The Democrats Are Lining Their Pockets In Ukraine

While failing to provide any real solutions for Ukraine’s ailing economy, choosing instead to air vacuous platitudes and call Ukraine’s government “courageous” and “inspiring” at any given opportunity, the Obama administration proves once again its complete lack of leadership on any foreign policy matter. But what makes Ukraine’s case more unnerving is not Washington’s impotence in pushing back Russia, but the unyielding determination of State Department officials to reap profits and settle political, and sometimes personal, scores.

Indeed, leaked phone conversations that took place during the Maidan between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt revealed that the State Department was largely involved in canoodling with Ukraine’s opposition with the aim of manipulating the direction of the Ukrainian government in accordance with US interests. But why has the Obama administration gone out of its way to protect Ukraine? Was it to uphold the fundamental rights of freedom-loving Ukrainians, oppressed by the evil Russian bear? Not in the slightest. Washington, rather than developing a strategy for Kiev and its future, has instead been opting to secure its own geopolitical and strategic interests. Oil and gas, rather than freedom and democracy, can largely be considered the reasons why Washington has got its panties in a twist over Russia’s grip on Ukraine. For a Democratic party that has consistently and obsessively blasted the Iraq war as Bush’s crusade for oil, the Obama administration seems to do exactly that in Ukraine.

A war for oil?

In November 2013, before the Maidan Revolution, which saw former President Yanukovich ousted from power and a new group of “European” and “reform minded” leaders enter the scene, US oil and gas majors were already busy marking their territory. Chevron was quick to sign a $10 billion deal with Kiev for the exploration and production of shale gas in western Ukraine’s Oleska Field. Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell also inked an agreement to explore shale gas reserves in eastern Ukraine. A more recent US State Department report confirmed these companies’ interests in the country, underlining that “Ukraine’s strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) […] its large transit network, and its available underground gas storage capacities make the country a potentially crucial player in European energy transit.” However, since the conflict in eastern Ukraine led both Chevron and Shell to pull out of the projects, it comes as no surprise why the US is really trying to cozy up to Ukraine’s leadership given the “game changing” opportunities for energy cooperation the country has to offer.

The war-torn east and relentless fighting between both sides hasn’t stopped Obama administration grandees from exerting their influence and lining their pockets. In May 2014, Joe Biden’s younger son, Hunter Biden, was appointed to the Board of Ukraine’s largest independent oil and gas company, Burisma Holdings. Biden, along with Devon Archer (who was John Kerry’s advisor during his 2004 presidential campaign and the college roommate of Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz), claimed that their appointment to Burisma’s Board was solely to provide strategic guidance. However, Biden’s arrival on the scene coincided with that of David Leiter, former Senate Chief of Staff to Kerry, whose company (ML Strategies) signed up to lobby for Burisma in Washington. Owned by a former Yanukovich government minister, Nikolai Zlochevskyi, Burisma’s ties to the White House have led some to believe that while trying to promote cleaning up corruption in Ukraine’s state, Washington is trying to secure its own special deals in the state. According to Ed Chow, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “it maybe sends the wrong message that Westerners are just hypocritical.”

But gaining allies isn’t enough for the Obama administration – eliminating potential rivals and competitors has been a key strategy in ensuring US dominance over Ukraine’s energy market. In March 2014, just several days after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the Justice and State Departments via the FBI filed an extradition request in a Vienna court against Dmitry Firtash, Ukraine’s prominent gas and chemicals bigwig. Faced with allegations of bribing Indian officials, Firtash contended his arrest was nothing more than a political game played out by Washington, which felt threated by his influence in Ukrainian politics. With no evidence presented by the FBI, the Austrian judge deemed the US charges “politically motivated– and Firtash walked. But as a key player in Ukraine’s gas industry through his companies, Firtash’s woes are far from over. The Ukrainian government has recently confiscated 500 million cubic meters of gas belonging to Firtash and announced that it would be willing to cooperate with US investigators, who plan to appeal the Austrian decision.

Despite calls to make Ukraine an attractive place both for domestic and foreign businesses, it appears that, with the never-ending support of the Democratic Party, Ukraine is more occupied with settling political scores at the State Department’s behest than bringing about economic and institutional change.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Soros Pushes U.S. Bailouts, Weapons For Ukraine

If you look at the track record of the interventionists, you might think they would pause before taking on more projects. Each of their past projects has ended in disaster; yet still they press on. Last week, the website Zero Hedge posted a report about hacked emails between billionaire George Soros and Ukrainian President Poroshenko.

