Hello, I just listened to your last podcast with Daniel McAdams talking about Ukraine, I think you were mislead by this guy and he is clearly has an agenda.
An economic agreement with Russia should be great, what Daniel forgot to mention thought is that Russia is one of the most protectionist economies out there, to join their customs union means Ukraine is forbidden from having free trade with the rest of the world (meaning that there will be huge tariffs).
I guess what really made me mad the most was when Daniel referred to the government policies as merely “making it harder to protest with masks”, this is extremely dishonest, what Ukraine did was to pass a series of laws making it illegal to protest with a punishment of years in jail (infographic of the laws http://chesno.org/media/uploads/dictatorship-en.jpg), also – cell companies monitored people’s cellphones and people present in the protests got an SMS saying something along the lines of “We know you are participating in mass disruptions”, effectively meaning “We will come to kidnap you once the protests are over”
The Ukrainian government is extremely corrupt and authoritarian, the nationalist protesters are a minority, all they do is merely entering government buildings and denying it from functioning, I cannot see how libertarians can’t get behind this.
Yes, Tom, I knew you would get some critical messages. My guess is some are sent by those of Ukrainian descent still attached to the “old country,” who now want the US to fight the battles they left behind.
The writer of the comment you sent completely misunderstands non-interventionism. As I stated, my purpose and the purpose of this Institute is to point out the double-standards and hypocrisy on the US and EU side — and to criticize their interventionism in the Ukraine situation. I said twice on your program that I do not seek to tell the Ukrainians what to do and have no stake in the outcome.
With that in mind, on the specifics of your writer’s complaint:
On Russia he is correct to a point. It is an internal free-trade grouping — kind of like NAFTA, which is not to everyone’s taste but hardly some sort of global security threat. But what he does not mention is that the EU deal would have been almost identical: Brussels explicitly forbade any trade deal with Russia if the association agreement was signed. That makes little sense because the bulk of their trade is with Russia and virtually all of their exports are to Russia. EU would not have imported Ukrainian goods.
Whatever the case, I did not say that Ukraine made the right choice in choosing the Russian offer, only that it was an understandable decision considering the reality of Ukraine’s economic situation. There is a difference. The US/EU tried to portray the decision as totally irrational and outrageous.
Also, we should not forget that the EU deal was not only about trade. There was a significant clause about military cooperation with NATO. There is legitimate reason for the government of Ukraine to be wary about entering into a military alliance with NATO with Russia on the other side. Again, the point is not to say whether or not Yanukovich made the correct choice, but only to point out that there were rational reasons for his decision.
As to your correspondent’s mention of the protest laws passed and then repealed by the Ukrainian parliament this week. I did not praise those laws in the slightest. But I have pointed out that they are not at all dissimilar to laws on the books in the US and EU. It is illegal to protest in D.C., for example, if you are wearing a mask. That is true in many places in the US and also throughout the EU — in France you cannot wear any kind of covering at any time anywhere. If you “slander” government officials in neighboring (and arrogant) Poland, you face two years in prison. Slander rules against government officials are in place elsewhere in EU zone as well.
As far as the revelation that the Ukrainian government used the cell phones to spy on its citizens…well…is your correspondent sleepwalking through this past year or so in the US and all the revelations we are getting every day about the government spying on us? He confuses my pointing out the hypocrisy of the US lecturing other countries about things they have been doing with gleeful abandon, with somehow approving of foreign countries doing these same things. The point is who is Kerry to lecture them when his government does the same thing and worse?
On the nature of the protestors and the response of the Ukrainian government, again there is a disconnect. Your correspondent writes: “the nationalist protesters are a minority, all they do is merely entering government buildings and denying it from functioning.” But by attempting to expel them from these government buildings the government is called “authoritarian.” I would challenge him to get together a group of 1,000 people and storm the State Department to deny it from functioning and let’s see how far he gets. The hypocrisy is what really riles me. You simply cannot take over government buildings in Washington, D.C. and not expect to be killed or at least face a long prison term. So for the US government to demand that violent protestors be allowed to bring the country to a stand-still is the height of hypocrisy.
I am going on television later today to discuss Ukraine — on topic will be Kerry’s statement that “the offers of President Yanukovich have not yet reached a level that would be sufficient regarding the reforms.”
Who the heck is he to decide what reforms are needed in Ukraine?
And right after stating that “outside powers” should not get involved in the political crisis, saying it was for the Ukrainian people to resolve, he announced that he was meeting the leaders of the opposition (yeah, those neo-Nazi guys!) to help them work on a government of national unity.
Said Kerry: “There’s the question of whether they can move on to form a government of national unity. So they’re coming to Munich in the middle of this negotiating process on what the political compact might look like going forward.”
And he is going to send Victoria Nuland (Mrs. Robert Kagan) to Ukraine to do more meddling and interfering. Said a State Department release: “Assistant Secretary Nuland will meet with government officials, opposition leaders, civil society and business leaders to encourage agreement on a new government and plan of action that can put Ukraine back on track toward fulfilling the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for democracy, respect for human rights, European integration and economic growth.”
Isn’t this outrageous? Would the US government grant a visa to a foreign government official whose stated purpose for entering the country is to overthrow its legally elected government?