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Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Appeasement from the American Institute in Ukraine

After making Reagan roll over in his grave by misusing his famous quote, they’re back.

  • Back with a quote about the “nationalist” Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry;
  • Back with less prevarication about their views/connections;
  • Back with a noble mission of educating Ukrainians about NATO; and
  • Back with more appeasement toward the good old benevolent Kremlin.

Discover these fresh offerings in Say No to NATO, an article by Graham Stack at Russiaprofile.org.

I found this article thanks to a French-language anti-NATO site that calls my blog “Ukrainamania” and puts it in the ranks of neocon public relations. What can I say? I’m flattered! Just get my blog’s name right, OK?


In Say No to NATO, the American Institute in Ukraine (AIU) finally abandons any pretense of neutrality and nonalignment: “Ukraine’s NATO membership is not in Ukraine’s interests. Nor is it in U.S. interests. All that it will create is a nuclear trip wire at the heart of Europe.” What took you so long, guys?

Now that you’re so brave, straightforward and openhearted, let’s examine the Kremlin’s hymnbook quote by quote:

Anthony T. Salvia, AIU Executive Director: In Ukraine, U.S. opinion is often represented as being monolithically in favor of Ukraine’s future membership of NATO. We’re here in Kiev to show this is definitely not the case.

Do you have any scientific — and independent — U.S. poll numbers? I, for one, can’t argue with the poll numbers in Ukraine. According to various polls, support for NATO membership clocks in at 20-30%, nowhere near the 77% found in Georgia. Which brings us to the question of why you’re here. You gave up on Georgia and focused on Ukraine. You’re here to tell us what to do with our security. Moreover, you think that our security has nothing to do with your security. Well, think again.

Doug Bandow, a guest speaker at AIU: The U.S. should refrain from making promises to Ukraine it cannot honor, but which might embolden Ukraine to provoke a conflict. The Ukrainians should realize that the US will never fight Russia over Ukraine. Ukraine must learn to rely on its own resources for securing its sovereignty, and not to trust to U.S. promises.

Would the U.S. fight Russia over Latvia or Poland under Article 5? (Just curious.) At any rate, thank you for disarming and disowning us! Indeed, today, we Ukrainians only have ourselves to rely on if attacked by our friendliest neighbor in the universe, Russia. If and when that happens, you shouldn’t expect us to control our missile technology as we promised you in 1998. We’ll be too busy. See if you can intercept a bootleg SS-18 with the “reset button.”

Salvia: Ukrainian NATO membership, by ruining relations with Russia, would make Ukraine less secure than it is, not more. And it would also harm U.S. security, by ruining the chances for cooperation with Russia over vital issues such as Afghanistan, North Korea and Iran, all issues that the new administration has said it will prioritize.

If you ruin our security with your art of appeasement, your cooperation with Russia over Iran and North Korea will become a joke. And the Kremlin will have no regrets.

Salvia: There are other mechanisms available for strengthening Ukrainian security. One is a new European security treaty, similar to that being proposed by Dmitry Medvedev. The other is for European Union membership. The Kremlin is basically open toward Ukraine’s future EU membership, especially if it is an alternative to Ukraine’s NATO membership.

A new European security treaty? You mean, a new Yalta Conference? The EU is a security organization and the Kremlin is open toward Ukraine’s future EU membership? Really? Can you call the Kremlin again and come back with the details?

Yelena Biberman, a U.S. Embassy policy specialist engaged in research on Ukraine’s foreign ministry (according to the article): Foreign ministry officials are ideologically anti-Russian and nationalist to the extent that they may not always be able to objectively assess Ukraine’s real national interests. They believe that Russia is inherently imperialistic and bent on regaining control over Ukraine as a step to rebuilding its empire, and NATO membership is the only way to stop this. Even for a new Ukrainian president, it will be very hard to change their perspective.


So, to restore objectivity, the new Ukrainian president should by all means try to change their perspective, as in “change Putin believes in?” That’s a very insightful perspective from an FSO trained at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Has the U.S. Embassy outsourced some of its staff to AIU or vice versa? What’s next? A garage sale of “reset buttons” and “Made in USSR” memorabilia? Clientitis classes? There’s nothing new about the fact that Russia hasn’t refreshed its historiography since the Brezhnev era — if not for a brief moment during perestroika. But, for State’s sake, aren’t there any post-Soviet history textbooks on Amazon.com or at Brown? Doesn’t Prof. Sergei Khrushchev have any?

Salvia: We don’t engage in lobbying, but work exclusively in the public field holding conferences, talks and round table discussions. What we are trying to tell Ukrainians is simply that you can be pro-America and pro-European without having to want to join NATO.

Tell it to the Poles. Tell it to the Czechs. Tell it to the Slovaks. Tell it to the Hungarians. Tell it to the Romanians. Tell it to the Bulgarians. Tell it to the Lithuanians. Tell it to the Latvians. Tell it to the Estonians. Tell it to the Georgians. Tell it to the IRS.

