Let FREEDOM ring in the Ukraine…and the United States

PHOTO: Flickr (by RussianTrooper)

RANCHO SANTA FE, Ca., March 10, 2014 – The Ukrainian crisis seems to have caught many Americans by surprise, which is surprising in itself…or perhaps just disappointing. Our Nation and its leaders seem to be captivated by the moment; living in a Twitter-like world that carries an attention span of 140 hours instead of 140 characters. While it is discouraging with respect to our citizens, it is totally unacceptable with regard to our Government.

Given the current economic fragility of most countries (ours included) as well as the political instability that often accompanies such occasions, you might expect our leaders to have anticipated potential crises such as the one in Ukraine. Sophisticated leadership would have orchestrated a thorough assessment of reasonably foreseeable issues and developed preventative strategies along with contingency plans in the event the preventative actions failed.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.

The last two Administrations seem more inclined to apply an ad hoc approach to whatever surfaces. This is not to suggest that they haven’t tried to author the best solutions within their grasp when a difficult issue arose. However, they appear to have been preoccupied with the present without having dedicated sufficient resources to anticipate the future.

As a result, the Bush Administration entered into two wars without a clear exit strategy. When the original missions were accomplished, President Bush allowed our Nation to be drawn into a secondary exercise of “nation building;” an approach that may have worked at the end of previous wars, but one which was ill-suited to work within the context of the cultures of Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the Obama Administration has continued the theme, particularly with respect to Afghanistan, it has added to the saga by taking very short-sighted positions that appear to be driven by political expediency as opposed to forethought. Since many of the examples occurred more than 140 hours ago and have probably been forgotten, let’s do a quick review.

During the Arab Spring, many of our political leaders “stood in solidarity” with their “brothers” in Egypt, who were trying to establish somewhat of a democracy. When the Mubarak regime was clearly about to fall, President Obama called for him to step down. When Mubarak did, our President was deemed to be quite “presidential.”

It is interesting to note that the Egyptian uprising began on January 25, 2011, and the government toppled on February 11, 2011. The United States quickly called for new elections. However before those elections were held, we offered Egypt and its then-unknown regime $3 billion in loan guarantees. We also promised a fairly massive amount of tanks and fighter jets because nothing says “peace” and “stability” like tanks and fighter jets.

We were assured by the Administration that the Muslim Brotherhood could not possibly win the Egyptian election and that the group was relatively benign anyway. When the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated more political capabilities than the Administration believed they had and began persecuting non-Muslim factions, we didn’t have a strong “Plan B.”

For those who object to any suggestion that political expediency ever entered into the equation, let’s keep in mind that Tunisia’s government had already been overthrown before the Egyptian unrest began, and that Algeria, Jordan and Oman were also experiencing similar revolts at the time. In fact, Yemen, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Mauritania, Lebanon, and several other countries began experiencing revolutions within weeks of the end of the Egyptian revolution.

Do you recall the Administration’s concern over what was transpiring in those countries? In this case, it’s not a Twitter-like attention span that is impacting your memory.

Luckily, an ad hoc distraction arose in the form of Libya. On March 3, 2011, President Obama demanded that its ruler, Muammar al-Gaddafi, step down when his departure appeared to be as inevitable as Mubarak’s. Unfortunately, Gaddafi’s ego and mental instability exceeded expectations, and the Administration had to build a coalition (which would not have existed had it not been for the United States’ insistence) to provide the necessary military support that led to Gaddafi’s execution.

Using the same tactic on August 18, 2011, President Obama called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. That scenario still hasn’t “played out” as planned, but because it was more than 140 hours ago, no one seems to notice.

Interestingly, no one seems to remember the President’s strong words with regard to Libya on March 28, 2011, either when he said: “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

As the war rages on in Syria and revolutions continue in a number of other countries, perhaps we are unaware that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands more may face the same fate… or maybe we have just forgotten.

If not political expediency, what is the explanation?

This brings us to Ukraine:

  • Why could we not have anticipated the revolution and its possible consequences?
  • Why do we appear not to have taken steps to dissuade Russia from taking advantage of the conflict?
  • Why do we seem to be reacting to Russia’s aggression rather than proactively deterring it?
  • Why does Russia seem to have a strategic response planned to counter our reactive steps?

