Update regarding recent hiatus

Although I’ve usually tried to post at least one entry per month, recent circumstances have pulled me away from upkeeping Romulo’s Advocate.  I am currently working on essays and commentaries addressing several topics, as well as some reposts from other sources.  In the near future, be on the lookout for entries dealing with:

- Aquino, the Charter Change, and the “Ring Around China” (a.k.a. “Asian Pivot”)

- Richard Dawkins recent “coming out” as a full-fledged eugenicist

- The next installment in my series on sexual morality and the homosexual question

- More commentary the Ukrainian Civil War and the New Cold War, in the context of the recent emergence of the BRICS

- A comparative analysis of Christian and Islamic theologies

For now, readers can check my Twitter page for other updates.

 

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Obama, Aquino, and the EDCA: Or, the Philippines as a pawn in the New Cold War

I’m sure nearly all Filipinos know that earlier this week, Barack Obama made his first visit to the country to meet with President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and to sign an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).  The Philippines is currently experiencing heightened tensions with China over territorial claims in the South China Sea.  Although in their joint speech, Obama and Aquino stressed the importance of approaching this matter with diplomacy and appeals to arbitration, the EDCA, as yet another step in the Obama Administration’s strategy of containing China through an “Asian Pivot”, significantly expands U.S. military presence in the Philippines.  To the Chinese, actions speak louder than words, and the U.S. build-up in the Philippines will only further antagonize this rising power.

Critics of the EDCA have accused it of establishing a de facto U.S. base in the Philippines.  Foreign military bases are banned in the country under the 1987 Constitution, thus the Aquino Administration has had to draft the EDCA in a way that establishes as permanent a U.S. military presence as possible without officially recognizing it as a base.  Additionally, the treaty was also signed without any consent from the Philippine Senate.  This is an action which, if goes unchallenged, will award Aquino with a “unitary executive” authority (a legalese euphemism for dictatorship) to unilaterally make treaties without any concern for constitutionality or legality.

Furthermore, although strong criticisms and even condemnations of the EDCA are needed, it must not be ignored that this treaty is occurring in the context of an imperialistic and unnecessarily militaristic U.S. foreign policy.  My previous entries have discussed the Anglo-American antagonizing of Russia via NATO expansion and now the Ukrainian Crisis.  The intention is clear: Putin’s Russia must not continue its journey toward becoming a strong, sovereign nation-state.  The related strategy of China containment is further insurance that the twin Eurasian powers do not grow to threaten the hegemony of the Anglo-American Empire.  This is the objective of the New Cold War, and the stark reality is that through pursuing this objective, it brings mankind ever closer to a Third World War.

The U.S./NATO encirclement of Russia and China indicate a preparation for nuclear war on a scale greater than that during the Cold War.

The U.S./NATO encirclement of Russia and China indicates a preparation for nuclear war on a scale greater than that during the Cold War. (Pic: LaRouche PAC)

- Defensor-Santiago’s Concerns about the EDCA -

Among the more feisty members of the Philippine political establishment is Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.  Earlier this week, she strongly criticized the neglect of the Aquino Administration to submit the EDCA to the Senate.  What follows are a few interviews with the senator taken for the Philippine Senate’s website.  Her remarks on this matter are quite a worthwhile read.

Defensor-Santiago in a display of her typical feistiness. (Pic: Unknown / GMA)

Defensor-Santiago in a display of her typical spunk. (Pic: Unknown / GMA)

On the EDCA signed this morning, 28 April 2014:

This is an unfair surprise on the PH Senate which, under the Constitution, shares the treaty-making power with the President. All the while, the Committee on Foreign Relations, of which I am chair, expected that any such Agreement would be signed by the two Presidents. I have argued that such an Agreement should first be submitted for concurrence to the Senate. (There was no hint that the Agreement has been downgraded, for signature not by the two Presidents, but only by the defense secretary and the American ambassador in Manila.) This contretemps does not indicate good faith on the part of the two Presidents. The use of guile in diplomacy should be limited to state-to-state situations, and should not include a situation involving only two branches of the same government.

Is the agreement a positive development for the Philippines?

Obviously, I have no basis for assessing whether the Agreement is positive for my country. The Senate has not been given the courtesy of being furnished with a copy. Instead, allegedly it has been announced that copies will be released by Thursday, or four days later after the Obama visit. I feel as if I have been slapped, or ordered to melt into the wallpaper.

Will the Philippines be beholden to U.S. interests because of this agreement?

In an age when states collide no longer because of ideology, but because of geopolitics, I no longer worry that the PH might become beholden to American interests. From the time of the American colonial regime in my country, American business and military interests have always dictated American policy with respect to all countries, including PH. America cannot have it both ways. It cannot tie down PH to a mutual defense treaty, and yet hope that it will not ruffle the feathers of China.

The U.S. should not continue to treat PH as a satellite state, while aiming to remain on good terms with China, which has been seizing the initiative in Asian maritime territorial disputes. The three top economies in the world consist of the U.S., China, and Japan. It is understandable why PH is being treated so shabbily.

Anyway, the militant left will certainly bring the issue to the Supreme Court. For me, the constitutional issues are very interesting.

Will the EDCA further antagonize the Philippines’ ties with China?

Definitely the new Agreement, whatever it may contain, will further antagonize China because in effect, we consent that the PH should be listed under the American column, instead of the China column. If China reaches out to Russia while the Ukraine issue continues to simmer, the U.S. will certainly call on PH to fulfill treaty obligation under the PH-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.

The PH executive branch apparently adopts the attitude that the Mutual Defense Treaty will oblige the U.S. to automatically come to the aid of PH if attacked by China. I respectfully dissent. For one thing, the MDT does not define what is a “metropolitan territory” of each state. For another thing, the MDF provides that U.S. will come to the aid of PH only after the issues has been passed through U.S. constitutional processes, meaning that it is subject to open-ended debate in the U.S. Congress.

Sen. Santiago’s comments on the EDCA during previous interviews:

What is the main point that Filipinos should think about when it comes to this agreement with the US?

Filipinos should keep uppermost the supremacy of the Philippine Constitution. We should not accommodate any foreign power at the cost of the sovereignty of our Constitution, even if the problem is presented as if it were a problem of national survival.

Do you think the agreement is fair or only serves American interests?

The proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement has marginal advantages for PH, but the major advantage will be gained by America. If PH signs the Agreement, then America could claim that she has “contained” China, because the Asian countries involved – including PH – are now bound by their respective agreements with America. It would make PH sound as if we are a satellite ally of America.

What are your concerns about this agreement?

Primarily my concern is that pro-US sectors will cooperate in closing their eyes to the clear meaning of the PH Constitution that an Agreement requires the concurrence of the PH Senate, and that the constitutional policy against nuclear weapons will also be fudged. There are at least three constitutional provisions in danger of being violated. If this turns out to be true, then the Agreement would set an extremely bad precedent. Thus, it would be a case of interpreting the Constitution to accommodate the military program of a foreign state. That eventuality defies all principles of constitutional supremacy.

The issue of defense is on top of President Obama’s agenda when he visits the Philippines. Until now, the Philippine public remains clueless to the details of the new defense agreement with the US. Do you think the government is hiding something from the public?

I think it is pretty clear that PH is willing to sign the Agreement, in exchange for more military aid from America. What has been deliberately left vague is whether the PH Constitution will be obeyed and the Agreement will be in the form of a treaty concurred in by the PH Senate. I think it is deliberately left vague that instead of obeying the Constitution, the Agreement will take the form of an executive agreement between the two presidents.

What are the issues connected to the agreement that we should look out for, or be wary about?

The terms and conditions should be studiously examined. For example, what would be the power of Filipino commanders over the presence and actuations of US troops on PH territory? Should US troops decide to launch a preemptive attack against China from PH territory, will the PH President and Senate have the power to veto the military operations of the US forces? If China attacks PH, will the US immediately come to our defense, or will it wait for congressional approval? Will the US treat PH as if PH is a NATO ally, with a right to immediate military assistance?

Do you think that the Philippines has a legitimate concern towards China, or is it just being exaggerated to scare the Filipinos into signing this defense agreement with the US?

Definitely the PH has a legitimate concern over China maritime expansionism. The West Philippine Sea is rich with oil, natural gases, and seabed mineral resources. All these resources belong to the Philippines.

Do you think the Philippines is being dragged into another proxy rivalry between the US and China?

This is not necessarily a proxy rivalry. Instead, it is a clear case of America attempting to walk a fine balance between China and Russia. The more important question is credibility. How credible is this pivot or rebalance program? Is the Obama administration willing and able to approve the bigger defense budget that it entails?

When the Philippines faced off with China over Ayungin Shoal, the US mediated and secured agreement for the two parties to withdraw. The Philippines did, but China reneged on the deal. Given the US’s interest in China, will it come to the defense of the Philippines in case of conflict?

In case of conflict, the US will come to the defense of PH, only if it serves the interest of the US. If not, the US will finesse the situation and in that sense would be unreliable.

On the possible Constitutional issues the agreement would face

There are at least three clear constitutional provisions that militate against the Agreement:

1. “Foreign military bases, troops, or facilities, shall not be allowed in the Philippines, except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate. . . .” (Art. 18, Sec. 25)

2. “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.” (Art. 7, Sec. 21. Emphasis added.)

3. “The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.” (Art. 2, Sec. 8)

Is the agreement aimed towards the best interest of the Philippines?

The Agreement is not automatically an asset for my country. One, actuations by U.S. troops in Philippine territory might trigger charges of aggression from China, and consequently, the Philippines might be named as an alleged perpetrator in the crime of aggression. Another aspect is the military aid apparently promised to the Philippines, which I understand to be some $50 million. If this is correct, these are beggar’s alms. And it is doubtful if even this paltry sum will materialize, because of reported cutbacks in the US defense budget.

Will attempts to block the agreement have a negative impact on PH-US relations?

I don’t believe that blocking the Agreement will automatically result in a deterioration of PH-US relations. The U.S. will always act on the basis of its own self-interest. It cannot afford to be onion-skinned in this area of the world which, at this time, is described as the “Pacific Century.”

What do you think the critics will do after the US and PH sign the agreement?

Should the two Presidents sign what in effect would be an executive agreement – bypassing the Senate – definitely, militants in PH civil society will petition the Supreme Court to invalidate any such Agreement. That would be a contretemps in diplomacy.

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On the ‘New Cold War’: Part II

This is a provisional publishing. Notes and sources will be added in the next couple of days. Please see Part I in this series here.

Essay Two: The Actual History and Significance of the Ukrainian Crisis

Ukraine is about to explode. Events currently playing out in this Eastern European country that was previously quite obscure to many nonetheless affect every person alive today. What is happening in Ukraine has already created a “New Cold War” between Russia and the (Anglo-American-led) West, and if world leaders are not careful to tread extremely lightly while they work out a diplomatic solution, this cold war could soon escalate into a hot war: i.e. a Third World War.

Contrary to the narrative one hears from the mainstream media in the West, the lion’s share of responsibility for instigating this crisis falls upon the U.S./NATO/E.U. front rather than the Russia/ex-Soviet front. The previous installment in this series discussed the history of the British Empire’s (into which today’s United States has been merged) strategy of “Russia containment”. Ukraine is the latest piece in that game. I cannot see how any honest, objective, comprehensive assessment of much of the available evidence can lead anyone to conclude much else than the fact that there is indeed a powerful faction amongst the global “power elite” that is willing to risk thermonuclear world war–i.e. the extinction of human civilization, and possibly the extinction of the human species–in pursuit of this strategy.

No, Putin is not a mad tyrant bent on reconquering the Russian Empire's lost territories.

No, Putin is not a mad tyrant bent on reconquering the Russian Empire’s lost territories. (Pic: Horsey / LA Times)

Yet many average, relatively-well educated citizens of the English-speaking and other Westernized nations (among which I include the Philippines) have no idea what is at stake should the Ukrainian crisis not be quickly deescalated and the political condition of that country stabilized. Unfortunately, the narrative they hear in much of the major English-language and other Western press outlets is that the Ukrainian people nonviolently rose up to assert their right to “democracy” against a corrupt government and forced out a president who was nothing but Moscow’s puppet. But now the Ukrainian people’s right to sovereignty is being threatened by a big, bad Russian “dictator” who is “invading” their territory.

