainian Azov battalion, a unit filled with neo-Nazis.

On the other hand the separatist Ukrainians got their start from the biggest oligarch in the east, Rinat Akhmetov. For a while the Donbass Republic was led by a man who called himself Strelkov. He is a Russian monarchist who thinks the Bolsheviks are still running Russia (I’m not kidding). Take a look at this convincing article that claims the people running the Donabas Republic are mostly a mix of police and street criminals. As for Russia, what can you say? It’s ruled with an iron hand by Putin who is anti-gay, anti-Chechen, pro-Netanyahu, and supportive of the Egyptian coup. As for fascists in Russia, read this article.

Many on the left are calling what happened on the Kiev Maidan last year a “fascist coup,” which is wrong. Years of free market reforms let to permanent depression. Corruption at the top was legendary. Huge crowds of people put up with freezing temperatures in the Maidan for months last winter demanding change, but the elected president Yanukovich gave them only bullets. An agreement was hammered out by the West, and leading Ukrainian parties (including fascists) that would have let Yanukovich stay in power for ten months until a new election. Yet when it was announced it was spontaneously rejected by the crowd in the Maidan. At that point the Ukrainian government ran away. It was a popular rebellion (admittedly encouraged by U.S. money). Elections brought forth a right-wing, austerity obsessed government which took foolish anti-Russian language measures and gave separatists and Putin excuses to incite and supply rebellion.

Much of the Left is afflicted with “The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend Syndrome.” They reason the “West” has done so much harm so the Russians must be doing good. Unfortunately that’s baloney. The West, ISIS, Putin, the people have many, many enemies.

Getting back to the DemocracyNow! debate over Ukraine, General Wald is correct that the Russia has no rights to the countries around it. On the other hand, U.S. plans to bring NATO right up to the Russian border was downright nuts. It played right into the hands of Putin and Russian chauvinism. As the saying goes, it’s worse than a crime, it’s a blunder.

I could go on and on, but some things are clear. The U.S. government has no business in Ukraine. No threats, no weapons, no soldiers. Stay the hell out.

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