The US has a shameful history of meddling in Ukraine

The current narrative on Russia and Ukraine is simple: Russia is big and aggressive.  Ukraine is a small, harmless state just minding its own business.  Russia wants to reconstitute its old Soviet empire, and Ukraine is now in its crosshairs.

But a lot more than that is going on.  The U.S. spouts lots of freedom and national sovereignty talk, but in fact, it has a long history of meddling in the weak post-Soviet state, which is so corrupt that it can't get into NATO and has poisonous internal politics.  For years, Ukraine has been like a cat's plaything to outside forces, and the U.S. is no stranger to it.

"The extent of the Obama administration's meddling in Ukraine politics was breathtaking," wrote the CATO Institute's Ted Galen Carpenter, in a clear discussion of the extent of U.S. involvement in the coup that overthrew Ukraine's President Yanukovych.

As the Biden administration now fails to resolve the ongoing crisis of Russian troops at Ukraine's border, we have come to this statement, in the U.N. Security Council, on Ukraine, from Vasily Nebenzia, Russia's permanent representative at the United Nations, as reported in the New York Times on Feb. 1, which, sad to say, is more credible that the remarks from Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. permanent representative at the U.N.

Mr. Nebenzia, in his remarks, said the United States and its Western allies had manufactured a crisis to weaken Russia and drive a wedge between it and Ukraine.

He said the United States had been behind the 2014 change of government in Ukraine that had driven a pro-Moscow leadership from power and had installed "nationalists, radicals, Russophobes and pure Nazis."

Mr. Nebenzia also sought to draw an analogy to the false American evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that preceded the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of that country, adding that "what happened to that country is known to all."

He reinforced a Kremlin message that it is the West that has concocted the crisis, despite the massing of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders. The Russians have also seized on recent complaints by Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that the Americans are needlessly sowing "panic."

A comment on this Times story is necessary to correct its twisted reference to "the 2014 change of government in Ukraine." 

What actually occurred is that the Obama-era assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, working with Geoffrey Pyatt, our ambassador to Ukraine at the time, manipulated the political situation in the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, whose sin was that he favored a realistic relationship between his government and Russia, when interlopers from the U.S., notably Sen. John McCain, urged anti-government demonstrators in Kiev, in December 2013, to bring Ukraine into the West's orbit.  

As has become the habit of the U.S. media, debate on Washington's policy towards Ukraine — and Russia — was not encouraged.  The party line was: Putin bad, Ukraine must turn to the West, with a government accepting the U.S. diktat.  This habit, faithful to the lamentable tradition of a controlled, not a free, press, continues.  See, for example, the Jan. 21 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal, "Kyiv Waits for an Invasion," followed by this Jan. 25 Journal op-ed, "Putin's Threat to Ukraine Isn't Limited to Invasion."

Interestingly, the lead story in the New York Times, dated Jan. 29, reported that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky discounted warnings that Russia was about to invade his country.  Mr. Zelensky's criticism of war talk from Washington hardly refutes Russian arguments that the Biden administration has, for its own reasons, manufactured an international crisis.    

An article in the Jan. 31 issue of The Nation, by Anatoly Lieven, is worth reading, if only for this trenchant observation: the ideas that Russia would send its troops into central Ukraine, "let alone attack Poland or the Baltic States ... are ridiculous Western fantasies generated partly by genuine paranoia, partly by [Americans and Europeans] who need to demonize Russia in order to cover up their appalling mistakes and lies over the past 30 years, and partly to allow NATO ... to parade its heroic resistance to a threat that does not in fact exist."

Apart from isolated piercings, as mentioned here, of the media's Iron Curtain of one narrative on our Ukraine policy, can anyone recall members of Congress asking the late Sen. McCain why he traveled to Kiev to encourage anti-government demonstrators to overthrow their democratically elected president?  I can't. 

The moral seems apparent: the forces of un-democracy here at home, who smeared President Trump as an agent of a meddling foreign power, have no compunction at all in interfering in the domestic affairs of foreign states.  Where are Republican leaders to denounce foreign policy by hypocrisy — or are they intimidated by the new McCarthyism practiced by this disastrous administration and its media and intel enablers?

Image: Jim Greenhill via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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