Yet this is, unsurprisingly, another case of the Anglo-American propaganda machine working at full power to turn the popular opinion of the U.S. and other nations against Russia and her government.

Thus this essay is to set the record straight as much as possible, and provide a good deal of history and context from which to view and assess the current Ukrainian crisis.

- Ukraine’s Historical Ties to Russia -

The environs of Ukraine’s ancient capital, Kiev (alternatively transliterated as “Kyiv”), was the birthplace of Eastern Slavic civilization, which includes Ukrainians and Russians alike–along with many other ethnicities. Thus Russia herself was, in a sense, born in Ukraine. When the Mongols invaded the area, the people of what was called Kievan-Rus fled and eventually settled in the region that would become Russia. Over the centuries, what is today modern Ukraine has experienced a repeatedly shifting political geography, as it has been dominated by, or come under the influence of, numerous foreign powers, with some of its regions being divided into various autonomous or semi-autonomous principalities and republics. Most of Eastern Ukraine finally became part of the Russian Empire during the late 18th century reign of Catherine II. Among the first regions annexed by Russia was the Crimean peninsula, which offered the expanding empire an ideal commercial and military port in the Black Sea. During Ukraine’s time as part of the Empire, she experienced heavy Russian immigration and Russification. For some Ukrainians, who were predominantly Orthodox Christians and considered themselves Slavic cousins of the Russians, this was not an issue. Conversely, for others who were predominantly Roman and Eastern Rite Catholics and saw the Russians as foreign conquerors, this produced a vehement anti-Russian nationalism.

When the Russian Empire was swept away during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, various nationalist forces in Ukraine attempted to establish independent states, but soon enough, the country was incorporated within the newborn Soviet Union. During the 1920s, the agricultural policies of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin caused the Ukrainians to suffer a devastating famine that claimed the lives of an estimated 10 million, thus deepening Ukrainian rancor toward Moscow.

More territorial additions occurred during and after World War II. Much of what is now Western Ukraine (formerly part of Poland, and before that, part of the Austrian Empire) was annexed by the U.S.S.R. in the 1940s. In 1954, the Soviet government under Nikita Khrushchev transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine was made an independent state with sovereignty over the same borders she had under the U.S.S.R. Because of her changing political geography over the centuries, she is today home to a variety of ethnic groups, including Ukrainians, Russians, Tatars, Jews, Hungarians, Poles, and others. There are deep-seated religious differences, as well, with the East being historically Orthodox Christian, and the West being historically Catholic. Thus for modern Ukraine, as a newly-independent state made up of multiple ethnicities, the task of trying to solidify a stable, unified national identity has not been a smooth and easy one.

- The Color Revolutions and NATO Expansion -

Since at least the Crimean War of 1853-56–where Russia was pitted against the British, French, and Turkish Empires–the regions of the Ukraine, with their ethnic, religious, and other tensions, have been fertile ground for geopolitical sparring in the centuries-old, Anglo-Russian struggle. The exploitation of these tensions continued throughout to the Cold War, and persist up to the present day, exemplified in the current Ukrainian Crisis.

But before the recent Euromaidan uprising in Kiev, there was the Orange Revolution, which itself followed the template of the Rose Revolution of Georgia. These “color revolutions” in the former Soviet states were ostensibly spontaneous, nonviolent, popular uprisings carried out in the name of democracy. In actuality, they were projects cultivated and brought to life by a conglomerate of supranational, Anglo-American and related interests set to install governments in many of the former Soviet states that were unfriendly toward Russia. (This follows the strategy described by infamous Russophobe and former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chessboard.)

Among the goals in both Georgia and Ukraine is to install “pro-Western” governments that can bring their countries into alignment with NATO–a move to which the Russians are quite justified to strongly object.

NATO's eastward expansion since the end of the Cold War.

NATO’s eastward expansion since the end of the Cold War. (Pic: RT)

One of those justifications is that near the end of the Cold War, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev was given assurances by the Bush, Sr. Administration that after the reunification of East and West Germany, NATO would not expand eastward to incorporate any of the former communist Warsaw Pact countries. Yet under the Clinton; Bush, Jr.; and Obama Administrations, this promise was broken, and NATO has done exactly that. The alliance now includes Eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania–NATO even comes all the way up to the former Soviet Baltic states that are right on Russia’s border! If this were not enough, NATO ballistic-missile defense (BMD) systems are planned to be expanded in Europe–particularly in Romania and Poland. Ostensibly intended to guard Europe against nonexistent nuclear missiles launched from Iran, the BMD systems will give the Anglo-American/NATO bloc a strategic edge over Russia never before possessed.

In this series’ previous installment I made the point that the Cold War was not so much about fighting communism, as much as it was simply another phase in the British Empire’s objective to contain Russia and prevent her from evolving into a strong, sovereign nation-state. Once the Cold War was over, and Russia’s guard went down, the British Empire has begun asserting its total world hegemony. This Cold War “victory” has apparently inspired fanatical, utopian delusions among at least a strong contingent of the British and American power elites, politicians, and military commanders. From their words and actions, it seems they now consider mutually-assured destruction a thing of the past, as U.S. superiority in advanced “smart weapons”, BMD systems, nuclear submarines, nuclear-armed fighter jets, et cetera, has given the NATO bloc the lead over Russia in both nuclear warhead capability and missile defense. In their diseased minds, since nuclear war with Russia (and China) is now “winnable”, it is therefore justifiable to risk instigating it for the sake of geopolitical gains.

The U.S./NATO encirclement of Russia and China indicate a preparation for nuclear war on a scale greater that that during the Cold War.

The U.S./NATO encirclement of Russia and China indicate a preparation for nuclear war on a scale greater that that during the Cold War. (Pic: LaRouche PAC)

- Ukraine, the European Union, and the Birth of the ‘Euromaidan’ -

The Orange Revolution resulted in a victory of the Western-backed Viktor Yushchenko. Yushchenko and his prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, worked during their terms to bring Ukraine much closer into the orbit of the European Union. When Yuschchenko’s Russian-backed Orange Revolution opponent Viktor Yanukovych became president in 2010, he and the government of his PM, Mykola Azarov, nonetheless continued the work of their predecessors to negotiate terms with the E.U. for making Ukraine part of the Union’s Eastern Partnership. The result was the Ukraine-E.U. Association Agreement (AA), which was scheduled to be signed near the end of November of last year. While the AA was perceived by some among the Ukrainian population as a silver-bullet solution to many of the country’s economic woes (at the end of last year, about 80% of Ukrainians lived below the poverty line), and would result in instant First World living standards, polling conducted in 2013 indicates that support for E.U. integration was still only held by a minority of Ukrainians.

Tymoshenko was jailed under Yanukovych's term for embezzlement, but her release was one of the conditions the E.U. demanded in AA.  Since her release, she was recorded in a leaked phone conversation calling Russian-Ukrainians as 'exile' who should all be 'nuked'. (Pic: Savilov / AFP)

Tymoshenko was jailed under Yanukovych’s term for embezzlement, but her release was one of the conditions the E.U. demanded in the AA. Since her release, she was recorded in a leaked phone conversation calling Russian-Ukrainians ‘exiles’ who should all be ‘nuked’. (Pic: Savilov / AFP)

Opponents of the AA argued that it was neither in Ukraine’s best interest, nor constitutional to adopt the treaty, as it would surrender major economic policy decisions to the European Commission. Furthermore, to comply with the standards laid out in the AA would cost Ukraine €160 billion (against a grant of a measly €610 million that the E.U. would offer to Ukraine, which Yanukovych called “humiliating”) and allow European cartels to take over Ukrainian agriculture and manufacturing. Ukraine is also still very much economically dependent upon Russia, and the AA would drive a major wedge between the two, historically-linked countries; this is a quixotic risk for Ukraine, as the conditions the E.U. offer her are described as much worse deal than those she currently has with Russia.

The Russians themselves have an unsurprisingly unfavorable view of the AA. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has even gone so far as to accuse the Eastern Partnership program as a method for turning the former communist bloc states against economic cooperation with Russia. Even Putin has weighed in on the dismal future that an E.U. partnership offers Ukraine: In one speech given in Italy (a country for which E.U. membership has become more of a liability than an asset), he referred to how many current members of the Union are no lands of milk and honey, with some member nations suffering from 40% youth unemployment and others being forced to undergo severe fiscal austerity. These realities give more reason for one to be suspicious about the intentions behind the efforts to bring Ukraine closer to the E.U., as it is quite apparent that the dying Eurozone behemoth is merely seeking to cannibalize the virgin pastures of Ukraine in order to keep itself fed.

If that evidence were not enough to raise serious questions about those aspects of the AA that deal with economics, there are also the treaty’s provisions for bringing Ukraine into the E.U.’s Common Security and Defense Policy, which overlaps with NATO. This would mean the expulsion of the Russian fleet from its naval base in Crimea. From a Russian point of view, such a move is great cause for alarm, since expelling the Crimean fleet would cut the Russian Navy off from the Black Sea, further castrate Russian defenses, and result in yet another major geopolitical advantage for the Anglo-American Empire. Claims that this effect is not the intention of the AA exceed the bounds of credibility.

In the context provided by gaining knowledge of these factors, it is quite understandable that the Ukrainian government–even a corrupt one–would become very hesitant to sign it at the expense of national interest.

That signing of the AA was scheduled to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania on November 29th. But when it came time for the Ukrainian parliament to pass several resolutions on November 21st that would qualify the government to meet the requirements of the E.U., it failed to do so. Instead, Azarov issued a decree calling for the negotiation of a trilateral agreement between Ukraine, the E.U., and Russia. He also stated that Ukraine should not bind herself to any agreements which jeopardize possible cooperation with her Eastern neighbors, which meant not only Russia and other former Soviet states (which are themselves in the process of forming their own union for economic cooperation), but also the world’s fastest-growing economy: China. Although Russia was very open to this proposal, E.U. officials and the (predominantly anti-Russian) political opposition of Yanukovych and Azarov accused the Ukrainian government of stalling and declined to explore any trilateral agreement. Instead, the opposition called for a mass demonstration in Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square, nicknamed the “Euromaidan”) to put pressure on their representatives to see to it that the AA could be signed on the scheduled November 29th date.

Although many of the Ukrainians who showed up for these demonstrations were probably acting out of a legitimate desire to prod their government into doing what they believed was the right thing, evidence shows that the protests were the product of the same foreign networks behind the Orange, Rose, and other revolutions. However, unlike those previous uprisings, this time around there was a much more vicious force deployed against Ukraine…

- The Putsch to Oust Yanukovych -

By the evening of November 29th, when it became clear that the AA was not going to be signed on that set date, many of the protesters accepted defeat and began to pack it in. However, a few hundred youth still remained in the Maidan, and a large contingent of them were said to be part of “far-right” Neo-Nazi paramilitary groups such as the Pravyi Sektor (English: Right Sector). Reportedly, after the protests began to wind down, Yanukovych then ordered to have these remaining youth still gathered in the square to be cleared out to prepare it for Christmas decorations.

The leading force in the "peaceful protests" of the Euromaidan.

