FAIR: What You Should Really Know About Ukraine

“The backdrop to the 2014 coup and annexation cannot be understood without looking at the US strategy to open Ukrainian markets to foreign investors and give control of its economy to giant multinational corporations.”

“In Ukraine, the IMF had long planned to implement a series of economic reforms to make the country more attractive to investors. These included cutting wage controls (i.e., lowering wages), ‘reform[ing] and reduc[ing]’ health and education sectors (which made up the bulk of employment in Ukraine), and cutting natural gas subsidies to Ukrainian citizens that made energy affordable to the general public…In 2013, after early steps to integrate with the West, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych turned against these changes and ended trade integration talks with the European Union. Months before his overthrow, he restarted economic negotiations with Russia, in a major snub to the Western economic sphere. By then, the nationalist protests were heating up that would go on to topple his government.”

“Far-right influence has increased across Ukraine as a result of Washington’s actions. A recent UN Human Rights council has noted that ‘fundamental freedoms in Ukraine have been squeezed’ since 2014, further weakening the argument that the US is involved in the country on behalf of liberal values.”

“The Crimean peninsula, which was part of Russia until it was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1954, is home to one of two Russian naval bases with access to the Black and Mediterranean seas, one of history’s most important maritime theaters. A Crimea controlled by a US-backed Ukrainian government was a major threat to Russian naval access. The peninsula—82% of whose households speak Russian, and only 2% mainly Ukrainian—held a plebiscite in March 2014 on whether or not they should join Russia, or remain under the new Ukrainian government. The Pro-Russia camp won with 95% of the vote. The UN General Assembly, led by the US, voted to ignore the referendum results on the grounds that it was contrary to Ukraine’s constitution. This same constitution had been set aside to oust President Yanukovych a month earlier.”

“But Putin has been clear about a path to de-escalation. His main demand has been for direct negotiations to end the expansion of the hostile military alliance to his borders. He announced, ‘We have made it clear that NATO’s move to the east is unacceptable,’ and that ‘the United States is standing with missiles on our doorstep.’ Putin asked, “How would the Americans react if missiles were placed at the border with Canada or Mexico?’ In corporate media coverage, no one bothers to ask this important question. Instead, the assumption is that Putin ought to tolerate a hostile military alliance directly across its border. The US, it seems, is the only country allowed to have a sphere of influence.”

“Anatol Lieven (Responsible Statecraft, 1/3/22), an analyst at the Quincy Institute, wrote that US acquiescence to a neutral Ukraine would be a ‘golden bridge’ that, in addition to reducing US/Russia tensions, could enable a political solution to Ukraine’s civil war. This restraint-oriented policy is considered fringe thinking in the Washington foreign policy establishment.”

“The economic imperative for opening foreign markets, the NATO drive to push up against Russia, US support for the 2014 coup and the direct hand in shaping the new government all need to be pushed down the memory hole if the official line is to have any credibility.”

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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