Canada Continues With Sanctions Against Canadians

pro Russians tussle with Ukrainian police in Odessa

Canada imposes sanctions against Russia over Ukraine crisis | Toronto Star.

An excerpt from the above linked-to Canadian Press article follows:

Ottawa says it is imposing economic sanctions on 16 more Russian “entities” over that country’s actions in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement Sunday saying Russia’s “illegal occupation of Ukraine and provocative military activity” remains a serious concern.

My online comment in response to the above linked-to article follows:

Stephen Harper is… Forget it. I’d probably see my post disappeared, as it often is. Anyhow, Stephen Harper doesn’t represent me or democracy or justice. Nor is he a champion of human rights and meaningful law in order. What’s his beef with Putin? It’s all about power politics. Part of that is Harper’s targetting of the small number of rightwing voters who are still willing to support our undemocratic electoral system and vote for him. How does that work? You create hot buttons (“commie”), which means you propagandize weak people. Then when you need their support at election time, you press those buttons and operate the dupes like robots, making them vote for you. As for sanctions, When are the sanctions on underpaid (no raise for me in 8 years), unemployed Canadians going to end? (That’s politics. Bosses can do this because politicians allow it.) This is corporatocracy. It’s about austerity for the majority so that a minority can enjoy prosperity and security.

Stephen Harper is going to stabilize Ukraine. Right. Is it just me or are corporatocracy leaders, in developed nations, usually a little bit sophisticated?

Anyway, Maybe Harper is just enjoying giving the world – which you can refer to as the majority of its population – the finger. Many of us are quite clear on the meaning of the technical term ‘stabilization’ as used by politicians. It actually means the opposite of stability. When the people are in control, when they enjoy solidarity with their political leader who therefore resists solidarity with the vicious corporatocracy and its agenda of structural adjustment (privatization of nationalized companies and programs plus austerity, which is the withdrawal of social, or civilized, spending that helps the people – and fulfills promises made during elections – and high unemployment that disciplines labor by frightening workers into taking abuse from too free – no rules – bosses because they have no choice), then you have instability. When you sideline the people and make their country safe for capitalists who want to plunder it, then you have stability.

From page 49 of “Deterring Democracy” by Noam Chomsky, the following. His focus is his country, the United States. But much of the scheming and thinking he attributes to its ruling class can be attributed to any corporatocracy government:

The role of the Third World within the Grand Area structure was to serve the needs of the industrial societies. In Latin America, as elsewhere, “the protection of our resources” must be a major concern, George Kennan explained. Since the main threat to our interests is indigenous, we must realize, he continued, that “the final answer might be an unpleasant one” – namely, “police repression by the local government.” “Harsh government measures of repression” should cause us no qualms as long as “the results are on balance favorable to our purposes.” In general, “it is better to have a strong regime in power than a liberal government if it is indulgent and relaxed and penetrated by Communists.” The term “Communist” is used in US discourse in a technical sense, referring to labor leaders, peasant organizers, priests organizing self-help groups, and others with the wrong priorities.

The right priorities are outlined in the highest-level Top Secret planning documents. The major threat to US interests is posed by “nationalistic regimes” that are responsive to popular pressures for “immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses” and diversification of the economies. This tendency conflicts not only with the need to “protect our resources” but also with our concern to encourage “a climate conducive to private investment” and “in the case of foreign capital to repatriate a reasonable return.”

From “Canada’s transformation under neoliberalism,” by Jim Stanford, the following:

This expansionary postwar “golden age” eventually ran up against its own internal limits and contradictions. As in other advanced capitalist countries, the happy recipe of strong profits and business investment, rising living standards, and Keynesian welfare-state fine-tuning, began to disintegrate. The Polish economist Michal Kalecki presciently predicted after World War II, just as Keynesianism was being consolidated, that capitalism would eventually experience a “full-employment sickness.” As workers were empowered by long-run employment and income security, their expectations would grow, sparking increasing conflict with the interests of capitalist employers in maintaining a compliant, disciplined, low-cost workforce…

Neoliberalism represented a multi-faceted, deliberate, global strategy by elites (in both the financial and the real spheres of the economy) to turn the whole ship around. A generation later, it is sobering to consider how successful that strategy has been. It has clearly empowered and enriched corporations and those who own them, and put workers on the defensive everywhere. On the other hand, despite these successes, neoliberalism has not succeeded in creating a world economy which is stable (witness the dramatic events of 2008–09), efficient, or successful in meeting real human needs.

Neoliberalism has been applied harshly in Canada, consistent with the international trend, but also reflecting the unique features (and weaknesses) of Canadian capitalism.

