In the 1940s, as Stalinists were seizing Czechoslovakia, ex-OSS agents were running bags of money to Italy and France to ensure the Communists were defeated in national elections.
In the 1950s, using a rent-a-mob, the CIA effected the ouster of an anti-American regime in Iran and the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala. In the 1980s, after Solidarity was crushed by Gen. Jaruzelski, Ronald Reagan secretly aided the Polish resistance.
Many of us applauded these Cold War means, as we believed that the ends — security of the West and survival of freedom — justified them.
But when news broke that South Africa was maneuvering to buy the Washington Star in the 1980s, this city was ablaze with indignation. How dare they seek to corrupt American media! In the 1990s, when China was caught using cutouts to funnel cash to the Clinton campaign, we were full of righteous rage.
Given this history, several questions arise. Are we today using Cold War tactics in a post-Cold War era? Are we guilty of the same gross interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine, trying to fix their election, we would consider outrageous and criminal if done to us?
Are we Americans hypocrites of global democracy?
Consider what we have apparently been up to in Ukraine.
According to the Guardian and other sources, NED — the National Endowment for Democracy — and USAid, Freedom House, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and George Soros’ Open Society Institute all pumped money or sent agents into Kiev to defeat the government-backed Viktor Yanukovich and elect Viktor Yushchenko as president. Allegedly in on the scheme is the supposedly objective and neutral Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Steele describes how we put the fix in:
“Yushchenko got the Western nod, and floods of money poured in to groups which support him, ranging from the youth organization, Pora, to various opposition websites. More provocatively, the U.S. and other Western embassies paid for exit polls …”
Those polls showed Yushchenko winning by 11, demoralizing the opposition and convincing most Ukrainians he was the next president.
But, on Election Day, Yushchenko, like Kerry, lost by three, as the populous eastern Ukraine delivered the same huge margins for favorite son Yanukovich as did western Ukraine for Yushchenko.
Into the streets came scores of thousands of demonstrators, howling fraud and demanding that Yushchenko be inaugurated. Engaging in civil disobedience, and backed by the West, the crowds intimidated parliament, President Kuchma and the judiciary into declaring the election invalid.
John Laughland writes in the Guardian of the double standard our media employ: “Enormous rallies have been held in Kiev in support of the prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, but they are not shown on our TV screen. … Yanukovich supporters are denigrated as having been ‘bussed in.’ The demonstrators in favor of Yushchenko have laser lights, plasma screens, sophisticated sound systems, rock concerts, tents to camp in and huge quantities of orange clothing; yet we happily dupe ourselves that they are spontaneous.”
Laughland is saying the Yushchenko demonstrations may be as phony as that U.S-Albanian war in the Dustin Hoffman-Robert DeNiro film Wag the Dog. He calls Pora “an organization created and financed by Washington,” like Otpor and Kmara, which were used in Serbia and Georgia to oust leaders Washington wished to be rid of. Pora’s symbol, writes Laughland, depicts “a jackboot crushing a beetle.”
If the United States has indeed been interfering in Ukraine to swing the election of a president who will tilt to NATO, against Moscow, we are, as Steele writes, “playing with fire.”
“Not only is (Ukraine) geographically and culturally divided — a recipe for partition or even civil war — it is also an important neighbor of Russia. … Ukraine has been turned into a geostrategic matter not by Moscow, but by the U.S., which refuses to abandon the Cold War policy of encircling Moscow and seeking to pull every former Soviet republic to its side.”
Our most critical relationship on earth is with the world’s other great nuclear power, Russia, a nation suffering depopulation, loss of empire, breakup of its country and a terror war. That relationship is far more important to us than who rules in Kiev.
For us to imperil it by using our perfected technique of the “post-modern coup” — as we did in Serbia and Georgia and failed to do in Belarus — to elect American vassals in Russia’s backyard, even in former Soviet republics, seems an act of imperial arrogance and blind stupidity.
Congress should investigate NED and any organization that used clandestine cash or agents to fix the Ukrainian election, as the U.S. media appear to have gone into the tank for global democracy, as they did for war in Iraq.
Patrick J. Buchanan [send him mail], former presidential candidate and White House aide, is editor of The American Conservative and the author of eight books, including A Republic Not An Empire and the upcoming Where the Right Went Wrong.