How is it we are so willing to put our prestige on the line for people in the Arab countries for whom democracy is a stranger and women’s rights are often held hostage to male ignorance while ignoring people in the West who cry out for democracy, are willing to put their lives on the line for it, and accord women equal rights with men.
I’m talking about the situation that is occurring in Ukraine as compared to those countries where we have put in our troops in an attempt to force on them an alien concept: democracy. Do you really think after all our blood, treasure and toil that Iraq or Afghanistan will become true democracies where women have equal rights? Or will they forever be dependent upon us supporting the tribe in power over the enemy tribes seeking to get back in power?
Back in May 11, 2011, President Obama made a speech that spelled out the United States’ goals for the Middle East and North Africa. This was occasioned by the so-called Arab spring that lasted as long as an early spring on Cape Cod before the chilly seas pushes it away.
Here are a few of the statements that he made. I consider them in light of the happenings today in Ukraine. I’m at a loss to understand why he doesn’t apply them to what is happening in Maidan Square. Has he entered into a Devil’s deal with Vladimir Putin that for his support in the Syrian situation that he will support Russia’s takeover of Ukraine? One has to assume it is something like that if one reads what he said in this speech.
“There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity.”
That is what the Ukrainian people seek. They have demonstrated for over two months against the deal that will give Russia control over it. This is not one of those American demonstrations where the weather is warm, the accommodations civil, and the police kind. It is being done in brutally cold weather by people living in unheated tents against gangster-like police who have killed four and brutalized many more. Yet on Ukraine Obama is silent.
“The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region”
Are we to understand that it is only in the Middle East and North Africa that the United States takes this stand? Tune into a Ukrainian channel (google “5UA” and click on Ефір) and see what President Obama fails to see.
“The United States supports a set of universal rights. And these rights include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, equality for men and women under the rule of law, and the right to choose your own leaders -– whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus, Sanaa or Tehran.”
What about if you live in Kyiv,Ukraine? Did President Obama condemn the legislation that outlawed the freedom of peaceful assembly that the Ukrainian parliament recently passed?
“[I]t will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy.”
Throughout Ukraine the people are not asking Americans to put their lives on the line for them but are merely asking for our soft power to come into play. We need the president’s voice and his executive actions to insure the slaughter of the protesters does not take place. Check this story to see what almost happened ten years ago during the Orange Revolution.
“The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. It must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests.”
What about President Victor Yanukovich of Ukraine? Where is the call for him to get out of the way of the demonstrators?
“Our message is simple: If you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States.”
The demonstrators representing the people in Ukraine are doing just that thing. Where is the full support of the United States? These are people who know what democracy is and seek it. Where is our president’s voice.
“What is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women. History shows that countries are more prosperous and more peaceful when women are empowered. And that’s why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men “
Ukraine accords women full rights. A woman was its prime minister. Yanukovich tossed her in prison. Ukraine is not like those countries where women have a lesser status. Look at our good friend Saudi Arabia where women can’t drive automobiles; or any of those other Muslim countries where people in power, like we saw with the Taliban, want to keep women on the level of farm animals.
Offering support for the Ukrainian uprising seems to be so natural in light of his professed beliefs that failure to do so can only leave one thinking Obama has made a deal with Putin to sell the Ukrainians down the river into slavery.