Rossiya Segodnya sat down recently with Dennis Kucinich, Former US Representative from Ohio and two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He spoke about the recent elections, the situation in Ukraine, and the need for America to shift its foreign policy away from the notion of perpetual war, to perpetual peace.
Hello Dennis, Thank You for speaking with us, one of your most recent political drives has been “Redefining National Security From Terror to Peace”. What does the Republicans' victory in midterm elections mean for US national security?
Dennis Kucinich: American people define national security as human security, as a security of a job, decent wages, healthcare that is not determined by insurance companies. They determine national security in terms of human security with respect to education of the children, safe neighborhoods, clean air, clean water. They talk of national security in terms of the protection of their civil liberties, the right to be free from government spying, intrusion into private communications. And they speak of national security in very personal terms that again can be described as human security. When Washington speaks of national security, Washington means perpetual war and the rise of a national security state with the military industrial complex determining the priorities of the country, and the intelligence agencies getting more and more money to reach more deeply into the personal lives of American people. So, there is a great divide here.
Because the Democratic party voted most recently to support giving arms to the so-called Syrian rebels, the democrats once again voted for war. And the party has consistently voted for war. It has not distinguished itself from the Republican Party at matters of perpetual war which means that there is a vacuum in American politics, there is a vacuum with respect to addressing the need of the people for jobs, the need of the country for rebuilding its infrastructure which is in need of trillions of dollars worth of repairs, and the need for redefining America’s role in the world as a means of recognizing that this is not a unipolar world. This is a world of multiple interests and multiple countries, and there is folly for any nation including America to try to sell itself up there as the only nation that matters because indeed we have to be ready to recognize the concerns of all people.
Will the President allow the expected Congressional increase of sanctions against Russia and Iran?
Dennis Kucinich: The United States is going to have to move into a position of economic leadership for the people here at home. We have to start taking care of things here at home. And we have to stand for human rights here at home. So again, there is a vacuum. Neither party has addressed this.
We have not honored an international system of checks and balances. We need to realize that the cohesive force in the world is human unity, that we are interdependent, and interconnected. And for that reason the use of force undermines Americans’ position in the world community. The arbitrary use of force, the illegal interventions that have occurred undermines America’s moral authority and undermine our own national security. We have to be very careful that we do that squander the resources of our country in perpetual war. And yet both political parties have failed to come up with a means of taking a new direction.
Certainly, this 2014 election isn’t going to any dramatic change in the direction America has already taken. We have to understand that continued unilateralism, interventionism have abandoned the world order and made the world more dangerous place for everyone including Americans actually by helping to fuel the ambitions of extremists . We have to envision the world and act upon envision of the world as one. The world is interconnected and is interdependent, and our policies should be aligned with that. ...
How do you think the outcome of these elections is going to affect Ukraine? Do you think the US will supply arms to Kiev now? Or will they try and handle this as a political matter instead of a militaristic one?
Dennis Kucinich: I think that the world community needs to give the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia an opportunity to work out their difficulties for good without outside interaction.
It’s quite regrettable that the events in Ukraine were triggered by my country’s involvement in a coup proving once again that America really needs to pay attention to things closer to home that respond to practical needs of the people. Our founders warned about being involved in foreign tricks. That seems to be a lesson that has yet to be learnt.
The other thing I want to say, the West gave Ukraine a non-negotiable demand that did not benefit the people of Ukraine. And what that non-negotiable demand included was putting NATO at the Russian border. And that was not a defensible position, and also did not provide for the people of Ukraine to have the kind of movement throughout the European Union which would provide for the kind economic freedom and the economic opportunities which the people of Ukraine have been looking for. The bottom line is as we like to say in the US the people of Ukraine were not given a very good deal. And when the government didn’t accept it, the government was overthrown. We have to find a more logical, coherent and sane way of conducting our international relations.
Do you expect serious changes in US foreign policy over the next two years?
Dennis Kucinich: The next two years I would not expect to see too much changing internationally, because America can not afford to plunge deeper into these wars. The US involvement in Syria has been characterized as one blunder after another. We switch sides so quickly that we are chasing our shadow now. This is a very dangerous position to be in, now to the extent that we have created the unleashed forces that are not easily contained. And the solution is not going to be more violence.
The US truly must work to reestablish friendly relations with the government and the people of Russia. There is absolutely no reason why we should permit the reemergence of cold war psychology, because we remember from the last cold war that the only people who benefitted were the arms manufacturers. Our people have much in common and we need to focus on that again.
I intend to continue to travel the country to talk about the importance of America taking a new direction and in making sure that our national security includes a discussion about the imperative of jobs, and wages, and healthcare, and education, and housing, and our constitutional freedoms. That is part of our national security as well. And I’m not the only one saying that, I am getting that directly from thousands of people who I met in the last months while travelling the country.
Reprinted with permission from RIA Novosti.