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Posted on Apr 1, 2014

By Lena Herzog

United States Air Force

Dear all who responded to my article, no matter if you agreed or not:

Thank you! I enjoyed being part of the conversation, especially the recent prank caller (traced to Orange County) who called me a spy. You were my favorite!

Overwhelmingly, the response to “The Long Telegram” was great and beyond my expectations.

The main objection, however,  was that I am “too kind toward Russia.” Well I have not joined the choir of condemnation, based on the fact that I am not a Russophobe (it would be odd and unhealthy if I were) and for the first time in my life I agree with Henry Kissinger: “Putin vilification is not a strategy.” What it is though is a guarantee that Vladimir Putin will be office for another decade—which I deeply regret. No one should hold high office that long.

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Russia bashing has been the leading news cycle in the U.S. and the West, so I was confident that that has been covered. I am not confident though that it had worked on anyone informed (how the propaganda calculus goes regarding informed vs not, I do not know). Naturally, in Russia, the response to smearing Russia did not go over well, neither does that kind of treatment have support among thinking people and politicians. Three former German chancellors have come out and criticized the current Western policy. Gregor Gysi of the German Die Linke (The Left) party condemned the United States, Russia and above all the EU for fostering the conflict.

It is a glaring fact that 93 percent of Crimea’s voters demanded to be back in Russia’s fold as they had been for over 200 years. They—nearly all—want it; all Russians want it. Crimea is not Estonia or Kazakhstan. This is their choice. Tariq Ali of The Guardian put it best in his essay “How Vladimir Putin became evil”: “The Crimean affair led to barely any loss of life, and the population clearly wanted to be part of Russia. The White House’s reaction has been the opposite of its reaction to Chechnya. Why? Because Putin, unlike Yeltsin, is refusing to play ball.”

Other commenters brought up the sovereignty issue. Someone was even delighted to mention Stalin. If we start that discussion and comparisons, we could also go all the way back to the biggest land grab in history (North America), one of the largest genocides in history (of the Native American Indians), and the past role of slavery in the United States. We could also include recent history as everyone without amnesia has done. You cannot possibly make objections to the Crimea situation after the U.S. bombed Serbia for 72 days, invaded Iraq, has Joint Special Operations Command units in 75 or so countries, and eavesdrops on everyone from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Hello, NSA, you too can join the discussion! International law either goes for everyone or it goes for nobody. That is the whole point of having a law.

Crisis Control Delusion

The U.S. has been “playing the field,” which is the world, through backing dubious groups to the good willing NGOs in order to unsettle political realities it finds objectionable and not in its interests. Does it really work? The game in Ukraine started long before, as Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, acknowledged that the U.S. has spent $5 billion to support “the Ukrainian democratic movement.” Max Blumenthal’s article “Is the US Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?” documents anti-Semitic, racist, neo-fascist and ultra-nationalist parties benefiting from the current situation in Ukraine, including the Svoboda (“Freedom”) party—a fascist group working closely with another—the Right Sector—a nationalist party. Svoboda and the Right Sector comprise two out of three leading political forces in Western Ukraine now.

Although the first demonstrators at Kiev’s Maidan square were, indeed, pro-reform, the ones who took over were an entirely different type of individual. Jack Matlock, the former ambassador to Russia under Ronald Reagan, asked prudently last week, “How would we feel if Occupy Wall Street was funded by the Russians?” Those good American sages like diplomats George Kennan and Jack Matlock, scholar Stephen Cohen—they don’t make them like that anymore. If you do not want something done to you, do not do it to others. Every action will have a reaction is the law of physics and human relations. No sophisticated armament can upset that basic nature of the world.

 


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