27 March 2014, 07:22

Before cast aspersions upon Russia, West should look at own interventions - expert

Before cast aspersions upon Russia, West should look at own interventions - expert

As the situation develops in Ukraine, Western countries are continuing to sharply criticize Vladimir Putin’s policy. The European leaders accused Russian President of Crimea’s occupation and interference in Ukraine’s domestic matters. "They seem to have a very short collective memory of their own actions. Before we start to cast aspersions upon Russia, what is happening in the Crimea, we need to look at last 15 years, the number of interventions as they call them, that the US has led, into the former Yugoslavia, the death and destruction that they caused there," Scott Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps magazine and the author of an article in the Chronicle Herald.

Why is the West taking such a harsh stance with respect to Russia when it comes to Crimea?

They seem to have a very short collective memory of their own actions. That is the whole purpose of the column – to remind people that before we start to cast aspersions upon Russia, what is happening in the Crimea, we need to look at last 15 years, the number of interventions as they call them, that the US has led, into the former Yugoslavia, the death and destruction that they caused there. There was no clarity on what was happening but they did redraw the map of Europe, particularly in Kosovo. That was without the UN sanctions that they went to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and Libya. It was where NATO jumped in on UN authorization to enforce a non-fly zone and properly launched several months long bombing campaign against Gadaffi. They had no moral authority, no right to do what they did. And yet they seem to have pushed it beyond and they are pointing the finger of blame at Vladimir Putin saying “you can’t just go around doing these things” when apparently if you are NATO, you can.

President Barack Obama has admitted that imposing sanctions against Russia will hurt the global economy, but proceeded with them nevertheless. What’s the logic in that?

Again North America and Canada have been the most strident in accusing the Russians of aggression and wanting to level sanctions and Canada led the judge to kick them out of G8, which again they’ve already withdrawn their Ambassador from Moscow. So, when there is a crisis like this, the first thing you want to do is keep dialogue open and by shutting that down and kicking them out of these organizations when a huge element of the Ukrainian crisis lies in the fact that the Ukrainian economy is in a toilet. That is the problem. It needs financing. Where is that coming from – either from the EU or from Russia? Whatever happens, has to be a decision that is agreed upon, whatever party takes power. They still will face the economic crisis. So, to kick out a member of the G8 makes no sense when they obviously have a vested interest of Russia that borders Ukraine. Canada for its part is taking its position so aggressively, it is based upon, and everybody in the media knows, and the parliamentarians admitted that, because we have 1.2 million Ukrainian Canadians, Canadians of Ukrainian decent. That is a lot of votes and that is a lot of votes in key electoral writings, which this government knows they need to win. So, that is why they are doing it. But if that allows us a stake at the table, I think that it would definitely give us a stake to Russia which has got a huge ethnic portion of Ukraine.

Could Americans’ persistence in trying to portray Russia as an aggressor be an attempt to restore President Barack Obama’s image both domestically and internationally?

It is always good to show your domestic support by having an external threat, and that has always been the case, whether it is going to be about increased defense spending, whatever you need, if you are going to create this cold war mentality, that there is now a new threat emerging, we need to protect ourselves from, it is classical. It has always been done. But in this case people forget how things have changed. Right now you’ve got Western Europe dependent upon Russian oil and natural gas, which is 40% of their imports. If you really want to start waving the sanctions around, it is going to really hit hard in Europe and that is why I don’t think the Canadians or even America have thought this through. The Europeans have got a much more vested interest. If it comes down and we have a new iron curtain descend upon the divisions in Europe based on Ukraine, you are going to have people in Berlin and Paris lined up for gas at the gas stations immediately. Industry will come to a crippling halt and their economies will tank as well. So, that is really not a possibility but the way we saw it around here, I should say that in Canada and North America, people have very little real knowledge of this stuff, of the situation of the crisis. It just seems that Russia has invaded a neighboring country and everybody else sees it black and white, you know “we need to do something, they can’t just go around doing that”. The referendum, whether they want to call it illegal or not, the fact was that it did demonstrate the will of the people and the right of self-determination was what they hinged in Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence back in 2008. There was no referendum in Kosovo, and Serbs would not have participated, and they certainly wouldn’t have accepted what is now the status-quo, that they effectively recognize as the country.

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