is rare in individuals -- but in groups, parties, nations, and ages
it is the rule." Friedrich Nietzsche
wasn't long ago that our mainstream media was gushing over the winter
games in Sochi, reporting on events we won and providing a daily human-interest story involving an American Olympian. Then, two weeks later
news about sporting events from Sochi had been replaced by a reality
check in the Ukraine and Crimea. Yet the narrative in the states
resembled just another variation on the theme: "us" vs "them"
with a healthy dose of American hypocrisy.
story line I remember from nightly news in preceding weeks was
that western Ukraine wanted to align itself with Europe (us) while
eastern Ukraine favored ties with Russia (them). The spin that
was and remains being pitched is that the Ukraine government did not
represent the interests of the majority of its citizens who wanted
to become part of the EU. The pro-western people rebelled, the
pro-Russian-client state government was overthrown, and the
revolution was televised.
the weekend it was confirmed that Russian troops landed in Crimea, a
semi-autonomous region of Ukraine inhabited by a mostly Russian
populace and more importantly of strategic value to Russia as the
headquarters of its Black Sea fleet. Until recently the
American press failed to mention that Crimea was, up to sixty years
ago, part of Russia for over 200 years. Word has it that Khrushchev
was drunk when he gave Crimea to Ukraine.
mainstream media rarely if ever mentions that NATO has been expanding
east toward the last buffer on the eastern border of mother
Russia, who remembers all too well the suffering of the last
invasion from the west at a cost of over twenty million lives, which
probably influenced Putin's response to a revolt in Ukraine as a
threat to the security of Russia itself.
The first Sunday after Russian troops entered Crimea American hypocrisy was on full display on both sides of the political divide. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back telling Russia into today's world you don't "invade another country on completely trumped-up pretext" to protect your nati onal interests. Just over 10 years ago the same John Kerry voted as a Senator to invade another country, Iraq, "on trumped-up charges" (WMD, 9/11 involvement, etc.), in order to protect our national interests aka the corporate interests of big oil.
Obama's response was no less hypocritical by stating Putin's
actions have violated international law. This from a President that
to this day has yet to hold anyone responsible for the suffering of
our "shock and awe" foreign policy that violated the same
international law that Obama charges Putin with violating.
former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to establish her
tough-on-Russia bona fides just in case she decides to run in 2016 by
comparing Vladimir Putin's military intervention in Ukraine to Adolf
Hitler's European aggression ahead of World War II and stating her
comments were intended for "people to have a little historic
perspective." Ironically, Secretary Clinton neglected the history of
Germany's invasion of Poland, a blitzkrieg based on a lie with little
difference from our "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq.
to be outdone, the Republicans pounced with the usual gutter instinct
by claiming Putin acted as such because Obama's foreign policy is
"feckless" and Obama is weak. Last week Obama was a
dictator, now he's weak. Who can take these political sales
representatives for corporate America seriously when their positions
are based on the emotion of intense dislike, even unabashed hated at
times of Obama while they stand for nothing themselves but empty
words about "liberty" and "freedom" forgetting to mention
"liberty" and "freedom" isn't for everyone especially women,
Hispanics, blacks, the gay community, et al.
Canadian-born Texan Senator Rafeal aka Ted Cruz pranced and puffed on
stage before a CPAC crowd that reveled in Cruz' venom as he mocked
two men, Bob Dole and John McCain, implying they lost the presidency
because they didn't stand on principle. Ironically these two
men's "principles" compelled them to be willing to make the great sacrifice for the same "liberty" and "freedom" for a
man who never wore the uniform and who now shows his absolute
disrespect for our veterans by implying those who served didn't
stand by any principles like "liberty" and "freedom". Ted
Cruz shamed the nation and the Senate. That he wasn't exposed as such
speaks volumes about how the freedom of the press is exercised by a
those U.S. flag waving, sanctimonious, lapel-pin patriots who
recently voted against legislation that would honor our veterans who
were willing to sacrifice to protect our
interests or the interests of corporate America and of those who sent
them to war but never served. These are today's Republicans who
stink of shameless hypocrisy while claiming Obama is "all talk
and no action".
My personal favorite was watching Rudy Giuliani as he spoke about Putin's strong leadership qualities, stating the case for what a real leader looks like to America's stop-and-frisk mayor. Yet when he compared Putin to Obama Giuliani appeared to be near orgasm when talking about Putin's strength. No surprise that these small-government republicans embrace authoritarian forms of government. Tom Brokaw's greatest generation may have defeated the Axis, but it did not destroy fascism.
In the final analysis America would be better served by a better understanding of world history, having a better grasp of reality and the courage to accept responsibility for our actions. The history of Russia for the last hundred years would provide a rational, even justifiable basis for Putin's action in Crimea more so than the fear and hate of overweight, middle-aged white men in the name of patriotism who claim the skinny black guy is weak while they attempt to conceal their contempt of color.
The reality is that America no longer has any moral authority or standing in today's world after our invasion of the sovereign country of Iraq on completely trumped-up pretexts to protect our own national interests and those of corporate America. Over 4000 American men and women dead. Thousands more coming back far different than when they left, disabled for life long after the welcome-home parade fades. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or displaced. All that suffering based on a lie.
Why should Russia or any other country for that matter feel obliged to listen to America pontificating about democracy, justice, liberty or freedom while beating its chest, chanting USA! USA! USA! and acting as if the rest of the world should believe in American exceptionalism just because those Americans with a strong attachment to tribalism believe it to make it true. Meanwhile the rest of the world finds nothing exceptional about "do as I say, not as I do".
Accepting responsibility for our actions would require enough people in power having the courage to do the right thing and demand that our Justice Department issue warrants of arrest for Mssrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al, charge them with crimes against humanity, and place them before the international court at the Hague. Lead by example then perhaps the world will listen but hypocritical responses from both major political parties to Putin's action in Crimea only expose a lack of accepting responsibility for our actions and our failure to lead as a result.