The Ukrainian crisis didn’t appear to be bloodless, but the situation hasn’t gone that far to ruin the country. The head of state seems to be more agreeable from day to day, taking into consideration opposition’s requirements, but still the world is concerned with the situation and has been trying to offer its mediation to the crisis. The Voice of Russia talked to Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, author of the article "Why Does Ukraine Seem So Much Like Syria?".
In his article Daniel McAdams says that Ukraine resembles Syria, not only from the point of violence outburst, but also as a reflection of the impact of world powers in the conflicts, especially that of the US.
Bashar Assad resisted for three years, Mr Yanukovich seems to be more agreeable so far. How do you think Yanukovich will act in the future?
I don’t think he will have much opportunity to act at all. I think his days as president are numbered. You see in Ukraine what I think you could call Orange Revolution part 2. The first Orange Revolution in 2004 only changed the government and as we know it was easily changed back when the people had the opportunity to exercise their vote again. So, what they needed was a real revolution to change the entire system rather than the government and that is what I think you see on the ground, that is what you see in writing today.
Do you see any other politicians in the country that are obviously more popular than Yanukovich?
That doesn’t matter as much. I’ve been an election observer for a number of years, Ukraine is in revolutionary situation, there are revolutionary committees that seem not dissimilar to those we saw in places like the French revolution even. It is almost impossible to hold a free election when you have armed revolutionary committee at the polling places. I witnessed it in places including in Albania in 1990s. So, the idea is that you will have a free election in this kind of environment is very laughable.
What political forces will benefit from the crisis in Ukraine?
I think it is not up for me to say what is good for Ukraine or what Ukraine should do, but I think if violence is stopped, I think it is a very positive thing. My job is to look at US foreign policy and US interventionism, so who will benefit is probably interventionists in the EU and in the US. But what they will have achieved is establishing a precedent that if you are violent enough in the streets, you can overturn a decision made by a democratically elected government. And I don’t think that EU or the US understands the implications of this destruction of democratic process. Any mob can overturn the government now if it doesn’t agree with its policies -- and it is incredibly dangerous.
We see that Syria, for example, has its own model of democracy, without a clear pro- or anti-Western tilt. Is Ukraine democratically-polarized or is it going through some kind of unique transformation?
I think there is a lot made of the polarization of east and west in Ukraine -- perhaps too much is made of that. But what you do see in there is a similarity in these two situations and if the US and the west seek out the most radical of those who are trying to overthrow their governments in Syria, you see the US providing aid to the most violent radical Islamists and jihadists, and in Ukraine you see pictures of people like Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and John McCain, Senator from Arizona meeting with politicians whose political perspectives are very questionable to say the least. Extremists I think would be a lightweight, talking about it.
Do you think foreign intervention is necessary in Ukraine? Is the country capable of resolving its internal problems independently?
Foreign intervention is never necessary. Foreign intervention is a violation of state sovereignty. A state is sovereign for a reason. It is not an ideal situation but it allows individual to vote for a government and to expect that government returns something for that vote. What it should return is a promise of some security to protect them from mobs in the street, that is what state sovereignty is about. Interventionism undermines and distorts that. Especially when it is done from the outside whether be from EU, US, Russia, imposing foreign interests on a country. It is always negative.
What role does the US play in all this?
I think we heard from the recorded conversation between Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt what role the US has been playing all along. And it is funny that each time the opposition in Ukraine met with US handlers, they came back and radicalized the situation even further. So, one wonders, we hear from the recorded conversation that they were micromanaging this coup d’etat against the democratically elected government. So, if you look at the role they’ve played it’s been incredibly detailed. That is true with EU. You have Radoslaw Sikorski, the foreign minister of Poland on the ground in the square as we speak, telling people they need to do this and that, and sign the agreement. It is unprecedented.
If you are saying that US in a way is orchestrating what is happening there, at least opposition-wise, some people say that it was actually Yanukovich and his side that actually initiated this latest turn of violence when they dispersed people on Maidan square. What do you think about that?
I think violence is always to be condemned whether it is government side or protestors’ side. Violence is a terrible thing. However, I can only speak about the US. I can’t tell Ukrainians what to do. What I can say is that if anyone attempted a demonstration in Washington DC that was even remotely similar to what we saw in Independent Square in Kiev, there would be a lot more bloodshed. Look in the 1990s in Seattle Washington when they had WTO demonstrations, US government called the National Guard to put down this protest which was much smaller and much less threatening to the regime than the one in Kiev. So, there is a good deal of hypocrisy in the US telling Ukrainian authorities that they cannot use force to disperse those who are trying to overthrow their government, when the US would use force much greater than this.
Voice of Russia
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