Back to Roots: American Democracy and Slavery
There have been many pretenders to world domination. They have all aspired to hegemony and claimed to have a unique mission to accomplish but each of them had special traits. What is the main specific feature of the American Empire to distinguish it from other empires in history? I believe it’s unparalleled hypocrisy penetrating the life in America and the country’s foreign policy.
There is nothing new here. The phenomenon has been described by Machiavelli and many others. At that the history teaches that rulers normally understood that being an absolute hypocrite did not stand them in good stead so they stopped at some point.
The American politicians and state leaders do not realize the extent of double standards practiced by the United States and based on the principle Quod licet Jovi non licet bovi («Gods may do what cattle may not» or «what is permitted to one person or group, is not permitted to everyone»).
They find it normal to combine the blind faith in America as an example of real democracy with the conduct on the international scene which is incompatible with the principle of freedom.
The inconsistency has always been a specific feature of US history forming the world vision of America’s ruling circles and it is deeply enrooted in conscience.
The double standard mindset was formed because since its birth the United States has always existed simultaneously in what appears to be two parallel worlds.
On the one hand, it was the most modern state structure, a kind of «a shining city on a hill», on the other hand, the US was an egregious example of horrible slavery. Those times defined the mindset which allows for being a democrat with modern thinking and a slave owner treating people like cattle at the very same time.
Recently archeologists have unearthed the remains a hidden passageway used by slaves at the estate of George Washington’s presidential home. It was designed so Washington’s guests would not see slaves as they slipped in and out of the main house.
Washington lived and conducted presidential business at the house in the 1790s, when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital. They also found a large basement with chains and tools for torture to punish the slaves.
If the founder of the United States tortured people, then why not torture them at Guantanamo?
It’s worth to note that 59% of Americans support such methods of interrogation in case the people to be tortured are allegedly involved in terrorist activities. But it matters who is going to hand down a ruling and decide that the accusations were substantiated or not.
The issue of slavery was not even taken into consideration when the US Constitution was written. Instead the founding fathers resorted to hypocritical circumlocutions.
The section 2 of the Article IV states that «The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States». (1) The people are still divided into blacks and whites as the events in Fergusson and other American cities confirm.
Democracy in America, (De la Démocratie en Amérique) by Alexis de Tocqueville was published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840. It is the most well-known globally and still unparalleled publication devoted to US political system, a kind of Holy Scripture for many generations of liberals.
The book provides a brilliant description of the way the people’s mindset was formed in America. Alexis de Tocqueville emphasized that it expedient to read his book along with the study Marie, ou, L’esclavage aux Etats-Unis (Marie or Slavery in the United States) published by his friend Gustave de Beaumont, a novel describing the separation of races in a moral society and the conditions of slaves in the USA.
In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont, two liberal-minded French aristocrats, were sent by the French government to study the American prison system. In his later letters Tocqueville indicates that he and Beaumont used their official business as a pretext to study American society instead.
They spent nine months traveling the United States collecting information on the country, including its religious, political, and economic character. It should be noted that the book by Alexis de Tocqueville is recommended for study in the US universities while Marie, ou, L’esclavage aux Etats-Unis, a fictional study, was first translated into English (or any foreign language) and saw light as a small-circulation publication only in 1958 – in the times of Martin Luther King.
The both books were elements of one comprehensive fundamental study. At that only the part more palatable to the national consciousness was offered to public. It’s a pity the book written by Beaumont has never been published in Russian language to make the Russian intelligencia more reserved in its admiration of American civilization.
The main idea of the study is stated in the introductory part.
