As the new year begins, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are manning barricades in the central square of Kiev, continuing their month-long demonstrations demanding a path towards freedom from the corrupt Yanukovych dictatorship. Imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has called upon the West to support the Ukrainian people by freezing the out-of-country bank accounts that Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies use to sock away their loot.
It’s a good idea. Sanctions of that sort won’t harm the Ukrainian people at all, but will hit the regime’s ruling criminals right where it will hurt them the most. Vladimir Putin might be interested in pursuing his adviser Alexander Dugin’s dream of constructing a fascist “Eurasian Union” stretching from the Rhine to Vladivostok and from the Arctic to the Persian Gulf, but Yanukovych and his pals are in it for the money. They just scored $15 billion filched from the Russian people’s National Welfare Fund, courtesy of Mr. Putin’s Duginite geopolitical delusions, but it will do them little good if there is no place where they can safely stash the cash.
A number of European leaders have voiced support for the sanctions plan. The question is, will the Obama administration join them in striking a forceful blow for human dignity and liberty?
This is a time when America should shine. But there is cause to doubt that it will. The reason is that in the midst of this crisis, the president has chosen to appoint as White House counsel Mr. John Podesta, a man whose brother, Anthony Podesta, is a high-level paid agent of the Yanukovych regime.
I know it sounds incredible, but there is no doubt about it whatsoever. According to Reuters, Anthony Podesta’s lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, has received over $900,000 in payments from the regime, using its European Center for a Modern Ukraine front organization as an intermediary. Other top Washington lobbyists are also serving the regime, including, to be nonpartisan about the matter, former Romney adviser Vin Weber. But Weber’s lack of principle is a private matter. Podesta has a direct connection to the president of the United States.
Americans need to wake up. The events unfolding in Ukraine right now are of global historic importance. The stakes are not just whether Ukraine will have a free-trade agreement with the European Union or the proposed Eurasian Union. That is a substantial matter — Ukraine would do well to have free trade with Europe (as would Russia!) — but, as was the case with tea taxes in our own revolution, it is mainly a trigger. The real issue is whether a people has a government that reports to them, that rules in accordance with laws enacted with their consent, and that thus dignifies them with the rights and honors of citizenship, or whether human beings are to be subject to governments owned by oligarchical cliques, who use their misappropriated power to degrade and prey upon the ruled.
The Yanukovych regime is a mafia, which regularly threatens, imprisons, murders, or disappears political opponents as well as those whose possessions it covets. Dugin’s project is even worse: He envisions the creation of a Eurasian bloc, including not only the republics of the former Soviet Union, but also Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Iran, united under the iron heel of a new totalitarian “fourth political theory” to oppose the West. According to Dugin, who bases most of his allegedly novel synthesis of Communism and Fascism on the geopolitical, legal, philosophical, and occult ideas of Nazi theorists Karl Haushofer, Rudolf Hess, Carl Schmitt, and Arthur Moeller van der Bruck, such a “Eurasist” continental block is needed to defeat the nefarious influence of the secret “Atlantic Order,” or “Atlantis” — the global mercantile maritime/cosmopolitan conspiracy whose liberal ideas have supposedly subverted traditional hierarchy-based landed societies since ancient times. “Liberalism,” says Dugin — meaning the whole Western consensus — “is an absolute evil. . . . Only a global crusade against the U.S., the West, globalization, and their political-ideological expression, liberalism, is capable of becoming an adequate response. . . . The American empire should be destroyed.”
It is to this dark program, which threatens not only the prospects for freedom in Ukraine and Russia, but the peace of the world, that Yanukovych has sold “his” country. It is against this program that the brave demonstrators in the Maidan are taking their stand.
They deserve America’s support. And, in such a crisis, America deserves a political leadership that does not include people who are taking silver from the other side.
— Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy and the author of Energy Victory. The paperback edition of his latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, has just been published by Encounter Books.