By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


MARCH 5, 2014 -- Ukraine has been a part of Russia for 200 years. Independence for Ukraine was achieved in 1991 and its corrupt President Victor Yanukovuych was democratically elected in February 2010.

Russia and the West were in a contest to have Ukraine join the Russian Eurasian Federation or the European Union. Ukraine opted for Russia and the human rights organizations of the West overthrew the President of Ukraine. You spread democracy with elections but the West couldn't wait, forcing Putin to protect Russian interests in Ukraine. Much of Russia's defense materiel is manufactured in Ukraine and with its northern ports frozen in winter the Sevastopol Base of the Russian Federation's Black Sea Fleet is the only tie to the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Russia had to defend it. Now, Charles Krauthammer writes in the Post and Courier (2/28/14) that the U.S. should send "…a Naval flotilla in the Black Sea." "Who should we send to fight the Russians? John McCain and Lindsey Graham?"

Lindsey Graham characterizes President Obama as "weak and indecisive" and John McCain complains "…nobody believes in America's strength anymore." Exactly. We have learned that after ten years in Vietnam and thirteen years in Afghanistan that our military strength is limited - the military cannot change a culture. With nuclear weaponry limited to defending the homeland and after losing in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, we would have learned that our strength and respect come from our democracy and economy. But we neglect both. My friend, John Kerry, shouting "sovereignty" and "violates international law" in Kiev is embarrassing. He's the Secretary of State for a country that violated Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan's sovereignty in violation of international law and drone kills in sovereign nations in violation of our own Constitution. We've lost credibility and proved to the world the limits on the military. We've got commitments that we can't keep. Are McCain and Graham going to vote to kill GI's over Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands?

The United States is caught spreading democracy in Ukraine, an economic basket case, in order to join the European Union, an economic basket case. Putin orders Russian troops into Ukraine and USA Today (2/27/14) headlines: "U.S. to Russia: Don't muscle in on Ukraine". Who's muscling in? It's time we mind our own business.

It took over 200 years for the United States to incur a national debt of $1 trillion in 1981. Given a balanced budget in 2001, Presidents Bush and Obama will have increased the national debt by September 30th $12 trillion in fourteen years. Nobody cares.

The State of New York gives industry a tax break for ten years to make it attractive for Corporate America to invest in New York. But the President and Congress do nothing to make it attractive for Corporate America to invest in America. Nobody cares.

The President and Congress insist upon a 35 percent Corporate Tax that's full of loopholes, allows the multinationals to pay no tax and punishes small business or the Main Street Merchants to pay the full 35 percent. Nobody cares.

Replacing the 35 percent Corporate Tax with a 7 percent Value Added Tax releases $2 trillion in offshore profits for Corporate America to repatriate tax free and create millions of jobs. It also provides billions to pay down the debt. Nobody cares.

Corporate America constantly offshores its research, technology, production and jobs to build a strong economy for China but contributes to the President and Congress to oppose building a strong economy for the United States. Nobody cares.

Economists continue to blame the Great Recession for the weak economy. The recession has been over for four and a half years and the economy suffers from a lack of money - offshoring payrolls. Nobody cares.

Presidents Bush and Obama fail to protect vital production to the U.S. economy resulting in the motor vehicle industry going bankrupt - needing bailouts. Nobody cares.

We should be competing in globalization; enforcing laws against the closed markets and predatory practices of Japan and China and limit the offshoring of our economy by making it attractive for Corporate America to invest in America.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2014, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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