The author believed that the racial prejudice which presupposed that people can be categorized as an inferior race doomed to live in slavery would have fatal consequences for American society, «Each day it deepens the abyss which separates the two races and pursues them in every phase of social and political life; it governs the mutual relations of the whites and the colored men, corrupting the habits of the first, whom it accustoms to domination and tyranny, and ruling the fates of the Negroes, whom it dooms to the persecution of the whites; and it generates between them hatreds so violent, resentments so lasting, clashes so dangerous, that one may rightly say it will influence the whole future of American society».(2)
The author wrote that the American blacks lived in inhumane conditions and it ran contrary to God’s purpose and the natural rights of individuals. Over and over again Beaumont repeats that slavery corrupts free people making them inclined to double thinking – something that puts their lives under risk. According to the author, evidently sooner or later the conditions would change to make slaves take revenge for their humiliation. (3)
Beaumont dissipates the widely spread myth that the disgrace of slavery took place only in the American South while the North was consistent in its fight for the rights of Blacks. According to the author, slavery was forbidden in the North for very pragmatic reasons.
There were few colored people living there and the North had no desire to introduce slavery because it would inevitably increase their numbers. At the same time, life showed that «in the most enlightened Northern states, the antipathy separating one race from the other remains the same, and, what is worthy of note, several of these states have decreed in their laws the inferiority of the blacks». (4)
Even free blacks did not enjoy the same rights as whites. There was a long list of what was forbidden and inaccessible for them. Beaumont describes the numerous cases when blacks were subject to bloody pogroms for trying to exercise the most fundamental rights in such «free» cities as New York and Philadelphia.
As a result, colored people escaped in a great quantity being afraid for their lives and, subsequently, trying to find a refuge wherever it was possible, «Thus, the Negroes, freed by the North, are forced by tyranny into the Southern states, and find refuge only in the midst of slavery» (5).
The habit to view others as soulless agricultural tools led to callous tyranny practiced by masters towards their slaves. As the author puts it, «It is the coldest and most intelligent tyranny ever exercised by the master over the slave». (6)
Beaumont thought that it couldn’t last forever, he believed that «The storm is visibly gathering, one can hear its distant rumblings; but none can say whom the lighting will strike». (7) The Alexis de Tocqueville’s book is perceived almost as an eulogy to the American system.
But he shared the opinion of his friend in regard to the slavery in the United States. Simply his study was devoted to other issues. At that he noted those the book written by Beaumont was recommended for those who wanted to understand how extremely cruel could become those who defied the laws of nature and humaneness. (8)
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that «Generally speaking it requires great and constant efforts for men to create lasting ills; but there is one evil which has percolated furtively into the world: at first it was hardly noticed among the usual abuses of power; it began with an individual whose name history does not record; it was cast like an accursed seed somewhere on the ground; it then nurtured itself, grew without effort, and spread with the society that accepted it; that evil was slavery». (9)
Trying to look into the future he noted that «The moderns, then, after they have abolished slavery, have three prejudices to contend against, which are less easy to attack, and far less easy to conquer, than the mere fact of servitude: the prejudice of the master, the prejudice of the race, and the prejudice of color.
It is difficult for us, who have had the good fortune to be born among men like ourselves by nature, and equal to ourselves by law, to conceive the irreconcilable differences which separate the negro from the European in America.
But we may derive some faint notion of them from analogy. France was formerly a country in which numerous distinctions of rank existed, that had been created by the legislation.
Nothing can be more fictitious than a purely legal inferiority; nothing more contrary to the instinct of mankind than these permanent divisions which had been established between beings evidently similar. Nevertheless these divisions subsisted for ages; they still subsist in many places; and on all sides they have left imaginary vestiges, which time alone can efface.
If it be so difficult to root out an inequality which solely originates in the law, how are those distinctions to be destroyed which seem to be founded upon the immutable laws of nature herself?» He added, «I see that in a certain portion of the territory of the United States at the present day, the legal barrier which separated the two races is tending to fall away, but not that which exists in the manners of the country; slavery recedes, but the prejudice to which it has given birth remains stationary.
Whosoever has inhabited the United States, must have perceived, that in those parts of the Union in which the negroes are no longer slaves, they have in nowise drawn nearer to the whites.
On the contrary, the prejudice of the race appears to be stronger in the states which have abolished slavery, than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those states where servitude has never been known». (10)
Of course, as the men of vision, the both Frenchmen wrote that slavery gave rise to double conscience and influenced the internal evolution of US people. But the home-grown hypocrisy of American politicians rapidly spread on foreign policy.
