Cold War Hypocrisy
If you’ve kept up with current affairs lately, you won’t be shocked to learn that an old familiar aggressive world power is embroiled in yet another conflict.
This is a nation that feels it can interfere with or invade any country it desires.
It has anti-gay laws. It has the world’s largest prison population.
It has excessively long sentences for minor offenses.
It can detain a person indefinitely without right to trial.
It uses tasers on suspects, and of ten employs police brutality on its citizens.
It has unfair and unethical immigration laws.
Its female population earns considerably less money for the same job done by a man.
Its children are going hungry in record numbers.
It collects phone records of private citizens, and it surveils its own lawmakers and members of the press.
It offers sub standard care for veterans.
It allows people to lose their homes because they can’t pay their medical bills.
It has made dozens of drone strikes on civilian homes.
No, I’m not talking about Russia. I’m referring to the good old United States of America.
Following pro-Western protests in Ukraine, which led to the exile of its President Viktor Yanukovych, Vladimir Putin sent in troops to stabilize the Russian speaking region of the Crimean peninsula. Putin then announced that a March 16 referendum would be held to determine whether that region should become part of Russia.
I’m not saying that Putin’s actions were justified, but at least they were bolstered by some modicum of logical pretense. To his way of thinking, something had to be done to protect Russians who lived in Ukraine. What I am saying is that President Obama and both parties in Congress who feigned moral outrage, should check their hypocrisy at the door.
I almost gagged when I heard Secretary of State John Kerry proclaim, “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests”. This is the same John Kerry who supported attacks on Damascus because he mistakenly thought the Syrian government was using sarin gas.
The fact is that the United States has a long and storied history of interfering in and invading other countries in order to assert our interests. In the 1950’s we injected ourselves into a war between the two Korea’s and today all we have to show for the lives lost is an even more dangerous, nuke ready North Korea. We also propped up the Shah in Iran from the 1950’s until he was deposed in 1979, and then we ended up having to negotiate with the Ayatollah Khomeini for the return of American hostages. Today Iran hates us even more, and is quick to remind us that it has nuclear capabilities as well.
In the 1960’s we stopped sending advisors to Vietnam, and instead started sending soldiers, who then died in record numbers for nothing.
In the 1980s we trained and armed Afghan rebels whose leader was a young man named Osama Bin Laden. Less than twenty years later our ally masterminded the murder of 3,000 Americans on 9/11.
And then there was our arrogant, misplaced invasion of Iraq in 2003, a nation who had no weapons of mass destruction, nor any ties to 9/11. Under Bush, then Obama, the result of that initial invasion and subsequent occupation, was the death of over one million innocent Iraqi men, women, and children.
So now we’re rattling our sabers at Putin and making threats against a country with nuclear capabilities, which had been cordial to us until we decided to appoint ourselves the world’s policeman.
Yes Putin rules with an iron fist, hates gays, and keeps a close watch on the press. And yes maybe this former KGB operative longs for a return to the old Cold War. But America doesn’t have the right to scold him. Former President Jimmy Carter writing in a 2012 New York Times column said that the United States was guilty of widespread human rights violations, and because of that, “our country can no longer speak with moral authority”. Carter pointed out that in 2012 alone, President Obama ordered 30 air strikes on civilian homes in Afghanistan before Hamid Karzai demanded a halt. After which, Obama continued strikes on Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
And let’s be honest here. Who do you think funded and organized the protest movement in Ukraine in the first place? Dave Lindorff of CounterPunch reminds us it’s the same country who supported similar movements in Egypt and now in Venezuela. Good old USA. In fact, last week we sent $1 billion dollars to Ukraine just to hedge our bets. That’s one billion dollars we could have used to fight childhood hunger here at home, or subsidize teacher raises, or offer better health care to veterans.
For more than 60 years now, whenever America sticks her nose into other countries’ affairs, we always come up short, and since 9/11, we look even shorter in the eyes of the world. Super powers who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And right now, Mr. Obama has some pretty big stones on him to think he can judge Putin for violating anyone’s freedoms. I don’t know about you, but I want my billion dollars back. !
JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11am on WMYV (cable channel 15).