Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why are We in Ukraine?

by Rep. Ron Paul

I strongly oppose H. Res. 339, a bill by the United States Congress which seeks to tell a sovereign nation how to hold its own elections. It seems the height of arrogance for us to sit here and lecture the people and government of Ukraine on what they should do and should not do in their own election process. One would have thought after our own election debacle in November 2000, that we would have learned how counterproductive and hypocritical it is to lecture other democratic countries on their electoral processes. How would members of this body – or any American – react if countries like Ukraine demanded that our elections here in the United States conform to their criteria? So I think we can guess how Ukrainians feel about this piece of legislation.

Ukraine has been the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid from the United States. In fiscal year 2002 alone, Ukraine was provided $154 million. Yet after all this money – which we were told was to promote democracy – and more than ten years after the end of the Soviet Union, we are told in this legislation that Ukraine has made little if any progress in establishing a democratic political system.

Far from getting more involved in Ukraine’s electoral process, which is where this legislation leads us, the United States is already much too involved in the Ukrainian elections. The U.S. government has sent some $4.7 million dollars to Ukraine for monitoring and assistance programs, including to train their electoral commission members and domestic monitoring organizations. There have been numerous reports of <U.S.-funded> non-governmental organizations in Ukraine being involved in pushing one or another political party. This makes it look like the United States is taking sides in the Ukrainian elections.

The legislation calls for the full access of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors to all aspects of the parliamentary elections, but that organization has time and time again, from Slovakia to Russia and elsewhere, shown itself to be unreliable and politically biased. Yet the United States continues to fund and participate in OSCE activities. As British writer John Laughland observed this week in The Guardian newspaper, “Western election monitoring has become the political equivalent of an Arthur Andersen audit. This supposedly technical process is now so corrupted by political bias that it would be better to abandon it. Only then will countries be able to elect their leaders freely.” I think this is advice we would be wise to heed.

Other aspects of this bill are likewise troubling. This bill seeks, from thousands of miles away and without any of the facts, to demand that the Ukrainian government solve crimes within Ukraine that have absolutely nothing to do with the United States. No one knows what happened to journalist Heorhiy Gongadze or any of the alleged murdered Ukrainian journalists, yet by adding it into this ill-advised piece of legislation we are sitting here suggesting that the government has something to do with the alleged murders. This meddling into the Ukrainian judicial system is inappropriate and counter-productive.

We are legislators in the United States Congress. We are not in Ukraine. We have no right to interfere in the internal affairs of that country and no business telling them how to conduct their elections. A far better policy toward Ukraine would be to eliminate any U.S.-government imposed barrier to free trade between Americans and Ukrainians.

Ron Paul, M.D., represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]