In situations such as the one currently going on in Ukraine, it can be awfully hard to discern what has happened and what is currently happening. Various sides, all with vested interests, let rip with truths, half-truths and no-truths. Who to believe?
I think that the way around this is to try to get a feel of the general narrative that is going on. Yes there will be lies and selective propaganda on both sides, but what is the overarching theme?
Without in anyway believing that Russia and the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine are necessarily telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or that they are acting wisely in all things, it has become increasingly clear to any discerning person that the West — the European Union, the United States of America and the Western media — have been profligate with their propaganda and have multiplied folly like it was going out of fashion. Without discovering all the facts about everything that is going on — which is just about impossible for anyone — it is possible, simply by asking a few poignant questions, to show that the EU and US, despite their pious posturing, have not only been the chief culprits in the chaos that is now taking place, but that their moral bankruptcy makes them utterly incapable of condemning what they are terming “Russian aggression”.
If you have been taken in by their phoney rhetoric and posturing, I would ask that you just take a few moments to answer the following 20 questions, rather than buying the standard West vs Russia = Good vs Evil line that the EU and US are portraying this as:
1. There is no doubt that the government of Viktor Yanukovych was corrupt and inept, but the uncomfortable fact for those who use this as a pretext for his recent removal is that he came to power in free and fair elections — and mainly because the previous government was seen by millions as corrupt and incompetent. So if corruption and incompetence in government are the touchstone issues of whether the people can protest that government out of power, would a section of the population in the previous administration have had the moral right to remove them by protest, or would that have been undemocratic?
2. Far too much is made of democracy, as if it had the power to cure all ills. Yet it is the barometer by which the EU, the US government and the Western media measure the legitimacy of a government. According to this standard, which is the democratically elected government of Ukraine – the government of Viktor Yanukovych, voted into power in free and fair elections back in 2010, or the present government of Oleksandr Turchynov, which the Ukrainian nation have never voted for?
3. If disillusionment with a government is sufficient reason for protestors to insist that a government resign, and to stay until they get their way, would the EU and the US government support similar protests in London, Berlin, Paris or Washington calling for the removal of these various corrupt administrations and staying put until they achieved their aims?
4. The government of Viktor Yanukovych was no doubt corrupt, but if it was quite as bad as we are now being told, why were there no major protests before the decision to accept a Russian bailout, rather than an EU trade deal?
5. If the government of Viktor Yanukovych was so oppressive towards the people of the Ukraine, why was the EU so keen on doing a trade deal with it? Does the EU make a habit of entreating tyrants?
6. Given that the democratically elected President of a major European country decided to accept a deal with Russia rather than with the EU, what business had the EU then got in sending ambassadors to Kiev to side with the protestors? Was this a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and if not, why not?
7. Imagine that President Yanokovych had decided to accept the EU deal instead of the Russian deal and instead of Western Ukrainians occupying central Kiev, imagine that the protestors were all from pro-Russian parts of the country. What would the EU and US have said if Russia had sent ambassadors into Kiev to give speeches to the crowds egging them on to bring down the government? Is it possible that this would have been described as aggressive interference, together with the usual talk of the Russian menace and a new Cold War? If so, why do we not label EU and US actions in these terms?
8. Were the likes of Baroness Ashton (EU) and Senator John McCain (US), who went to Kiev and voiced support for the protestors, being neutral or deliberately provocative and did their actions encourage the toppling of the democratically elected and legitimate leader of Ukraine?
9. If this was a peaceful protest, from whence came all the guns, ammunition and Molotov cocktails which were thrown at the police killing 13 of them and injuring 130?
10. If this was a peaceful protest, what were the large contingent of far-right neo-Nazis from groups like Pravy Sektor and C14 doing there?
11. Did Baroness Ashton or Senator McCain notice the presence of heavily armed, balaclava-clad men making Sieg Heil salutes and wearing the Wolfsangel symbol? If they did, were they not disturbed by this and did they ever have second thoughts as to the wisdom of getting involved in this complex country?
12. After the worst violence, President Yanukovych agreed to a deal with the opposition, brokered by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland. After he was driven out, neither the opposition or the three EU countries did anything to insist that the deal be honoured. Why?
13. After the deal was signed, the leaders of the crowd in Independence Square refused to accept it. Instead they threatened to topple the government if the President hadn’t resigned by 10am the next day. Was this democracy in action?
14. After Mr Yanukovych fled to Russia, a new government was formed, largely on the approval or disapproval of the leaders of the revolution. Was this process more or less democratic than the election of Mr Yanukovych 4 years previous?
15. The new Ukrainian government, which has the full support of the EU and US, contains several members of Svoboda, the far right nationalist party with links to the sinister, violent neo-Nazi group, Pravy Sektor. Do the EU and US governments believe that having neo-Nazis in prominent positions is likely to prove better for the Ukrainian people than the government of Viktor Yanukovych?
16. Is it possible that in seeing a new government in Kiev put there by and stuffed with people who are calling for an ethnically pure Ukraine, Russians and Jews in the country might just have a reason to be afraid?
17. If the EU and US really believe that the process used to kick out the old government was able to confer legitimacy on the new government, why will they not accept the actions of the Crimea in declaring themselves independent of the Kiev government, especially as this process, unlike that in the Maidan, cost precisely no lives whatsoever?
18. One of the first things the new “government” in Kiev did was to revoke a law protecting the status of the Russian language, spoken by millions in certain parts of Ukraine. Was this the kind of thing you would have expected to see from a government that has the interests of all Ukrainians, including Russian speakers, at heart?
19. The EU and the US have spent the past 20 years dropping bombs in other peoples’ ethnic conflicts (Serbia/Kosovo), invading other countries (Iraq & Afghanistan), or sponsoring the armed overthrow of various governments (Egypt, Libya & Syria). What grounds do they have for condemning Russia for apparently violating Ukrainian sovereignty?
20. Given that none of the conflicts mentioned above involved people from the EU or the US, but given the fact that Ukrainian conflict does involve millions of Russians, doesn’t Russia have a far greater pretext for protecting its own people — people who have asked them to come and protect them by the way — than the EU or US ever did in their plethora of national-sovereignty-ignoring conflicts?