The United States expressed its outrage at the actions of Ukrainian President Victor F. Yanukovich’s dastardly double-dealings when he unleashed lethal methods against his own people including using snipers to gun down peaceful protesters. Secretary of State John Kerry said he felt “anger and anguish” at the violence in Ukraine. Mr. Kerry noted: “the United States has already begun implementing sanctions through travel bans on Ukrainians responsible for the violence.”
Yesterday it is estimated that over 100 demonstrators were murdered by Mr. Yanukovich’s forces. The total number who have been murdered to date must be over 200. These are mostly young Ukrainians who seek only one thing, a future. That future they believe lies in the West and not as Mr. Yanukovic imagines back as part of the Russian gulag-like system of nations.
Anne Applebaum wrote about the desires of the Ukrainian people in the Washington Post. She noted that what is occurring: “is a deep, fundamental disagreement about the nature of the state, the country’s international allegiances, its legal system, its economy, its future.”
Basically, a people who have lived under the Russian/Soviet yoke are fighting to keep themselves from again being swallowed up by the Russians. They now fight because as Eric Hoffer noted in his classic book “The True Believer” they have seen there is a better life to be had outside Russia’s strangling embrace.
While the United States and the European nations knit together ideas for travel bans and other sanctions on Ukrainian leaders Kyiv burns and those on the front lines hoping to keep their nation free die at the hands of their own government.
Understand one thing, Yanukovich forfeited any right to govern Ukraine when he authorized the murder of his own people. He is no different than the other butcher Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Yanukovich became a criminal when he authorized those murders. Democracy is murdered when an elected leader murders his people to hold his office. Now, for Yanukovich, like Assad, his one hope is to ensconce himself into Vladimir Putin’s covetous arms.
And that brings me to the folly of the Western response. We are directing our ire at the wrong people. It is the Russians who are behind the actions being taken in Kyiv. Today we see that when the European ministers went to Kyiv looking for a way to stop the violence, Yanukovich asked the Russians to also have someone there to support him.
There is little doubt that any real concessions by Yanukovich are impossible because as noted in the prior article “if signed and implemented, the deal would be a setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has made tying Ukraine into a Moscow-led Eurasian Union a cornerstone of his efforts to reunite as much as possible of the former Soviet Union.”
One has to go back to 1947 to really get a grasp of the Putin regime. George Orwell wrote a short preface to the Ukrainian translation of a book called “Kolghosp Tvaryn” which we know as “Animal Farm.” In it he says two things that are right on point with today’s happenings. First he said his experience with the Communist movement which he sets out in the preface “taught me how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries.” We see that now happening with the Ukrainian demonstrators being likened to Nazis, or terrorists and being blamed for the violence, although the numbers of demonstrators murdered should give lie to the Russian lies.
Orwell also noted: “Up to 1939, and even later, the majority of English people were incapable of assessing the true nature of the Nazi régime in Germany, and now, with the Soviet régime, they are still to a large extent under the same sort of illusion.” We should add to that the Putin regime.
Has anyone thought of Jesse Owens over the last week or so. I ask that because as best I can tell, there have been only two Olympics that have been identified by the ruler of the nation where the Olympics occurred. Owens participated in the first, Hitler’s Olympics, and we now have a second, Putin’s Olympics. That alone tells us about the nature of the man now running Russia and directing the slaughter in Ukraine?
When Hitler gobbled up parts of Europe the leaders of the Western nations wrung their hands in dismay unwilling to take firm steps early on that may have thwarted his desire for war and never shown us the horrors of the Holocaust. Here again we see Western weakness in the face of aggression as Russia attempts to seize Ukraine. George Santayana reminded us: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Punishing the Ukrainian leaders by sanctions is like punishing the soldier for carrying out the orders of his superior and letting the superior off. The only sanctions that will be effective are those directed at the people truly responsible for the murders: Putin and his cronies. It is time to stop closing our eyes to those behind these horrors.
Assad murders Syrians with Putin’s help. Will the Ukrainian people suffer the same fate and become another Syria with Putin pulling the strings. Until our leaders fail to deal with the true cause of the Ukrainian troubles the best we can look forward to is a Kremlin inspired massacre.
Mr Obama should know the U.S. must take the lead with actions and not words. The Ukrainians desiring freedom turn their eyes westward to him. Will he call Putin out? Unless he does he will forever be stained with this pusillanimity.