Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Our Guys" in Kiev Come Unglued

“Yats is the guy,” crowed Victoria Nuland, the American assistant secretary of state under Hillary Clinton and architect of the U.S. coup d’etat in Kiev, in an intercepted 2014 telephone conversation with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

Well, “Yats” was the guy.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk  was installed by the U.S. as prime minister of Ukraine after the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, was driven into exile in Russia by a “popular uprising” engineered in Washington. Now, Yatsenyuk has said he will proffer his resignation to the parliament tomorrow.The other American puppet in the Kiev government, President Petro Poroshenko, has been named as a tax cheat in the so-called Panama Papers, and is facing calls to resign as well. In his first year as president, Poroshenko, already a billionaire in the chocolate business, increased his net worth by 20 per cent.

 “Yats” and Poroshenko were billed by their U.S. patrons  as crusaders who would clean up the corruption of the ousted Yanukovych government in Ukraine. Now, their own corruption is their undoing. So much for one of the great foreign policy achievements of Secretary Clinton and her neocon henchfolk.

The Ukraine regime change to a Yatsenyuk-Poroshenko government was part of the larger Washington ploy to bring down Vladimir Putin in Russia by ensnaring its neighbor, Ukraine, into the net of European Union and nudging NATO weaponry  to the very borders of the bear.

Last week, in an advisory election, the Netherlands voted 2-1 not to take part in the EU squeeze play on Kiev.  The Dutch government, which has already agreed to join in, doesn’t have to heed the voice of its people,  but would pay a political price for caving in to Washington now.

Meanwhile, there’s a fragile cease-fire in the civil war between the pro-Russian eastern Ukraine and the duped and discredited regime in Kiev.  The latest contretemps in the west won’t make that truce any more stable. Another spike may be coming in the human toll for Washington’s foreign policy blunders there.

This is just one of many areas of the world where ex-Secretary Clinton’s “foreign policy expertise” is a tragic fiction, a myth manufactured to enhance her campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.

Her toadying speech to AIPAC last month made it clear that Israel's warhawk prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would be an ad hoc foreign minister and policy-maker in a Clinton II administration. Her so-called East Asia “pivot,” the decision to grant NATO-equivalent “ally” status to Afghanistan, the decision to attempt to maintain an impossible status quo in Pakistan . . . each of these blunders casts doubt on her foreign policy credentials. Not Benghazi, but the decision to ignore the advice of the Pentagon and join in the military overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya created a chaos for which we and the world continue to pay a terrible price.  And when Gaddafi was sodomized by bayonet, this woman snickered and said, “We came, we saw, he died.”

Is this the sort of mind we want in the Oval Office?

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Third Party Voting Option

Ron Paul was always worth listening to during his long career as a U.S. congressman.  He still is.

Recently he told a CNN interviewer that  he wouldn’t vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, if they became the nominees of their respective parties. "What I'd like to have on all of the ballots is 'none of the above,'" he said.

Clinton and Trump “both support the military industrial complex, the federal reserve, deficits and entitlements, and an invasion of our privacy," Paul said. "It's super nationalistic populism.” 

His advice? Vote the Green party if you’re progressive, otherwise vote the Libertarian party.

The third party option is not at all popular in American politics.  Most right wing pundits are shaming the Republican candidates for backing away from their pledge to unite behind the Republican nominee regardless of who he is.  On the Democratic side, the Jill Stein Green option is scorned by even Sanders supporters.

The lesser of two evils doctrine rules the day on both sides.

I recently took part in a spirited on-line round-table among liberals. Only two of us stood firm on not voting for Clinton if she is the nominee. All of the others cited variants on the lesser evil theme.

Even if she were wrong on only one major issue (the Republicans are wrong on just about everything), that issue alone, war mongering foreign policy, would disqualify her for the presidency.  In particular, she is the architect of the overthrow of the legitimate government in Ukraine and the deliberate antagonism of Russia.  Pushing NATO and U.S. arms to the very borders of Russia is the equivalent of Nikita Khrushchev’s madness in putting missiles in Cuba in 1962.  We narrowly averted nuclear war then; there is no guarantee we can do so again. As evidenced in her recent pandering speech to AIPAC, Clinton is dedicated to not just continuing but expanding the role of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s mad hawk prime minister, in American foreign policy.  This further militates  against a peaceful resolution of the U.S.-Russia contretemps in which Clinton is so instrumental. Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Bob Kagan, Doug Feith et al  are betting that nobody, not even Vladimir Putin, would actually push the nuclear button.  They're certain that in a conventional war, our military might and global network of bases would prevail.  Meanwhile, their cockamamie antics in the South China Sea, and their belligerence in eastern Europe, are driving Russia and China into each other's arms. If you consider a Russia-China military alliance, victory in conventional war becomes less certain, and probably so terribly costly that it's no more of an option than mutual assured destruction by nukes.

If Clinton and Trump are the nominees, only strong showings by minority parties can send the message the executive branch would need to hear, calling for restraint and diplomacy rather than rattling of nuclear sabers.

The only real strength of the lesser evil position is that the president nominates Supreme Court justices.  One vacancy exists, and others almost certainly will occur during the term of the next president.  The notion of Donald Trump choosing judges for the highest court in the land is almost too horrifying to contemplate.  

But so, too, is the notion of a SCOTUS with nothing to adjudicate in the hell of nuclear winter, or a nation bled dry by endless war against truly powerful opponents.