Before we begin, allow me this caveat: What you are about to read is by no means a justification, rationalizing or endorsement of what has, thus far, come to pass in Crimea. Vladimir Putin’s orchestration of events — assuming he was involved in said orchestrations — would be as shameful as, say, a country brandishing fabricated intelligence data as pretense for invading another sovereign nation.
That said, we can move on …
I have long had a fascination with Eastern Europe, both when it was part of the defunct Soviet Union and now that the region is a collection of freed countries. I have friends in the Czech sector of the old Czechoslovakia, in Romania and the Ukraine. As well as those, I have traveled through Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia and Russia. So I’ve been watching with interest greater than most of the events that have unfolded in Ukraine over the last several months and which most recently culminated in Crimea packing off to Russia. And what I have come to realize — after reading and hearing all the punditry — is that the West is highly hypocritical.
More important, though — much more important, actually — is that a larger message hides in plain view in what has transpired in Crimea. Don’t be surprised, I tell you now, when sentiments similar to those that cleaved apart Ukraine land on American shores.
The traditional — and even non-traditional — media accounts I’ve read or heard on the Crimea crisis all share elements of the same message: that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@SovereignInvest” suffix=”#Freedom”]Crimea’s recent referendum to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia is illegal.[/inlinetweet]
From what I’ve seen/read, this tends to be a U.S., British, European Union — i.e. Western — view of contemporary history. Most other nations are fairly quiet on this matter, either out of disinterest or, quite possibly, they, too, see hypocrisy in full flag and are smartly staying mum.
This handwringing over legality, though, misses the bigger point … free will.
Each of us has the right to self-determination — as individuals and as groups of like-minded peoples. Crimea was never part of the Ukraine. Crimean people have never considered themselves Ukrainian. This is not new. Crimea has been angling for separation from Ukraine since the early 1990s. Had it not been for Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 symbolically handing Crimea to Ukraine to celebrate a 300-year-old and long-forgotten treaty, none of this would be an issue.
But it is an issue. And it’s one the West is misplaying.
Imagine for a moment that, in a sign of symbolic union, U.S. President William McKinley gave Key West to Cuba in the late 1890s after the U.S. gained control over the island at the end of the Spanish-American War. What would be the American position on Key West voting to secede from Cuba and rejoin the motherland as disagreeable political forces in Cuba rose up? Would America deem a secession vote in Key West illegal? Or, as I suspect, would American politicians and patriotic commentators wave the banner of freedom and preach the right of the Key West people to make their own decisions about where to call home?
Crimea is no different. Crimeans are Russian at their core, and they have been since the earliest days of Russia’s history. They just want to go home.
Crimean leaders — maybe (probably) egged on by Moscow — used a crisis in Kiev to affect the change of ownership they’ve been seeking since the fall of the Soviet Union. Very convenient … just as it’s very convenient for President Obama and other Western leaders to forget history.
The American mindset, still brainwashed by Cold War hostilities, is quick to condemn anything the Russians do simply because it’s the Russians who did it. Again, I’m not implying Russia’s role in this affair is pure, and I’m not condoning Russia’s actions. Yet, we don’t condemn the Venetians for now wanting to leave Italy. We don’t condemn the Scots for wanting out of Britain. And we actually sided with what the U.S. originally labeled a terrorist organization in helping Kosovo secede from what was Yugoslavia.
We are inconsistent as a nation … and we are hypocritical. The only master America apparently serves is whichever one serves our national interest in the moment — and too often that means we act in contradictory ways that undermine American credibility at home and abroad.
This will return to us in unpleasant ways.
Revolution Born From Corruption
But as I said, Crimea is not a story of Russian aggression; it’s a story of free will and self-determination.
And it’s a story that will play out in America in the not-too-distant future.
As did Kiev under former president Yanukovych, our government has gone rogue. Outwardly, Congress, the various presidents we’ve had in recent years, and the dueling political parties are dividing the country between haves and have-nots with their policies and their preaching. But underneath, a much more powerful shadow government of security freaks, intelligence spies, über-powerful financiers and militarists is running roughshod over democracy and Constitutional law. Americans know this; we sense it. We can’t quite define it, but we know in our core that something is terribly amiss in America today.
This will not end well.
Unlimited power — and that is what the shadow government possesses — corrupts those who wield it. But from that corruption, revolution is born.
Maybe it will be a relatively quiet revolution, like Crimea’s peaceful vote to go home again, and we will see various states and regions bid adieu to the American experiment and start their own sovereign nations or autonomous republics.
Or, maybe it will be something more violent.
Either way, free will and self-determination will win. It always does in the end.
Until next time, stay Sovereign …
Jeff D. Opdyke
Editor, Profit Seeker
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