You need not even be a student of international politics to have known that a Ukrainian revolution was probable. If you watched boxing on HBO, you should have known it was coming.

Vitali Klitschko, a leader of the opposition, also happens to be one of boxing’s legitimate Heavyweight World Champions (along with his brother Wladimir). HBO has often discussed his political involvement.

If you aren’t a sports fan, you may have caught Klitschko’s interview on 60 Minutes in 2004, when he alluded to his interest in running for office and pursuing change in Ukraine.

The point is: You apparently had a better opportunity to be aware of what was transpiring in Ukraine if you watched television than if you were a member of our State Department … and that’s a travesty.

During the 2012 Presidential campaign, I created an approach I called the FREEDOM Process. Its premise was that our Government would better serve the People if it developed interrelated strategies in anticipation of opportunities and threats rather than continuing to respond to circumstances in a linear fashion as they arise.

“FREEDOM” is an acronym that stands for Foreign Policy, Resource Policy (i.e., Energy and the Environment), Economic Policy, Education Policy, Defense Policy, Operations Policy (i.e., those issues that go to the operating efficiency and effectiveness of Government), and Medical Policy (i.e., those issues that impact health and quality of life such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.). The concept is not only a guideline for our elected officials, but it also provides a methodology by which every citizen can better understand the problem/decision analysis that should support our Nation’s actions at home and abroad.

Not every policy needs to be impacted by every strategy, but each should be tested before a final strategy is embraced. For example: In the case of the Ukrainian revolution (which should have been anticipated), a cohesive blend of cogent Foreign, Resource, Economic, Defense and Operational policies would have dramatically improved our ability to proactively influence the outcome.

A well-articulated Foreign Policy would define our thresholds for intervention. It would be strengthened by a coherent Resource Policy that would recognize the considerable effect of energy resources on both our Economic Policies as well as those of other countries (a critical element of the Russia/Ukraine conflict).

Correspondingly, our Defense Policy would be positioned to be supportive of the objectives of our Foreign, Resource and Economic Policies, while our Operations Policy would streamline our ability to respond in the event that our proactive solutions failed to achieve their objectives.

This approach would accomplish two things:

  1. It would anticipate potential problems and either prevent them or allow our Nation to respond to them more effectively; and
  2. It would create a more consistent and defensible approach to our interaction with other countries.

The first element is obvious, but the second merits comment.

Our recent Administrations have interfered in the natural evolution of sovereign nations in an inconsistent manner. For example: We support the Ukrainian people’s right to decide whether they wish to continue under their established form of government or replace it with a new model; yet we claim that it is unconstitutional for a subset of the Ukrainian people who live in the Crimea region to make a similar choice.

Apparently, we support movements that establish democracies unless they are inconsistent with our political or economic interests. We give money to one ($1 billion in the case of the Ukraine) to support its right to self-determine its government, but tell the other (the Crimea region) it has no such right.

This shouldn’t really surprise anyone. After all, we don’t even support the concept of a democracy in our own Republic. As was discussed in this column during the past two weeks, we limit political choice and have skewed ballot access and other critical aspects of our system to assure that the power resides within the two major Parties and, in turn, within the pockets of those who support them.

If you are comfortable with ad hoc leadership and a limitation of choice, there are many other countries in which you can reside to live under that model. I would prefer to see a return to FREEDOM in the one called the United States. Tweet that!


A Civil Assessment has been designed to serve as an Op-Ed forum for you. You are invited to offer your opinion and to discuss your position in the Comment Section. Please be sure that your “assessments” remain “civil” so that they may earn the respect of others.


TJ O’Hara provides nonpartisan political commentary every other Tuesday on The Daily Ledger, one of One America News Network’s featured shows (check local cable listings for the channel in your area or watch online at 8:00 and 11:00 PM Eastern / 5:00 and 8:00 PM Pacific. This week, he will also be a featured guest on the Grit and Grace Radio Show at 9:00 PM Eastern.

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  • Erick Carpenter

    The problem with democracy that everyone overlooks.. REGULARLY…

    It sucks to be a minority….