The leading force in the “peaceful protests” of the Euromaidan. (Pic: Unknown / LibCom.org)

The Berkut, a special police force, were then deployed to enforce this order, and a violent clash broke out–but it is unclear if this was instigated by excessively-rough police, or the violent Neo-Nazis. Although video footage exists of these Neo-Nazi thugs beating police with chains and setting them on fire with Molotov cocktails, only footage of police beating Maidan rioters was shown on much of the mainstream Ukrainian TV news (which is accused of being owned and controlled by Ukraine’s pro-Western “oligarchs”). Seeing this inspired more people to come out and riot on the Maidan, and probably tipped some of the more moderate Ukrainians completely against the Yanukovych-Azarov government. Nonetheless, Yanukovych and Azarov still also bear responsibility for escalating matters, for they took an indiscriminate and hard-line stance against violent rioters and nonviolent protesters alike, by passing restrictive laws and making strong threats. For several weeks, the rioting continued, with violent skirmishes recurring between police and rioters. Eyewitness reports and video footage also indicate that the anti-Russian Neo-Nazis also brutally attacked any civilians deemed to be “too Russian”, among other arbitrary reasons. One of the Right Sector’s former members and the founder of the ultranationalist Ukrainian Patriot movement, Andriy Parubiy, was elevated to becoming the “Commandant of the Maidan”.

On February 20th, the violence reached new heights, as scores of people were shot and killed by expert snipers. The mainstream press insinuated that the massacre was perpetrated under the orders of Yanukovych. Although there was no direct evidence to verify that claim, it was nevertheless an effective catalyst to foment enough outrage against the Ukrainian president to force him to sign an agreement the next day with the three main opposition figures: Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleh Tyahnibok, and Viltaliy Klitschko. The agreement was said to be illegal, in that Yanukovych signed off on provisions although he did not have the constitutional power to do so. The agreement restored the 2004 Constitution without any say from the parliament and also forbade the government authorities from declaring a state of emergency. The next day, February 22nd, the Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Yanukovych from office, but this did not follow the constitutional protocol for impeachment, and was thus also of highly questionable legality. By the time of the vote, however, Yanukovich had already fled Kiev, fearing for his life. He later gave a statement accusing extremists in the opposition of violating their commitment to nonviolence (agreed to in the 2/21 document), and of threatening the parliament into compliance with their demands. (Other witness accounts corroborate this.) He denounced his ouster as the result of a coup d’etat perpetrated by fascists, and claimed himself as the legitimate President of Ukraine under its constitution. He is now in exile in Moscow.

The following week after these tumultuous events, crucial new intelligence surfaced regarding the 2/20 massacre. A recorded phone conversation between E.U. foreign affairs chief Lady Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet was leaked on the internet. It revealed that both civilians and police were victims of the 2/20 sniper attack, and that it was not Yanukovych who was behind the massacre, but a “new coalition” (which many analysts think could have been the paramilitary Right Sector). Widespread coverage of this leak was suspiciously (but not surprisingly) absent from the mainstream English-language news media. By this time there was no interest in reporting the truth, as the evil “Russian pawn” Yanukovych was gone and a new “democratic” government had replaced him.

- Svoboda and the Right Sector -

The new government that took power after Yanukovych’s ouster includes interim president Oleksandr Turchynov, with Yatsenyuk as prime minister. Yatsenyuk was the leading choice of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. In another phone conversation leaked on the internet pertaining to this Ukrainian crisis, Nuland discusses with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, why “Yats is the guy” they prefer as P.M., but he should be closely advised by members of the Svoboda Party.

Svoboda Party leader Oleh Tyahnybok doing a fascist salute.

Svoboda Party leader Oleh Tyahnybok doing a fascist salute. (Pic: Unknown / LibCom.org)

Although the conversation exposes Nuland and Pyatt as foreign agents illegally meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, it is made even more scandalous by the story behind the Svoboda (English: Freedom) Party that is advising Yatsenyuk. The group formerly went by the Nazi-esque name of the Socialist-Nationalist Party, and while its members are apparently quite similar to the Right Sector in ideology (i.e., a Neo-Nazi gang which has a paramilitary arm, and preaches hostility against Russians, Jews, and other ethnic groups), they have a public image that is a bit more sanitary. Svoboda members now occupy six cabinet positions in the new government. Among some of their first resolutions for the parliament to pass were a bill to ban the minority languages, a repeal on Ukraine’s ban on Nazi propaganda, bills disbanding the previous government’s security forces and replacing them with forces headed by fascist extremists, and a ban on the Communist Party. The new government, at the initiative of Svoboda and the Right Sector also released a Neo-Nazi leader from prison who was serving a sentence for plotting a terrorist attack. Also an important point about Svoboda is that its platform has also called for terminating the autonomous status of Crimea, and special administrative status of the port city of Sevastopol (the significance of which will be explained later).

The Right Sector is another spin-off of the Socialist-Nationalist Party and acts mainly as the brawn of the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi movement, whereas Svoboda acts mainly as the brains. (The term “brains” is used, only so far as one can give such Nazi ideologues the benefit of the doubt as to possessing any.) Accusations abound that the Right Sector are more of a mafia than a political party, intimidating or even threatening government officials less enthusiastic about the February coup to shut up and do as they’re told. Indeed, confirmed incidents have occurred where Right Sector thugs have savagely attacked anyone that dares oppose them. As briefly mentioned, the Right Sector has now been incorporated into the Ukrainian security forces, and Parubiy is even now the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

- Stepan Bandera and the Legacy of the Ukrainian Nazis -

As mentioned prior, the Right Sector and related Neo-Nazi groups began leading the Maidan riots on November 29-30. Both the Right Sector and Svoboda played central, indispensable roles in the overthrow of Yanukovych. Yet the mainstream media of the West barely reported their existence and was still portraying the Euromaidan uprising as a nonviolent one until mid-January.

But since the influence of Svoboda and the Right Sector in the new Ukrainian government is so great, it has become necessary for the Western press to perform astonishing public relations gymnastics and sanitize the image of these thugs. Thus words like “Nazi” and “fascist” are substituted with much less alarming terms like “nationalist” and “right wing”.

This logo, worn on the armbands of Right Sector militants, is modified from the "SS"  symbol of the Nazi Waffen Schutzstaffel.

This logo, worn on the armbands of Right Sector militants, is modified from the “SS” symbol of the Nazi Waffen Schutzstaffel. (Pic: FAIR)

But it does not take much investigative work to see the obvious Nazi connection. Most telling is the self-professed reverence these fascist groups all have for a Nazi collaborator and war criminal named Stepan Bandera. The Right Sector, Svoboda Party, and related elements openly tout themselves as “Ukrainian patriots” in the tradition of Bandera. Bandera was the leader of the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B), founded in 1929 (an illegal organization in Soviet Ukraine). During the German occupation of Ukraine during World War II, Bandera and his OUN-B collaborated with the Nazis, and were responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands Jews, Poles, and other ethnicities.

After the end of the war, Bandera and his lieutenant, Mykola Lebed, dodged any war crime trials they should have faced by instead being recruited into the Anglo-American intelligence apparatus. Bandera became an assassin and saboteur for Britain’s Military Intelligence, Section 6 (MI6), and Lebed the head of a shell company of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Both were used against the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War. Bandera was assassinated in 1959 by the Soviet intelligence agency, the KGB, but Lebed, on the other hand, made out like a bandit and lived well into old age and died in 1998 as a naturalized U.S. citizen!

From Bandera’s time onward, the OUN-B and kindred fascist, racist organizations continued to operate underground in Soviet Ukraine. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, they were no longer illegal, and could come out into the open. Their acceptance into post-Soviet, mainstream Ukrainian politics can be seen in the fact that Svoboda is the fourth largest political party in Ukraine, and through how even the relatively more moderate Ukrainian political parties have treated Bandera’s legacy.

Although Bandera remains a controversial figure in Ukraine today for very obvious reasons, he is still quite openly revered by not a few as a “patriot” who fought for Ukraine against the Russian imperialists.

It should go without mention that Bandera is of course a hero to Svoboda, the Right Sector, the Ukrainian Patriot Movement, et cetera. During the Euromaidan riots, the Neo-Nazis were parading around banners baring Bandera’s likeness, along with the red and black standard of the OUN-B. Furthermore, the ties that link today’s Euromaidan fascists to yesterday’s Banderite fascists seem more than just legacy: Just as Bandera and Lebed were recruited into British and U.S. intelligence, respectively, so too it seems that the Neo-Nazi groups are a project of the same Anglo-American intelligence organ. It should be common knowledge that time and time again, this apparatus uses violent extremists to do its dirty work. Let us frame this known history in context with other facts: Foreign interests backed both the Color Revolutions and the Euromaidan. U.S. State Department officials are on record discussing how to stage-manage the overthrow of the legitimately-elected government of Ukraine. Both Svoboda and the Right Sector have received paramilitary training by an unknown entity, which has reportedly turned them into a highly-disciplined and organized force.

Thus, it is very likely that the Western forces who instigated this crisis in Ukraine, did so using known fascist extremists as the instrument for bringing into existence a government very hostile to Russia.

- Did Russian Invade and Conquer Crimea? -

While the Orange Revolution was a disruption for Ukraine and Russia, it was not successful in its maximal aims. As mentioned previously, the goal of the Anglo-American establishment ever since the Orange Revolution of 2004-05 has been to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit, and bring her into alignment with the West. For “first-strike” ideologues, control over Ukraine would grant them with a invaluable prize: the expulsion of the Russian fleet from the naval base in Crimea, which gives the Russian military access to the Black and Mediterranean Seas.

As previously mentioned, the Crimean Peninsula was part of Russia for over 175 years before it was transferred to Ukraine in 1954. Thus the majority of Crimeans have identified as Russians more than Ukrainians. In 1991, when the Soviet Union was falling apart and Ukraine declared herself an independent state consisting of the same borders she had had under the U.S.S.R., little concern was given to which nationality the people living within her regions wished to be. The great majority of Crimeans–who identified as Russians–thus became Ukrainians overnight. To help mitigate this problem, in 1991-92, it was negotiated between Kiev and Crimea for the latter to become an “autonomous republic” under the formal sovereignty of the former. This was a status supported by Russia, with one major factor being her ability to maintain the naval base of her Black Sea fleet in Crimea’s port city of Sevastopol. In 1997, it was agreed between the Ukrainian and Russian governments that the Russian fleet could continue to occupy the Sevastopol naval base, and that Russia could keep up to 25,000 military personnel in Crimea.

After the overthrow of Yanukovych on February 22nd, it would seem that Russia’s instincts to ardently defend her precious interests in Crimea immediately kicked in.

On February 26th, Putin put military forces in Western Russia on alert.

On February 28th, reports surfaced that unidentified armed men in uniform (likely Russian special forces) had marched into the Crimean parliament building in the city of Simefrapol and raised the Russian flag, but it is not clear why. The Western media—likely getting information from sources related to the new putsch government in Kiev—reported this as a hijacking of the Crimean government by force. But Russian and Crimean sources say the troops were escorting the parliamentarians past protesters who were blocking their entrance to the building and thus preventing them from meeting. That same session, the parliament set a date for a referendum to take place on March 16th, on which the Crimean people could decide if they wish to remain part of Ukraine, or to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

On March 1st, the Russian parliament voted unanimously to authorize President Putin to use military force in Ukraine if necessary. 40,000 troops were stationed at the Russian-Ukrainian border, and remain there to this day.

Although Putin’s response in Crimea earned him many accusations from Western leaders of violating Ukrainian territorial integrity, Russia only deployed 16,000 military personnel to Crimea, well below the 25,000 allowed under the 1997 agreement with Ukraine. Furthermore, the Russian government does not recognize (and is not obligated to do so under international law) Ukraine’s new government as legitimate; indeed, it still recognizes Yanukovych as the official head of state of Ukraine, whose signature appears on a document authorizing Russian military personnel in Ukraine.

On the day of the referendum, 97% of votes cast favored reuniting with Russia. Much of the Western media spun the actions in Crimea as an “invasion”, and that the subsequent referendum was a “sham” forced upon the Crimeans “at gunpoint” and “violated Ukrainian sovereignty”. All of this is not actual news reporting, but pure conjecture that has little, if any, basis in the available facts. There were in fact, 135 observers from 23 countries in Crimea monitoring the referendum. One such observer, E.U. parliament member Ewald Stadler, said he hadn’t “seen anything even resembling pressure…”

However, the situation in Crimea did not occur without bloodshed, unfortunately. In the days following the referendum, a skirmish between Ukrainian military and unidentified “pro-Russian” forces, and a sniper shooting by an unknown assailant, resulted in the combined deaths of four individuals. A fifth, a Tatar man who was reportedly protesting outside the Crimean parliament building, was taken away by unidentified “militant-looking” men, only to later turn up dead.

