Americans may be deluded with “God-given exceptionalism”, self-congratulating propaganda known euphemistically as independent journalism and news, and a massive brainwashing diet of syrupy entertainment that reinforces the vacuous vanity of supposed American values – but do they really think the rest of the world is likewise comatose? Apparently, their officials think so.
In an interview this week with Radio Free Europe (a US “independent news publication” with strong ties to the CIA), Michael McFaul, the American ambassador to Russia, spoke of the political protests currently in the Ukraine.
McFaul said: “We believe we share [with Russia] a number of common interests in this. First, it’s a peaceful process. Second, a democratic process. How to handle it all, in which framework, it is up to Ukrainians to decide.”
Well, if it’s up to the Ukrainians to decide, as McFaul appears to believe, why then is his government in Washington declaring that the trade deal agreed this week between Russian and Ukrainian presidents Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych “is not enough to meet the demands of protesters in Kiev.”?
That is how Washington haughtily dismissed the agreement signed this week between the two neighboring countries. What does Washington mean by “not enough to meet demands”? Not enough for whom? Who says so? And, more to the point, who is Washington to arbitrate on the sovereign affairs conducted between Russia and Ukraine?
Putin and Yanukovych – both elected leaders of independent, sovereign countries with strong historic ties, lest those basic facts be forgotten – signed off on a significant financial and trade accord in Moscow. Central to the deal was a loan of $15 billion from Russia to avoid Ukraine hitting a crippling default with its international creditors; and also a new contract in Russian-supplied gas, with a hefty discount to the people of Ukraine of nearly one-third in current prices.
So, it is rather perverse how Washington and its European allies reacted immediately to pour scorn on what is an otherwise-obvious beneficial Moscow-Kiev agreement, and for the West to imply that the Russian and Ukrainian leaders conducted something damaging, furtively and illicitly.
The deprecatory official Western reaction was also accompanied with amplified asinine accusations made by the protesters in Kiev that President Yanukovych “put the country up for sale” and has “ended Ukraine’s independence”.
Such brazen Western interference, which flagrantly subverts international norms and law, can only be explained by an arrogant assumption that Washington and its allies have tacitly appointed themselves as the Ukrainian government-in-exile. Otherwise, it is inexplicable from where Washington derives its authority to make such extraordinarily intrusive pronouncements.
The idea of government-in-exile is not as ridiculous as it may seem. It should be obvious by now that the main protest organizers in Kiev – Vitali Klitscho, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the neo-Nazi Oleg Tyahnybok – are working hand-in-glove with foreign governments, think tanks and covert military intelligence to foment an extra-parliamentary agenda of regime change. This nexus of domestic and foreign agency is not interested in fostering democratic change through electoral politics; it is motivated by engineering a coup d’état in all but name.
Despite what US ambassador McFaul asserts, the protests in Kiev are neither peaceful nor democratic. The forcible occupation of government buildings and property, the disruption of civic functioning, the vandalism of public assets, and the methodical use of riot techniques are all evidence that the protesters have gone way beyond tolerable democratic dissent. The same kind of demonstrations in the US would be met with draconian state violence. Indeed protests of a much more legitimate nature against economic austerity in the US have been ruthlessly repressed by the authorities; as well as in several European cities.
Furthermore, the American ambassador to Moscow makes the unreasonable and unverified assumption that the protesters in the Ukrainian capital are endowed with a popular mandate to speak on behalf of the general population – leaving aside the evidence of foreign infiltration. Maximum numbers of protesters in Kiev are put at around 300,000 out of a total national population of 46 million. The determination of careerist politicians, CIA-backed rank-and-file and misplaced delusions about EU membership does not automatically confer a popular mandate on a crowd to bring a capital city to a standstill. Indeed, it is much easier to make the case that the demonstrators in Kiev have simply incited public disorder, which is – lest we forget again – a criminal offence.