That’s why they behave like masters towards other peoples (the sounds of whip used by slave owner is heard behind them) and practice double standards in international relations. The history provides plenty of such examples. Slavery is the main driving force behind the gradual process of turning the United States of America into a total empire of hypocrisy with no historic analogues.
PART I NOTES
(2) Beaumont Gustave de, Marie, or, Slavery in the United States: a novel of Jacksonian America, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1999, p. 5-6
(3) Ibid, p.210
(4) Ibid, p.214
(5) Ibid, p.252
(6) Ibid, p.200
(7) Ibid, p.216
(8) Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America.
(9) Ibid, p.253
(10) Ibid, p.254
This is the year of great events in the United States as the country marks the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War. No other moment of American history has influenced more its national self-identification. The war has become an inalienable part of political mythology and a symbol of atonement as the country washed away the sin of slavery established in the society since the nation was born.
It is perceived as the triumph of good over evil. In reality it was not a war to free slaves – this perception has nothing to do with real historic events and shows how hypocritical the whole US national ideology is. The free interpretation of national history to foster the self-esteem of Americans and the US prestige leads to the same attitude practiced by American researchers toward the historic heritage of other countries as well.
There was no talk about slavery for a long time after the Civil War between the North and the South sparked in 1861. Slavery was an issue to divide the belligerents but it was not what caused the war. It’s important to emphasize that the warring sides did not take arms over this particular issue.
Abraham Lincoln got only 40% of popular vote in 1960 to become President. The «President –Liberator» did not think that slavery was an efficient economic model. He was an outspoken racist to solemnly promise not to change the established order.
During the pre-election campaign he said, «I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.
And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race». (Debate at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858). (1)
In his first inaugural address on March 4, 1861 Lincoln he said, «I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.
Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them». He promised to abide by law and return runway slaves from the North to the South. According to Lincoln, «There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor.
The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions: No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in consequence of any law or regulation therein be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due». (2)
Only then generations of researchers turned the war started during the President’s tenure into «the struggle for liberty» and painted an aureole over the head of Lincoln, the Liberator – the image he did not really deserve.
The Compromise of 1850, a series of legislative bargains over the western territories and slavery, when each side promised to preserve the status quo, suited perfectly the slave-owning South as it was eyeing Central and South America (full annexation of Mexico, buying Cuba etc.).
At that the South questioned the existing economic and political order. Southerners believed Washington grabbed too much power. The South and the North argued about a wide range of issues. Slavery was not one of them. Southerners believed the plight of slaves was even worse in the North.
Suffice it to say that General Robert Lee, the Commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1962 to until his surrender in 1865, was a convinced opponent of slavery (3), while General Ulysses S. Grant, the Commander of the Union’s Army to become the 18th President of USA (1869–1877), was an outright racist and xenophobe. (4)
The South did not particularly like the North’s tariff policy and the dependence on the New England’s banks. The South accounted for 60% of US total cotton exports. But it had to import industrial goods. The South wanted free trade.
The North tried to protect its young industry from competitors. All the ships that took cotton from Southern ports to come back with industrial goods belonged to Northerners. Financial institutes in the South were mainly under the control of Northerners who did not intervene with slavery – the source of their income.
Slaves worked to grow cotton which was exported to bring in profit. At that 40 cents out of every dollar were left in New York. Southerners did not like the dependence. One of them said that it was like financial slavery. (5)
James Henry Hammond, the governor of South Carolina in 18420-1844, the state which initiated the cessation, said in his diary (August 7, 1844) that he did not see how the Union could remain intact as the North was resolutely and successfully imposing taxes on the South to pursue its interests.
He said peaceful disunion was his only hope. Hammond believed that secession was inevitable. It could have been done peacefully and decently. He said back then that in a few years it would lead to bloodshed and turn the South into an enslaved land. (6)
The Democrats’ victory at the 1856 election allowed reducing tariffs to record low 17% in 1857. The same year the country was hit by economic crisis and financial panic.