- Reviewing the Circumstances Leading Up to the Annexation of Crimea -

To put Putin’s recent actions regarding Ukraine and Crimea into better context, let us review some other realities that are conveniently omitted from the mainstream narrative disseminated by the Anglo-American Establishment:

  • Historically, Russia has always been very wary of the West, since she has suffered from repeated invasions from Western powers throughout the centuries, especially the German invasion of World War II, which resulted in the deaths of 25-30 million Soviet citizens.
  • Since the late 1990s, NATO has been seeking to expand eastward, despite the Bush Administration’s promise to Gorbachev that it would never do so.
  • That expansion has been giving NATO a “first-strike” edge over Russia, and the Russians have voiced protests that such a move is unacceptable to them.
  • The E.U.-Ukrainian Association Agreement is intended to bring Ukraine into much closer alignment with NATO, which would threaten Russia’s rights to the Sevastopol naval base.
  • In the post-war period, British and American intelligence agencies supported fascist war criminals in Ukraine against Russia.
  • U.S. State Department personnel were working behind the scenes with the Ukrainian government officials later installed by a putsch spearhead by Neo-Nazis.
  • That putsch deposed a legitimately-elected president, making it an illegal violation of the Ukrainian Constitution.
  • Those Neo-Nazis who led the putsch are openly hostile to Russians as an ethnic group.
  • A large minority of the population of Ukraine identifies with a Russian ethnicity, and they are understandably alarmed at the ascension of the new government in Kiev.
  • The Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, which holds several cabinet positions in the new government, has had intentions to end the autonomous status of Crimea, putting Russia’s rights to the Sevastopol naval base in great question.
  • Preserving the Sevastopol naval base is vital to Russia’s national security interests; therefore she will go to great lengths to defend her access to that base.

With all of these facts in mind, can anyone confidently say that Putin’s actions were unprovoked, unjustified, and illegal? Putin’s actions are of course questionable and subject to criticism, but he and his government do nonetheless have a much better case for justifying their actions in Crimea than the Anglo-American Establishment would have us believe. As Putin himself pointed out, referenda are not violations of international law, as the precedent of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008 established that regions seceding for independence are within their legitimate right to do so.

- The Explosion in Ukraine’s Southeast -

However, Crimea’s reunification with Russia inspired people in the regions east of Kiev to push for their right to secede from Ukraine as well. On April 6th-7th, protesters in several cities in southeastern Ukraine (which is populated with many ethnic Russians) seized government buildings. Some demanded referenda, from which they could gain autonomy from Kiev, and some declared themselves independent republics; in most instances, Russian flags were raised over the areas occupied by separatists. In response, Interim President Turchynov has deployed security forces to these areas, which reportedly include special forces units comprised of Right Sector militants and American mercenaries. This has been declared by the Ukrainian president as an “anti-terrorism” operation, which would therefore imply that the separatists are the “terrorists”. In some of the cities controlled by separatists, it appears that not a few police and military personnel have defected to their side.

While it is not unlikely that the separatists are receiving supplies and weaponry that the Ukrainian military abandoned in Crimea, or that there are Russian and Russian-Ukrainian volunteers from Crimea among their ranks, so far no evidence has surfaced to substantiate the accusations from from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (who does not have a reputation for honesty), U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague, and other officials that the Russians are orchestrating this crisis by directly deploying agents-provocateur in southeastern Ukraine. Indeed, photographs purported to be evidence of Russian troops in Ukraine were found to not be credible, even by Western media.

Russia's Lavrov (left) with the U.S.'s Kerry (right) .(Pic: Dharapak / AP)

Russia’s Lavrov (left) with the U.S.’s Kerry (right) .(Pic: Dharapak / AP)

On the contrary from fueling this crisis, it would seem that the Russian government–especially its Foreign Ministry–has actually been the leader in trying to defuse it, as it was Lavrov who was the initiator of last week’s four-party negotiations in Geneva. Delegates from Ukraine, the E.U., the U.S., and Russia, met in Geneva on April 17th and signed an agreement. It reads:

The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.

All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

Amnesty will be granted to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.

It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The U.S., E.U. and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.

The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.

The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented.

 

Although quite short and rather vague, on the surface, this agreement appeared as a welcome development and reason for optimism. Unfortunately, however, the ink on this “Easter Truce” had barely dried before the further “provocative actions”–the kind of which the parties had agreed to prevent–escalated. Not long after the agreement was signed, the Ukrainian government announced it would continue its “anti-terrorism” operation. On Easter Sunday, a firefight was reported on the outskirts of the eastern city of Slavyansk in which two separatists and three militants (reportedly of the Right Sector) were killed. In the days that followed, more violence has erupted in Slavyansk, with a number of civilians killed, reportedly by Kiev-backed forces. In Kharkov, the largest city in eastern Ukraine, the mayor was shot by an unknown sniper and is now in critical condition.

It should not be all that surprising to find that the Ukrainian government has not made good on its promises in Geneva. Whether its officials intended to do so or not is not really a relevant question if those officials are only figureheads being dictated to by extremist militants such as the Right Sector. In the recent days, Lavrov has accused Kiev of not doing enough to reign-in the extremist elements with its ranks, only further underscoring the fact that the Turchynov-Yatsenyuk government is actually incapable of challenging the paramilitary forces which helped put it into power. Lavrov has also said that based on available evidence, he has no choice but to conclude that it is Washington which is giving the green light to Kiev to use violence against the separatists, as the “anti-terrorism” operation began shortly after CIA Director John Brennan’s visit with Kiev officials, and then escalated with the attack in Slavyansk immediately following U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit.

- Can the Drive toward World War III be Thwarted? -

The sad truth is that this crisis did not need to happen. As bad as the Yanukovych Presidency may have been, the problems for Ukraine created before and during his tenure were not so unsolvable that the welfare of the nation could not be salvaged except by coup d’etat. The materializing of Azarov’s proposal for a Ukraine-E.U.-Russia trilateral agreement in favor of the Association Agreement would have probably benefited Ukraine a great deal, had the E.U. and the Ukrainian opposition been willing to receive it favorably.

Furthermore, although the deep-rooted political and cultural tensions referenced prior in this essay have always been present, they were nevertheless a surmountable obstacle with the way things stood before ill-intentioned foreign interests started using Ukraine as a geopolitical pawn. What we now have since the Euromaidan revolution and the subsequent February coup is divided nation ready to explode. Instead of the path to stability, cohesion, and eventual prosperity, the country is now not merely on the verge of a full-blown, bloody civil war, but also the focal point of this emerging New Cold War, and therefore the tinderbox that could ignite a cataclysmic hot one, as well.

Indeed, the hot war is already looming. NATO is currently mobilizing forces in Poland and the Baltic states and U.S. destroyers have entered the Black Sea. The Russian forces too are preparing, undergoing extensive training on Ukraine’s border.

Lavrov has said that Russia does not want to invade Ukraine, but, on the other hand, she cannot tolerate a hostile Ukrainian government that threatens her citizenry and national security. As Russian empathizers in America have mentioned, the current situation between Russia and Ukraine is analogous to Russia sponsoring and managing the emergence of a rogue, extremist government in Canada or Mexico openly hostile to the United States and her citizens.

However, it does seem that some saner heads in the U.S. political and military establishments are aware of the dangers in escalating this conflict. General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told the press that he keeps a open and frequent communication with his Russian counterpart for this specific reason; additionally, he is credited as being the key influence over President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will not pursue a military option over Ukraine. Even former U.S. Secretary of State and infamous Anglophilic imperialist Henry Kissinger published remarks which called for the West to work toward deescalation and sincere diplomacy with Russia.

But voices from such quarters will serve little purpose if the commander-in-chief of the U.S. is not also firmly committed to working with Russia to defuse the Ukrainian crisis. It is possible, however, that if enough members of both parties in the U.S. Congress realize something must be done immediately to prevent the president from starting World War III over a crisis in a country that has no direct effect on U.S. interests or security, and vote to impeach Barack Obama on one of the many high crimes and misdemeanors he has already committed, it could derail the march toward war.

A sincere study of the situation should lead any intelligent person to conclude that since the February coup, the Anglosphere has been gradually but persistently provoking Russia more and more for a military response. The unfortunate reality is that a very small number of utopian fanatics are threatening the lives of 7 billion of us. We must not let them. All avenues to pressure the U.S. into deescalating the crisis and stabilizing Ukraine must be pursued to the fullest extent possible, and it is the citizens of all countries who have the responsibility to urge their government officials to do just that.

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On the ‘New Cold War’: Part I

Essay One: A Very Brief History of Russian, British, and American Relations

Today’s tension between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, and the respective governments they head, has been dubbed by some as a “New Cold War”. Although things have come to a fever pitch not previously reached before the Ukrainian crisis, this New Cold War has precedents going all the way back to Russia’s brief war with Georgia in August of 2008.

The recent and current events of the Ukrainian crisis will be discussed in the second installment of this series, but it is important to first examine the deep historical roots of this present conflict between what is collectively call the West (particularly the U.S. and her NATO allies) and the modern-day Russian Federation.

- Russia Removed from the West -

Russia, the most powerful nation of Eastern Europe, has always maintained a degree of independence from her Western neighbors. While she is close to Europe in some respects, she also exists very much apart from other European nations, which have historically been much more integrated with one another. She is a Eurasian nation–a crossroads between East and West. She is historically an Orthodox Christian country, and developed as a nation beyond the political and religious influence of the Roman Papacy. From the Teutonic Crusaders, to Napoleonic France, to Nazi Germany, Western powers have made numerous attempts to conquer Russia, yet she has resisted each time. The effects of these characteristics has persisted throughout the lifespans of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and still persist today in the Russian Federation.1

Peter the Great (1672-1725) was the first Tsar of the modern Russian Empire, and made overtures to establish closer relations between Russia and Western Europe.

Peter the Great (1672-1725) was the first Tsar of the modern Russian Empire, and made overtures to establish closer relations between Russia and Western Europe.

However, Russia’s semi-isolation from Western Europe also meant that she did not immediately reap many of the benefits of the European Renaissance which fostered many of the modern advancements in science, the arts, and statecraft. In fact, it was not until the 18th century, that Russia, under the reign of Emperor Peter I (“Peter the Great”), began to open up to receiving some of the lessons that the West had to teach her. As a result, it was also during this period that she emerged as an industrial and imperial power, expanding into the second largest empire in the world. As such, her rise as a global player also guaranteed that the Western powers would seek to have influence with or over Russia, and obviously not always for reasons in her best interest. Thus from the late 1700s onward to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Russia was in a near-perpetual geopolitical chess game with the powers of Western Europe–especially the only empire larger than hers: Britain’s.2

- The Russian Empire versus the British Empire -

From approximately the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, onward to the eve of the First World War in the early 20th century, Russia was essentially Britain’s only significant rival in the Eastern Hemisphere. When Russia was expanding into Central Asia, and frequently warring with the Ottoman Empire, Britain took close notice, as Russian expansion was a potential threat to British dominance in South Asia and its considerable influence in Ottoman Southwest Asia; thus, the British Empire put great effort into maintaining a policy of containing Russia’s further rise. During much of the 19th century, the two great empires were in a geopolitical tug-of-war for control over the Eurasian Heartland that historians have dubbed “The Great Game”.

In discussing this geopolitical duel, a key difference between the British and Russian empires must be emphasized:

A map of the rail lines on the Africa continent, the great majority of which were built during the colonial era when most of Africa was controlled by British, French, Belgian, and other European powers.  As such, many of the railways are not designed to facilitate national economic development, and instead are there primarily to transport raw materials from their source to the ports.

A map of the rail lines on the African continent, the great majority of which were built during the colonial era when most of Africa was controlled by British, French, Belgian, and other European powers. As such, many of the railways are not designed to facilitate national economic development, and instead are there primarily to transport raw materials from their source to the ports.

