When the Ukraine/Crimea situation erupted, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry hypocritically became interested in international law. To the Russians, this collective jaw flapping about international law was disingenuous given that every day, Obama violates international law by infringing upon national sovereignties with deadly drones and secret forays by U.S. military. Moreover, the executive branch’s war on Libya was neither constitutionally declared or authorized by Congress.
Etched deeply in the Russian mind is the fact that Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union claimed 20 million lives, the Nazi siege of the city of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) claimed 700,000 lives. The demise of the Soviet Union, which created 14 new independent states, has created a potential security dilemma for Russia, as many of these independent states have surrounded Russia with weapons provided through their alliances with NATO. No U.S. administration would stand for Putin cutting a deal with Mexico to join a military alliance with Russia and placing Russian weapons on the Mexican border.
Victor Yanukouych was an unpopular, corrupt but democratically elected leader of Ukraine, who was illegally and violently forced from office by an uprising led by thuggish legions who sport swastika-like symbols, and whose leaders have publicly praised Nazism and World War II leader Stepan Bandera whose troops that now have key positions in the new (illegal) Ukrainian government which the Obama administration has pledged support for.
Lately, it has become popular for the corporate press to dismiss Vladimir Putin as “paranoid and out of touch with reality” but now with tacit approval of the Ukrainian extremists whose avowed goal is to marginalize and discriminate against Russian people living in Ukraine — Putin’s warning doesn’t seem so paranoid.
Instead of the Obama administration flexing their rhetorical muscles and setting off reckless saber-rattling, they should have denounced the neofacist’s extremists who were throwing Molotov cocktails at the police and committing acts of wanton destruction of buildings and property in Kiev.
Witnessing the rise of the right-wing Svoboda party and Ukraine potentially becoming a home for more NATO expansion had no doubt prompted the Crimean referendum that paved the way for Russia to annex Crimea — a move that was well received by even the Russian people who have good reasons not to like Putin’s authoritarian government.
My personal interest in the region: My father was born in the village of Ozernitza located in Byelorussia (now Belarus) located near the Polish border. Just prior to the German invasion of Russian in 1915, my grandparents and the total population of the province, burned their homes so the advancing German army would not have use of them. They were transported to the city of Kazan where my grandfather died of typhus. Then again, my father’s homeland was invaded by German troops, igniting the second World War. Millions of Russians died before it was over. In 1941, my Uncle Alexsander (my father’s youngest brother) was executed by the Germans.
In 1990, my brother, niece and I traveled to Belarus where we lived with relatives for one month, toured the Kremlin, the State Hermitage Museum at the tsar’s winter palace in Saint Petersburg and took many side trips including one to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine where the recent violence has occurred.
I think it is fitting to end my letter with some advice to President Obama from Ralph Nader, whom I consider an American hero. “If you want continued Russian cooperation, as you do, on the critical Iranian and Syrian negotiations, ignore the baying pack of neocons who always want more U.S. wars, which they and their children avoid fighting themselves. Drop the nonsense of evicting Russia from the G-8 and get on with having the United States comply with international law and our Constitution on the way to ending the American Empire’s interventions worldwide. Concentrate on America, President Obama, whose unmet necessities cry out from sea to shining sea.”