    There is a section of Ukraine’s population that want to be free of Russia, and there is another section that wants to be part of Russia… In the meantime, Russia has a very large naval base there, as well as where their gas and oil exports flow through.

    In the US they call that “national interests” and if it were us, we would have gone in, guns a blazing, all the while screaming words like “freedom” and “democracy” and twisting the news to fit our spin on the necessity of war with a country that couldn’t swat a fly, but if it were us?

    The US would already occupy their soil. But when Russia does exactly what we would have done? We call it evil… Sooner or later, some little country like Saudi is going to hand the US a few nuclear weapons to deal with, or some other major disaster that we cannot recover from, simply because our politicians think it is in our best interests to interfere in every other countries business.

    I enjoy the Libertarian point of view when it comes to foreign policy… Less, is better

    • Thank you for your comment, Mr. Carpenter.

      On March 20, 2012, I wrote an article entitled, “Foreign policy: A rational approach for the U.S.” That particular column has been cited by many others for the clarity and insight it brought to what should be the foundation of our foreign policy.

      Unfortunately, our elected officials seem to prefer political decisions over rational ones. Correspondingly, consistency is not one of our Nation’s fortes. Our leaders have a pronounced tendency to apply “the rules” unevenly … usually due to the economic and political interests each situation presents.

      As I suggested in this week’s column, a cogent, coherent strategy would better serve the interests of the People and likely yield far more consistent results. However, I would not suggest that you hold your breath until our elected officials allow that to happen. They are too busy mounting their perpetual campaigns.

      Thank you again for your comment.

      • Erick Carpenter

        TJ, I would agree that your article would indeed reduce a number of problems that face the US. and that a coherent, continued strategy would be the best foot forward. Perhaps the day will come that more people like yourself will be elected to office and will end up solving some of these issues that the current administration has created. (past as well).

        Good luck TJ!

        • Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Carpenter.

          If I can round up 60-70 million votes, maybe I’ll run again in 2016 and we won’t have to face issues like these on an ad hoc basis any more. ;o)

          • Erick Carpenter

            I certainly hope you can. You would certainly have my vote.

  • Brian Murphy

    The U.S. operates on crisis management; not caring to anticipate crisis, it wastes valuable time so that when the crises happens it takes time to evaluate the situation; the Ukraine being a classic example. In the Crimea there are many Russian settlers who took advantage of going there when Russia was the U.S.S.R.; the same situation exists in other former Russian satellites such as Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslokavia, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. These Russian settlers in the Crimea have all the cream because of their Russian association and they do not want to share things with the ordinary people of Crimea or the Ukraine. Crimea is an integral part of the Ukraine and what is happening there is illegal with apparently Russian military supporting the Russians living in Crimea to oppress the genuine Ukrainians who want to continue being part of Ukraine, which wants to associate with the freedom of European Union and get away from the tyranny of Communist Russia which is a godless federation of states, kept together by the force of the Russian army etc. U.S. needs to have many more political parties like Europe, where there are the Labour Party, the Green Party, the Democratic Party, the Liberal Party etc and the U.S. should have a coalition government to represent the many views and beliefs of the electorate. It is crazy having a president who was elected by fraud, as his birth cert was 100% fraudulent, as he was clearly born in Kenya. Obama has clearly stated that his loyalties are to the Muslim cause which is clearly against the wishes of the U.S. majority. Despite this Obama has changed the law in favour of Muslims in the army, education etc and he has 5 members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Administration even though the brotherhood was declared illegal in Egypt and Qatar. It is clear Obama is also a member, as his brother Malek is the global treasurer of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have spawned many Muslim terrorist groups; just now the U.S. supports these Muslim terrorists in Syria although they are murdering thousands of Catholics and beheading innocent civilians. This is an awful indictment of the U.S. government, whose hands are bloody from supporting these Muslim murderers in Syria. Of course this is crisis management again, as it was clear that something serious was going to happen in Syria who is supported by Russia, China and possibly Iran and Iraq etc. who at least are not openly supporting terrorists as the U.S. is blatantly doing. To make matters worse Pres. Obama and vice Pres Biden went off on holiday last Fri. during the height of the Ukrainian crisis. Obama is just back from his second holiday this year in Hawaii; before that he had a grand tour of Egypt meeting the Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi and assuring Morsi that U.S. was behind him; now Morsi is on trial for his life for treachery. Maybe Obama should be on trial for the same count of treachery as he does not follow the U.S. constitution and he has cheated at both elections, using dead voters election cards and submitting a false birth certificate with his application for nomination.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      I agree with your assessment that our Nation functions in a crisis mode. I would prefer to focus on that facet rather than the accusations that are directed at President Obama.

