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Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 12 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis). A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)



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The US and the Ukrainian Revolt

1st February 2014      by: Tom Woods     

A few days ago on my podcast I talked to Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity about the situation in Ukraine. YouTube below.

A listener wrote:

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.

McAdams replies:

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?

Unlearn the Propaganda!

  • paschn

    One must also wonder if the dissention involved with a Russian trade agreement has anything to do with the millions murdered by the Bolshevik Jews during their horrific control of Russia and her Christian/Muslim populace. This “Holodomor” was a contrived mass starvation of Ukrainians in the early ’30’s. Perhaps there are Ukrainians that, (mistakenly), blame the Russian people for the mass murder when it was actually planned and executed by those Bolsheviks who, at the time, were controlling the people with threats/execution of families of those not “toeing the Bolshevik line”
    As for NATO, it’s nothing more than an international terrorist army used solely by the West to enforce it’s will against smaller nations unwilling to embrace Western “interests” and City of London’s Central Banks. With the Wests record of slaughter/theft of resources and corruption of local governments a nation would have to be masochistic or already run by a U.S./Great Britain puppet to climb into bed with them.

  • Jerry

    Tom, where did you find this guy? Just because the US, EU and Russia are trying to rape that country both politically and economically doesn’t negate the Ukrainian people’s real concerns.

    It is very clear that McAdams’ understanding of the Ukrainian situation is so limited and naive that it is not surprising some people are not impressed with his analysis.

    Comparing the opposition to neo-nazis is like comparing Ron Paul to being a fascist because some extremists with fascist views subscribe to Paul’s political views…this is completely absurd…

    McAdams talks about some bullshit laws of not wearing masks and then says people in the US and EU can’t do that either as if that has anything to do with any real issue…if you claim some legitimacy in analyzing the issues, you should at least familiarize yourself with them

  • wrothbard

    >McAdams talks about some bullshit laws of not wearing masks and then says people in the US and EU can’t do that either as if that has anything to do with any real issue

    The issue McAdams was addressing was the hypocrisy of Kerry, an american politician, criticizing the law in Ukraine when the same law is in effect in Washington DC, where Kerry has never made a peep.
    So yeah, it had everything to do with the actual issue McAdams was addressing.

  • Damein Zakordonski

    Tom,

    What knowledge does McAdams possess about Ukraine besides what he gets from the state owned news channel RT? I don’t suspect much else.

    Does McAdams say anything about the numerous attempts to silence and even to the strip the legal status of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church? None. Why should he, as it wouldn’t fit into his narrow picture of who is shaping the events as they unfold. Besides, the Moscow Patriarchate, joined at the hip with both the Yanukovich and Putin regimes, really wouldn’t want too much knowledge of such attempts to make its way through the state media.

    How about the continued and increased threats over the last number of years to revoke the license to the only Catholic University in the former Soviet Union in Lviv? Again, not a word.

    How about threats made to students and professors of the same University for partaking in protest? None. Oops. Must have missed that one.

    How about the incredible corruption of the Yanukovich regime? Silence. The part about Yanukovich’s son amassing over 500 million in assets since the old man became president mustn’t be of any consequence. Heck, why should the poor people of Ukraine care about that.

    What I did hear was McAdams continually going off about Yanukovich being democratically elected and the need to respect law and order as if Yanukovich is the paragon of democracy and law and order. If there is something true in that statement, then I’m really missing something, and so are the millions (not simply a collection of Neo-Nazis numbering around the 10,000 mark), who have taken to the streets. Yes, millions.

    Again, what McAdams keeps mentioning is the continued presence of Neo-Nazis as one, if not the spearheading opposition group in Ukraine. There is nothing objectively true with that WHATSOEVER. Are there such groups of individuals partaking in the demonstrations? Yes, but to suggest that they hold any sort of a majority, or even a large numerical showing is preposterous. To believe such nonsense is to fall prey to Russian propaganda you will find on a daily basis on RT.

    Actually knowing people who live there (as I lived there for a short period of time) I have been sent quotations by Ludwig Von Mises (he was born in Lviv) on a frequent basis on Facebook by people who are actually protesting in Maidan. That doesn’t exactly fit into the George Soros/John McCain mold that McAdams thinks all the protestors fit into now does it? Or how about the fact that there where daily Catholic liturgies held on the site of the protests? That must have been bankrolled by Soros and Obama. Where else would they have got the money for such nefarious projects. Who knows, maybe Bishop Gullickson, Nuncio to Ukraine, must also be a Neo-con stooge for lending his voice to support those out protesting a corrupt regime. Maybe, McAdams can fill us in on that one too.

  • Jim

    Here’s my take. And it’s very simple:

    It’s none of the US government’s business. Period. End of story.

