THE BLOG
09/16/2014 10:57 am ET Updated Nov 16, 2014

Ukraine: Don't Rush to Judgment

It is not unusual for people to believe the propaganda that their side spews out non-stop with swaggering bravado. That's why propaganda exists. It works time after time, in every part of the world.

In viewing the crisis in Ukraine, it is important to first examine our own propaganda.

Do our news sources mention the U.S. role in Ukraine? Do they write or talk about the amount of money the U.S. poured into the last Ukrainian election in an attempt to prevent Yanukovych from being elected? Do they tell us about the NGOs that USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy have been funding in the Ukraine and with what purpose? Do they question the expansion of NATO up to Russia's borders?

Only the last question has received any attention and not very much at that. In focusing on Russia's transgressions, our media simply ignores our own transgressions. So, unless we are motivated to do our own research, we remain uninformed about our country's role in Ukraine.

In the past year, the National Endowment for Democracy allocated nearly $3.5 million to various NGOs in Ukraine. The largest amounts went to the Center for International Private Enterprise and the International Republican Institute. Many smaller grants went to NGOs manned by young people who are trained to activate the citizenry. It's said to be non-partisan, but the funders have a definite political agenda.

Of course, our government agencies do some very good work in other parts of the world, but there is also a dark side to our presence in some foreign countries. U.S. interference in foreign elections and aiding coups has been well-documented.

The coup in Chile that unseated a democratically-elected president (Salvador Allende) and replaced him with the murderous Pinochet is a case in point. The coup in Venezuela that unseated Hugo Chavez for a mere three days is another example of a CIA-backed coup.

When the cold war ended, the Warsaw Pact that consisted of the USSR and Eastern Europe, was dissolved. But, NATO expanded, right up to Russia's door. How would we react if we lost the cold war and the Warsaw Pact countries put troops in Canada and Mexico?

As for economic sanctions, what right do we have to impose sanctions on Russia? I didn't notice Putin placing economic sanctions on the U.S. when we invaded Iraq or Afghanistan. The main difference in these two scenarios is that Iraq and Afghanistan are a world away from our borders, while the Crimea was actually once part of Russia.

In summary, this situation is not about good guys and bad guys. It is about the many shades of gray that are usually part of international diplomacy.

It is unfortunate that many opinions one reads or hears about, regarding the Ukraine, are simply rehashed media sound bites. Attaining a more nuanced overview is critical in understanding and solving international problems like this one.