The U. S. Interest in the Russia-Ukraine War

in a thought-provoking piece at RealClearDefense Michael and Leonard Hochberg consider outcomes and U. S. interests in the Russia-Ukraine War. It’s the first of a three part series.

Regarding Ukraine: What exactly is the goal of the U.S. intervention? What is the outcome that we believe serves our national interests? Regrettably, neither American nor allied Western politicians have clearly answered this question.

In this first part they actually enunciate several interests. For example:

The United States, as the foremost maritime power, has an enduring interest in stopping Russia from dominating the Black Sea; therefore, the United States must seriously consider defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

What I found most interesting was their hat tip to “fractured nature of American strategic culture”. Despite the heartfelt declarations of support from some in the U. S. to the U. S. role as guarantor of democracy and freedom everywhere, the reality is somewhat different. There should be little doubt that there is no limit to the extents to which we will go in defending our own democracy and freedom. However, the facts support the view that our willingness to guarantee the democracy and freedom of other countries is subject to cost-benefit analysis. We have demonstrated that in Vietnam and Afghanistan, just to name two. Many countries see that as hypocritical of us and for that reason are chary of considering the U. S. a reliable ally. Said another way defending democracy and freedom is not an ironclad principle with us—it’s a means to an end. What’s the end?

I tend to believe more in principles than most of my fellow Americans. Consequently, I think we should be more reticent about declaring our support for the democracy and freedom of any country other than our own. I that sense I follow John Quincy Adams: we are the well-wishers of democracy and freedom everywhere but the guarantors only of our own. At least other countries would know where we stand were that our posture. It’s not a instance in which strategic ambiguity works to our advantage.

In the first installment the authors only consider one strategic outcome: trading Ukraine for a Russian alliance which I think is too cynical a goal for me to believe they are raising it as anything but a strawman. I look forward to the remaining installments.

2 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    Just stop it. The US is a sham democracy. Stolen elections are routine in most jurisdictions. The Ruling Caste has no interest in defending or expanding democracy, and it routinely supports dictatorships when it is convention. The overtly Nazi regime in Ukraine is one example, and the apartheid regime in Israel is another.

    What the World needs, and what Americans need, is the collapse of the American Evil Empire

  • Zachriel Link

    The U. S. Interest in the Russia-Ukraine War

    To uphold the international principle against aggressive war, the loss of which could lead to global chaos.

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