To large extent it was explained by the consequences of Crimean War of 1853-1855 (the US grabbed the Russia’s share of world markets but had to give ground as Russia bounced back from the devastation of war while America faced an economic slump). With Lincoln in power the tariffs increased the effective rate collected on dutiable imports by approximately 70% (Morill Tariff). (7)
There were other issues to divide the sides. For instance, there was no agreement on the status of slavery in the new Western territories and the construction of railroads there (should they be built across the Southern states or through the lands lying in the country’s north?), the distribution of state resources and the share of power in general were contentious issues dividing the South and the North. The problem of tariffs dominated the agenda to finally determine the South’s aspiration for independence.
The slavery issue came to the fore in about two years since the war started when the Confederate Army was winning the battle. A paradox: the successes achieved by the Confederate Army led by Robert Lee, not the victories held by the Northern forces led by Ulysses Grant, finally led to the liberation of slaves in America.
In the spring of 1862, the Union Army of the Potomac took the offensive on the Virginia Peninsula, where its ultimate target was Richmond, the Confederate capital. Back then Lincoln did not even give a thought to the issue of slavery.
Throughout 1861–62, Lincoln made it clear that the North was fighting the war to preserve the Union. In late 1862 freeing the slaves became a war measure to weaken the rebellion by destroying the economic base of its leadership class.
Abolitionists criticized Lincoln for his slowness, but on August 22, 1862, Lincoln explained: «I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be «the Union as it was». … My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that». (Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862). (8)
The issue of slavery became important when in summer and autumn General Lee repelled all the attacks by Northerners and moved to Washington. Anti-war feeling grew stronger among the people of Northern states. They resisted the 1862 conscription. The French Foreign Minister said that by September 1862 no serious politician in Europe believed that the North could have won. (9)
Under the critical circumstances the President signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Lincoln and his advisors limited the proclamation’s language to slavery in states outside of federal control as of 1862, failing to address the contentious issue of slavery within the nation’s border states. In his attempt to appease all parties, Lincoln left many loopholes open that civil rights advocates were forced to tackle in the future.
Slavery lasted till the end of war in the territories under the Northern control and the adjacent slave states that stayed in the Union (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware). Only America’s propensity to «double thinking» allowed this war to be called «the war against slavery».
The North had to abolish slavery for the simple reason of having around 200 thousand blacks under arms in the Union’s army by 1865. They made the Union’s victory possible.
Actually blacks liberated themselves. On August 1863, when the tide of war turned in favor of the Union, General Grant wrote to Lincoln: «have given the subject of arming the Negro my hearty support. This with the emancipation of the Negro is the heaviest blow yet to the Confederacy.
The South raves a great deal about it and professes to be very angry. But they were united in their action before and with the Negro under subjection could spare their entire white population for the field. Now they complain that nothing can be got out of their negroes». (10)
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption.
It was a forced measure. Blacks never got real freedom. We can witness it today. According to historian William Gillette, the majority of white Americans had absolute belief in the superiority of their race.
This attitude doomed any effort to really guarantee the rights of black people. Whites perceived blacks as lower race which was not ready or able to fully participate in the country’s life. In their eyes the war that had just ended had no relation to the struggle for liberty. All attempts to grant blacks equal rights were misunderstood and only evoked exasperation. (11)
The US has its own vision of how the Civil War between the North and the South is interrelated with the contemporary war in Ukraine. The stereotypes of the confrontation between the forces of «good and freedom» and the forces of «evil and enslavement» are deeply enrooted in people’s conscience. This fact is taken advantage of.
Alexander Motyl, a Ukrainian-American Political Scientist, Rutgers University, has been working for Western research centers since a long time ago.
According to Huffington Post, Motyl is angry that «Many journalistic accounts – as well as the Kremlin’s propaganda machine – depict the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine’s separatist Donbass region and the Crimea as an aggrieved ethnic minority clamoring for nothing more than greater autonomy and cultural and language rights. Seen in this light, Kiev and ethnic Ukrainians are the victimizers. The Donbass and its Russians are the victims.