  • Jerry

    Kerry is a hypocrite for condemning laws his own country endorses within their own borders no more than McAdams is a hypocrite for calling the Ukrainian opposition (who are opposing a corrupt government violating their God given freedoms) neo-nazis while at the same time supporting Ron Paul who is calling for the same fight against government tyranny within the US.

    At least Ukrainians have the guts to actually stand up for themselves while the fat, lazy, brainwashed Americans sit on their couches watching the Super Bowl while their government unleashes the fury of a tyrannical hell that is yet to come…

    Yes- while American elections are stolen through rigged Diebold machines and elect the likes of George Bush and Americans are too blind to call out the corruption, believe it or not, Ukrainians actually get mad at that sort of thing when it happens in their country – that doesn’t make them nazis.

  • Jim

    “…fat, lazy, brainwashed Americans…”

    “…Americans are too blind to call out the corruption…”

    I can’t say I disagree with this part. Although I might call them willingly blind. I think most are just cowards and don’t have the balls to question anything.

  • Damein Zakordonski

    Jim,

    You are correct in stating that it isn’t the business of the US, and for that matter, any other country to meddle in Ukrainian politics. The problem with the interview above, and not simply because of Daniel’s inaccurate portrayal of what is going on, is that no mention is made of Russian interference and the level of corruption that the Yanukovich regime is guilty of. NOTHING. Daniel wouldn’t be allowed to be interviewed on RT if any mention was made regarding the latter two items. His blubberings about Ukrainian history are equally as pathetic, if not outright embarrassing.

    Also, what is with the recent libertarian love affair with Russian Television? It is a state owned and fully funded network designed to provide a favourable picture of Russia, especially for Western European and North American viewers. While it provides a balanced view on happenings in the West, any critical look at the machinations of the Russian government are strictly off limits. Sound objective? Well, not really. How about Libertarian? Again, one would have to really bend the rules to make that one work. Doesn’t that sound kinda strange?

    Please, go on their site and try to look for any stories illustrating the degree of the corruption Yanukovich and his thugs are responsible for. How about anything on how Yanukovich’s son amassed 500 million dollars of assets in the span of little over one or two years. I tried and found nothing. How about Yanukovich’s 75 million dollar mansion? If I missed something, please provide me with any pertinent information, but it is a though such things don’t exist. I tried finding stories about the threats made to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on behalf of the Yanukovich regime and found nothing. The latter organization was once a declared a criminal organization under the Soviet and plays a large role in the public sphere. To simply ignore their import in Ukrainian society suggest that there may be an agenda here, no?

  • Jim

    I have no doubt at all that RT would be objective about the Russian government. They can be more objective about the US since they wouldn’t have to pay any price for doing it. I don’t “love” RT except for their willingness to expose the evils of The Imperial City for what it is.

    My contentions is that the US government just stay out of it no matter what. It’s none of my business what the Ukrainians do with their future. That should be completely up to them. The Russian government should leave them alone to.

    Can’t everyone just leave everybody else the hell alone? Why is that so hard?

  • John

    Listener :
    “I cannot see how libertarians can’t get behind this”
    McAdams:
    “The writer of the comment you sent completely misunderstands non-interventionism”

    Actually, McAdams seems to lack the ability to both understand basic logic. The listener says libertarians should get behind voicing their opinions about freedom for all people, regardless of where they may be – this is a completely separate thought from US government intervention. Libertarians can have a view of world governments and denounce corrupt and evil regimes yet all the while not endorsing foreign intervention.

    I agree with McAdams on the non-intervention part, but his idiotic remarks about Ukrainian history, Russia’s relationship with Ukraine, the Ukrainian diaspora’s views on the current situation make his comments irrelevant.

    For example, claiming that the Russian “bail-out” was somehow beneficial and needed by Ukraine is like saying that the countless 3rd world nations “needed” the IMF bailouts at loan-shark rates in return for indentured servitude and infinite debt which are ultimately paid for by the theft of the natural resources and private property of those nations…

    If you think Russia “helped” Ukraine by giving them cheap gas then I guess we must also believe that Obama “helped” the American people by offering them “affordable healthcare”

  • wrothbard

    >Kerry is a hypocrite for condemning laws his own country endorses within their own borders no more than McAdams is a hypocrite for calling the Ukrainian opposition (who are opposing a corrupt government violating their God given freedoms) neo-nazis while at the same time supporting Ron Paul who is calling for the same fight against government tyranny within the US.

    That statement doesn’t make any sense. Kerry is not a hypocrite for doing something hypocritical because McAdams is not a hypocrite for NOT doing something hypocritical?

    >At least Ukrainians have the guts to actually stand up for themselves while the fat, lazy, brainwashed Americans sit on their couches watching the Super Bowl while their government unleashes the fury of a tyrannical hell that is yet to come…

    If the tyrannical hell is yet to come, then obviously the americans aren’t watching the super bowl while it is being unleashed.