      While you are free to draw your own conclusions about the President’s motives, you need to support them with facts in this forum. Otherwise, it is difficult to discuss them.

      Correspondingly, the President’s actions are a better metric of his performance than his beliefs. The one we can document; the other is just speculation.

      • Brian Murphy

        It is a fact that Obama is supporting Muslim terrorists in the Syrian war against the government . These terrorists are murdering Christians mainly and the evidence can be seen on videos taken of the executions of innocent civilians. Surely it is wrong for Obama, acting on behalf of U.S. to support such mass murder of innocent Christian Syrians. Already the fighting has forced about 2,500,000 civilians to flee for their lives. Many Christians are trapped and facing almost certain death from Al Qaeda and other vicious Muslim terrorist groups. Even though Obama is pro Muslim as per his many remarks on this, he should not condone and be a party to the deaths of innocent Christians by murderers who are armed and supported by US.

  • ClarkeB10

    We are WRONG!

    • Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately, without a cogent Foreign Policy, issues like Ukraine are likely to continue to give rise to pattern of irreconcilable actions on the part of our Nation.

      • Brian Murphy

        you say that U.S. has no cogent (meaning convincing or compelling) foreign policy; this is surely serious, as you state issues like the Ukraine are likely to continue to cause irreconcilable (meaning implacably hostile or incompatible) actions on the part of U.S.; Ukraine is a big country by E.U. standards and Angela Merkel met Putin at early stage of crisis while Kerry was merely whimpering around with his ” no cogent” policy making Putin laugh at U.S. Why can Pres. Obama not obey the constitution as in all civilised countries?

  • seanachiejimk

    unfathomable to me why America would push ‘democracy’ on any Society
    when our Founders avoided Democracy like the Bubonic Plague it
    eventually becomes. They wisely opted instead for a Constitutional
    Republic. Witness; Egypt & Ukraine: ‘Democratic’ regimes were ousted
    in both countries, one by citizen demonstrators & a Military Coup
    and the other by citizen protesters who allowed their demonstrations to
    be hijacked by neo-Nazis & Fascists resulting in a violent coup. The
    answer to my Why? It’s incredibly easy for the United States to
    manipulate any Democracy with the intrinsically inherent fault lines
    that any democracy contains. None of these things in either Country is
    about Freedom; it’s about the easy manipulation the U,S. has displayed
    over and over again with any so called, ‘Democracy’.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      In one of my books, “The National Platform of Common Sense,” I went to great lengths to explain the difference between our Republic and a Democracy and why the Framers choose the former as our form of Government. Most citizens struggle to understand the difference because the words have been carelessly used interchangeably.

      The annexation issue involving Ukraine and the Crimea region has created an interesting paradox. If you removed the names of the countries, focused on the right of the people to self-determine their government, and didn’t identify the outside forces who were trying to influence the ultimate outcome, you wouldn’t be able to differentiate between the two.

      However, if we don our best patriotic colors, it is easy for many Americans to assume that the United States is correct in supporting Ukraine’s self-determination effort while rejecting Crimea’s. It just that logic doesn’t necessarily support that conclusion.

      As for picking political regimes, our record isn’t that stellar. We originally supported the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and, most recently Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan. Perhaps we should pay more attention to running our country than trying to run the countries of others.

      Thank you again for your comment.

      • seanachiejimk

        Your reply is on solid ground. Thank You for taking the time
        to answer. That’s a rarity these days.

        Here’s a knuckle-ball no one seems to see coming across our home-plate:

        Putin is being depicted as the Reagan era defined ‘Evil Empire’ Devil reincarnated. It may be somewhat true in respect to how Russia conducts itself on the World stage, to some extent, by Western Standards anyways.

        As you pointed out: America’s same record of conduct isn’t far removed when trying to defend and further our principles (Whatever they happen to be at the moment).