Michal Kalecki

Michal Kalecki

As for rushing to give NATO a hand, That’s what I expect from Stephen Harper. As the Christian Bible says, “Bad associations spoil useful habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

From Edward S. Herman’s Z Magazine article titled “Russia, Georgia & the U.S.: A Double Standard in Action,” the following:

“A second and closely related point is that the Western arming of Georgia and U.S. effort to get it into NATO has been part of a larger program that has seriously jeopardized Russian national security. In allowing East Germany to join West Germany in 1990, Soviet President Gorbachev had received an assurance from U.S. Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would not expand “one inch” eastward, let alone incorporate all former Soviet clients into a Western military alliance. Not only was this promise violated, but the United States has aggressively intervened in the political affairs of a number of ex-Soviet states on Russia’s southern flank and established bases in several of them, again posing a national security threat to Russia. More recently, the United States has even negotiated for the establishment of anti-missile bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, purportedly to protect against Iranian nuclear missiles that don’t exist and would not threaten the host countries even if they did exist. Again, by contrast, Iraq did not have any anti-U.S. program and was not part of an alliance that posed any national security threat to the United States.”

The full article is well worth reading. Much of the criminality of the American-led corporatocracy in relation to the Russia – Georgia conflict is being repeated today in Ukraine, where the West is rushing to cause trouble while its spokespersons tell everyone that they’re rushing over there in response to trouble.

Another lesson about Western duplicity in regard to NATO is imparted by Diana Johnstone. Her article is titled “Ukraine And Yugoslavia.” An excerpt follows:

Five years ago, I wrote a paper for a Belgrade conference commemorating the tenth anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. In that paper, I stressed that the disintegration of Yugoslavia had been used as an experimental laboratory to perfect various techniques that would subsequently be used in so-called “color revolutions” or other “regime change” operations directed against leaders considered undesirable by the United States government…

“Where did the wars of Yugoslav disintegration break out most violently? In a region called the Krajina. Krajina means borderland. So does Ukraine—it is a variant of the same Slavic root. Both Krajina and Ukraine are borderlands between Catholic Christians in the West and Orthodox Christians in the East. The population is divided between those in the East who want to remain tied to Russia and those in the West who are drawn toward Catholic lands. But in Ukraine as a whole, polls show that some 70 percent of the population is against joining NATO. Yet the U.S. and its satellites keep speaking of Ukraine’s “right” to join NATO. Nobody’s right not to join NATO is ever mentioned.

“The condition for Ukraine to join NATO would be the expulsion of foreign military bases from Ukrainian territory. That would mean expelling Russia from its historic naval base at Sebastopol, essential for Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Sebastopol is on the Crimean peninsula, inhabited by patriotic Russians, which was only made an administrative part of Ukraine in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, rather the way Tito, a Croat, gave almost the whole Adriatic coastline of Yugoslavia to Croatia, and generally enforced administrative borders detrimental to the Serbs.

“Every day, the United States is busy expanding NATO, training forces, building bases, making deals. This goes on constantly but is scarcely reported by the media. The citizens of NATO countries have no idea what they are being led into. War was easy when it meant the destruction of a helpless and harmless Serbia, with no casualties among the NATO aggressors. But war with Russia—a fierce superpower with a nuclear arsenal— would not be so much fun.”…

The facts are there. The facts are eloquent. So up to now, I have remained speechless in the face of what appears to me to be utter madness. However, on the eve of my trip to Belgrade, I agreed to answer questions from journalist Dragan Vukotic for the Serbian daily newspaper Politika

How do you see current goings on in Ukraine and Crimea, especially in terms of U.S.-Russia relations?

U.S.-Russian relations are determined primarily by an ongoing U.S. geostrategic hostility to Russia which is partly a matter of habit or inertia, partly a realization of the Brzezinski strategy of dividing Eurasia in order to maintain U.S. world hegemony, and partly a reflection of Israeli-dominated Middle East policy toward Syria and Iran. Between the two major nuclear powers, there is clearly an aggressor and an aggressed. It is up to the aggressor to change course if relations are to be normal.

Simply compare. Is Russia urging Quebec to secede from Canada so that the province can join a military alliance led by Moscow? Evidently not. That would be comparable and yet mild compared to the recent U.S. gambit led by [Victoria] Nuland aimed at bringing Ukraine, including the main Russian naval base at Sebastopol, into the Western orbit.

The material reality of this political orbit is NATO, which, since the end of the Soviet Union, has systematically expanded toward Russia, which stations missiles whose only strategic function would be to provide the United States with a hypothetical nuclear first strike capacity against Russia, and which regularly holds military maneuvers along Russian borders.

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