March 11, 2014
More than 1 million voters in Crimea are expected to cast ballots March 16 on whether to become part of the Russian Federation or to renegotiate the region’s status within Ukraine.
President Obama and many other leaders of Western governments are emphatic that Crimea should not become part of Russia. But journalist Robert Parry, a former investigative reporter for The Associated Press and Newsweek, has written a piece that challenges the conventional wisdom of opposition to such a scenario.
The piece states: “Fifteen separate nations emerged from the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 as U.S. politicians celebrated,” Parry wrote. “No one seemed to mind either when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.
“That same decade, U.S. officials helped negotiate the dissection of Yugoslavia into various ethnic enclaves. Later in the 1990s, the U.S. government even bombed Serbia to help Kosovo gain its independence, despite centuries of deep historical ties between Serbia and Kosovo.”
Parry added: “In 2011, the U.S. government supported the creation of South Sudan, carving this new oil-rich nation out of Sudan. The supposed motive for breaking South Sudan loose was to stop a civil war, although independent South Sudan has since slid into political violence.
“The Obama administration disputes allegations of U.S. hypocrisy about secessions, calling these comparisons ‘apples and oranges.’ But the truth is that all secession cases are unique, a balance of history, pragmatism and politics. Very seldom are they simple and clear-cut.
“In Crimea, the case for secession from Ukraine seems strong: Crimea is populated mostly by ethnic Russians; many people speak Russian; and they have historically viewed themselves as part of Russia. If a large majority of the voters prefer joining Russia, why shouldn’t they?”
Parry concluded: “Democracy means little if populations are compelled to remain part of an undemocratic regime that has seized power in the capital by force and demonstrates hostility toward outlying regions. Since such a predicament now exists in Ukraine, the best-imperfect solution could be to dispatch international observers to Crimea to monitor the plebiscite and verify whether the popular vote fairly reflects the people’s will.”
Last week, Parry appeared on The Real News: “Did the U.S. Carry Out a Ukrainian Coup?”