Three Members of
Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While
No One Was Looking
By Dennis Kucinich
December 16, 2014 "ICH"
- - Late Thursday night, the House of
Representatives unanimously passed a
far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a
hydra-headed incubator of poisonous
conflict. The second provocative
anti-Russian legislation in a week, it
further polarizes our relations with Russia,
helping to cement a Russia-China alliance
against Western hegemony, and undermines
long-term America’s financial and physical
security by handing the national treasury
Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity”
was achieved: Under a parliamentary motion
termed “unanimous consent,” legislative
rules can be suspended and any bill can be
called up. If any member of Congress
objects, the motion is blocked and the bill
At 10:23:54 p.m. on
Thursday, a member rose to ask “unanimous
consent” for four committees to be relieved
of a Russia sanctions bill. At this point
the motion, and the legislation, could have
been blocked by a single member who would
say “I object.” No one objected, because no
one was watching for last-minute bills to be
Most of the House and the
media had emptied out of the chambers after
passage of the $1.1 trillion government
Then the House adjourned.
The Congressional Record will show only
three of 425 members were present on the
floor to consider the sanctions bill. Two of
the three feigned objection, creating the
legislative equivalent of a ‘time out.’ They
entered a few words of support, withdrew
their “objections” and the clock resumed.
According to the
clerk’s records, once the bill was
considered under unanimous consent, it was
passed, at 10:23:55 p.m., without objection,
in one recorded, time-stamped second,
I discovered, in my 16 years
in Congress, that many members seldom read
the legislation on which they vote. On Oct.
24, 2001, House committees spent long hours
debating the Patriot Act. At the last
minute, the old bill was swapped out for a
version with draconian provisions. I voted
against that version of the Patriot Act,
because I read it. The legislative process
Legislation brought before
Congress under “unanimous consent” is not
read by most members simply because copies
of the bill are generally not available.
During the closing sessions of Congress I
would often camp out in the House chamber,
near the clerk’s desk, prepared to say “I
object” when something of consequence
appeared out of the blue. Dec. 11, 2014, is
one of the few times I regret not being in
Congress to have the ability to oversee the
The Russia Sanctions bill
that passed “unanimously,” with no scheduled
debate, at 10:23:55 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2014,
1. Sanctions of Russia’s energy industry,
including Rosoboronexport and Gazprom.
2. Sanctions of Russia’s
defense industry, with respect to arms sales
3. Broad sanctions on
Russians’ banking and investments.
4. Provisions for
privatization of Ukrainian infrastructure,
electricity, oil, gas and renewables, with
the help of the World Bank and USAID.
5. Fifty million dollars
to assist in a corporate takeover of
Ukraine’s oil and gas sectors.
6. Three hundred and fifty
million dollars for military assistance to
Ukraine, including anti-tank, anti-armor,
optical, and guidance and control equipment,
as well as drones.
7. Thirty million dollars
for an intensive radio, television and
Internet propaganda campaign throughout the
countries of the former Soviet Union.
8. Twenty million dollars
for “democratic organizing” in Ukraine.
9. Sixty million dollars,
spent through groups like the National
Endowment for Democracy, “to improve
democratic governance, and transparency,
accountability [and] rule of law” in Russia.
What brilliant hyperbole to pass such a
provision the same week the Senate’s CIA
torture report was released.
10. An unverified
declaration that Russia has violated the
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, is
a nuclear “threat to the United States” and
should be held “accountable.”
11. A path for the U.S.
withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which went
into force in 1988. The implications of this
are immense. An entire series of arms
agreements are at risk of unraveling. It may
not be long before NATO pushes its newest
client state, Ukraine, to abrogate the
Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Ukraine
signed when it gave up its nuclear weapons,
and establish a renewed nuclear missile
capability, 300 miles from Moscow.
12. A demand that Russia
verifiably dismantle “any ground launched
cruise missiles or ballistic missiles with a
range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers
...”—i.e., 300 and 3,300 miles.
Read the legislation,
which Congress apparently didn’t.
As reported on
GlobalSecurity.org, earlier that same
day in Kiev, the Ukrainian parliament
approved a security plan that will:
1. Declare that Ukraine
should become a “military state.”
2. Reallocate more of its
approved 2014 budget for military purposes.
3. Put all military
operating units on alert.
4. Mobilize military and
national guard units.
5. Increase military
spending in Ukraine from 1 percent of GDP to
5 percent, increasing military spending by
$3 billion over the next few years.
6. Join NATO and switch to
NATO military standards.
Under the guise of
democratizing, the West stripped Ukraine of
its sovereignty with a U.S.-backed coup,
employed it as a foil to advance NATO to the
Russian border and reignited the Cold War,
complete with another nuclear showdown.
The people of Ukraine will
be less free, as their country becomes a
“military state,” goes into hock to
international banks, faces structural
readjustments, privatization of its public
assets, decline of social services, higher
prices and an even more severe decline in
its standard of living.
In its dealings with the
European Union, Ukraine could not even get
concessions for its citizens to find work
throughout Europe. The West does not care
about Ukraine, or its people, except for
using them to seize a strategic advantage
against Russia in the geopolitical game of
Once, with the help of the
West, Ukraine fully weighs in as a “military
state” and joins the NATO gun club, its
annual defense budget will be around $3
billion, compared with the current defense
budget of Russia, which is over $70 billion.
Each Western incitement
creates a Russian response, which is then
given as further proof that the West must
prepare for the very conflict it has
created, war as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
That the recent Russia
sanctions bill was advanced, “unanimously,”
without debate in the House, portends that
our nation is sleepwalking through the
graveyards of history, toward an abyss where
controlling factors reside in the realm of
chance, what Thomas Hardy termed “crass
casualty.” Such are the perils of unanimity.