Soros is very close to the Ukrainian president, who was put in power after a U.S.-backed coup deposed the elected leader of Ukraine last year. In the email correspondence, Soros tells the Ukrainian leadership that the U.S. should provide Ukraine “with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.” In other words, despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course, it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke.

But Soros seems to have the money part covered as well. In an email to Ukrainian leaders, he wrote that Ukraine’s “first priority must be to regain control of financial markets.” Soros told Poroshenko that the IMF would need to come through with a $15 billion package, which he was confident would lead the Fed to also come through with more money. He wrote: “the Federal Reserve could be asked to extend a $15 billion three months swap arrangement with the National Bank of Ukraine. That would reassure the markets and avoid a panic.”

How would the Fed be convinced to do that? Soros assured Poroshenko: “I am ready to call Jack Lew of the U.S. Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.”

So George Soros will use his influence in the U.S. government to put the American people on the hook for a bankrupt Ukraine — forcing us to pay for weapons, more military training, and Ukraine’s crippling debt.

Who is thrilled with Soros’ drawing the U.S. government into more intervention in the region? The military-industrial complex for one is happy at the prospect of big weapons “sales” to Ukraine. The bankers are thrilled. Washington power-brokers are thrilled. There is something in this for everyone who is politically well-connected. The only losers are the people who will be forced to pay for it: the American taxpayers.

No one seems to ask why we are involved in Ukraine at all. Is it really any of our business if the east wants to break away from the west? Is it a vital U.S. interest which flag the people wish to hang in Donetsk?

One thing we should be sure of is that Ukraine’s debt will not be paid. As in other bailouts, much of it will be transferred to the U.S. taxpayer through the IMF and the Federal Reserve. All of this is only possible because of the perception that the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. But this too is coming to an end. U.S. military and financial interventionism worldwide are only speeding up the process.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

John McCain: Lap Dog Of Barack Obama, The Saudi Royals — Or Both

Senator Rand Paul, at one of his many campaign stops for his presidential run, referred to Senator John McCain as a “lap dog” to President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Many believe the proper description of Senator McCain’s relationship to Barack Obama should have been “yelping lap dog.” When Obama bows to Saudi royalty, Senator McCain is there to hold his hand.

On January 27th of this year, Senator McCain dutifully traveled with President Obama to Saudi Arabia to pay his respects to the newest Sunni despot, King Salman. McCain brought support for President Obama’s homage to the new despot in the form of two former Secretaries of State who served in Republican administrations, James A. Baker III and Condoleezza Rice.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined with Senator McCain and President Obama and other high American officials in the rather feudal ceremony of celebrating the lordship of the new King of Saudi Arabia, who apparently outranks all other world leaders. (Vice President Joe Biden showed up to slobber over the King a week later.)

Standing by President Obama on his pilgrimage to show reverence for King Salman was not enough; the yelping lap dog keeps pressing President Obama to be even more faithful to the wishes of the Sunni King. In Iran, for example, Senator McCain wants the military strikes favored by Saudi Arabia, regardless of the cost in American lives or the resulting chaos and war in the Middle East. Iran has a population of nearly 80 million, and cannot be so easily defeated or toppled as was the government of Yemen in the “Arab Spring” at the request of King Abdullah.

McCain has also done some yelping about Syria, arguing that President Obama has not moved fast enough to follow the wishes of the Saudi royals in toppling the secular government there. McCain wanted American airstrikes in Syria, and ground forces if needed, to bring the Sunni rebels to power.

McCain went beyond backing President Obama’s efforts to overthrow secular governments in the Middle East and replace them with Sunni puppet governments favored by the Saudi royals. He actually entered Syria illegally, with the help of President Erdogan of Turkey, to foster violence and revolution. While there, he proudly posed for photos with terrorists wanted for crimes in Lebanon.

John McCain just doesn’t get it. The United States doesn’t have the money or the military strength to actually occupy every nation in the world who has a leader who is regionally problematic.  Syria was not a threat to the United States or to a single American citizen, and still isn’t. Gaddafi in Libya had become an ally of the United States; but thanks to the McCain/Obama intervention in that nation, the place is in chaos and is an exporter of terrorists who are a real threat.

