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US uses law on aid to post-coup governments as ‘political football’

Published time: March 11, 2014 22:04
Independence square in central Kiev, February 28, 2014 (AFP Photo)

The US has double standards when it comes to suspending aid to countries where the authorities have been overthrown by force, Egypt and Ukraine are a clear example, Jeffrey Steinberg, Executive Intelligence Review senior editor, told RT.

RT: Ukraine's deposed leader claims Washington is breaking its own laws when offering money to the current authorities in Kiev. So does Yanukovich have a point here?

Jeffrey Steinberg: I think he absolutely has a point – he’s correct that under US law, all US aid must be suspended if a legitimately elected government has been overthrown by military force or other kinds of coup activity. This is not some esoteric issue; it’s come up in two recent instances. Number one – in Egypt last summer when the military stepped in and deposed the Morsi government after tens of millions of people turned out in the street, there was a ferocious debate in the Obama administration and in the Congress over whether it was to be technically labeled a coup, and ironically, under that debate, Senator John McCain was one of the leading voices arguing for a total cutoff of all military aid to Egypt. So now he is on the exact opposite side of the same debate.

So clearly this law is being used as a political football. It’s applied in instances where it suits the policies of the administration and certain hardline allies in congress and it’s freely ignored when it’s an inconvenient truth. And here in the case of Ukraine, nobody can dispute the fact that number one, the Yanukovich government was legitimately elected, and number two that it was overthrown by military force involving the most severe right-wing neo-Nazi and neo-fascist elements who were in the Maidan and who in fact rejected the agreement that was signed by Yanukovich, the three opposition parties, and the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland, with a Russian observer present just days before the coup. So I really think it is a case where Yanukovich has some very legitimate points to be raised, and I understand he intends to bring this before the US courts and before the US congress.

RT:A dozen US fighter jets and hundreds of personnel are off to Ukraine's borders. A Pentagon spokesman says - quote – “what we are doing is reassuring our allies that we are there for them.” Where's this heading, do you think?

JS: Well, it’s directed against Russia. President Obama has had kind of a personal obsession with President Putin since the beginning of his presidency; it’s one of the reasons he sent Michael McFaul as a kind of provocation, ‘in your face’ against the Russian government, and I think that we’ve got to be very blunt here – that when you have NATO and American military forces right up against the borders of Russia at the same time that the US is deploying missile defense into Romania, missile defense systems are now actively present in western Europe aboard the Arleigh Burke destroyers in Rota, Spain, that this is not just a danger of a limited confrontation, but this is a danger of a war that could escalate into a general war, and even a thermonuclear war confrontation.

Many American analysts – Lyndon LaRouche, the founder of my publication, Paul Craig Roberts, a number of others, have said that this administration in Washington, in backing an illegal US and European funded coup in Ukraine, is running the risk in greatly escalating the danger of a military confrontation that could go thermonuclear.

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