    >Yes- while American elections are stolen through rigged Diebold machines and elect the likes of George Bush and Americans are too blind to call out the corruption, believe it or not, Ukrainians actually get mad at that sort of thing when it happens in their country – that doesn’t make them nazis.

    From what I can tell ukrainians actually aren’t getting angry about that sort of thing (aside from those few thousands who are out protesting), and I’m pretty sure there were thousands of americans protesting bush’s reelection as well. Though they more or less got on with it and then dispersed.

  • Szymon Baranowski

    There’s a big difference between democratic laws banning wearing masks on official registrated marches, public meetings, manifestations to get rid of most aggresive inviduals by police for rest of protesters safty in strict borders of law and brand new ukrainian totalitarian-like law banning it with clear purpose of pacification of true uprising in situation when goverment is using gas against own nationals – without masks they couln’t protest even more cause they couldn’t breath(!) , there were snipers with real ammo so ppl used anything as helmets and shields too, ppl were kidnapped and tortured on daily basis so how can this be compared with any laws in other countries used in entirely different circumstances? Noone said here about these Russians making there mess and i mean ppl identified as not russian speaking east ukrainians but foreign ingeration of ppl speaking moscow dialect. This fact made it an international issue now. Without international solution you will see there bloody pacifications and real domestic war soon. And we Polish won’t stay aside looking how they murder our brothers Ukrainians be sure about it. And whole world should be aware that this issue isn’t only political anymore – concerns about EM countries made it global economic issue now. And Russia should be concern that this brings too many eyes to close on their horrible fragile economic and financial shape… Poland actually too..

  • Jerry

    …That statement doesn’t make any sense. Kerry is not a hypocrite for doing
    something hypocritical because McAdams is not a hypocrite for NOT doing
    something hypocritical?

    Next time you try to engage in interpreting a sentence, I strongly suggest
    brushing up on predicate and modal logic theory.

    In the 2012 Ukrainian Parliamentary Election, the number of votes for what
    McAdams calls “the opposition” parties represented 51.71% of the total votes,
    while Yanukovych’s Party of Regions represented 6,116,815 (29.46%). Calling
    over 10 million people (roughly 23% of the population of the entire country) “neo-nazis”
    is outright retarded – not just hypocritical.

    …If the tyrannical hell is yet to come, then obviously the americans aren’t
    watching the super bowl while it is being unleashed.

    Great sophistry – unfortunately your semantics game does not change the
    facts. Those taking a flight to watch the Super Bowl in person most likely:

    1.
    Got bombarded with carcinogenic x-rays at multiple screening
    checkpoints

    2.
    Were intimidated by canine units and swat teams

    3.
    Had their genitals groped by airport security

    4.
    Had their every move tracked by cameras and microphones

    But this really is not hell yet…this is just training and acclimation of the
    populace for all the other wonderful goodies they have planned for their
    benefit…

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/sports/pro/football&id=9394692

    …From what I can tell ukrainians actually aren’t getting angry about that
    sort of thing (aside from those few thousands who are out protesting), and I’m
    pretty sure there were thousands of americans protesting bush’s reelection as
    well. Though they more or less got on with it and then dispersed.

    This statement clearly confirms you have virtually zero understanding
    of the situation in Ukraine. Your ignorance may provide you with some self-gratification
    for defending McAdams’ position and statements, but it does not make your
    inferences and speculation any less idiotic. McAdams’ analysis is so juvenile
    and so overly simplistic that anyone with even a remote understanding of what
    is going on there would discount his senseless ramblings. Listening to McAdams’
    analysis of the current political crisis in Ukraine is like listening to Piers
    Morgan’s constitutional perspective of Second Amendment rights in the US…

  • wrothbard

    >Next time you try to engage in interpreting a sentence, I strongly suggest brushing up on predicate and modal logic theory.
    —–
    Or you could just construct an understandable sentence.

    >Callingover 10 million people (roughly 23% of the population of the entire country) “neo-nazis”
    ———
    Please link me to the timestamp of the video in which McAdams referred to 23% of the population as “neo-nazis”. Until such a time, I’ll just do the reasonable thing and assume you’re talking out of your ass.

    >This statement clearly confirms you have virtually zero understanding of the situation in Ukraine. Your ignorance may provide you with some self-gratification for defending McAdams’ position and statements, but it does not make your inferences and speculation any less idiotic.
    ———-
    I notice you completely abandoned any attempt to defend your position, and instead tried to hide your own inability to address the weakness of your arguments by assaulting my ignorance.

    In fact, most of your comment is empty pathos decrying the ignorance of everyone but yourself. I’m surprised you think that’s going to impress anyone worth impressing.

  • Ukrainian

    Tom and all – please see “I Am a Ukrainian” video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvds2AIiWLA



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