The British Empire expanded as a maritime empire for the purpose of dominating and controlling the global trade of materials extracted from its many colonies around the world. As such, the British system, with its reach all across the globe, and dedication to so-called “free trade”, needs to prevent its subjugated peoples from organizing into strong, sovereign nation-states. Thus industry and infrastructure in the colonies are kept only at the bare-bones level necessary for looting and exporting.3

Additionally, the British Empire rarely resorts to overt military conquest, and instead established control over territory by infiltrating and subverting resistant nations from within, thereby orchestrating social and political discord. (Many of the nations targeted by this method were Russia’s neighbors in Southwest and Central Asia, of which were organized as proxy forces the British recruited against Russia, creating destabilization all along Russia’s southern border.)

Unlike its British counterpart, the Russian Empire expanded through force of arms to become a continental empire across the vast landscape of Eurasia.4 Although it conquered a multitude of ethnic groups, it can be argued that the Russian Empire still functioned much more like an unified nation when compared to the multi-tentacled global colonial empire of Great Britain. Thus Russia’s economic growth depended upon the very same kind of inland development and internal improvements that were suppressed in the British colonies. Therefore, as an empire straddling a supercontinent, Russia was more poised to evolve from an empire into a nation-state, whereas Britain could only continue upon its current trajectory of growing into an ever-larger parasite, victimizing decaying nations.

- Russia and the U.S.: Once Close Allies -

It is probably for these differences that Russia developed close ties with the British Empire’s former colony and chief rival in the Western Hemisphere: the United States of America (although this is largely a forgotten history since the events of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Cold War). It is somewhat ironic to reflect upon the fact that Russia and the U.S. shared a “special relationship”–in which they were unified against Britain–long before the Anglo-American special relationship established at the end of World War II, which was an alignment against Russia.

During the American War for Independence (1775-83), the U.S. earned the sympathy of Empress Catherine II (“Catherine the Great”) and her government; thus the fledgling republic was being supplied by Russia and her allies—the League of Armed Neutrality—during the war. During the Second Anglo-American War (1812-15), the Russians pressured Britain to sue for peace with the U.S. During Russia’s Crimean War (1853-56) against the British, French, and Ottomans, the U.S. returned Russia’s favor from 80 years prior by supplying her with war materiel. And during the U.S. Civil War (1861-65), Russia intervened directly to deter Britain from formally allying with the Confederate States of America.5

A statue in Moscow of U.S.  President Lincoln (left) and Russian Tsar Alexander II (right) commemorating not only the close relationship the U.S. and Russia shared during the time of the two leaders, but also the fact that they both freed their countrymen from bondage: Lincoln, who emancipated the American slaves in 1863, and Alexander, who liberated the Russian serfs in 1861.  These twin acts also ended an era of agrarian backwardness and put both countries on a fast track to industrial expansion and development which threatened the British Empire's global power.

A statue in Moscow of U.S. President Lincoln (left) and Russian Tsar Alexander II (right) commemorating not only the close relationship the U.S. and Russia shared during the time of the two leaders, but also the fact that they both freed their countrymen from bondage: Lincoln, who emancipated the American slaves in 1863, and Alexander, who liberated the Russian serfs in 1861. These twin acts also ended an era of agrarian backwardness and put both countries on a fast track to industrial expansion and development which threatened the British Empire’s global power.

But this alignment between the U.S. and Russia did not merely apply during wartime. Russia, as a transcontinental nation, was eager to adopt methods of the “American System of Political Economy”.6 American economic nationalists exchanged their ideas with Russian counterparts to help further Russia’s development into a modern nation-state. The U.S. gave Russia the materiel needed to establish modern industry and railroads—including the famous Trans-Siberian. By the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. and Russia were one another’s largest trading partners.

But the rapid development of both Russia and the United States as strong, sovereign, national economies was something that the British Empire could not tolerate. The fruitful alliance between the two nations was not to last.

- The Anglo-American Special Relationship and the Cold War -

In 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution overthrew Russia’s imperial monarchy, and the creation of the Soviet Union soon followed. This, of course, created a giant rift in U.S.-Russian relations, which had already been waning since the retirement of Prime Minister Sergei Witte–a strong advocate of American System-style development–in 1906.

The twilight of World War II saw a potential return to something approaching the relationship the U.S. and Russia enjoyed during the latter half of the 19th century. But the untimely death of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, the main torch-bearer for such an approach to U.S.-Russian relations, meant it would never come to pass.

In the aftermath of World War II, instead of rekindling things with Russia, the U.S. established a “special relationship” with the British Empire, and was thus initiated as a full-fledged, major player in the game of imperialist geopolitics.7 Almost immediately after Roosevelt’s death, the Anglo-American Establishment moved quickly to exploit what were workable differences between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and usher in the Cold War.

Much happened during this period, but the most important feature to mention for our purposes here is to mention that the Cold War was largely governed by a doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction”, appropriately acronymed as MAD. MAD meant that since the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. each had thousands of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, war between them would mean the destruction of them both—and probably most, if not all, of the human race, as well. Thus the promise of MAD meant that the only way to deter the one side or the other from instigating war was for the two of them to continually one-up each other through arms-race, intrigue, and geopolitical maneuvering.

In the waning days of that Cold War, the U.S. would assure the disintegrating U.S.S.R. that the coming new era would mean an end to Cold War relations, most specifically the surcease of the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an anti-Russian military alliance of Western countries.

- Yeltsin and Putin -

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Anglo-Americans pounced on the heavily-weakened superpower by installing their puppet Boris Yeltsin as President of the new Russian Federation. Under Yeltsin, Russia was eager to transition from a state-controlled economy into a free market one. Western “economists” advised the new government to implement economic “shock therapy”—i.e., the overnight privatization of most sectors of the Russian economy. This allowed the rise of a new class of Russian “oligarchs” who looted the country. By the end of the 1990s, Russia was on the verge of becoming a Third World country.8 By the end of his presidency, the bumbling, corrupt Yeltsin enjoyed single-digit approval ratings.

As the Saker, an analyst of Russian affairs, has pointed out, the juxtapostion of these two pictures of Yeltsin with Clinton and Obama with Putin really says volumes about the 180 degree change in U.S.-Russian relations.

As the Saker, an analyst of Russian affairs, has pointed out, the juxtaposition of these two pictures of Yeltsin with Clinton and Obama with Putin really says volumes about the 180 degree change in U.S.-Russian relations.

Yeltsin resigned on New Year’s Eve, 1999. His successor was his prime minister, Vladimir Putin. Putin immediately began an enterprise to turn Russia around. He reigned in the oligarchs and reversed the privatization schemes. The presidencies of Putin and his collaborator, Dmitry Medvedev, launched national initiatives to improve public health, education, housing, and agriculture; promote the flourishing of useful domestic industries; and promote the development of modern technologies.

In his fifteen years in high office (ten years as president, five as prime minister), Putin has managed to bring Russia back from poverty and social discord, and turn it back into a strong, sovereign nation-state. Whatever his flaws, Putin is surely not deserving the vilification now being incessantly hurled at him by Western pundits and politicians.9 Putin is hated simply because he is a nationalist who dares to defy the Anglo-American Establishment.10 As one popular Russian analyst has said of him:11 As a world leader, Putin represents a vision of a pluralistic world order of sovereign nation-states that adhere to international law. Unlike Yeltsin, he has not sat idly by and allowed his country to become a de facto colony of the Anglo-American system, and stands firm against its efforts to create a unipolar empire of might-makes-right.

The United States, which at many points during her history was a leading champion for a world comprised of sovereign republics, has on the other hand, been incorporated into the system of the British Empire, and is consequently becoming increasingly hated by peoples across the world. Just as Lincoln and Roosevelt were circumspect of the British Empire, and therefore willing to cooperate with Russia in creating such a pluralistic and peaceful world order, so too must the present government of the United States break off the Special Relationship and engage Putin in his present mission. Yet this will not happen until U.S. leaders are willing to rediscover their nation’s lost history of collaberation with Russia.

Forthcoming: Essay Two: “What is the Actual Significance of the Ukrainian Crisis?”

__________

- Notes -

1. The differences between Russia and the West are not so irreconcilable that they condemn the two sides to an eternal “clash of civilizations” which must inevitably lead to one side destroying the other, as some fanatics–both Russian and Western–have argued. Nonetheless, the differences in culture, religion, and history must be recognized and taken into account by both parties if they are to have any cooperation in building a better future for mankind.

2. Although my knowledge of Russian history and its relationship to the West is admittedly rather sophomoric, I nonetheless have found that Russia’s volatile relationship with my native United States actually has its historical roots in Russia’s problems with the British Empire, which go back to the 18th century, and continue today.

3. I use the present tense in describing the system of British Imperialism, because it does, in actuality, persist as today’s Anglo-American “neocolonial” system. I have written on this elsewhere in “The Philippines: Underdeveloped, But Not Overpopulated” and “For Independence from Empire: The Spirit of ’76 and Pan-Asian Nationalism”. I also recommend other reading material, particularly from the ground-breaking historiography of Executive Intelligence Review, such as Treason in America: From Aaron Burr to Averell Harriman by Anton Chaitkin (1999, Sec. ed. E.I.R. Washington.); and L.Wolfe, “The Other War: FDR’s Battle Against Churchill and the British Empire”, The American Almanac, Aug. 28, 1995. Also see As He Saw It by Elliot Roosevelt (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce. New York, 1946).

4. Russian Imperialism, although in part motivated by practical reasons such as the need to acquire resources and to secure access to warm water ports, has its roots in a “Third Rome” ideology, where Russia was the successor to the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire (which is why the title of the Russian Emperor– “Tsar”–is Russian for “Caesar”). At least some of Russia’s recurring conflicts with the Ottoman Turks were inspired by a Romantic fantasy of “liberating” Istanbul (formerly Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium) from the Muslims and reestablishing the old empire. Third Rome ideology does persist to this very day in some quarters of the old Russian elite.

5. See George Konstantin, “The U.S.-Russian Entente That Saved the Union,” Executive Intelligence Review, Jun. 26, 1992 (reprint); William Jones, “Britain’s Surrogate War Against the Union, 1861-65″, Executive Intelligence Review, Aug. 12, 2011; and Konstantin Cheremnykh and Rachel Douglas, “Russians Look at Strategic Meaning of Historical Alliance with U.S.A.”, Executive Intelligence Review, Jun. 8, 2007.

6. The American System of Political Economy was considered by its proponents–which included Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Henry C. Carey, and Abraham Lincoln, among others–as the antithesis to the “British” system of free trade and imperialism. It is a form of economic nationalism: i.e. a political economy that fosters a society of producers, where high-technology industry and infrastructure are applied for the greatest possible benefit of the living standards of the general population. For more on this and related topics, see Anton Chaitkin, “How Ben Franklin Organized Our Economic Independence”, Executive Intelligence Review, Oct. 21, 2011, “The Fraud of Andrew Jackson: Think Like an American–Restore Hamilton’s Bank!”, Executive Intelligence Review, Feb. 10, 2012, and “The American Industrial Revolution that Andrew Jackson Sought to Destroy”, Executive Intelligence Review, Jun. 22, 2012. The article for “The American School (Economics)” on Wikipedia also presents a useful overview.

7. For insight into actual nature of the Anglo-American “Special Relationship” scrutinize Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech on Mar. 5, 1946 to Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri where he publicly announces that the U.S. must align with the British Empire (it is of special note that he emphasizes the Empire, over the nation of United Kingdom) against the Soviet Union and work toward establishing the United Nations as a kind-of supranational government. View Churchill’s words in the context of Henry Kissinger’s May 10, 1982 speech to the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Kissinger shamelessly confesses that he “kept the British Foreign Office better informed and more closely engaged than…the American State Department,” and that his allegiances lie with the historical outlook of imperialists like Churchill, rather than those of patriotic and “moralistic idealists” like Roosevelt and John Quincy Adams.

