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Gershman, NED, and the Ukraine

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Carl Gershman
Carl Gershman
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Carl Gershman received his Masters in Education from Harvard University in 1968.1 As a member of the Young People's Socialist League, dedicated to the containment of Communism and support for the Vietnam War, Gershman helped lead a split from the left wing of the Socialist Party in 1972 to form The Social Democrats USA, a neoconservative organization advocating a "hawkish" approach to the promotion of global democracy. 2, 3, 4 From 1975 to 1980 Gershman served as SD/USA's Executive Director. 5 From 1980 to 1981, Gershman was a resident scholar at Freedom House, an organization funded by the U.S. government that is "dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world." 6,7 From 1981 to 1984 Gershman served the Reagan administration as Senior Counsellor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jean Kilpatrick, a staunch anticommunist, and was charged to work on human rights issues.8,9 During that time, the Reagan and Kilpatrick backed anticommunist Contras were committing "premeditated acts "of rape, beatings, mutilation and torture" on "unarmed men women and children" in Nicaragua. 10 In 1983 Gershman "served as lead consultant to the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America," an ad hoc committee created by Ronald Reagan to "study the nature of United States interests in the Central American region and the threats now posed to those interests," and to "provide advice to the President" on how to respond to those threats.11, 12 The report, which Gershman helped draft, recommended the continuation of U.S. military aide to forces fighting socialist movements in response to a Latin American "domino theory." 13, 14 One result of the Reagan administration's lethal expenditure in Nicaragua is that the International Court of Justice, which the U.S. helped establish after WWII, found the United States government guilty of war crimes and ordered it to pay reparations to that nation.15 During the trial the U.S. delegates walked out of the courtroom and Washington simply ignored the verdict. 16

In an effort to bring the funding of democracy out of the "shadows" of the CIA, Ronald Reagan created The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1984. 17 Remarked the President, " I just decided that this nation, with its heritage of Yankee traders, we ought to do a little selling of the principles of democracy." 18 Though it bills itself as a non-governmental organization (NGO), The National Endowment for Democracy receives virtually all of its funding from Congress. 19 Allen Weinstein, the first acting president of NED, told the Washington Post, "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA." 20, 21 In 1984Carl Gershman was appointed the first permanent president of NED, a position he holds to this day. In a 1986 New York Times article titled, Missionaries for Democracy: U.S. Aid for Global Pluralism, Gershman stated, ''We should not have to do this kind of work covertly " It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the C.I.A. We saw that in the 60's, and that's why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that's why the endowment was created.''22

According to the Washington Post, Gershman's National Endowment for Democracy has been supporting "democracy-building efforts in the Ukraine since 1988." 23 The Huffington Post estimates that since 1992, the U.S. has spent 3 to 5 billion dollars to support U.S. values in Ukraine, citing NED as one of the "main channels" of financial delivery.24 Gershman has labeled Ukraine as "the biggest prize" and issued a direct threat to Russia's head of state by stating, "Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents" Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself." 25

After its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine's first democratically elected president sought closer ties with the West. This proved to be a liability and a pro-Russian president, Leonid Kuchma, was elected four years later. 26 After serving two terms, Kuchma's presidency ended in turmoil. He endorsed another a pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych as his successor in the 2004 election. This election was mired in scandal and with aid from The National Endowment for Democracy, the pro-west Viktor Yushchenko was seated. 27In 2010, the pro-Russian Yanukovych re-emerged to win the Ukrainian presidency. To Russia's dismay, Yanukovych vacillated in his support for Russia by courting the possibility of the Ukraine joining the European Union -- Carl Gershman's much anticipated coup de gr ce. However, Yanukovych abruptly changed his mind in 2013.28 Gershman and NED once again helped finance the political subterfuge which led to Yanukovych's ouster in February of 2014. 29,30 Just one month later, Ukraine's new Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, signed the first document to begin the induction of Ukraine into the European Union.31 Seeing the EU foray in Ukraine as "a stalking horse for NATO expansion," Russia had previously seized Crimea from the Ukraine to ensure that its strategic port in Sevastopol could never become a NATO base.32,33

Russia had reason to worry. In 1990 the Soviet Union endorsed the reunification of Germany as long as NATO would not expand "as much as a thumb's width further to the East." The U.S. agreed. 34 However, since then, despite Russian protests, NATO has expanded to virtually all of the former Soviet states, save Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine.35 And just this week the U.S. has announced it will be sending tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and artillery to the former Soviet states of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland.36 Russia's seizure of Crimea and support for rebel turmoil in the Ukraine is not the Hitleresque imperial move that Gershman and his ilk claim, but "geopolitics 101."37 Just ask yourself, "How would the U.S. respond if Canada or Mexico entered into a security agreement with Russia?" Of course we already know the answer, and so do the tens of thousands of souls lost in Latin America due to U.S. sponsored violence.38 Men like Gershman hope most of us are just too dumb to notice.


1. Institute for Corean-American Studies:

2. The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order: Gershman &f=false

3. Right Web:

4. Right Web:

5. OAC:

6. Institute for Corean-American Studies:

7. Freedom House:

8. The United Nations and the New World Order:

9. Right Web:

10. Contra terror in Nicaragua: Report of a fact-finding mission, September 1984-January 1985. Boston, MA: South End Press. Dartmouth Library

11. Executive Order 12433:

12. NED:

13. NED:

14. History and the Headlines: -tSection=1130228&productid=4

15. International Court of Justice:

16. Los Angeles Times:

17. NED:

18. ibid

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Michael Galli is the Dean of Students at Rivendell Academy, a small 7-12 interstate public school on the New Hampshire / Vermont border, where he teaches classes on media and U.S. foreign policy.

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