By Rabbi D.B. Ganz, Special for USDR
Former KGB Lieutenant Colonel, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia has openly stated that he desires to restore the glory of greater Soviet Russia that ended with the downfall of the Iron Curtain. The “Glory” Mr. Putin yearns for was achieved by brutally annexing several weak but independent surrounding countries. One of the main targets on Putin’s agenda is the Ukraine, a fertile country the size of France once known as the “Breadbasket of Europe.” Controlling Ukraine also gives the Russian Navy access to two warm weather Black Sea ports.
Ukraine’s past president Viktor Yanukovych instituted Socialist policies and was drawing the country toward an “alliance” with Russia. Clearly, he was Putin’s paid stooge. It was recently reported that Yanukovych’s annual salary was around $25 thousand. Yet, he was living in a $75 million mansion. This was a happy marriage between two thugs. Yanukovych got himself a palace, and Putin was in the midst of acquiring a country the size of France for a mere $75 million. After taking inflation and amount of land at stake into account, this would have been the world’s best real estate deal since the colonists bought Manhattan for 24 dollars.
Just days ago, the Ukrainian People rose up and overthrew their government. Former President Yanukovych was formally charged with mass murder, and he is now in hiding.
I believe it naïve to assume that a Western style yearning for democracy underlies this upheaval. Experience has shown that when indigenous Third World factions engineer a revolution and overthrow a despot, the victors tend to be every bit as dictatorial and vile as their predecessors. In fact, just yesterday, a Ukrainian expatriate told me that the new rulers are corrupt ultra-religious far Right (and often neo-Nazi) nationalists and that minority groups such as Jews would be well-advised to leave ASAP. The benefit to the West from the new government lies in the fact that Ukraine is now virulently anti-Russia.
President Barack Obama, responded to the unrest by drawing a red line. When the red line he drew in Syria was crossed, he did absolutely nothing, thereby turning our once feared country into a laughing stock. Presumably, the world is snickering at this latest red line as well.
The issue at hand for Ukraine is likely not the fear of a military conquest by Russia. Rather, they are facing a peril that involves finances and energy. Fox News’s KT McFarland wrote that Ukraine has a national debt of $30 billion that it cannot pay, and it needs an immediate $15 billion to remain afloat.
It also must purchase its energy, particularly natural gas. Russia could thus bring the country to its knees by cutting off sales. By providing both cash and energy, the U.S. would likely keep Russia out of Ukraine.
The issue at hand for the Free World is security. Putin is trying to restart the Cold War! For 50 years, the Soviet Union and the U.S. were at each other’s throats, and the threat of nuclear Armageddon was never far away. Does anybody want to revive that state of terror?
What should the near-bankrupt USA do?
The fact remains that despite its financial travail, the U.S. spends astronomical sums on entitlements. Significant amounts of money are also given to the U.S.’s illegal immigrant population.
Several years ago, I met a student at Harvard who worked without compensation during summer vacation for a non-profit organization. Their target population was the illegal immigrants who gave birth at local hospitals. Her job was to gain the trust of the mothers and inform them of the various government aid programs they were entitled to (in addition to the delivery and hospital stay for which they do not pay). I listened incredulously as she enumerated the different benefits she was helping them access.
My recently released book “Uncommon Sense” makes the seminal (and I think obvious) point that a primary duty of government is to keep the people safe from harm. First and foremost, a country’s citizens deserve to be protected by their government.
If so, consider this question: which of the following two expenditures are more urgent, the charity given to illegal immigrants or the money needed to save the present government of Ukraine from being swallowed up by Russia, thereby possibly setting another Cold War into motion? Presumably, even the most avid Liberals would agree that defending the very lives of the American People, legals and illegals alike, is a higher priority.
If so, a possible course of action the U.S. could take is now apparent. The entitlement money now going to illegal immigrants should be diverted to the cause of preventing the Ukraine from becoming a Russian vassal state. The USA has always been distinguished by its kindness toward people, and hopefully, this blessed attitude will always prevail. However, the U.S. is now facing a financial crisis of its own. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough money around to both help the illegals and prevent a new Cold War, and the latter is the more urgent imperative.
To repeat, protecting the lives of the people should take precedence over almost all other government initiatives.