8. See Dan Josefsson, “Shock Therapy: The Art of Ruining a Country”, Dan Josefsson’s Articles and Blog, Apr. 1, 1999; and The Saker, “Is the twenty years long “pas de deux” of Russia and the USA coming to an end?”, Vineyard of the Saker (blog), Oct. 12, 2013.

9. Knowing what sources to put one’s faith in when it comes to sorting through information on Vladimir Putin and his presidency can be quite difficult. The Russian President is undoubtedly a major thorn in the side of the Anglo-American Empire, and therefore the great majority of the English-language news media cannot be trusted for any honest reporting on Putin or Russia. Even good journalists who might be sincere in their reporting can misrepresent the facts about the state of affairs in Putin’s Russia if they unwittingly rely upon sources that are disinformation and/or are uneducated on the larger context on the issues in question.

Russian sources, on the other hand, particularly the increasingly-popular, Russian government-funded, English-language news outlet Russia Today (RT) are likely guilty of being overly bias toward the current Russian government, but are still valuable for presenting Russia’s side of the story and for reporting important stories that run contrary to the narrative the Anglo-American Establishment wishes to promote (both of which the mainstream media in the West will never do).

Two of the best English-language sources I have come across for intelligence on Russia are The Vineyard of the Saker—a blog written by a Soviet dissident and former military analyst—and Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review.

As for my own opinion of President Putin, I will say that while the man is certainly no saint, and is perhaps guilty of some of the objectionable actions he is accused of, he is nonetheless a master statesman (quite possibly the greatest Russia has had since Witte) who has no contemporary peers among other world leaders. I believe his motivation to lead is derived more so from a desire to serve for the good of Russia and her people, than from selfishness and narcissism.  I could be wrong in this assessment, but I have yet to be presented with any convincing evidence that I am.

10. The connotation of the term “nationalist” I refer to is not that which is often synonymous with fascism, and refers to a xenophobic, isolationist, racialist idea of national identity (a connotation which is probably better expressed by the term ultranationalism, a term used to describe the extremist, fascistic contingent apparently in charge of the new Ukrainian government right now), but the idea that the general welfare and interests of the nation must be protected from destructive foreign influences, whether covert or overt, and that a sovereign nation has a right to her development.

11. The Saker, “Today every free person in the world has won!” The Vineyard of the Saker (blog), Oct. 12, 2013.

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Some Reflections Upon Sexual Morality in General, and the Homosexual Question in Particular: Part III

Please see Essays One and Two in this series.

Essay Three: The Grand Cultural Experiment of Same-Sex Parenting

In the previous installment to this series, which addresses same-sex marriage, I explained that since a marriage is a foundation of a new family, and the family is the most basic human social unit, the state has the legitimate authority to sanction marriage. Marriages typically produce new members of the human race and thus must provide stable, loving, nurturing environments for those new members.

The Disney Channel recently aired an episode of its children's sitcom, Good Luck Charlie, which depicted same-sex parents as "no big deal".

The Disney Channel recently aired an episode of its children’s sitcom, Good Luck, Charlie, which depicted same-sex parents as “no big deal”.

As the term “marriage equality” implies, the sanctioning of homosexual unions as “marriages” means that they will be equal under the law in every way to traditional, heterosexual marriages. This includes the option to become legal guardians of minors. In other words, “gay households” do not only include two consenting partners, but also adopted or biological children–individuals much too young to consent to being brought into this atypical household.

The general “consensus” on this matter seems to be that there is little, if any difference, between children raised by heterosexual couples, and children raised by homosexual couples. Even the American Psychological Association has affirmed this, and there is at least one Australian study that produced results showing that children of homosexual parents have better “general health” and share greater “family cohesion” than children of heterosexual parents!1

Though it is fair to question if such conclusions are free of deliberate bias and/or fallacies of composition, if we take them at face value, we still must ask if such results alone really justify legalizing and normalizing same-sex parenting.

- A Right to a Mother and Father -

One of the most vocal opponents to same-sex parenting is columnist and author Robert O. Lopez. He argues that the results from such studies, even if true, do not, in and of themselves, justify same-sex parenting. Lopez speaks from experience: he was raised by his mother and her lesbian partner, and identifies as bisexual. The core of his argument is that such household environments deny the children their natural, human rights:

Children have a right to a mom and a dad. You don’t ask sociologists to prove to us that free speech and liberty from slavery are justifiable because you can prove the negative impacts of being denied those rights. You can’t do that when it comes to a child’s right to a mom and a dad.

Such a right follows from the tenets of the Declaration of Independence, which is based on (1) self-evident truths, (2) inalienable rights, and (3) people being created equal.

(1) It is a self-evident truth that every baby comes into the world with a mom and a dad. (2) The tie linking that baby to its mom and dad is inalienable. If a man impregnates a woman and then absconds, the courts can track him down and force him to pay for child support. This isn’t based on the adult’s rights–it is based on the child’s right to a mom and a dad. In adoptions necessitated by hard times, the logic goes that you must fulfill the child’s rights by providing a new mom and dad to replace the mom and dad with which the child was born. If a child grows up without a dad, unless the dad died, the absence of the dad is the malfeasance of adults and a violation of the child’s right. (3) All people are created equal. Notice the role of “creation.” We all come from a mom and a dad and must have a mom and a dad, even if one is dead and only remembered, for us to be respected by the state formed by the Declaration of Independence. Same-sex parenting flagrantly violates children’s rights, deprives them of inalienable rights, and risks inflicting grievous emotional distress on them, with no justification whatsoever, other than the whims of adults. It is abuse.2

Elsewhere, in a column for Public Discourse, Lopez wrote:

This holds true not only for same-sex parenting, but for any choice to parent a child in a less-than-ideal setting for a less-than-grave reason. It’s abuse, for example, for a single parent to adopt a child when many other equally good two-parent homes are available. It’s abuse for parents to divorce simply for reasons related to their own emotional happiness. It’s abuse for LGBT couples to create children through IVF and then deprive them of a mother or father.3

Lopez has unsurprisingly incurred a fair amount of wrath from the pansexualist lobby. But, despite all the disagreements that one may have with him, whether civil or hostile, his central point remains indisputable: Everyone has quite literally a “birthright” to a loving and responsible mother and father. This birthright is derived from the natural state–we all come from a mother and a father, thus we all deserve a mother and a father. For two homosexuals who are by their very nature incapable of reproduction to demand that they have a right to children that trumps the rights of children is perpetrating an injustice toward the child.

Granted, if there are scenarios where a child taken from an abusive mother-father family and has the only remaining option of being raised by a benign male-male or female-female couple, he is, in most respects, better off in the latter case; it is the “lesser evil”. And it is indeed possible that the child will grow up to seem quite normal depending on what standards one uses to define “normal” for a particular society. Indeed, it has never been unheard for children to overcome the obstacles created by the absence of one or both parents, and nonetheless become healthy, upstanding individuals (although statistics show that this is typically not what happens). But simply because a child has the potential avoid being a victim of growing up fatherless and/or motherless does not justify willfully thrusting him into such circumstances; it does not justify the acceptance of such scenarios as preferable or even normal substitutes for a stable household under the child’s biological mother and father.4 Living biological parents should only be excluded from immediate household if their inclusion makes a stable, loving household virtually impossible. And in those circumstances where either one or both of the biological parents are unable or unfit to adequately act in the role of a proper mother or father, or if one or both parents are deceased, then the closest approximation of that stable family environment must be sought. The child must have suitable substitutes for what was lost (mother, father, or both).5

- Parenting and Gender Roles -

The fictional school mascot from the sitcom Community: the genderless, raceless, colorless Greendale Human Being. The concept not only pokes fun at extreme political correctness, but also shows the irony and absurdity that denying gender differences will ultimately create something bizarre and unnatural.

To accept same-sex parenting as socially desirable and normal is to imply that all children have no essential need for mothers or fathers. At the core of this notion lies the assumption that gender does not matter because it is purely an arbitrary social construct. Originally regarded as a fringe belief associated with radical feminists and other extreme ideologues, this view has nevertheless slipped into the realms of mainstream legal theory and popular opinion by hiding inside the Trojan Horse of “social equality”.

Indeed, with the growing acceptance of “transgender” and/or “transsexual” identities comes the presumption that one can just change gender back-and-forth according to what feels the most “comfortable”. Thus a woman can decide that she wants to become a “father” by “transitioning” into a “man”, and vice versa for a man who wants to become a “mother”. Although these scenarios are not just hypothetical–the legal recognition of same-sex marriage has given rise to similar, real-life examples–there has been little attention given to them in the mainstream debate over the same-sex marriage issue. As one blogger from Lopez’s site put it, “[I]t seems that supporting the seemingly modest demands of the LGBT movement–such as same-sex marriage–necessitates accepting a whole host of existential changes that were neither presented to the public in good faith, nor scrutinized closely for their potential collateral damage.”6 The well-meaning supporters of same-sex marriage who are not radical ideologues–i.e., the majority of supporters–must have these matters posed to them and decide if the creation of such family environments is truly something they wish to condone.

Despite the insistence on much of feminist and related ideologues, it is probably quite safe to say that the overwhelming majority of the U.S. and other populations do not accept society’s gender constructs as purely arbitrary. And they are indeed correct. Changing social constructs cannot change the biological differences between male and female. Those biological differences do indeed play a role in shaping the immeasurable intricacies of each person’s sense of identity; you cannot separate the sex from the person, and vice versa. It is those biological gender differences that serve as a kind-of template for dictating what the social roles of the members of each sex will be. Some of these social roles are surely more arbitrary than others, and some may not be in concordance with social justice, and are therefore subject to being abolished or modified. But this does not mean that the need for human society to create gender roles is in itself arbitrary, unnatural, and superfluous. In fact, it seems more likely that the “genderlessness” that the ideologues wish to bring about is what is truly a purely arbitrary social construct.7 It should be quite obvious that, while man and woman are surely equal–particularly in the sense that we should both be equally free to make profound and unique contributions to universal history to the best of our abilities and according to our individual life circumstances–we are by our respective natures, just as surely not–and can never be–the same.

Therefore, it has been and will always be that men are designed to be fathers, and women designed to be mothers. The differences between father and mother, as man and woman, complement one another in a family dynamic that only a father-mother relationship can create. Children of both sexes are uniquely shaped by that relationship. Thus the argument that two men or two women raising a child together is as good as or even better than a man and a woman is as much an offense to common sense as it is a rejection of the natural state of human life.

These are some of the reasons why, as I have stated many times before in this series of essays, sanctioning same-sex marriage radically redefines the institutions of marriage, the family, and parenthood and separates them for their basis in natural law. This is a fact that I believe all voices from all sides of the issue can recognize. Thus, at minimum, to sanction same-sex marriage is to conduct a radical social experiment never conducted before. Many of its most profound empirical effects (whether positive or negative) may not be evident for a generation or more. The guinea pigs in this social experiment will be the children of same-sex (and transgender/transsexual, and other atypical) households. We of the present adult generation owe it to them to—at the very least—rigorously and sincerely deliberate upon what kind of brave new world we are entering if we continue to facilitate such extreme changes in sexuality, reproduction, and the family.

__________

- Notes -

1. See “Gay parents have ‘healthier and less argumentative children‘” by Emma Innes. The Daily Mail. June 6, 2013.

2. See “Do social scientists get to have a ‘consensus’ on our right to free speech? Why do they get to tell us whether we have a right to a mom and a dad?” by R.O. Lopez. English Manif. July 17, 2013.3.

3. See Robert Oscar Lopez, “Same-Sex Parenting: Child Abuse?Public Discourse, July 8, 2013.

Lopez mentions in-virto fertilization (IVF) here. There is a growing trend amongst homosexual couples to resort to artificial reproduction technologies in order to have offspring that are related to one of the couple. Although these procedures are sought by heterosexual couples as well, regardless of who avails of them, they at best create an entirely new set of ethical problems, and at worst constitute crimes against humanity. Among the problems created by artificial reproduction, is that they often prevent the exercise of the right of every person to know who his or her biological parents are, and if he or she wishes, to seek to establish a relationship with those parents regardless if he or she was raised by one or either of those parents or not.

