Threat to power
It seems providential that in its presidential election, Ukrainians chose a comic, at least in the first round. Petro Poroshenko, the confectionery king, limped in at a poor second place. Quite appropriate for a government placed in power after a comic-opera coup in 2014. At least, Volodymyr Zelenskiy had no part in that travesty and appears to be the vehicle for voters to register the displeasure with the Maidan republic.
Of course, the reaction in the west was predictable. The voters apparently did not know what they were doing was the verdict of the Washington Post. Naturally, they saw the election as a defeat for Vladimir Putin even if their favorite Poroshenko did poorly. Indeed the tenor was very Wilsonian another attempt to persuade others to “elect good men.”
This sort of thing was supposedly in jeopardy when Donald Trump won the White House. Now Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are singing the same tune as Victoria Nuland and John Kerry. Arms are increased and the mighty bloc of NATO allies led primarily by the Baltic State, Poland and the Swedes are the quarantors of Ukrainian sovereignty.
Although Trump knows better, he has become yet another American president ensnared by a dated foreign policy. His belief in spheres of influence is scorned in favor of a far flung policy of globalism which is a mile wide and an inch deep. Every move is monitored, happily searching for a pretext — any excuse to intervene in another’s back yard. It is an imperium which assumes that America rules the world because of the special nature of its creed.
This ideology is based on the proposition that what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable. The problem with this is that over time it alienates others powers such as Russia and China which naturally see their own security as paramount.
If the United States could not control the People’s Republic when it was 8 percent of the U.S. economy in 1988, what makes it feel it can do it when China’s is 65 percent in 2019? Make no mistake, meddling means war, and the current policy is intrusion plus.
How this messes up Trump’s ambitions is that he would like to once more make Latin America “our backyard.” In a sphere of influence, world which prizes proximity as the gold standard, interference in the Ukraine nullifies such notions. Moscow and Beijing can choose to help their allies anywhere in the world. And they do have nuclear weapons.
Which leaves America strung out over the world responsible for the care and feeding of endless clients who are in turn threatened by endless enemies. The greatest threat to American power is America itself. Invading Iraq only strengthened Iran and sanctions only strengthened our adversaries.
Trump needs to return to a sustainable foreign policy based on history and reality. Trump would be advised to strike a deal with Putin based on mutual respect that a loose set of alliances. Indeed, China should get similar consideration. Abandon the high risk policy of multilateralism.