        The Knuckleball:

        Putin understands exactly what the entire World faces with Radical Islam. It seems to me that President Obama and Western Leaders have embarked upon & adopted Neville Chamberlain’s policies of appeasement pre-World War II that had devastating effects on the entire World.

        I’ve referred in a piece I wrote that we risk starting World War IIII in regard to Ukraine and Russia’s response.

        I believe we have been fighting World War III since 9/11 on a global scale which also includes Russia ruthlessly putting down Radical Islamism in Chechnya.

        The substance of the Knuckleball analogy:

        We may hope to have Putin’s Russia as an ally when we face devastating attacks from Radical Islamists. Iran becoming armed with Nuclear Warheads is one scenario (which Putin supports) when the ‘appeasement policies’ fail as miserably as they did pre World War II.

        Putin is no pre or post World War II Hitler or Stalin and he is cognizant of the fact that Russia has been, is and will be a Target; as will any Western leaning Government. Those who won’t relent to Radical Islam’s goal of a world-wide Caliphate will be ruled by the Iron Fisted use of Sharia Law cloaked by an Islamic banner around the entire Planet. This: The final Islamic Radical solution for all Western induced ailments while disregarding their own.

        Perhaps some cooler thinking heads will emerge and quiet diplomatic ties with Russia in this regard will put forth a unified strategy of defeating this imminent world-wide threat without encompassing the devastating effects of failing to do so.

        • Thank you for your comment. When time permits, I try to respond to stimulate additional civil discussion, which is the primary purpose of this column.

          I used to be a pretty good baseball player, so “knuckleballs” don’t particularly phase me. :o)

          We live in a world that in which countries face threats to their sovereignty and governments face emerging threats to their power. We also live in a time when society as a whole is being challenged.

          The United States and Russia have contributed to the problem generated by the first issue for decades as they thrust and parry for position on the world stage in an effort to gain both economic and geopolitical advantages. It would be relatively easy to improve upon that scenario if the “Quote of the Day” I posted on my Facebook page (ohara2012 – on 3/12/2014) were to be followed:

          “The people of the world genuinely want peace. Some day, the leaders of the world are going to have to give it to them.”
          – Dwight D. Eisenhower

          I suggested a course correction for the United States in an article I wrote on March 20, 2012, during the Presidential campaign. You might enjoy reading “Foreign Policy: A rational approach for the United States.”

          Your second premise is what I see as the “knuckleball” heading toward home plate. Governments are facing legitimate emerging threats from new sources such as Radical Islam. While the fundamental beliefs that drive Radical Islam may not have changed over the last several centuries, the ability to disrupt society and take measurable steps toward accomplishing its goal have been advanced by technology.

          Advancement in communications and weapons technology have made the threat more credible. So, it must be addressed in a different way. As
          a result, the political strategies that have preserved civilization as we know it aren’t going to be the strategies that preserve it going forward.

          Civilization itself may need to adapt as well. As we have become driven by “politically correctness,” we have often turned a blind eye toward the obvious. In an appropriate effort not to react with bias toward Islam in general (as distinguished from Radical Islam), we have allowed scenarios to develop that Radical Islam has been able to exploit.

          In the United States, we need to find a way to treat all religions equally while understanding the actual application of the First Amendment, which protects beliefs but, in fact, allows the limitation of practices that threaten the rights of others.

          There also needs to be an enlightenment of society that the world is a big place and that differences in political architectures, economic systems, cultural symmetries, and religious beliefs can be maintained in different regions. Why try to change those aspects of a particular nation when you can simply relocate to a country that embraces your ideals? Many issues of discontent would go away if people would adopt that approach.

          With the internal threats to instability tempered, world leaders might find the time collectively address whatever emerging threats might arise. Think of an approach similar to the concept of the United Nations … only
          effective. :o)

          To your point, we might find a time when United States and Russian interests are best served by cooperation rather than dissension. Shared threats could be addressed more effectively by cooperative efforts.

          One caveat: That would take strategic leadership as opposed to leadership that focuses on its political objectives.

          Well … did I get a squib hit and make it to first base, or did I whiff at your pitch? :o)

          Thanks again for your comment.

          • seanachiejimk

            Thank You kindly yet again for the response & comprehensive analysis.

