Dianne Foster guest writes this opinion article about our involvement today with Ukraine. She has a B.A. political science/international relations from the U. of W., and is a former “PCO of the Year”, with the Whatcom Democrats
I am writing with urgency to correct the mainstream media’s disinformation about Ukraine and supposed Russian aggression there. I clearly remember taking a group of peace activists including Occupy Bellingham, Veterans for Peace, and Whatcom Peace and Justice, into Representative Rick Larsen’s office after the February 2014 United States-backed coup in Ukraine. We helped overthrow the democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovich, and installed the neo-Nazi Svoboda and Right Sector parties into power. Yanukovich’s election in 2010 had been validated by the U.N. as fair and square.
The image of then U.S. Secretary of European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a Dick Cheney appointee promoted by Hillary Clinton, standing on the stage in Kiev’s Maiden Square, throwing cookies out to the mobs of neo-Nazi’s and encouraging them to riot, is imprinted in my memory. On the stage behind her stood John McCain and Joe Biden, she had requested Obama send them as “point men” in this putsch. Shots were fired, Yanukovich left in haste for Russia, and millionaire Petro Poroshenko was selected to lead the country. Even Henry Kissinger, the king of “regime change” operations, protested in a Washington Post editorial, that this was over-the-top and Ukraine deserved their own sovereignty. Notably, Nuland’s husband, Robert Kagan, was a leading neocon architect of the Iraq War.
It was no surprise, therefore, that Putin took back the historically Russian seaport of Crimea, the Black Sea gem that was bequeathed to Ukraine, for uncertain reasons, by Ukrainian-born former Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.
Then there’s the history of the Svoboda and Right Sector political parties during WW2 in Ukraine: it is horrific. They were notorious for heinous crimes such as carving up Jewish children. Even today they are carrying out anti-Semitic pogroms, primarily by the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that is now incorporated into the Ukraine National Guard. Although Congressman Ro Khanna attempted to insure that no American aid went to that organization, it has unfortunately been funded in an attempt to oppose Russian interests there.
The neo-Nazi-leaning Ukraine government has been bombing the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine since the 2014 coup, prompting nationalist leaders in Russia to push Putin into some action to take back the entire country, though current CIA Director William Burns does not believe Putin will do it. During April of 2014, we Democrats in the 40th Legislative District passed a resolution condemning this coup, in accordance with the Whatcom Dems platform that states: “Our government should not engage in overt or covert efforts to destabilize other nations’ governments.”
As someone whose father was a POW in Nazi Germany, I have spent much of my academic and personal life researching and opposing fascist movements. Many people forget that it was Russia and the Russian people who suffered the most in World War II, and without Russian leadership we would have lost to Hitler. If they hadn’t won the war in Europe, I wouldn’t be here today.
It should also be noted that when President Mikhail Gorbachev voluntarily ended the Cold War in 1990 by lowering the Berlin Wall, the U.S. promised in return that the West would not bring former Soviet states into NATO, thereby guaranteeing a safety zone around Russia. How would we feel if Russia incorporated Mexico or Canada into their sphere of influence? By 1994, President Clinton reneged on that promise, as one country after another was admitted to NATO, whose purpose at that time was to perpetrate a new Cold War. For a brief period, Clinton proposed a “peace dividend” that would divert money from the military to social needs. It appeared the military-industrial complex was not too happy with that idea. Thus we have had “endless wars” and regime changes; one of the most tragic was in Afghanistan. I am, however, optimistic to see countries like Chile and Honduras reversing the trend and moving away from neoliberal imperial domination.
What is most disturbing about this narrative is that President Biden was there, in Ukraine: he participated in that coup, and is now blaming it on the Russians. We cannot have real diplomacy based on lies. I plan to call the White House and my congressional representatives and encourage them to tell the truth. They are provoking a potential nuclear war that would end history. I have attached the Veterans for Peace resolution that was passed nationally in March of 2014 by that organization; it provides accurate details.