March 18, 2014
On March 6th President Barack Obama signed an executive order “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine” which permits Washington to seize the assets of any “United States person” who opposes current US policies vis-à-vis that country. The order claims absurdly that the status quo in Ukraine and the Crimean referendum constitute a “national emergency” for the United States. Anyone who directly or indirectly is involved in “actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine” can have his or her assets seized. That means if you think a referendum by Crimeans that might result in union with Russia is not necessarily a bad idea and you write a letter to the local paper saying so it could be good-bye bank account. There is no appeal mechanism in the executive order.
Obama’s transition to the tin hat brigade is eerily similar to an order signed by George W. Bush in 2007, the “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.” Taking both orders together, it is a clear indication of how low we have sunk so as to penalize any dissent over policies that have never been openly debated or voted on by the American public, but I suppose Bush would explain proudly that he “brought democracy” to Iraq while Obama would change the subject by noting that he killed Usama bin-Laden. Either way, the criminalizing of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights ends up making the rest of what happens relatively unimportant, nothing more than what our war masters refer to as collateral damage.
I am no expert on what is going on in Ukraine, apart from speaking a little Russian, an ability which many Ukrainian citizens reportedly also have. But it is clear that some unfortunate patterns relating to the past twenty years or so appear to be resurfacing in spite of the fact that most observers would likely agree that Washington has made a complete hash of the post-bipolar world that has prevailed since 1991. We are already seeing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, demonized for years in the mainstream media, compared to Hitler by no less than Hillary Clinton and a supporting chorus of neocons. We are back in the bunkers and it is 1938 in Munich. Again we are being called on to oppose evil, the same clarion call sounded over every overseas crisis for the past twenty years.