To put the conflict in American terms, Kiev is white America and the Russian-speaking regions are black America». To counter such vision of things Motyl resorts to the double standards he has learned in the United States. For instance, he says that it were Russians who neglected the physical needs and civil and cultural rights of the peninsula’s Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians since 1991.
According to him, the two Donbass provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk have also had «de facto autonomy» from Kiev. Since the 1930s, they’ve been the bastions of «Ukraine’s Stalinist Communist Party», which remained highly influential until the revolution and war of 2013-2014.
That’s why, as he puts it, «both the Crimea and the Donbass witnessed the absolute hegemony of Russian language and culture». This way the Russian language is declared to be «the language of «oppressors» and «the followers of Stalin».
Motyl affirms that Russians in Ukraine belonged to «white race, while Ukrainians were «blacks». More to that, Motyl emphasizes that Russians «have also proven to be the most reactionary, intolerant and illiberal population within Ukraine».
American Ukrainian Motyl does not even wink an eye comparing the supporters of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics with Ku-Klux-Klan and the racists of American Deep South. He also draws parallels between «peaceful Maidan protesters» and Martin Luther King.
He says the right-wing Svoboda party’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has sounded remarkably like Malcom X (12) Tyahnybok, a fighter for the purity of race, will hardly feel happy about such a comparison.
The ideology of «Hypocrisy Empire» spills over beyond the borders of the United States to other countries becoming even more destructive and perverse.
(To be continued)
PART II NOTES
Why the use of Soft Power leads to grave consequences
The hypocrisy intrinsic to American policy is especially apparent in the use of soft or smart power. Joseph Nye, former Deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, coined the term. He had accumulated the experience of reaching the political goals without the use of force to make it an independent policy direction.
According to him, «Soft power is the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments. It arises from the attractiveness of a country’s culture, political ideals, and policies. When our policies are seen as legitimate in the eyes of others, our soft power is enhanced». (1) Then he concluded that soft power alone was not enough so he came up with combination of hard and soft power to create optimal strategies in particular contexts.
Power is the ability to affect others to get what you want, and that requires a set of tools. Some of these are tools of coercion or payment, or hard power, and some are tools of attraction, or soft power. But soft power or hard power, American politicians always want the same thing – to establish their superiority at the lowest possible price. The White House primarily saw the smart power as an effective instrument of manipulation.
Actually it was manipulation that brought Obama to power. His duplicity became evident when he received the Nobel Prize. It’s not clear what achievements made him a prize-winner. Back then he said something totally inconsistent with the purpose of the ceremony, «We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.» (2)
Perhaps it was not the fault of Joseph Nye – he was misunderstood. Citing scholars politicians always pick up only what sounds right to serve their point.
For instance, Joseph Nye envisioned the possibility of one power undermining another, especially as a result of the actions undertaken by military. He believed that economic sanctions rarely result in achieving political goals because they first hurt common people, not ruling elites.
Even financial aid often results in more corruption, including among the ranks of privileged. By undermining the balance between social groups it rather leads to exasperation instead of desired reaction.
According to Nye, some saw soft power in the XXI century as a form of cultural imperialism. Mythmaking becomes a currency of soft power and governments compete with each other and other actors to gain more trust while debilitating the confidence in others.
Clumsy shots in a propaganda war may provoke derision; they could be counterproductive to tarnish the country’s reputation and undermine its credibility. Too much coercion may be damageable if it leads to excessive self-confidence. In this case soft power happens to be nothing more than a cover for hard power to prevent the accomplishment of set goals.
For instance, the scenes of mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the Abu Ghraib have not only reduced trust in American values but rather engendered strong belief that they were permeated by hypocrisy.
The Obama administration ignored all the Joseph Nye’s warnings. The double standards did not make the US policy more attractive neither in the Middle East, nor Ukraine. Former European commissioner for international relations Chris Patten says that when even high standing foreign officials meet someone from US administration they should remember that they are not the ones who call the shots.