Yet, these serious concerns are almost completely snuffed out from the mainstream media. For example, a piece in People magazine provided a flattering profile of Jenna Wolfe, correspondent for the Today Show, showcasing the infant daughter she is raising with her lesbian lover. The child’s father is an anonymous sperm donor. On this matter, Wolfe remarked: “We want the child to be raised with two parents and never [hear] the question of ‘Is there a third?’” In making such an admission, Wolfe comes off as an outrageously selfish woman who cares nothing for her daughter’s human rights. (See Charlotte Triggs, “Today’s Jenna Wolfe and NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk We’re in Love—and Having a Baby!“, People, Apr. 8, 2013.)

Some more insights into the mess that results from artificial reproduction can be gained by reading the essays of Alana Newman (who was herself donor-conceived) at Public Discourse.

4. To argue that there is nothing inherently wrong with same-sex parenting because some kids end up just fine is analogous to saying there is nothing inherently wrong with slavery because some slaves ended up living pretty decent lives. Lopez frequently cites the case of Phillis Wheatley, a woman born in West African who was enslaved and eventually sold to the Wheatley family of Boston. She was well-treated and well-educated by her masters, and eventually became a great poet. As such, she expressed a great deal of gratitude for how her life turned out, stating that she was better off in America with the Wheatleys, than remaining free in Africa.

The point here is not to imply moral equivalence between slavery and same-sex parenting, but to show that although much good can be accomplished under both systems, they still both deny fundamental human rights.

5. There are admittedly some complex questions that arise in present situations where children are already being raised in same-sex, and other atypical household environments. I am not necessarily advocating that the family life of these households be violently disrupted. However, solving these problems must always be approached from the standpoint where the rights and best interests of the child are being sought as far as possible, and are not subordinated to the irrational demands of the adults involved.

6. See “Why Same-Sex Marriage Is Like Opening Pandora’s Box” by Andre Jenkins. English Manif. Nov. 23, 2013.

7. One of the strangest manifestations of this belief that “gender doesn’t matter” can be seen in how many juristictions that have same-sex marriage permit the homosexual couple to both be listed as the natural parents on the birth certificates of children the couples purchased through artificial reproduction.

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Some Reflections Upon Sexual Morality in General, and the Homosexual Question in Particular: Part II

See the Introductory Essay to this series here.

NOTE: Some of the following subject matter might make some readers blush.

Essay Two: A Defense of Natural Law’s Decree for Sexual Morality and Marriage

It should be well-known to most readers that traditional Judeo-Christian sexual morality preaches that the only truly chaste sexual activity is vaginal coitus between a loving husband and wife. All sexual activity outside of this is considered sinful.1 Christian theologians assert that the reasons for marital coitus being the only proper expression of human sexuality comes not only from Biblical teaching, but also from natural law, as all morality does.

Of course, arguing for a secular legal code for sex and marriage that is based on or concordant with Judeo-Christian sexual morality cannot be sufficiently done if one merely appeals only to the authority of the Bible. Indeed, neither believers nor nonbelievers should allow the norms of their society to be dictated by the last word of a religious text without subjecting that word to close, critical scrutiny. Thus if we leave appeals to religious traditions mostly aside, and appeal only to natural law, what can we infer about proper sexual morality, and how it shapes the definition of the institution of marriage?

- Marriage’s Legitimacy as Derived from Biology -

The values of today’s narcissistic culture parade sensual pleasure as the ultimate goal of all sex. Procreation, on the other hand, becomes relegated to the status of an inconvenient side effect, for which the remedies of contraception and abortion society has made available on demand. This emphasis on pleasure at the expense of procreation has given rise to our current sexual norms, which say little more than, “If it gets you off, do it!”

But, in truth, worshipping the instant gratification that sex brings while attempting to ward off the enduring (yet to many, rewarding) responsibilities that accompany creating and rearing a new member of the human race is, at best, putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

The sex drive is among the most powerful of instincts that we humans, like all creatures that reproduce sexually, are naturally compelled to comply with. It is also quite apparent that nature designed sex as a highly sensually-gratifying activity primarily in order to incentivize us to engage in it frequently, ensuring that the species will continue to “be fruitful and multiply”. Although the sensual gratification that sex grants us can be achieved through a vast set of means that do not result in reproduction, it is only coitus that fulfills nature’s primary purpose for the sex drive, since it is the only sexual act that has the potential to further the existence of the human race.2 All other forms of sexual activity are by their very nature, misapplications of the drive to procreate, and therefore by definition, sexual perversions.

Although stating these facts does not imply that all sexual acts must be specifically performed only for the purpose of procreation, it does establish that there is something qualitatively unique about coitus that separates it in substance from all other sexual activity.

Although a bit crude...

Although slightly vulgar, this cartoon still keenly makes a very simple point which ought to be common sense: True marriage can only be based on sexual complementarity.

The bodily mechanics of the human reproductive system exist for no other purpose but reproduction. Thus only man and woman, by engaging in coitus, organically unite in a way that no other sexual act can achieve. By their very nature, male exists for female, and female for male. Whether or not conception is or can be achieved, that organic union of the bodies of male and female still occurs. The ability or inability to procreate does not alter the fact that male and female are naturally designed to be biologically complementary. All other sexual acts, such as anal sodomy, for example, cannot achieve that complementarity; they cannot unite two human beings in that substantially unique way.

Here we have found the biological source that justifies the particular prominence of male-female sexual relations that all other perversions of the sex drive do not deserve. But our task is only partially completed, as we have not yet examined some of the aspects that make human sexuality unique from that of other creatures, and what about this uniqueness helps us derive from it a code of sexual morality, of which coitus between husband and wife is at the center.

- Human Nature and Sexual Morality -

While the fabled “meaning of life” for mankind is elusive, it can still be confidently said that man interacts with his universe in ways that are qualitatively apart from those of all other creatures. Judeo-Christian tradition identifies man as made in the image of his Creator—a being called to willfully pursue both the mastery of himself and of nature. This demands that godliness and virtue—the Imitation of Christ—must be pursued as close to perfection as possible by each individual and thus by society. With these ends in sight—to which even the good-willed secularist should find himself largely in agreement—it becomes clear why human sexuality must be judged with standards different from those of the beasts (whose behavior is purely governed by immediate pleasures and pains). The need for man to discover and apply those standards thus gives rise to sexual morality.

Of course, the need for moral regulation does not mean that the human sex drive is intrinsically evil, it only means that it is a powerful force of nature. Indeed, in the realm of human relations, sexuality and the attitudes toward it create complex impressions on the individual psyche, with effects more profound and intricate than we currently understand. The way in which we treat sex has underlying consequences on how we relate both to those in our immediate lives, and to humanity as a whole. Sexuality has important ramifications for us in our ability to fulfill our roles individually as human beings, collectively as a species, and socially in our relations with other people. Who you have sex with (or even fantasize about having sex with) does indeed matter to what kind of person you become.3 This is among the reasons why the great thinkers throughout the ages have long warned of the power the sex drive has to subvert reason, and therefore open it to grave misuse.4 This characteristic makes it all the more crucial for the drive to be bridled for the ends of serving the Common Good; in sum, the sex drive must be tamed precisely because it is so strong.

regulation of the sex drive (and other sensual desires as well) is considered a virtue (i.e., chastity) not only in the Abrahamic traditions, but by sages ranging from Socrates to Gandhi, as well.

Regulation of the sex drive (and other sensual desires as well) is considered a virtue (i.e., chastity) not only in the Abrahamic traditions, but by sages ranging from Socrates to Gandhi, as well.

- Marriage’s Legitimacy as Derived from Reason -

These are all factors our prehistoric ancestors would have realized, as they became more aware of their distinction from animals. Part of that distinction was learning how to bring their emotions into greater concordance with their reason, and thereby finding it necessary to discipline the purely instinctual passions toward ends more suitable for the establishment of what would eventually become civilized society. They would have realized that sex cannot be done as many animals do it—anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Males could not go about impregnating whatever mates they chose to force themselves upon with little to no investment in the raising of the offspring. As creatures that can willfully create a better future for our species, it became necessary for them to restrain their selfish and bestial desires for the sake of ensuring a better living for themselves and their posterity.

The natural outcome of this is the creation of an institution that binds the two sexes together to ensure the healthy development of a stable, domestic environment comprised of the spouses, and any children that may result from the spouses’ union. The interrelated, interdependent institutions of marriage and the family were created out of a need to “civilize” sexual behavior—to mold what can be a powerful, animalistic force into something more conducive to the needs of human civilization.

Marriage thereby civilizes what nature has already decreed: the relationship created through coitus. Marital coitus serves as a proper end of the sex drive by channeling the desires of the participants toward recognizing each other as persons, rather than as instruments of gratification (as premarital and extramarital sex typically do), since they are more likely to be intimately invested in each other’s life in many other aspects outside of sex.

Although the generative act can be performed between any male and female, what sets marital coitus apart, is that only it is specifically designed to be performed by two mature, committed adults who are open to the possibility of conception and birth. It is therefore the only sexual act that connects its participants to posterity. And it is man and woman, as father and mother, who each have a unique role to play in raising those members of posterity into upstanding members of human civilization.5 This makes marriage the symbiosis of erotic, familial, and agapic love.6

- There Is No Such Thing as a Same-Sex Marriage -

As has just been discussed, marriage is much more than a romantic union between two individuals who simply decide to commit exclusively to each other. Yet many of the arguments in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage are based on the idea that the essence of marriage is that of a mere contract between two adults who wish to enter a sanctioned (civil, religious, or both), monogamous, romantic union. As such—the argument goes—there is no reason why two persons of the opposite sex are more entitled to have a right to choose whomever they wish to commit themselves to than those of the same sex.

The idea of "marriage equality" implies that gay, lesbian, and other sexual relations are equal to male-female sexual relations.

The notion of “marriage equality” implies that gay, lesbian, and other sexual relations are equal to male-female sexual relations.

Although this notion does not arise from a sufficient definition of what marriage is, it is nonetheless the prevailing view harbored by most in the Christianized world. This should not be surprising, since the sexual revolution has confused popular understanding of these matters long before same-sex marriage ever entered the public consciousness. Since a strong culture of family values was eroded by developments such as liberalized divorce laws, the spike in fatherless households, et cetera, we have had for some time a society that does not even take traditional marriage seriously, so the popular acceptance of same-sex marriage should not be all that surprising.

But popular opinion does not equal truth, and based on a rigorous, comprehensive definition of marriage along the lines of what I outlined above, same-sex unions cannot be marriages by their very nature. Stating this does not unjustly discriminate against homosexuals any more than denying a driver’s license to a blind man unjustly discriminates against him, since he is incapable of effectively doing that which the license grants him the privilege to do. Two men or two women cannot join in penile-vaginal coitus; therefore they cannot form a true marriage.7

- Marriage, the State, and Natural Law

“But what is the harm? How does it affect you or your marriage?” often go many objections to not including same-sex unions in civil society’s definition of marriage. The answer to such objections lies in recognizing that a marriage is a foundation of a new family, and the family is the most basic human social unit; thus radically redefining marriage means radically redefining the family, which in turn creates radical, long-term ramifications for society.

As this present discussion of this topic has shown, marriage is an institution that serves both a private, and a public good. Authors Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George argued in their 2010 essay (eventually expanded into a 2012 book), What Is Marriage?8, that it is marriage’s essential role in promoting the public good that gives the state the legitimate authority to sanction marriages in the first place. As the foundation of the family, marriages produce children, and children both require, and have a right to, a stable, loving household with a mother and father in order to grow up into happy, upstanding members of society.

