Last week the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from chilliest era of the Cold War. Ironically, much of the bill condemns Russia for doing exactly what the U.S. government has been doing for years in Syria and Ukraine!
For example, one of the reasons to condemn Russia in the resolution is the claim that Russia is imposing economic sanctions on Ukraine. But how many rounds of sanctions has the U.S. government imposed on Russia for much of the past year? I guess sanctions are only bad when used by countries Washington doesn't like.
The resolution condemns Russia for selling weapons to the Assad government in Syria. But the U.S. has been providing weapons to the rebels in Syria for several years, with many going to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS that the U.S. is currently bombing!
The resolution condemns what it claims is a Russian invasion of Ukraine (for which it offers no proof) and Russian violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. But it was the U.S., by backing a coup against the democratically elected Yanukovich government in February, that first violated that country's sovereignty. And as far as a military presence in Ukraine, it is the U.S. that has openly sent in special forces and other military advisors to assist the government there. How many times have top U.S. military and CIA officials visited Kiev to offer advice and probably a lot more?
The resolution condemns Russia for what it claims are attempts to "illicitly acquire information" about the U.S. government. But we learned from the Snowden revelations that the NSA is spying on most rest of the world, including our allies! How can the U.S. claim the moral authority to condemn such actions in others?
The resolution attacks Russian state-funded media, claiming that they "distort public opinion." At the same time the bill demands that the thousands of U.S. state-funded media outlets step up their programming to that part of the world! It also seeks "appropriate responses" to Russian media influence in the rest of the world. That should be understood to mean that U.S. diplomats would exert pressure on foreign countries to shut down television networks like RT.
The resolution condemns what it claims is Russia's provision of weapons to the Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine, which seeks closer ties with Russia, while demanding that the U.S. government start providing weapons to its proxies on the other side.
As I have said, this is one of the worst pieces of legislation I can remember. And trust me, I have seen some pretty bad bills. It is nothing but war propaganda and it will likely lead to all sorts of unintended consequences.
Only 10 members – five from each party – opposed this reckless resolution. Probably most of those who voted in favor did not bother to read the bill. Others who read it and still voted in favor may have calculated that the bill would not come up in the Senate. So they could vote yes and please the hawks in their districts — and more importantly remain in good graces of the hawks who run foreign policy in Washington — without having to worry about the consequences if the bill became law.
Whatever the case, we must keep an eye on those members of Congress who vote to take us closer to war with Russia. We should thank those 10 members who were able to resist the war propaganda. The hawks in Washington believe that last month's election gave them free rein to start more wars. Now more than ever they must be challenged!
Commentary by Ron Paul, a 12-term member of Congress and a three-time U.S. presidential candidate. He is currently chairman of theRon Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Follow him on Twitter @RonPaul.