Letter writer Andrij Chornodolsky demands that the West confront Russia over the crisis in Crimea ("Stand up to Putin," March 4). But while long on eloquent phraseology, he's short on facts — the same facts that mainstream media coverage of the Ukrainian situation has consistently ignored.
First, the insurgents are not fighting for "democracy and justice," as Mr. Chornodolsky claims. Their demonstrations and rallies, up to and including the coup of Feb. 22, have been led by out-and-out, swastika-wearing Nazis, holdovers from the infamous Stefan Bandera apparatus that openly allied with Hitler during his 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union and murdered nearly 100,000 Poles and Jews in Ukraine during the occupation.
The naming of a leader of the Svoboda Party, whose racist slogan is "Ukraine for the Ukrainians," as the new government's chief prosecutor can only be compared to some nightmare scenario in which Nazi judge Roland Freisler was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Second, it is hypocritical for anyone to complain of Russian interference in Ukraine's internal affairs. Two months ago, U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland publicly bragged that between the U.S. government and private NGOs, a total of some $5 billion has been spent by the West to build up this Nazi-dominated revolt.
Ms. Nuland was subsequently caught on tape planning the overthrow of the democratically-elected Yanukovych regime and naming several of her preferences for new cabinet posts — all of which have been implemented since, as if reading directly from her script.
Even CIA Director John Brennan has admitted that the Russian troop deployment into Crimea is well below the 25,000 freely allowed under its 1997 treaty with Ukraine. In contrast, the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Libya were not only gross violations of sovereignty, but in the latter case lacked even the fig-leaf of congressional authorization for an operation that culminated in the assassination of a head of state.
Finally, Mr. Chornodolsky invokes the specter of Munich in 1938, and insists that the West stand with the coup leaders in Kiev — a truly bizarre image to conjure up when the chief rabbi of that city is urging all Jews to flee the impending wrath of those same "heroes."
Mr. Chornodolsky never specifies what so-called solidarity with Ukraine should mean. Western European leaders readily acknowledge that sanctions against Russia would hurt them far more than Russian President Vladimir Putin and his supporters. A staged run on the ruble could easily spill over, especially in today's hyper-fragile financial system, into a much bigger panic, bringing down the whole house of cards.
The truth is, the only real card the U.S. can play in this situation is military. This poses the fundamental question: Does anyone, including Mr. Chornodolsky, think it a wise idea to risk a nuclear World War III with Russia in defense of an illegal coup carried out by a gang of warmed-over fascists?
Kevin Gribbroek, Baltimore
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