An old dog tries to be the same old dragon-slayer
What happens when the United States government participates meaningfully in toppling foreign governments in the name of spreading democracy? That behavior usually results in unintended consequences and often produces disasters.
In Ukraine in 2004, the Bush administration fomented the “Orange Revolution.” This was done by our diplomats and intelligence community, whose agents agitated demonstrators in the streets and liberally distributed American dollars to them.
This resulted in a free election, which resulted in subsequent free elections, until the most recent of those produced a president who — as an ex-communist — was more drawn to Russia than to the United States or Europe.
When the Ukrainian government needed cash and Russia offered it a better deal than the European Union, our imperial diplomats and lawless intelligence gurus were embarrassed. So, the U.S. fomented another revolution in the streets of Kiev. One of our diplomats, Victoria Nuland, acknowledged as much in a tapped and taped (complete with expletives) and eventually viral cellphone conversation.
Then, Viktor Yanukovych, the popularly and lawfully elected Ukrainian president, was toppled and fled to Moscow. The new unelected Ukrainian president has received American recognition and help. Last week, the U.S. offered him $1 billion in immediate cash.
Enter Vladimir Putin, the popularly elected president of Russia who has designs on reconstituting the old Soviet Union. After Yanukovych showed up at Putin's doorstep in Moscow, Putin flexed his muscles by sending 16,000 Russian troops to occupy Crimea, a province of Ukraine, which had been part of Russia and the Soviet Union until 1954.
Putin's invasion is profoundly unlawful. But don't expect the Russians to leave. Most residents of Crimea are Russian speaking and actually welcome their invaders.
The United States and Europe are in no position to resist the Russian invasion, nor should they. Europe receives roughly 30 percent of its oil, natural gas and coal from Russia. If the U.S. tightens the economic screws on Russia, American banks will suffer and the Russian oligarchs and Russian people will suffer. But no group will suffer as much as Europeans who have grown dependent on Russian fuel.
The stated purpose of the Russian invasion is to protect predominantly ethnic Russians in Crimea from the mob-induced fate of Yanukovych. How is anyone in the United States harmed by Putin's lawlessness? Should the United Sates government roam the world seeking monsters to slay? Or should it learn from its recent grave mistakes (in Iraq and Egypt)?
Nearly two centuries ago, President John Quincy Adams warned his successors against the foreign policies that would be manifest in the Bush-Obama years. “Americans should not go abroad to slay dragons that they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy.”
But the government is an old dog that cannot learn new tricks.
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tennessee QB considers transfer to Pitt
- Central Catholic safety Petrishen to sign with Penn State
- City crews getting ready for winter storm expected Sunday, Monday
- Penn State falls at Illinois on late layup
- Pitt upsets No. 8 Notre Dame to snap losing streak
- 4-car pileup reported on Bower Hill Road
- Video: Islamic State group beheads Japanese journalist
- Oldies concert to give Charleroi school programs a boost
- Rooney says Pittsburgh is ‘good place’ for next northern Super Bowl
- HOF finalist Bettis ‘behind everything’ in 2005 Super Bowl run
- Brownsville hopes grant can help launch project