Russia's invasion of Ukraine was spurred by U.S. behind-the-scenes actions, says former Ohio congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly
on Tuesday accused Kucinich of being a pacifist because of his opposition to the Iraq war, and Kucinich countered that war is wrong but not all U.S. military action is so.
O'Reilly then asked how Kucinich would have handled the Ukraine crisis had he been president.
"What I'd do is not have USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy working with U.S. taxpayers' money to knock off an elected government in Ukraine, which is what they did," Kucinich answered. "I wouldn't try to force the people of Ukraine into a deal with NATO against their interest or into a deal with the European Union, which is against their economic interest."
"So, it's the USA's fault that Putin rolled in? We made them do it?" O'Reilly asked.
"Bill O'Reilly, if you don't believe in cause and effect, I don't know what I can do for you," Kucinich responded.
Kucinich said the United States has been involved covertly and behind the scenes with the CIA and two government foreign aid groups, the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Agency for International Development, to "stir up trouble in Ukraine."
He didn't specify what the groups had done, but said the democracy endowment had sponsored 65 programs. He said the United States should stay out of Ukraine's affairs and let its people decide their future without outside interference.
As a result, "you've got neo-Nazis that are in control," Kucinich said. He was referring to a statement by Russia's U.N. ambassador in which he called pro-European Ukrainians "anti-Semites and fascists," a claim disputed by many, including CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
O'Reilly was having none of it.
"From what I'm hearing, you're blaming the USA for subverting Ukraine in the first place, thereby giving Putin a pass to go in and invade," he told Kucinich.
"That's close," Kucinich answered. "We should be concerned about the Ukrainian people, because they're being used right now. They would be used by the IMF in a new austerity program, by NATO to go on the doorstep of Russia."
O'Reilly said the Ukrainian people "threw out a puppet president," but Kucinich argued, "That wasn't democratic. That was stirred up from behind the scenes."
Unconvinced, O'Reilly closed the segment, "When China seizes the Japanese islands, which they're going to do after watching this debacle, then I want you to come back on, explain how the United States made that happen."
Kucinich wrote an op-ed in December for The Huffington Post
as the protests began in Kiev after then-President Viktor Yanukovych failed to sign a trade deal with the European Union. In the piece, Kucinich called the deal a "NATO Trojan horse" that would have forced Ukraine to spend more money on its military and less on social welfare programs.
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