Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Let Someone Else Take Point

Hundreds of pro-Russian protestors seized a government building in the city of Donetsk as violence and bloodshed escalated throughout eastern Ukraine. Donetsk is the hometown of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych whose pro-Russian government was recently ousted by pro-European factions.

The provisional Ukrainian government has accused the Russians of spurring on the uprising as a pre-text for sending Russian troops into the region. Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov blames “separatist groups coordinated by Russian special services” for spurring on the revolt. Turchynov claims these are the same tactics the Russians used to justify their invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsula mere weeks ago.

The Russians claim no such involvement. They warn that any action taken against the pro-Russian protestors will result in serious consequences. Thousands of Russian troops have taken up positions along the Ukrainian/Russian border.

Violence in any part of the world acts as a dog whistle to the Neo-Cons. As expected they are urging the president to insert the US into the conflict. John McCain, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the president’s foreign policy stance, wasted no time in calling for tough measures against the Russians. McCain believes that the president’s “weak and feckless” response to the events in Syria, Somalia, Libya and Iran have only served to embolden Russian President Putin to annex Crimea and threaten Ukraine. McCain and the Neo-Cons want tougher sanctions against the Russians and defensive military armaments placed in the hands of the Ukrainian government.

McCain and the neo-cons are part of the conservative movement that has been preaching fiscal conservatism for the past decade. They keep telling us that we are broke and that we are mortgaging our children’s future by continuing to borrow and spend.
So if we are in such dire financial straits…a “bankrupt nation” as conservatives like to say…then how can we afford to enter a conflict with the Russians?

We’ve seen this movie before. Sanctions and defensive arms lead to advisors and air support. Air support leads to boots on the ground. The next thing you know Ukraine is the next Vietnamiraqafghanistan endless military conflict.

Why us? Why do we always have to be the “tip of the spear”? Are not the Brits, French, Germans, Poles, Spaniards, Canadians and god knows who else just as concerned about Russia’s aggressive policies in the region as we are? Why are we always the ones to put blood and treasure on the line?

Certainly the rest of the world is more than happy for us to take point. While they are pushing us to the head of the platoon they sit safely in the rear investing in their infrastructure, education and research and improving their way of life. Meanwhile we pour $2 billion a week…that’s billion with a “B”…into a third world country like Afghanistan without a clue of what victory looks like.

And how are we supposed to pay for this quixotic adventure into the Ukrainian wilderness? The Republicans don’t want to raise taxes. They want to pay for their endless wars by cutting spending. Well, you can cut food stamps, end unemployment compensation shut down Planned Parenthood, close every abortion clinic and cut education and research back to a one room schoolhouse and a Bunsen burner but you still won’t be able to fund the wars that McCain and the Neo-Cons have in mind.

It is time for someone else to serve as the world’s big brother. It is time for the rest of the world to police itself.

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