            I went back and read it several times so as not to strike out in understanding what you put forth.

            I would say you weren’t fazed at all by the knuckle-balled pitch and hit a deep bullet line drive to center field. The opposing fielder is
            sprinting full stride towards the warning track & the unforgiving wall to attempt a phenomenal steal of a home-run from the deafening roars of the home-town fans.

            Will the gob-smacked knuckler sail just barely over the wall, delighting the fans; or remain in the field of play for the 7th inning
            stretch of a tied Pitchers dual of a game?

            A power outage has suspended TV coverage of the frothed, knuckle bit game. We will hope there is an expert photographer who can use his technologically advanced, long range digital camera, in capturing the breathtaking moments. Will he freeze them in rapid time-lapsed sequence for posterity in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

            We’ll scramble to tune into Radio AM coverage of the game and hope their voices weren’t knocked out of the on-deck batter’s box
            themselves. Unfortunately, they were. We will have to purchase the early morning edition of a regional newspaper not affected by the total local blackout to satisfy our nail-biting curiosity the following day.

            Was the night game suspended in deference to the power outage and safety of the players & fans? We assume the 6th World Series game was by the reports we hear from other radio stations on the dial and internet coverage a half hour later.

            Shall the game pick up again as the beginning of a World Series 1st start of a Twi-Night doubleheader? Will this unprecedented move satisfy the fans’ rabid interest in closing the match and putting it in the record books? Only time will tell.

            Again, thank you kindly for your blow by blow descriptions. Much like the game of baseball, your analysis is a game of strategy advanced by your well articulated knowledge. I can only hope and pray that the fans you have will take it all to heart & mind and advance your solid strategy through social media.

            Be well in all you do, Jim

          • Thanks for taking me out to the ball game. Your description brings back memories of my childhood when my father and I spent many a summer night listening to the radio rooting for the home team.

            I appreciate your kind words as well. My goal is to create a more informed electorate; for I have great faith that the People can make better decisions if they have the necessary information and begin to recognize the role they can play in solving our Nation’s problems (as expressed in the two articles that preceded this one).

            As you suggest, social media will be incredibly important in spreading the word. I hope many people will take full advantage of the buttons at the top left of the column to do just that.

            Thank you again for your comment.

  • A very well thought out piece Mr. O’Hara – giving a broad outline of a proper redress of US foreign policy – which is key to effectively reducing our defense outlays while maintaining strength – something else we’ve heard not much of.

    BTW, this while notion of “intervention” in Ukraine certainly exposes the simple myopia and arrogance of US foreign policy. If we really wanted to hit Putin’s hot button, we would have PRIMARILY circled the NATO wagons, as Estonia, Latvia, Poland, etc are certainly in “pucker factor” mode and NATO is a much greater fear of Putin than us Yanks. Once again, our own arrogance is the saboteur, which is becoming a repeating theme that We The People can longer afford to allow.

    • Thank you for your comment and kind words, Mr. Chaas.

      What strikes me most about the United States’ current position is the dichotomy between Ukraine and its Crimean region. It is difficult to rationalize the endorsement of the overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine while denouncing a secession vote in Crimea. If Russia were to have stormed into Crimea as it did Georgia several years ago, the distinction would be easier to draw.

      In any event, it will be interesting to see how this drama plays out on the world stage.

      Thank you again for your comment.

      • We learned, in Ukrainian school on Saturdays , that the Tatars were ( and are still), the original settlers of that land. Russians have repeatedly instituted policies, short of genocide ( except as a fallout of the Famine) to reduce this indigenous population and populate with Russian blood. It was accelerated greatly during and after WWII. So, yes, the “ownership” of Crimea has be under siege for near a century. The Ukrainians, those fascist thugs, were opt to live and let live and we never learned of any Ukrainian progroms against the Tatars. Only the Russian progrom. ( and I was being facetious about the facist thug comment. The NKVD/KGB made much of the Ukrainian complicentcy with the Nazi invaders, and still does apparently. Who can fault them, the devil you don’t know may be better than then one who is knowingly trying to kill off your country.) So it has a certain complexity, yes.

        To circle back – FREEDOM indeed! Well articulated and thought out sir.

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