Arguing That Ukraine Matters

I encourage you to read Roman Popadiuk’s post at RealClearPolitics on why Ukraine matters. In it he sounds a number of the notes I have sounded here and which people seem so reluctant to take seriously. Perhaps they’ll believe them from a source other than myself. Mr. Popadiuk was our first ambassador to Ukraine. Here’s the meat of his argument:

U.S. backsliding on Ukraine will also embolden China to pursue its expansionist goals in Asia and help intensify Beijing’s actions against Taiwan, including a possible invasion. The latter would test the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” whereby the U.S. does not make clear whether or not we will defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression. There is the possibility, therefore, that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan could bring the U.S. into direct conflict with China. It seems wise to stop this train of events by standing firm against the Russian aggression in Ukraine, thereby sending China a clear signal that U.S. resolve is strong.

How the U.S. acts in Ukraine will also send signals to the world on whether or not the U.S. can be depended upon for political, diplomatic, and economic support. Any weakening of the U.S. stance on Ukraine can lead countries to make accommodations with China, as well as Russia, and hasten greater China-Russia cooperation to undermine U.S. positions and standing in the world. China is already challenging U.S. and Western interests with its Belt and Road Initiative, an economic development program which has provided China with political and economic inroads in various countries.

I have precisely two quibbles with the piece. They’re quibbles not objections. First, why oh why is our Eastern European foreign policy so heavily influenced if not completely crafted by Poles and Ukrainians? And second, although I do believe we should be providing support to Ukraine and it should be more open-ended than it appears to be at present I also think we should be giving it much more oversight than we are at present. We have interests other than Ukraine. Using taxpayer money (not to mention borrowed money) wisely and carefully is one of those interests. So is ensuring that our aid to Ukraine is actually used to bolster Ukraine rather than bolstering American arms manufacturers or Ukrainian oligarchs.

5 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    Meh. Domestic politics always influence foreign policy. We need to have some excess money going to the arms producers to keep the GOP on board as they are important constituents and donors.


  • Domestic politics always influence foreign policy

    It isn’t domestic politics. It’s conflict of interest. The comparison you should consider is if our Israel policy were being made by Palestinians. Or Iranians.

  • bob sykes Link

    Actually, our foreign policy in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and elsewhere is controlled by the descendants of Russian Jews who immigrated to the US a century ago. Nuland, Blinken, Klain…

    The first thing to remember about Ukraine is that in 2014 the US organized and ran a coup d’état that removed the legitimate, democratically elected President Yanukovych. The coup was organized after Yanukovych accepted a Russian loan instead of a EU loan. We also tried to kill him.

    Following that we helped sabotage the Minsk I and II agreements that would have left Ukraine intact (except for Crimea) and at peace. This year, we sent Boris Johnson to Kiev to sabotage a tentative peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine that would have implemented Minsk I and II.

    It appears that a negotiated settlement is impossible because of American warmongering, and the war will be settled in blood, lots of it.

    One should also note that the neocons are trying to nullify the Shanghai Communiqué of 1972, in which the US (Nixon) recognized that Taiwan was a province of China, the One China policy. Our Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan was annulled by President Carter in 1978 (effective 1/1/79) when the US recognized the government of the People’s Republic of China.

    Officially we do not recognize the government of Taiwan, nor do we have any defense obligations to them. Our current regime, however, is continually agitating the Taiwan government to declare independence, which, of course, would lead to a Chinese invasion and occupation of the island, and a possible war between the US and China.

    The US is pursuing extremely aggressive policies towards both Russia and China. There are NATO troops (in Ukrainian uniforms) currently fighting in Ukraine against Russian troops. The US is continually escalating its own involvement in Ukraine. If the US does not backdown, there will be a large-scale general European-North American war. Such a war might actually be unavoidable at this point.

    Poles, Germans, Brits, and Americans are going to die in their homes by the millions if the American regime cannot be brought to reason.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    The Domino Effect is arguably applicable anywhere, everywhere, all the time.
    If we don’t stop them here, we’ll inevitably face them there. It’s a trap. Walk around it.
    Meanwhile, we have domestic concerns, and lest we forget, so do they.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    The record on domino theory is mixed.

    As for US dependability; as the saying goes, this country is dependable until it is not, and it isn’t dependable until it is.

    An example is nationalist China. The US supported nationalist China throughout WWII. Then it dropped the nationalists when this country got tired of its corruption and being involved in a civil war after a world war. Then the US signed a defense treaty with Taiwan when the Korean and Vietnam war raised Taiwan’s significance. Followed by dropping formal relations and promised reduction in military aid to reconcile with communist China. And now Taiwan is valuable for TSMC and the President promises this country will go to war over it.

Leave a Comment