Paul: What should we do about Crimea?
Is Crimea about to explode? The mainstream media reports that Russia has amassed troops on the border with Ukraine and may be spoiling for a fight. The Russians claim to have stopped a Ukrainian sabotage team that snuck into Crimea to attack key infrastructure. The Russian military is holding exercises in Crimea and Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the peninsula last week.
The Ukrainians have complained to their western supporters that a full-scale Russian invasion is coming, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he may have to rule by martial law due to the Russian threat.
Though the U.S. media pins the blame exclusively on Russia for these tensions, in reality there is plenty of blame to go around. We do know that the U.S. government has been involved with "regime change" in Ukraine repeatedly since the break up of the Soviet Union. The U.S. was deeply involved with the "Orange Revolution" that overthrew elected president Viktor Yanukovych in 2005. And we know that the U.S. government was heavily involved in another coup that overthrew the same elected Yanukovych again in 2014.
How do we know that the U.S. was behind the 2014 coup? For one, we have the intercepted telephone call between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. In the recording, the two U.S. officials are plotting to remove the elected government and discussing which U.S. puppet they will put in place.
You would think such undiplomatic behavior could get diplomats fired, but sadly in today's State Department it can actually get you promoted! Nuland is widely expected to get a big promotion — perhaps to even Secretary of State — in a Hillary Clinton administration, and Geoffrey Pyatt has just moved up to an ambassadorship in Athens.
Ambassador Pyatt can't seem to control himself: Just as tensions were peaking between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea this month, he published a series of Tweets urging Ukraine to take back Crimea. Is this how our diplomats overseas should be acting? Should they be promoting actions they know will lead to war?
When the mainstream media discusses Crimea they are all lock-step: that's the peninsula Putin annexed. Never do they mention that there was a referendum in which the vast majority of the population (who are mostly ethnic Russians) voted to join Russia. The US media never reports on this referendum because it produced results that Washington doesn't like. How arrogant it must sound to the rest of the world that Washington reserves the right to approve or disapprove elections thousands of miles away — meanwhile we find out from the DNC hacked files that we don't have a lot of room to criticize elections overseas.
What should we do about Ukraine and Russia? We should stop egging Ukraine on, we should stop subsidizing the government in Kiev, we should stop NATO exercises on the Russian border, we should end sanctions, we should return to diplomacy, we should send the policy of "regime change" to the dustbin of history. The idea that we would be facing the prospect of World War III over which flag flies above a tiny finger of land that most U.S. politicians couldn't find on a map is utterly ridiculous. When are we going to come to our senses?
Ron Paul is a former congressman and presidential candidate. He can be reached at the RonPaulInstitute.org.