No matter how polite Americans could be, an official is made feel dependent and the task is to demonstrate zeal hoping to get away with the blessings for one’s future endeavors. Going abroad American officials bring along retinues big enough to make Persian King Darius envy them.
They book entire hotels, city life stops, men with bull necks and communication earpieces knock out innocent pedestrians on the streets. It’s not the way to capture hearts and souls, says Chris Patten. But it’s only one side of the coin.
The other side is the fact that ensuing repercussions are to be faced by those soft or smart power is targeted at. They are catastrophic. The new strategy of the White House destabilizes the situation in the world and kills people even more than hard power does because it’s built on provoking internal conflicts and dissemination of uncontrollable chaos. By no possible stretch of imagination could Joseph Nye see himself giving birth to this type of Frankenstein.
In the eyes of Washington the need to democratize (meaning a bloody regime change in a country) depends on the loyalty to «democratizer» (the United States). Well-known US political scholar Fareed Zakaria writes that the United States never uttered a word when democrats in Taiwan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were made to keep their mouths shut.
Mr. Zakaria believes that if Washington makes exclusions from the rule, then others will follow the suit. The US has the option of making no exclusions. But to do neither or to call for doing one thing and then do something else is hypocrisy. It undermines the trust in America.
Pierre Hassner writes that the United States has lost the ability to have a critical view of the plans to establish its hegemony in the unipolar world that emerged after the Cold War. If power is uncontrolled and subject to corruption at home then how can the world be protected when it becomes global? (3).
This is the impact of intrinsic specific feature of American mentality – one can own black slaves and at the same time believe that he sets the example of democracy-minded politician.
According to Israeli political and military expert, the former head of the Israeli secret services «Nativ» Yaakov Kedmi, the US duplicity and unscrupulousness became evident before WWII when the United States supported the fascists when they came to power hoping they would attack the Soviet bolshevism.
After WWII America gave refuge to former Nazi, including those who had served in Gestapo and Abwehr, no matter what crimes they committed, because the US believed they were useful in their struggle against the main enemy – the Soviet Union. Then the United States decided that every bandit ready to fight the Soviet expansion and intervention in Afghanistan should be supported.
That’s how Al-Qaeda was born. The same way the ISIS terrorist group appeared. In the name of democracy European countries and the United States pretend not to see the outright undemocratic and discriminatory attitude towards Russian minorities in the Baltic States.
They turn a blind eye on the fact that fascism is being resurrected in Eastern Europe where those who fought side by side with Nazi are praised and made national heroes! For instance, Herberts Cukurs eliminated (probably by Israeli intelligence service Mossad) for his crimes is a national hero in Latvia, like Shukhevych and Bandera in Ukraine, says Yaakov Kedmi.
The events in Ukraine are a classic example of bloody consequences entailed by the use of what was soft power at first – peaceful protests, the demands for freedom and honest government. In his State of the Union address Obama haughtily announces the victory of American «new thinking».
He said, «…today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters. That’s how America leads – not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.» (4)
According to Dimitri Simes, the president of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of the foreign policy journal the National Interest, the Obama administration contributed into aggravation of the crisis in Ukraine taking the side of protesters.
He notes, «…essentially the United States and the European Union have decided to side with the protesters. Let me say, too, if they were using that kind of force and those techniques against a friendly government we would not call them protesters, we would call them rebels. We have sided with these protesters slash rebels.» (5)
According to Leonid Bershidsky, the Berlin-based Bloomberg View contributor, the Obama’s State of the Union address proves that Obama either does not understand how dangerous the exacerbation of the relations between the West and Moscow could be or jumps the gun to make the unachieved victory a feather in his head. «That’s how America leads,» Obama said proudly.
It’s more comforting to think he’s faking that pride than to imagine he really doesn’t understand how ineffective the U.S. has been in Ukraine. The president would have done better not to talk about Russia and Ukraine at all.
Dmitry MININ | SCF