It is amazing to me how conservatives brazenly wave the flag and bellow from the rooftops about freedom. That is until it threatens their bottom line – then it’s a hearty cheer for tyranny.
Case in point is the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, who placed ill-conceived newspaper ads opposing President Barack Obama’s proposed sanctions on Mother Russia’s energy, defense, and financial sectors. Their bogus claim is that these sanctions might hurt U.S. businesses and workers. Sure, there might be short-term pain, but it pales in comparison to the long-term economic gain that comes by promoting strong democracies, with limited corruption, and modern economies.
Make no mistake about it, the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are squarely on the side of police states and oppression. They ought to be deeply ashamed of themselves and the American people ought to take note of their self-serving treachery.
Despite threats of violence and disruption from the Russian bear, Ukraine’s new president, Petro Petro Poroshenko, signed an historic trade pact with Europe on Friday. This was the original trade deal rebuffed by former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanokovich, as a result of intense threats and bullying from Russia dictator Vladimir Putin. Of course, this backfired and led to Viktor Yanokovich’s unceremonious overthrow and Russia’s thuggish takeover and annexation of Crimea.
The people of Ukraine don’t want to be under the thumb of the Russian strongman. They don’t want to be Russia’s pet, and live in their dreary sphere of influence. The Ukrainian people deeply desire freedom and a fresh start – where they can live in the modern world, instead of Vladimir Putin’s dystopian, dysfunctional neo-Soviet reclamation project.
It doesn’t take an Ivy League economist to realize that if Ukraine enters Europe’s orbit – there will eventually be increased trade with the West, including the United States. Given this obvious fact, one would expect the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufactures to applaud and support the Ukrainian peoples’ desire to join the West. Instead, they are buying inflammatory newspaper ads opposing Obama’s quest for sanctions.
It is beyond outrageous that these foolish organizations, that claim to represent America, would surrender democracy for quick Russian petro dollars, and trade in freedom for short-term financial expansion. They have become a caricature of soulless corporate interests consumed with profiteering at the expense of real people and genuine peace.
The unconscionable campaign by these groups represents a dereliction of duty, a dearth of leadership, and a surrender of the most basic American values. In their warped, pathological, hyper-politicized view, why care about the democratic dreams of Ukrainians when you can take pot shot at Obama? They would rather mindlessly attack the president then take on a tyrant like Vladimir Putin, a man who is a true threat to peace, order, and world stability.
Whose side are these people on? Maybe they should change their names to the U.S. Chamber of Chumps and the National Association of Money Grubbers?
Aside from Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia also signed key agreements with the European Union this week. This is a huge blow to the power and prestige of Vladimir Putin, who had hoped to create a neo-Soviet trading bloc with his ill-fated Eurasian Union.
So far, the only members to join Mother Russia in this laughably failed venture are Belarus and Kazakhstan. This is the equivalent of Putin throwing a major party and only OJ Simpson, Bernie Madoff and George Zimmerman show up. This pathetic Eurasian Union is a line-up of losers – yet the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufactures inexplicably wants to pick up Vladimir Putin while he is down and out.
Predictably, the former KGB operative, Vladimir Putin, is behaving like a mobster, making threats and giving these freedom-seeking countries Godfather-esque, “offers they can’t refuse.” Immediately following Ukraine’s signing of the EU accord, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said that there would be “serious consequences” for those who dared not to kowtow to Mother Russia. The big Russian bear has already withdrawn preferential treatment for Ukrainian exports to Russia. There is also the threat that Russia will cut off energy supplies to these nations in the dead of winter.
This is precisely where the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufactures could step in and be helpful. Instead of spending money on petty, partisan ads criticizing Obama, why aren’t they taking out full-page ads promoting investment in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia?
Why aren’t they leveraging U.S. financial power to improve these budding democracies? If they can’t support such basic American ideals, what the hell do they stand for and what good are they?
The behavior of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufactures is bizarre and baffling – and they really need to reevaluate their mission and whether they truly represent America’s best interests.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”