The beheadings of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians on the beaches of Libya are a direct result of the McCain/Obama Middle East policies. The Christians who lived in Libya would still be safe in their homes had it not been for Senator John McCain’s demands to murder Gaddafi and hand over control of the government to al-Qaeda linked rebels. And in Syria, tens of thousands of Christians whose families have ancestry back to the time of the Apostles of Jesus have been forced to flee their homes. Currently, mortars are being supplied to the rebels who are firing on Christian churches in Damascus, the roots of which run back to the time of the Apostle Paul.

This April, Senator John McCain announced that he will run for a sixth term in the Senate. He was first elected to the House in 1982 and then to the Senate in 1986. He was sworn in to the Senate in January 1987. As of 2015, he has been on Capitol Hill a total of thirty-two years.

During that time, McCain has been the leading hawk on Capitol Hill, voting for every military intervention anywhere, regardless of who the president was at the time. He sided with President Bill Clinton in bombing Christian Serbia back to the dark ages to protect Muslim extremists, and he endorsed President Obama’s drone campaign that has killed hundreds of innocent civilians in four different nations. He even endorsed the killing of American citizens abroad with no trial, even if they are not armed, should a president consider them a threat.

Senator McCain has on numerous occasions supported the overthrow of the governments of sovereign nations, even those with democratically elected governments. McCain traveled to Kiev in 2014 and led a rally of Ukrainian nationalists in Independence Square calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of that nation. With the support of Senator McCain, President Obama, and CIA funding, the democratically elected government in Ukraine did fall, causing the intervention of Russia to protect its own naval assets in the Crimea. McCain’s influence as a powerful Senator sitting in the corner of President Obama has brought Russia and the United States back into a Cold War relationship. Had he been elected, we may well have found ourselves in a hot, rather than cold, war with Russia.

Last year, I attended a GOP fundraising event near Capitol Hill that included two congressmen. The subject of Senator McCain came up, and someone present said: “We can fix the damage done by Obama; just thank God that John McCain was not elected president because we can’t fix what is left after a nuclear war.” Virtually everyone in the room said “Amen” simultaneously.

Sadly, Senator McCain does not realize how much practically everyone on Capitol Hill, except Senator Lindsey Graham, dislikes him. Because of his long captivity as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, and the torture he endured there, he is treated with respect even by those who can’t stand to be in the same room with him. McCain takes this to mean that everyone agrees with him, even with his angry rants which echo down the halls of Congress on a regular basis.

I am no psychologist, but I have a sense that the torture and isolation McCain endured while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam has much to do with his violent tendencies and eagerness to take military action just about everywhere in the world, for what he believes is even the slightest affront to our nation.

We live in a competitive capitalist world. Attempting to isolate and economically punish competitors we disagree with politically only hurts us. Dozens of American companies have been devastated financially by the “sanctions” on Russia, which only temporarily affected that nation because it is the seventh largest economy in the world. Every nation in Central and South America, as well as Africa and Asia, ignored the American and European “sanctions.” The Russian ruble took a dive last year, but has risen 35% so far this year. What exactly was gained for Americans? The CIA plan so loved by John McCain to take over Russia’s only warm water port failed, and now nuclear-equipped bombers are stationed in the Crimea instead of antiquated naval vessels. Meanwhile, the economy of the Ukraine has been destroyed.

The 1960’s are over. It was easy for the CIA to overthrow leftist governments in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile back then; but that strategy just hasn’t worked well recently in Egypt, Yemen, Syria, or Libya. The world is more complex, and men such as McCain who can only think in terms of black and white are not an asset.

Just as the 1960’s are over, it is time for John McCain’s political career to be over. There is just no place in the Senate for a Republican, bellicose, ‘war is always the answer’, yelping lapdog for the Saudi royals and Barack Obama. John McCain needs to be sitting in front of a TV in a room with pastel walls in Arizona, not on Fox News promoting world disorder.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

New Military Spending Bill Expands America’s Empire

On Friday, the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee U.S. involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come. The Republican majority resorted to trickery to evade the meager spending limitations imposed by the 2011 budget control act — limitations that did not, as often reported, cut military spending but only slowed its growth.

But not even slower growth is enough when you have an empire to maintain worldwide, so the House majority slipped into the military spending bill an extra $89 billion for an emergency war fund. Such “emergency” spending is not addressed in the growth caps placed on the military under the 2011 budget control act. It is a loophole filled by Congress with Fed-printed money.

