Standing with Ukraine...or with Biden's Militarism?
Traveling through liberal New England this summer, one still sees numerous Ukrainian flags flying from homes and businesses. Some creative residents have even painted their mailboxes in the now famous blue and yellow of the West's favorite victim state.
On the surface, flying a Ukrainian flag appears to simply showcase the noble cause of confronting evil with good. However, given the Biden administration's recent decision to provide the Ukrainian military with cluster bombs, Ukrainian flag-flying is in danger of being less about supporting an oppressed people and more a sign of backing Biden's militarism in Eastern Europe.
Cluster bombs are just one weapon in a huge arsenal Biden's administration has supplied Ukraine to the tune of a whopping $113 billion in aid since the war began in February 2022. This makes a mockery of the trite slogan "Standing with Ukraine." Instead, the slogan should be "Standing with Biden's militarism." To its credit, the Biden administration has been able to convince the American people that the astronomical sum is worth it. And the oft repeated mantra "for as long as it takes" signals that the flow of funds will continue without end. But besides the noble act of resisting Putin's Russia, what are the credentials of this nation that receives such generous American support?
Unfortunately, Ukraine is not the freedom-loving Utopia the U.S. media and Biden wants us to believe it is. Although the Western press has tried to whitewash any reporting of the more unsavory aspects of those defending Ukraine, a quick search on Google reveals solid investigative reporting done by Western journalists before Russia's invasion. At that time, articles in the Guardian, the BBC, and Reuters meticulously depicted the white supremacist and antisemitic tendencies of militias like the Azov Battalion, noted for its essential role in the defense of Ukraine. One shocking piece by Time correspondent Simon Shuster quoted militia members claiming that "we are Aryans and will rise again" and "being tolerant to LGBT people, this is not natural. This is brainwashing." In addition, it's important to note that Ukrainian citizens themselves are fed up with the rampant corruption that defines the Kiev government. According to Transparency International, corruption — more than resumption of conflict — is the main fear of Ukrainian citizens and business-owners planning to rebuild Ukraine. One entrepreneur told Euronews that "the main issue is the amount of investment that could be stolen."
It's disturbing enough that a U.S. citizen would fly the flag of a country he probably can't find on a map. What's worse is that no matter how well intentioned the flag-flying may be, it represents the Biden administration's support for corrupt Ukrainian officials, white nationalism, antisemitism, and human rights abuses. Biden's government is aware of this and, therefore, tries to limit the public's understanding of the true nature of the Ukrainian state and America's use of it as an arms depot and testing ground for U.S. weapons.
This fact is clearly seen in the U.S. government's rush to justify the use of cluster bombs against Russia. Do those who continue to fly Ukrainian flags really believe the Orwellian statements of Biden's national security spokesman, John Kirby? Kirby said, apparently seriously, that the Ukrainians "are using [cluster bombs] appropriately. They're using them effectively, and they are actually having an impact on Russia's defensive formations and Russia's defensive maneuvering. I think I can leave it at that."
Of course Kirby would like to leave it at that. But anybody with a functioning memory knows that successive U.S. governments have lied their way into and through wars since the Gulf of Tonkin, Kuwaiti baby incubator falsehoods, and the thoroughly discredited weapons of mass destruction fiasco. Currently, those who fly Ukrainian flags have been duped by the likes of Kirby to believe they are somehow defending the freedom-loving people of Ukraine against an unprovoked attack from the Russian madman Vladimir Putin. We've been down this well trod path before, most notoriously with the "freedom fighters" of Afghanistan's barbaric mujahideen and Nicaragua's murderous Contra rebels.
Thus, anybody flying a Ukrainian flag and depending on the likes of John Kirby to inform him about Ukraine and cluster bombs should briefly review recent U.S. history and take a quick peek at Kirby's credentials. In a typically brazen statement in 2014 representing what Obama administration officials thought of the citizenry that lapped up its lies, Kirby had the following exchange with the AP's Matt Lee.
"Is it not logical to look at this [NATO expansion] and say the reason that the Russian army is at NATO's doorstep is because NATO has expanded rather than the Russians expanding? In other words, NATO has moved closer to Russia rather than Russia moving closer to NATO," Lee said. Kirby responded, "NATO is not an anti-Russian alliance," to which Lee countered with the fact that "for 50 years it was an anti-Soviet alliance. ... Do you not understand how, or can you not even see how, the Russians perceive it as a threat?"
One can only hope what Kirby said next doesn't apply to those who still fly Ukrainian flags. Trying to defend his support of a strong response to supposed Russian expansion west as well as justify his lack of historical knowledge, Kirby claimed ignorance, incredibly stating, "I barely got a history degree at the University of Southern Florida." Such absurdity can never be considered legitimate, especially when Americans have access to clear and damning facts at their fingertips.
Finally, those who continue to fly Ukrainian flags should look more closely at a 2008 U.N. treaty banning the use of cluster bombs. Though many of these munitions will surely kill Russian soldiers, the U.N. notes that "cluster munition remnants kill or maim civilians, killing women and children, obstruct economic and social development, including through the loss of livelihood, impede post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, [and] delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons."
Sera Koulabdara, a member of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition, urged Ukrainians and Americans "to look at history and for the United States of America, our own history, in countries like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan [and] Iraq. ... You learn from the impacts and the legacies of wars that that this will have on human lives ... lives of civilians who have a name, who have mothers, who have fathers who care about them."
Consequently, it is time that those who support U.S. policy in Ukraine, and especially those who fly Ukrainian flags, take a deeper and more substantive look at what that support entails: Biden's militarism.
Dana E. Abizaid teaches history at the Istanbul International Community School and is a freelance contributor to the Daily Caller.
Image via Pxfuel.