Sunday, December 26, 2004

The progressive choice in the Ukraine

I used to think that Stephen Zunes was one of the very best progressive writers in the United States, but this article on the Ukraine has completely changed my mind. Zunes argues that progressives must support Yushchenko, and makes a number of arguments to support this proposition, none of which make any sense. He weakly concludes:

" . . . although Yushchenko may not be particularly progressive politically or capable of completely cleaning up the system, his election is currently the best hope for establishing a more open and accountable government."


I don't know what difference it makes for progressives to support either candidate in this election, but it is completely clear that the choice of the Ukrainians is between tweedledum and tweedledee. One candidate is supported by one group of corrupt oligarchs and by the Russians, and the other is supported by another group of corrupt oligarchs and by American and European interests that want to steal whatever assets aren't nailed down in the Ukrainian economy. Some choice. The fact that Ukrainians in one part of the country may honestly be deceived into thinking that tweedledum is an improvement is no reason for progressives to make the same mistake. Zunes actually seems to think it is a good thing that his candidate is supported by George Soros, a man who has made his billions, and caused enormous suffering, through his speculating in world currencies. He also writes that American support for Yushchenko "has flowed primarily through reputable nongovernmental organizations". Could he possibly be suggesting that the National Endowment for Democracy is 'reputable'? The same organization that was set up by the U. S. government in the early 1980's - a time when it wasn't politically safe to use the CIA to meddle in the affairs of other countries - as a front to subvert democracy around the world (most recently in notoriously antidemocratic actions in Venezuela and Haiti)? As I've said before, the current fad of the Powers That Be is to subvert democracy by running opposing candidates who represent exactly the same interests. It is almost as if two guys, let's call them GWB and JFK, from the same university secret society ran against each other in an election, GWB engaged in massive and systematic vote fraud and voter suppression, and JFK immediately conceded the election to GWB before he could possibly know whether he had actually lost or not. Crazy, eh? Zunes is also a supporter of concession, when it should be clear to everyone that JFK would have won Ohio had all the votes been counted (just as Al Gore would have won Florida had all those votes been counted). Just what kind of 'progressive' is Stephen Zunes anyway? Sadly, there is no good progressive choice in the current Ukrainian election.

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