Idea of sanctions against Russia ‘absurd’
Daniel McAdams is Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He served as foreign affairs advisor to US Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) from 2001 until Dr. Paul’s retirement at the end of 2012. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, including as editorial page editor of the Budapest Sun. He also served as special rapporteur for the British Helsinki Human Rights Group while based in Europe, monitoring human rights and elections on the ground in various contentious states, including Albania during the 1996-1998 civil unrest, Montenegro, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Croatia, and Slovakia. He was a Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow (1998-2000) and an American Swiss Foundation “Young Leader” (2006). He can be reached on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org
RT:Russia is pushing Europe to reconsider the legitimacy of the new leadership in Kiev and also investigate its alleged crimes. Do you think any of that will actually happen?
Daniel McAdams: Well, I’m pretty skeptical about these kinds of investigations, but the core disagreement between the US, the EU and Russia is really very simple – was the government installed after the coup legal, or is it not? And is Yanukovich legally, according to Ukrainian constitution still the president? So everything else I think is sort of window dressing. The two sides fundamentally disagree on this.
I think there is a quite easy solution to this problem, which is probably, not that I’m in the business of giving advice, but go back to the 21 February agreement where you will have an extremely weak president in power. He will have some sort of a technical government taking over until the elections can be organized. It is a face-saving measure for the US. The Russians don’t get everything that they want. The problem can be solved, but it will take some sacrifice, some listening and some consideration that the coup is not legitimate.
RT:And the things have moved on now rapidly with this upcoming referendum in Crimea on Sunday. Why are the Western governments so opposed to its bid for independence?
DM: Well you know it is funny, former ambassador to Moscow Michal McFaul has been twitting away about “Crimea is not Kosovo, Crimea is not Kosovo!” Madeline Albright, former secretary of state has chimed in as well.
It is kind of interesting to see the people who supported the lawless coup in the streets of Kiev, now all of the sudden being the strongest stringers for every fine point in the Ukrainian constitution. You know it is quite funny. The point of the matter is that there are differences and there are similarities…
RT:Alright, what are the parallels then? Do you think the Crimeans do have the right to draw a parallel to what happened in Kosovo?
DM: Well the point to be made is the double standards of the US and the hypocrisy of the US. The US has been endlessly going on about the will of the Albanian people in Kosovo, how they have the right to express their view and their will and have their own future.
And now that the shoe is on the other foot, the place that they don’t want to break away, they are saying something very, very different. Which is that they don’t have the right to do the same thing. So the hypocrisy is more important, than whether or not they have the right to do this.
RT:If the vote does go ahead, and the Crimeans vote for independence, the G7 says they will not recognize this bid for independence. What actually could these countries do about it?
DM: Well are they going to isolate, are they going to sanction a major world power, in particularly when you have both China and India recently expressing support for the Russian position? It is absurd. This is not Syria, this is not Cuba that you are going to embargo. In any case sanctions are an act of war. And it is a ridiculous move for the US and EU to face. Even the referendum is not necessary if you go back to the 21st agreement, back down, and look for a way forward. Can the US do that? I doubt it.