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Crimean Referendum Ilegal? Nonsense!

Crimeavote

On the question of why the U.S. government considers the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine to be illegal, Michael S. Rozeff points to an interview with John B. Bellinger III, Adjunct Senior Fellow for International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), whose answer consists of (a) Alice-In-Wonderland-worthy illogic and (b) lying about what international law has to say about the right to self-determination. Bellinger’s full response to the question is as follows:

The Obama administration and most European governments argue that the referendum violates both the Ukrainian constitution and international law. The Ukrainian constitution requires that any changes to the territory of Ukraine be approved by a referendum of all of the Ukrainian people. The requirement is consistent with general principles of international law, which respects the territorial integrity of states and does not recognize a right of secession by a group or region in a country unless the group or region has been denied a right to "internal self determination" (i.e., its right to pursue its own political, economic, social, and cultural development) by the central government or has been subject to grave human rights violations by the central government. These factors, which could give rise to a right of remedial secession under international law, are not present in Crimea.

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RPI's Laughland on the Crimea Referendum

RPI Advisor John Laughland weighs in on the Crimea vote to rejoin Russia, the breathtaking hypocrisy of the western governments and the disconnect between US and EU citizens and their governments. Of course the secession is illegal, Laughland says, but that also means that even the US Declaration of Independence was, strictly speaking, illegal. Dr. Laughland also offers his forecast as to the two possible outcomes of the standoff between Russia and the US/EU over Ukraine and Crimea. (Transcript here).


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Simple Stuff About Ukraine

Nulandfeu

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.
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The Use of Force, the Reflexive Resort to Economic Sanctions, and the Trials of America’s Hegemonic Mindset

Putincameronobama

As negotiations toward a “final” nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran continue, it is important to consider to what extent the world might be witnessing a fundamental change in American foreign policy. We are inclined to think that the Obama administration would not have gone as far down the diplomatic road with Iran as it has in the absence of President Obama’s self-inflicted debacle over his declared intention to attack Syria after chemical weapons were used there in August 2013. This episode drove home—to the Obama administration as well as to most of the rest of the world—that the United States can no longer credibly threaten to use military force in the Middle East for hegemonic purposes.

After the American public so resoundingly rebuffed Obama’s call for U.S. military action, his administration was compelled to conclude that starting down the diplomatic road with Iran was politically less costly than pushing for more sanctions and continuing to insist that the “military option” was still “on the table.”

But can the Obama administration really go all the way to a comprehensive realignment of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran—and, in the process, show that the United States can shift proactively from a counterproductive drive to dominate the Middle East to serious engagement with all important regional powers, and not just slink out of region in defeat?
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Disband NATO!

Nato Expansion

In a recent New York Times op-ed, John McCain, the man who hoped to be president, said that Russia’s invasion of Crimea has nothing to do with NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Oh? Well, now, let’s see how McCain would be responding if the shoe were on the other foot.

Let’s assume that when the Cold War ended, the United States disbanded NATO. That, of course, wouldn’t have been too illogical given that NATO was brought into existence to protect Western Europe from Soviet aggression during the Cold War. Since the Soviet Union was dismantled with the Cold War’s end, there was certainly no reason to keep NATO in existence.

Let’s assume that Russia, on other hand, decided to keep the Warsaw Pact in existence, albeit with new members. Let’s assume that ever since 1990, the reconstituted Warsaw Pact expanded into the Western Hemisphere with such new members as Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Let’s also assume that Russia proposed a Warsaw Pact anti-missile system in Cuba, purely as a defensive measure.
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If Spying on Senate is So Bad, Why is it OK For Them To Spy On Us?

The reaction of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to last week’s revelations that the CIA secretly searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers reveals much about what the elites in government think about the rest of us. “Spy on thee, but not on me!”
 
The hypocrisy of Sen. Feinstein is astounding. She is the biggest backer of the NSA spying on the rest of us, but when the tables are turned and her staff is the target she becomes irate. But there is more to it than that. There is an attitude in Washington that the laws Congress passes do not apply to Members. They can trample our civil liberties, they believe, but it should never affect their own freedom.
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After the Referendum...

Ukraine Crimea Russian Independence Referendum

If, as seems to be generally expected, today’s referendum in Crimea produces a substantial majority in favour of union with the Russian Federation, what will Moscow’s reaction be?

I strongly expect that it will be……

Nothing.

There are several reason why I think this. One is that Moscow is reluctant to break up states. I know that that assertion will bring howls of laughter from the Russophobes who imagine that Putin has geography dreams every night but reflect that Russia only recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after Georgia had actually attacked South Ossetia. The reason for recognition was to prevent other Georgian attacks.

Behind that was the memory of the chaos caused in the Russian North Caucasus as an aftermath of Tbilisi’s attacks on South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the 1990s. Russia is a profoundly status quo country – largely because it fears change would lead to something worse – and will not move on such matters until it feels it has no other choice. We are not, I believe, quite at that point yet on Crimea let alone eastern Ukraine.
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Neocons Have Weathered the Storm

Robertkagan

By the middle of last decade, the storm clouds were building over the neocons: their “regime change” in Iraq was a disaster; President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech was a running joke; news articles were appearing about their “dark side” behavior in the “war on terror”; and the public was tired of the blood and treasure being wasted.

You might have expected that the neocons would have been banished to the farthest reaches of U.S. policymaking, so far away that they would never be heard from again. However, instead of disappearing, the neocons have proved their staying power, now reemerging as the architects of the U.S. strategy toward Ukraine.

Neocons played key behind-the-scenes roles in instigating the Feb. 22 coup that overthrew a democratically elected president with the help of neo-Nazi militias; the neocons have since whipped Official Washington into a frenzy of bipartisan support for the coup regime; and they are pushing for a new Cold War if the people of Crimea vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

A few weeks ago, most Americans probably had never heard of Ukraine and had no idea that Crimea was part of it. But, all of a sudden, the deficit-obsessed U.S. Congress is rushing to send billions of dollars to the coup regime in Kiev, as if the future of Ukraine were the most important issue facing the American people.
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Against Ukraine War? Obama May Seize Your Assets

Obama Sign

Do you, like 56 percent of the US population, believe that the US should "not get too involved" in the Ukraine situation? Do you think that the US administration putting us on a war footing with Russia is a bad idea? Are you concerned that the new, US-backed leaders of Ukraine -- not being elected -- might lack democratic legitimacy? Are you tempted to speak out against US policy in Ukraine; are you tempted to criticize the new Ukrainian regime?

Be careful what you say. Be careful what you write. President Obama has just given himself the authority to seize your assets.

According to the president's recent Executive Order, "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine" (first reported by WND's Aaron Klein), the provisions for seizure of property extend to "any United States person." That means "any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States."
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