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Billions of US Dollars Spent on 'Democracy Promotion' Destroys Democracy Overseas


March 25, 2014
Rep. Ron Paul / AntiWar.com

Commentary: Rep. Ron Paul (2005) -- "We do not know exactly how many millions -- or tens of millions -- of dollars the US government spent on the presidential election in Ukraine. We do know that much of that money was targeted to assist one particular candidate . . . [F]ive billion dollars appears to have bought a revolution in Ukraine. But what do the US taxpayers get? Nothing good. Ukraine is a bankrupt country that will need tens of billions of dollars to survive."

http://original.antiwar.com/paul/2014/03/24/us-democracy-promotion-destroys-democracy-overseas/

US 'Democracy Promotion' Destroys Democracy Overseas
Rep. Ron Paul / AntiWar.com

(March 24, 2014) -- It was almost ten years ago when, before the House International Relations Committee, I objected to the US Government funding NGOs to meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine. At the time the "Orange Revolution" had forced a regime change in Ukraine with the help of millions of dollars from Washington.

At that time I told the Committee:
We do not know exactly how many millions -- or tens of millions -- of dollars the United States government spent on the presidential election in Ukraine. We do know that much of that money was targeted to assist one particular candidate, and that through a series of cut-out non-governmental organizations (NGOs) -- both American and Ukrainian -- millions of dollars ended up in support of the presidential candidate . . . .

I was worried about millions of dollars that the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various related organizations spent to meddle in Ukraine's internal affairs. But it turns out that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Last December, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland gave a speech in which she admitted that since 1991 the US government has:

[I]nvested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine . . . in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government.

This is the same State Department official who was caught on tape just recently planning in detail the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

That five billion dollars appears to have bought a revolution in Ukraine. But what do the US taxpayers get, who were forced to pay for this interventionism? Nothing good. Ukraine is a bankrupt country that will need tens of billions of dollars to survive the year. Already the US-selected prime minister has made a trip to Washington to ask for more money.

And what will the Ukrainians get? Their democracy has been undermined by the US-backed coup in Kiev. In democracies, power is transferred peacefully through elections, not seized by rebels in the streets. At least it used to be.

The IMF will descend on Ukraine to implement yet another of its failed rescue plans, which enrich the well-connected and international bankers at the expense of the local population. The IMF adds debt, organizes sweetheart deals for foreign corporations, and demands that the local population accept "austerity" in exchange for "reform" that never seems to produce the promised results.

The groundwork for this disaster has been laid by NED, USAID, and the army of NGOs they have funded over the years in Ukraine.

Supporters of NED and its related organizations will argue that nothing is wrong with sending US dollars to "promote democracy" overseas. The fact is, however, that NED, USAID, and the others have nothing to do with promoting democracy and everything to do with destroying democracy.

It is not democracy to send in billions of dollars to push regime change overseas. It isn't democracy to send in the NGOs to rewrite laws and the constitution in places like Ukraine. It is none of our business.

How should we promote democracy overseas? First, we should stop the real isolationists -- those who seek to impose sanctions and blockades and restrictions that impede our engagement overseas. We can promote democracy with a US private sector that engages overseas. A society that prospers through increased trade ties with the US will be far more likely to adopt practices and policies that continue that prosperity and encourage peace.

In 2005, arguing against funding NED in the US foreign assistance authorization bill, I said:

The National Endowment for Democracy . . . has very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses US tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas. It underwrites color-coded 'people's revolutions' overseas that look more like pages out of Lenin's writings on stealing power than genuine indigenous democratic movements.

Sadly, matters are even worse now. To promote democracy overseas, NED and all other meddling US government funded NGOs should be disbanded immediately.



War: Can We Afford Ukraine?
Rep. Ron Paul / AntiWar.com

(March 9, 2014) -- Officially, US debt stands at more than $17 trillion. In reality, it is many times more. The cost of the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq may be more than six trillion dollars. President Obama's illegal invasion of Libya cost at least a billion dollars and left that country devastated. The costs of US regime change efforts in Syria are likely thus far enormous, both in dollars and lives. That's still a secret.

So who in his right mind would think it is a good time to start a war with Russia over Ukraine? And worse, who would commit the United States to bail out a Ukraine that will need at least $35 billion to survive the year?

Who? The president and Congress, backed by the neocons and the so-called humanitarian interventionists!

The House voted overwhelmingly last week to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine. That is just the beginning, you can be sure. But let's be clear: this is not money for the population of that impoverished country. The Administration is sending a billion dollars from US taxpayers to wealthy international bankers who hold Ukrainian debt.

It is an international bank bailout, not aid to Ukrainians. And despite the escalating anti-Russia rhetoric, ironically some of that money will likely go to Russia for Ukraine's two billion dollar unpaid gas bill!

So what happened in Ukraine? The US government and media claims that the US must save Ukrainian democracy from an invading Russian army that is threatening the country's sovereignty. But in reality the crisis was instigated in part by US meddling.

Remember the intercepted telephone call in which two senior Obama Administration officials discussed plans to replace the elected government in Ukraine with US puppets? That is exactly what happened. Is that not a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty? Is that what democracy is all about?

The Obama Administration's policy toward Ukraine is hypocritical. The overthrow of the government in Kiev by violent street protests was called a triumph of democracy, but when the elected parliament in autonomous Crimea voted last week to hold a referendum to decide its future, President Obama condemned it as a violation of international law. What about the principle of self-determination, which is also enshrined in international law?

I have long thought that a referendum to reorganize Ukraine into a looser confederation of regions might help reduce tensions. I still believe this could help, but it seems the US government is not so enthusiastic about democracy when there is a chance for an outcome it opposes.

I strongly believe that Crimeans have every right to transfer sovereignty over their peninsula to Russia if they wish. The only question that remains is whether there will there be an honest election, and I don't see any reason there can't be.

The US government tells the rest of the world, "We want you to be good democrats and have elections," but if they don't elect the right people then we complain about it and throw them out, like we did in Egypt. In Crimea they want to have an election to determine their future.

President Obama condemned those plans for a vote by saying, "We are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders." Does he not remember that the authorities in Kiev were installed just weeks ago after a US-backed coup against the Ukrainian constitution?

Congress next week will likely vote for sanctions against Russia. Though many mistakenly believe that sanctions are a relatively harmless way of forcing foreign countries to do what we say, we should be clear: sanctions are an act of war.

Cooler heads in the United States are not currently prevailing. There is a danger of an unimaginable conflict between the US and Russia. We must demand a shift away from a war footing, away from incendiary rhetoric. We are broke and cannot afford to "buy" Ukraine. We certainly cannot afford another war, especially with Russia!

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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