Following Congress’ decision to approve a $1 billion aid package to Ukraine last week, former libertarian Congressman Ron Paul has published an op-ed strongly criticizing it as a bad deal for both American taxpayers and Ukrainian citizens.
In the column, published by Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, the iconic libertarian said the bill effectively puts the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in charge of the Ukrainian economy, needlessly directs money towards “democracy promotion” and additional sanctions on Russia. He also accused the US government of ignoring its own role in the crisis currently unfolding in Eastern Europe.
Paul said the economic plan outlined by the IMF would raise energy prices and taxes in Ukraine, as well as freeze wages and make life more difficult for the average citizen.
“This $1 billion for Ukraine is a rip-off for the America taxpayer, but it is also a bad deal for Ukrainians,” he wrote. “Not a single needy Ukrainian will see a penny of this money, as it will be used to bail out international banks who hold Ukrainian government debt.”
A longtime opponent of foreign aid, Paul has often criticized the concept for lining the pockets of rich citizens and the ruling class instead of helping the people it’s intended to.
In addition to funneling money towards the IMF plan, the bill includes funding for outlets such as Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, which Paul said have been used “to broadcast US government propaganda” into Ukraine for 10 years with little to show for the effort.
“Recently a democratically-elected government was overthrown by violent protesters,” he wrote. “That is the opposite of democracy, where governments are changed by free and fair elections. What is shocking is that the US government and its NGOs were on the side of the protesters!
“Washington does not want to talk about its own actions that led to the coup, instead focusing on attacking the Russian reaction to US-instigated unrest next door to them.”
On the topic of Crimea, Paul has stated multiple times that Russia’s annexation of the peninsula is not a situation that requires the involvement of the United States. In his column, he reiterated that Crimeans voted to join Russia, and earlier this month told Politico, “self-determination is a centerpiece of international law.”
Paul’s son – and potential presidential candidate – Rand Paul has diverged a bit from his father’s thinking, calling for a strong reaction from the US on Russia's accession of Crimea. Rand Paul ultimately voted against the Ukrainian aid bill, saying that while he supports offering technical and security assistance to Ukraine in addition to sanctions on Moscow, he “cannot support the bill because it will have the perverse impact of using American tax dollars to reward Russia.”