But that simple reality does not deter Washington and its officials from elevating unruly crowds and neo-Nazi thugs into having a popular mandate. Again, this is the effect of insidious imperialism, eroding norms and narrative, to the point where if the norms are reasserted that corrective measure is then portrayed as despotism and tyranny.
Putin and Yanukovych have this week come up with a serious economic roadmap to relieve Ukraine’s fiscal problems with minimal pain to the mass of people. As Putin said following the leaders’ signing in the Kremlin: “I want to bring your attention to the fact that it is not connected with any conditions, not connected with the increase, decrease or freezing of any social standards, pensions, subsidies or salaries. And I want to calm everyone down. Today, we did not discuss the question of Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union.”
In making the latter point about the Customs Union, Putin was pre-empting churlish, abnormal accusations from the West that Russia is somehow blackmailing the Ukraine from eventually signing the partnership agreement with the European Union. It was the backing away from this agreement by Yanukovych at the end of last month that apparently sparked the ongoing protests in Kiev.
It seems obtuse reasoning to not appreciate the mutual benefits to Russia and Ukraine from the latest deal cut between Putin and Yanukovych. Russia is the Ukraine’s biggest trade partner and foreign investor, and therefore it has much to gain from stabilizing its neighbor.
Ironically, part of Ukraine’s current economic woes was caused by high Russian gas prices that the former leader, Yulia Tymoshenko, had signed up to and was eventually imprisoned for on corruption charges. Her Fatherland Party is one of the main organizers of the current protests in Kiev seeking EU association, which would hike up gas prices even further.
In contrast to the Moscow-Kiev arrangement this week, both the EU and the International Monetary Fund were conditioning their proposed trade and financial loans on onerous austerity measures, such as hiking gas prices, devaluing the currency (driving up living costs), and putting a freeze on wages and social benefits, as well as a raft of costly industrial regulations. The EU and Washington-based IMF are not interested in improving social conditions; they want to open up new territory for foreign capital to extract profits.
It seems incredible that Ukrainian protesters, their EU bureaucratic mentors and their de facto government-in-exile in Washington are seriously contending that the Putin-Yanukovych deal this week is “a sellout”. That assertion not only defies reality, it seems intended to whip up hysteria.
The reality is that the “EU dream” alternative entails Ukrainians freezing from high gas prices and austerity, which is the common standard lot of EU membership and IMF indebtedness. That alternative is today starkly and painfully visible all across the EU – and yet somehow the pro-EU protesters in Kiev and their foreign sponsors seem to live in crass denial of this glaring fact. Indeed, preposterously, anyone who does not likewise deny this fact and instead aims for something more viable is labeled a traitor or a tyrant.
One final note for the pro-EU dreamers in Kiev who feel “betrayed” is the report this week that the British government is introducing new restrictions on what it mischievously calls “EU migrants”.
In these times of EU economic austerity and rising neo-Nazi street violence, the London government is concerned at being inundated with waves of people from new EU member states in Eastern Europe.
In theory, all citizens of the 28-member EU bloc are entitled to travel freely without visas and to claim social benefits, such as jobseeker allowances and subsidized accommodation. Maybe this is what many protesters in Kiev’s Maidan Square are dreaming of. Well, they should dream on.
The British government is particularly worried about rising numbers of “economic migrants” from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, and is now introducing new regulations which mean that from the beginning of next year, EU applicants for benefits will have to wait three months before receiving any payments – despite this being against theoretical EU law.
Britain, by the way, has already brought in regulations that prevent social welfare payments to applicants who do not speak fluent English.
In a tone dripping with contempt, Prime Minister David Cameron said the latest restrictions would “make the United Kingdom a less attractive place for EU migrants who want to come here and try to live off the state”.
This is the reality check that is all too often the hallmark of today’s EU – vicious xenophobia and economic hardship. The fuzzy, warm-sounding “modern, prosperous” Europe is just an illusion put out by Ukraine’s government-in-exile in Washington and its de facto foreign ministry in Brussels.