Sources:
http://www.aminuk.org
http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=International&articleid=a1247513208

15 comments:

Lingüista said...

You raise very important points (besides answering most of the questions I asked about Russia's reaction to Ukraine in NATO in the other thread). To me, however, the main problems are:

- lack of support for NATO membership among the Ukrainian public (even among Ukrainian speakers, though less than among Russian speakers);
- Russia's possible reactions: not necessarily military intervention, but all kinds of nasty little tricks to get Ukraine to trip over and fail in fulfilling whatever commitments it makes. Indeed, what a neighbor.

An Obama too keen on Ukrainian NATO membership would immediately get scenes of Ukrainian anti-NATO protesters to embarrass him. And how the Russians would then peddle the idea that "the so-called Western democracies" actually ignore the will of the people!...

Is there anything at all that can be done to change public opinion on that matter?

Anonymous said...

Taras - I'm a big fan of your blog. I also live and work in Kyiv. How can I get in touch with you?

elmer said...

Taras, one should never argue with idiots - and that includes the idiots from the AIU.

This is a true gem, and proof that these people are living in la-la land:

-------------------------

Salvia: Ukrainian NATO membership, by ruining relations with Russia, would make Ukraine less secure than it is, not more. And it would also harm U.S. security, by ruining the chances for cooperation with Russia over vital issues such as Afghanistan, North Korea and Iran, all issues that the new administration has said it will prioritize.

--------------------------

"Ruining relations with Russia..."?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Russia has engaged in constant trade wars - and gas wars - with every country it deals with!

Do these people not read?

Russia just tried to get the US kicked out of a base in one of the "stan" countries - I'll let the idiots at AIU see if they can figure out which one - only to have the US wind up paying 3x the former rent in order to keep it.

What "cooperation" has there been from Roosha?

Every single country you mentioned - Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, etc., has COOPERATED with the US and with EU.

Roosha is the ONLY country that perpetually throws temper tantrums.

Why? Because that's what they do.

The logic is perverse - Ukraine shouldn't join NATO and improve its military defense capabilities because "Roosha might get mad" and attack it.

Have these morons not read about Georgia and the Caucasus?

You are right - it looks, indeed, like these people have drank gallons and gallons of Kremlin Kool-Aid - and gotten not only totally drunk on it, but totally zombified on it.

Now they're trying to get a little attention by attacking your blog.

Sheesh!

Leopolis said...

As I've always argued, the NATO issue in Ukraine has little to do with security and everything to do with virtual informational battles -- who is a neo-con, who is a Putinite, who is a nationalist, who is a parrot of the Kremlin, etc.

About Venable, you should be interested to know that they used to work for none other than Mr NATO himself Dmitry Rogozin.

http://www.fara.gov/docs/5435-Exhibit-AB-20070130-6.pdf

BTW -- all lobbying information is available through the DoJ's FARA website.

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) said...

CRIME against Children:

Two Serb war criminals received Life Sentence and 30 years imprisonment for BURNING Bosniak women and children ALIVE.

Unfortunately, the Prosecution made mistake and failed to include rape charges against them.

Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic are from Rujiste village, located near the border with Srebrenica municipality.

Please write a word or two about these monsters on your blog. Thank you!

Lingüista said...

Leopolis, you're probably right. Just curious: any ideas about how "informational warfare" should be waged in today's world?

Michelle said...

My question when I read your very informative and interesting articles on what the American Institute in Ukraine is writing about Ukraine is: Who is the American Institute in Ukraine and does it represent the US State Department's foreign policy towards Ukraine? From what I have heard and read, they seem to be coming from a much different perspective.

Taras said...

Michelle,

From what I've learned so far, the American Institute in Ukraine (AIU) promotes pro-Kremlin views and houses at least two Americans who have lobbied for Viktor Yanukovych.

Venable LLP, the company that one of them has worked for, has lobbied on behalf of Rodina, a Russian political party headed by Dmitry Rogozin, who serves as Russia’s envoy to NATO (HT Leopolis).

The man has frequently expressed strong anti-Ukrainian and anti-NATO sentiment.

In this context, remarks by Yelena Biberman, a U.S. Embassy employee who appears to have sided with the AIU, raise questions.

If I were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, I would demand answers.

Michelle said...

Ah, now I get it.

elmer said...

Taras, the statement about Yelena Biberman appears to be a lie.

She is not a US Embassy employee, as US Embassies will not and cannot advocate particular positions with non-Embassy organizations.

Instead, it appears that she visited Russia, got herself an M.A. from Harvard in 2006 - and now writes for the "Think Tank Without Walls" - see links below.

In other words, she has a degree, but no useful employment, so she winds up writing articles of nonsense for assorted think thanks.

http://us.fulbrightonline.org/program_student_us.html?id=13661

Oh, look, Yelena is also an "expert" on Iran - and I bet just about every other country that is currently at the top of the news.

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/6220

And look! If you want to donate to Yelena Biberman and her nonsense, and the "Think Tank Without Brains", go here:

http://www.fpif.org/fpifinfo/4477

Taras said...

I’ve Googled her several times. Here it says she’s a “U.S. Embassy Policy Specialist in Kiev, Ukraine,” followed by a disclaimer: “The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any government agency or organization to which she is affiliated.”

Because no such disclaimer could be found in Say No to NATO, I decided to raise this question.

elmer said...

Taras, the key word that was omitted is "IREX" - that is, the claim is that Yelena Biberman, the world's foremost doctoral candidate on everything, is an "IREX U.S. Embassy Specialist."

That description is misleading, because it leads one to believe that she is a US Embassy Specialist.

But IREX is another one of those organizations with "program activities," not affiliated with the US Embassy.

That includes "Civil Society Development Programs."

http://www.irex.org/civilsociety/index.asp

What is IREX?

Find out here:

http://www.irex.org/about/index.asp

So Yelena Biberman is spouting pre-doctoral nonsense to the detriment of Ukraine.

Nice work if you can get it - and you can get it if you try.

elmer said...

Here is an excellent analysis of Biden's visit to Ukraine, and the unveiling of the new US "tough love" policy - the US can help Ukraine only to the extent that Ukraine helps itself.

Biden chided the Ukrainian "political elite" for being less mature than the general population, and for political posturing, which is causing stalemates. Remember, Ukraine has no defense minister, no finance minister, and lacks certain other ministers.

--------------------------

http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35333&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=27&cHash=438ba71c5b

Biden spoke with extraordinary frankness about the dysfunctional aspects in Ukraine's political and economic systems in both of his public appearances in Kyiv. Portraying its political leaders as less mature than their own people, he wondered "why communication among leaders has broken down [and] political posturing prevents progress." He told the political establishment in nearly-admonitory terms that Ukraine needs accountability in governance, "an independent court system as a check on the corruption that fuels cynicism and limits growth." He chastised energy waste in Ukraine, called for phasing out energy subsidies to consumers, and openly invoked the "strings attached" to any U.S. or IMF lending to Ukraine, and reminded his audiences that "friendship requires honesty." Based on shared goals, however, "the United States and Ukraine will work together in the months and years ahead to strengthen the strategic partnership" (Vice-President Joseph Biden, speech at Ukraine House and news conference in Kyiv, White House press releases, July 21, 22).

Both sides were careful to de-emphasize NATO during Biden's visit. Biden alluded to it obliquely as "Euro-Atlantic integration" (upholding any country's right to opt for it) and made only one direct reference to NATO: "The United States also supports Ukraine's deepening ties to NATO and to the European Union. But again, we recognize that they are your decisions, not ours, whether you choose the E.U. and NATO....How far and how fast to proceed is, again, a uniquely Ukrainian choice, not ours."

Lingüista said...

Quite impressive research, elmer -- I see now where this was coming from. I, for one, thank you for the time spent on that.

Taras said...

Lingüista,

I totally agree about the lack of support. First, Soviet propaganda dies hard and, second, NATO membership has never been on top of the government’s agenda.

This combination of factors bodes well for opponents of Ukraine's membership in NATO — no matter who they are, no matter where they are.

The issue of appeasement, however, goes beyond that of NATO membership. Not only do the appeasement artists from AIU seek to keep Ukraine out of NATO, but they also seek to keep Ukraine within Russia’s sphere of influence. It’s crystal clear.

If the Obama administration supports this approach, it will only fuel the Kremlin’s adventurism.

No, Obama doesn’t have to be too keen on NATO expansion, given the uncertainty about who wins the presidential race in Ukraine. Nor does he have to be too shy about the promises he made during his own presidential race.

After all, throwing Ukraine under the bus would be too costly for America. Obama should know it.


Anonymous,

Thank you! You can message me on Twitter:)


Elmer,

What caught my attention this time was that interesting quote from Yelena Biberman, a U.S. Embassy employee. I think the U.S. Embassy owes our Foreign Affairs Ministry an explanation. Here’s the analogy I would use:

Imagine you have a neighbor who calls your house “our house.” Imagine he has a shotgun and you have a handgun. Imagine he tells you not to make friends with people he doesn’t like. Imagine he tells you what books you should read, what movies you should watch, what streets your should walk and what language you should speak.

If you disobey him, he threatens to break into your house and rape your daughter.

Now, would you like me to come over to your house and tell you how to love your neighbor?

This is how I feel about the U.S. Embassy employee’s statement.


Leopolis,

Thank you for the valuable info on Venable LLP! The Rogozin connection makes perfect sense! Thank you for the valuable info on Venable LLP! The Rogozin connection makes perfect sense!

I should check out fara.gov more often, regardless of the time lag between lobbying and registration:)



Daniel,

I would apply the death penalty in such cases. They make me feel ashamed of Europe’s approach to humanism.