Matt Connolly's Views on Boston, the Nation and the World

Emphasizing Criminal Justice and Politics

Originally dedicated to the vagaries of matters involving Whitey Bulger and the FBI but now expanded into more general topics.

Matt Connolly's Views on Boston, the Nation and the World - Emphasizing Criminal Justice and Politics

Will Obama’s Silence Lead in Ukraine to a Tiananmen-Style Crackdown

Ukraine with the bearObama silence on Ukraine has been noted here but it is also being wondered about in other places.

An article entitled Obama Silent on Ukraine was just published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

They wrote: “Where is President Obama? Rice last week repeatedly assured us of the administration’s commitment to human rights (“advancing democracy and respect for human rights is central to our foreign policy.  It’s what our history and our values demand, but it’s also profoundly in our interests”) but neither she nor the President nor the Secretary of State has said much about the extraordinary events in Kiev. It’s time for them –personally, not through nameless spokesmen– to offer at least moral support to the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians out in the streets, and to denounce the suppression of dissent by the Yanukovich government. It is not in the interest of the United States for Ukraine to fall back into the Russian orbit–nor for our top officials to remain indifferent and near silent in the face of the largest manifestation of a demand for freedom to occur in years in Europe.”

It seems clear that Obama is trading Ukraine to Putin for something else. Nothing else seems to explain his silence. But looking at past actions, we should not be surprised at this.

How many knew “the U.S. International Trade Commission are on the verge of taxing, and effectively banning steel pipes, one of Ukraine’s key imports to America, partly at the behest of a company owned by Russia.” 

The article noted: Robert Zoellick, the former head of the World Bank, said: “At a moment when the U.S. and the EU are encouraging Ukraine to resist Russia’s economic bullying and take difficult reform steps to achieve an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, a U.S. move to block Ukrainian exports contradicts U.S. interests. It’s a frustrating example of policy incoherence.”

It is truly a puzzling event when the President would be willing to enhance the power of Russian at the expense of America.  So what is the deal that the president made with Putin? Is this why the view of America is changing in the world with the perception we have become weak?

A University of Rhode Island professor, Nicolai N. Petro, wrote a pro-Russian article in the New York Times (we harken back to the days of Walter Duranty and the NY Times pro-Soviet propaganda)  spelling out how wonderful it would be for the Ukrainians to be controlled by Russia.  Enamored of Russia on the Voice of Russia he noted: “It is difficult for some in the West to understand and appreciate Russia’s stance for what it actually is – namely, one of moral principle – for most simply take for granted that Western moral standards are universal. Russia, however, assumes that universal moral standards are achieved only when a consensus among nations emerges. Where consensus cannot be achieved, there is no universal moral standard (at least not yet).” He omits noting that consensus will never be achieved because Russia will always seek to undermine it with its bottom line: “Russia’s way or no way.”

Petro who recently attended a week-long conference in Russian said: “Putin was at the top of his game.” He gave us the view from Moscow when asked: “Is America’s role as a super power diminishing?” He replied: “That question came up often at the conference, . . voiced mainly by the Chinese participants,  . . . who saw China’s power as rising, they also expressed uncertainty about how it should best be used. As one participant put it, the United States has relinquished its global dominance to China quite suddenly, and China is not entirely sure what to do with its newly found status.” 

This fall in American power is seconded by Forbes Magazine which named Putin as the world’s most powerful person. A subsequent op-ed by Steve Forbes noted: “Internationally, however, Obama is the weakest President of the post-World War II years. Even the in-over-his-head Jimmy Carter was more of a factor in foreign affairs than Barack Obama. Diplomats are still astonished, for instance, at how little prep work Obama engages in before international conferences.”

As the heavily armed Ukrainian police storm the opposition political offices attempting to Putinize Ukraine by destroying all political opposition, our president bound by his sinister deal with Putin stays silent. I’m seriously beginning to wonder who this man is that I voted for.

tianamin squareI have these questions popping up in my head:

“Was I bamboozled by some slick talk into believing this president would preserve our cold war victory?”

“Is it possible that we have a president who has lost his nerve, or never had any to begin with, when it comes to Russia or does he have a side deal with Putin, or with China?” 

“Has our obsession with the Middle East caused us to take our eyes off the rest of the world?”

“How did it come to pass that Putin and the Chinese now believe they are the world’s powerful people? What will this new hubris mean for Ukraine and Japan?”

 “Am I staring in the face of a replay of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Euromaiden Square?”

 

 

 

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  • Jon says:

    Thanks for this post Matt. It’s the kind of argument I’ve been making about Obama for some time. And btw, I think you mean “University of Rhode Island professor” rather than “Rhode Island University professor”. Or at least that’s how we refer to it in RI :)

    December 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Jon:

      Thanks for the correction. I’ll try to correct it.

      December 9, 2013 at 11:46 pm

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