However, many of today’s legal authorities are either ignorant of, confused about, or apathetic toward marriage as defined by natural law. In the Supreme Court and other proceedings on the U.S. Federal Government’s recognition of same-sex marriage, the arguments in favor of that recognition more or less boil down to the following: Since all U.S. citizens are equal before the law, there is no reason why two men or two women who wish to become legally-sanctioned as a married couple should not be able to do so. Since the U.S. Constitution says nothing about marriage being between a man and a woman, short of a constitutional amendment explicitly defining it as such, the Federal Government cannot define marriage, and it must therefore grant state-sanctioned same-sex unions everything traditional marriages are granted. Therefore, legally speaking, the distinction that sets apart male-female unions from male-male or female-female are completely arbitrary.

Girgis, Anderson, and George have thoroughly established that, based on the reasoning just summarized, if it is arbitrary to define marriage as a male-female relationship, it is also just as arbitrary to define it as both a monogamous relationship,9 and a sexual relationship. The same line of reasoning for the arguments of “marriage equality” also lead us to conclude that, in the absence of a constitutional definition of marriage, there is no reason for the law not to recognize a union between three or more people who all feel intense romantic attachment to one another as a marriage. Likewise, there is no reason not to recognize two or more cohabitating (same- or opposite-sex) individuals who feel an intense platonic attachment to one another as a marriage.10 Thus the only reason marriage is recognized as monogamous, sexual relationship is because it is derived from the conjugal union of man and woman.11 If the institution is redefined to be anything but a male-female relationship, there is no reason for it to maintain its attributes of being monogamous or sexual.

Thus the marriage revisionists who believe that the institution can be redefined to include same-sex unions because the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly define marriage, miss the point of not only the Constitution, but of lawmaking itself. To paraphrase Martin Luther King’s reference to St. Augustine, all Laws of Man must defer to the Laws of Nature. Where they do not, they are in discordance with the universe itself, and are therefore illegitimate. As King said, they are “no law at all”.12 Both the United States’ Declaration of Independence and the Constitution defer to the Laws of Nature.13 The distinction between a heterosexual union and homosexual union cannot be a legally-arbitrary one, if it is not arbitrary biologically, socially, psychologically. Thus the Laws of Nature clearly show us that marriage can never be anything but a union between man and woman. Man can make laws that defy nature—indeed, he has probably been doing so since the concept of civil law was first introduced—but he does so at the hazard of rejecting objective reality.14 Declaring that same-sex relationships (or other non-traditional unions) are substantially the same as the conjugal, male-female union is to essentially say that we will define nature only as what we say it is. It is no different a folly from legislating that snow is black.

Continue on to Essay Two: “The Grand Cultural Experiment of Same-Sex Parenting”.

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- Notes -

1. Loving is a key word here. The existence of a marriage between two individuals does not somehow magically make all sexual activity within it perfect and holy. For example, a man who rapes a woman commits a sin regardless if his victim is his wife or not.

2. While there are technologies that make human reproduction possible through artificial means, these means nonetheless require a male’s sperm, and a female’s egg.

Furthermore, these procedures at best create an entirely new set of ethical problems, and at worst should constitute crimes against humanity. Although this is a loaded topic that is well beyond the scope of this essay, some insights into the mess that results from artificial reproduction can be gained by reading the essays of Alana Newman (who was herself donor-conceived) at Public Discourse.

3. An individual’s sexual identity is quite sacred—and for many, quite fragile. This is why we have such strict laws that penalize even relatively minor offenses of a sexual nature.

4. Although I don’t often agree with theologian and commentator Dennis Prager on most issues, his essay, “Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality” (Crisis magazine, September 1993), provides some useful context for understanding why Judeo-Christian sexual morality was needed for the advancement of civilization, and is relevant for the discussion at hand. The following excerpt from the introduction is particularly relevant for the current discussion:

It is probably impossible for us, who live thousands of years after Judaism began [the] process [of civilizing the human sex drive], to perceive the extent to which undisciplined sex can dominate man’s life and the life of society. Throughout the ancient world, and up to the recent past in many parts of the world, sexuality infused virtually all of society.

Human sexuality, especially male sexuality, is polymorphous, or utterly wild (far more so than animal sexuality). Men have had sex with women and with men; with little girls and young boys; with a single partner and in large groups; with total strangers and immediate family members; and with a variety of domesticated animals. They have achieved orgasm with inanimate objects such as leather, shoes, and other pieces of clothing, through urinating and defecating on each other (interested readers can see a photograph of the former at select art museums exhibiting the works of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe); by dressing in women’s garments; by watching other human beings being tortured; by fondling children of either sex; by listening to a woman’s disembodied voice (e.g., “phone sex”); and, of course, by looking at pictures of bodies or parts of bodies. There is little, animate or inanimate, that has not excited some men to orgasm. Of course, not all of these practices have been condoned by societies — parent-child incest and seducing another’s man’s wife have rarely been countenanced — but many have, and all illustrate what the unchanneled, or in Freudian terms, the “un-sublimated,” sex drive can lead to.

5. A very common, and very popular counterargument against maintaining marriage as an exclusively heterosexual union goes something like this: If marriage is based on procreation, it is hypocritical for society to allow infertile heterosexual couples to marry and not homosexual couples.

The truth is, however, is that the many male-female couples in which one or both parties are infertile are not disqualified from from forming true marriages. While procreation is the product of coitus, coitus is nevertheless an end in itself, in that is it the natural goal of the sex drive. Thus, as long as a man and woman are capable of uniting both personally and biologically, they are able to unite in marriage. Additionally, as other voices in this debate have argued, the essential issue is not whether an individual man and woman can or cannot procreate, but that it is man and woman “in principle” that matters.

6. In regards to the larger, social function of marriage, it must be emphasized that the institution is not merely a union of two individuals, but also a union of two families, united in a commitment to produce emotionally, morally and intellectually sound members of the present and future generations. My aim in this essay is to define the essence of marriage in principle, and even though many real-life examples of marriages do not always approach this essence in practice, they should strive to approximate it as much as possible.

7. Indeed, like same-sex unions, unconsummated male-female unions cannot be considered true marriages, either. For example, traditions such as that of the Catholic Church will not recognize an unmarried man who is rendered permanently impotent as a party to any future marriage due to his inability to consummate it.

8. What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense by Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George. (Encounter. New York: 2012) The shorter, 2010 version can be read here.

9. It is no longer merely hypothetical to argue that sanctioning same-sex marriage leads down a slippery slope toward other redefinitions of marriage, as well. Recently, a United States District Court judge recently struck down Utah’s ban on polygamy as unconstitutional. The polygamist’s attorney in the case, Jonathan Turley, cited the “right” of homosexual couples to marry as a precedent. See his Dec. 13, 2013 blog entry, “Federal Court Strikes Down Criminalization of Polygamy In Utah”, here.

Furthermore, even pansexualists openly admit that same-sex marriage will radically change traditional marriage. The infamous Dan Savage, for example, has argued that the social acceptance of homosexual marriage will lead to a wider acceptance of the values of homosexual culture. Among these values are the openness of homosexual couples to allow their partners to “swing” (i.e., be promiscuous), more typically than heterosexual couples. If these values become more mainstream, it will make it more socially-permissible for heterosexual couples to become “monogamish”, as Savage puts it, i.e., open to extramarital adventures.

10. Although same-sex couples cannot be married, there are perhaps sound reasons why some sort of civil partnership should be legally available. However, if there is valid reason to create such a civil category, should they also not be made available to relationships that are not romantic and/or sexual?

While such partnerships should permit many of the civil and legal benefits of a marriage such as next-of-kin status for the partners, and so forth, what should differentiate them from civilly-recognized marriages is that, unlike marriage, they should not be recognized as the foundation of new family units. Thus the unique role of marriage in society would still be maintained and upheld. (The most significant of these differences is that for civil unions, custody over children would not be permitted in most cases. The controversy over same-sex child-rearing is addressed in the following installment.)

11. While it is true that in the scope of world history, monogamous marriage has not been the only norm, it has been the norm in the Western tradition, from which the United States was born. Additionally, there are reasons for our civil society to continue to exclude practices of polygamy and polyamory that are more substantial than simply adhering to long-held traditions, (among them being to ensure healthy family environment for children) but this is an extensive topic for another essay.

12. It is somewhat ironic that the voices of the pansexualist movement choose to tout their cause as being in the same tradition of African-Americans fighting for their civil rights since that movement’s most revered leader, Martin Luther King—a PhD in theology and Baptist minister—probably held firm beliefs in traditional Judeo-Christian sexual morality and therefore would likely not approve of the analogy.

For more on this debate, see Irene Monroe, “Did Martin Luther King Have an LGBTQ Dream, Too?“, HuffingtonPost.com, Jan. 18, 2013; and Matt Barber, “MLK: Homosexuality a ‘Problem’ with a ‘Solution’“, BarbWire.com, Jan. 29, 2014.

13. The Declaration famously states that rights come from “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God”. The Constitution makes no such explicit reference, but its Preamble does mention that the state must “promote the General Welfare” (i.e. the Common Good, a principle based in natural law), which, as mentioned, would be threatened by a radical redefinition of the family.

14. The moral relativists in the marriage debate have pointed out that the since marriage has been defined differently throughout the vast history of human societies, there is no reason not to redefine it again in our society to include same-sex unions, especially when the popular mandate supports doing so. The laws and mores defining marriage, like the laws and mores defining other aspects of human society, are subject to changing with the opinions the times.

Similarly, this way of thinking has even seethed its way into the Christian religion with revisionist Christian denominations now adhering to a more “liberal” interpretation of the faith accepting homosexual behavior and lifestyles as natural and acceptable expressions of “love”. Their followers criticize the Catholic Church and other denominations for not simply getting with the times and simply following their “more tolerant” example.

However, such perceptions about state, society, and religion miss a crucial point about natural law. Civil laws and Church doctrines cannot change what is true about man and nature. And popular opinion has never been a good gauge for determining what social justice ought to be.

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Filed under Homosexuality, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Same Sex Marriage, Sexuality, Uncategorized

Viewpoints on the JFK Assassination: Cui Bono?

Today is the 50th anniversary of the murder of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.  In the past couple of months leading up to this occasion, arguments over whether it was a lone gunman or a larger conspiracy that committed the assassination have again prominently resurfaced again in the public forums.  Most of the arguments coming from both sides tend to focus on the technicalities of the assassination (such as whether one bullet could really have been responsible for six wounds in the bodies of two individuals, for example) in order to prove one point or another.

While these technicalities are not unimportant matters  to examine, I still believe that the most important question to answer in order to discover if JFK’s murder was orchestrated through a grand conspiracy by powerful forces both within and beyond the U.S. government is best satisfied by first asking, “Who benefited?”, as Donald Sutherland’s “Mr. X” character does in Oliver Stone’s JFK.

Was JFK a threat to a certain establishment power-structure?  If so, in what way?  Did such a power-structure have both an interest in and a capability of not only coordinating such an assassination, but also to cover its tracks?

I could say much more on this, but I shall instead let my remarks serve as an introduction to some video clips I’ve chosen to commemorate this day.  They discuss many of the reasons why JFK and his policies were too great a threat to the agenda of the Anglo-American Establishment, reasons which provided that Establishment with sufficient grounds for his removal.

Enjoy.

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Anton Chaitkin, history editor of Executive Intelligence Review, is interviewed on JFK’s outlook as an anti-imperialist in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt:

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Gallagher (D-NJ) was a colleague and friend of JFK.  As a congressman, he waged battle against the same  national security apparatus that he believes played a major role in the assassination:

Oliver Stone, director and cowriter of JFK, is interviewed here by his son Sean and Tyrel Ventura.  He speaks on the backlash against his film from both liberals and conservatives, the significance of JFK’s role as a leadership figure apart from his contemporaries, and the impact of the assassination 50 years later:

In the powerful courtroom speech from Stone’s JFK, Jim Garrison (portrayed by Kevin Costner)–a veteran who fought against fascism during World War II–warns against the emergence of fascism in the United States.  Although fictionalized, it nonetheless conveys powerful truths:

(Embed not available.  Please click here.)

The real-life Garrison defends his investigation in a 1967 television broadcast:

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