Ironically, a good deal of this “emergency” money will go to President Obama’s war on ISIS, even though neither the House nor the Senate has debated — let alone authorized — that war! Although House leadership allowed 135 amendments to the defense bill — with many on minor issues like regulations on fire hoses — an effort by a small group of Representatives to introduce an amendment to debate the current U.S. war in Iraq and Syria was rejected.

While squashing debate on ongoing but unauthorized wars, the bill also pushed the administration toward new conflicts. Despite the president’s unwise decision to send hundreds of U.S. military trainers to Ukraine, a move that threatens the current shaky ceasefire, Congress wants even more U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The military spending bill included $300 million to directly arm the Ukrainian government even as Ukrainian leaders threaten to again attack the breakaway regions in the east. Does Congress really think U.S.-supplied weapons killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine is a good idea?

The defense authorization bill also seeks to send yet more weapons into Iraq. This time, the House wants to send weapons directly to the Kurds in northern Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi government. Although these weapons are supposed to be used to fight ISIS, we know from too many prior examples that they often find their way into the hands of the very people we are fighting. Also, arming an ethnic group seeking to break away from Baghdad and form a new state is an unwise infringement of the sovereignty of Iraq. It is one thing to endorse the idea of secession as a way to reduce the possibility of violence, but it is quite something else to arm one side and implicitly back its demands.

While the neocons keep pushing the lie that the military budget is shrinking under the Obama Administration, the opposite is true. As the CATO Institute pointed out recently, President George W. Bush’s average defense budget was $601 billion, while during the Obama administration the average has been $687 billion. This bill is just another example of this unhealthy trend.

Next year’s military spending plan keeps the U.S. on track toward destruction of its economy at home while provoking new resentment over U.S. interventionism overseas. It is a recipe for disaster. Let’s hope for either a presidential veto, or that on final passage Congress rejects this bad bill.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

American Double Standards On Display In Ukraine

Last week, two prominent Ukrainian opposition figures were gunned down in broad daylight. They join as many as ten others who have been killed or committed suicide under suspicious circumstances just this year. These individuals have one important thing in common: they were either part of or friendly with the Yanukovych government, which a US-backed coup overthrew last year. They include members of the Ukrainian parliament and former chief editors of major opposition newspapers.

While some journalists here in the U.S. have started to notice the strange series of opposition killings in Ukraine, the U.S. government has yet to say a word.

Compare this to the U.S. reaction when a single opposition figure was killed in Russia earlier this year. Boris Nemtsov was a member of a minor political party that was not even represented in the Russian parliament. Nevertheless, the U.S. government immediately demanded that Russia conduct a thorough investigation of his murder, suggesting the killers had a political motive.

As news of the Russian killing broke, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) did not wait for evidence to blame the killing on Russian president Vladimir Putin. On the very day of Nemtsov’s murder, Royce told the US media that, “this shocking murder is the latest assault on those who dare to oppose the Putin regime.”

Neither Royce, nor Secretary of State John Kerry, nor President Obama, nor any U.S. government figure has said a word about the series of apparently political murders in Ukraine.

On the contrary, instead of questioning the state of democracy in what looks like a lawless Ukraine, the Administration is sending in the U.S. military to help train Ukrainian troops!

Last week, just as the two political murders were taking place, the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade landed in Ukraine to begin training Ukrainian national guard forces — and to leave behind some useful military equipment. Though the civil unrest continues in Ukraine, the U.S. military is assisting one side in the conflict — even as the U.S. slaps sanctions on Russia over accusations it is helping out the other side!

As the ceasefire continues to hold, though shakily, what kind of message does it send to the US-backed government in Kiev to have U.S. troops arrive with training and equipment and an authorization to gift Kiev with some $350 million in weapons? Might they not take this as a green light to begin new hostilities against the breakaway regions in the east?

The Obama administration is so inconsistent in its foreign policy. In some places, particularly Cuba and Iran, the administration is pursuing a policy that looks to diplomacy and compromise to help improve decades of bad relations. In these two cases, the administration realizes that the path of confrontation has led nowhere. When the president announced his desire to see the end of Cuba sanctions, he stated very correctly that, “…we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new.”

So while Obama is correctly talking about sanctions relief for Iran and Cuba, he is adding more sanctions on Russia, backing Saudi Arabia’s brutal attack on Yemen, and pushing ever harder for regime change in Syria. Does he really believe the rest of the world does not see these double standards? A wise consistency of non-interventionism in all foreign affairs would be the correct course for this and future US administrations. Let us hope they will eventually follow Obama’s observation that, “it’s time to try something new.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth