“Now if there is one thing that we do worse than any other nation, it is try and manage somebody else’s affairs.” Will Rogers
There are two international hot spots on the current administration’s radar that urgently need reassessment, Ukraine and Taiwan. Neither represents US territorial interest or spheres of influence, neither are existential security issues for the US, and both are best left to the protagonists to sort out without the US doing its usual crises baiting to get their allies or their citizens concerned about. In other words, we don’t need another Afghanistan or Iraq adventure that not only represents no benefit to Americans, but more misery and a loss of resources we are better off employing for ourselves.
Take first the Ukraine, which has been a part of Russia for nearly 200 years, from 1793 to 1991. Much of the population is ethnically Russian, few even speak Ukrainian, and the majority of the people have no interest in a bloody conflict to decide which authoritarian heel will be on their necks. The EU has no interest in confronting their major source of energy so Putin can shut off the gas valves, and the trade value between the EU and Russia is far more important to Europeans that the US going on another crusade to make the world safe for democracy while creating a refugee crisis on their eastern borders. Given the US track record of incompetence in such interventionist escapades, we should not be surprised. Even if US actions against Russia are limited to just more sanctions, the destabilizing effect on some teetering European economies is unwise, and likely to have little impact on Putin. We should heed the words of retired Congressman Ron Paul who said “Sanctions are not diplomacy. They’re a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade.”
Except for a fifty year period of occupation by the Empire of Japan, Taiwan was ruled by China from the Qing Dynasty of the 17thC until 1949 when the Republic of China withdrew from the mainland after losing the Civil War to the Communists. In 1973 the US recognized the PRC’s claim to Taiwan under the One China Policy. Here we have a country that has become a world power, second largest economy, ever growing military, that not only has a legitimate claim on that territory, but one that the US formally recognized. So why then has the Biden administration made moves to divorce us from the One China Policy? What business is it of ours to dictate to China contrary to what we have already acknowledged? Consider how Americans would feel if Mexico disputed Texas as a part of the US despite the treaty that ceded its claims.
Eisenhower warned us about this plague that has haunted and infected us for generations, what he called the Military Industrial Complex. It is a narcissistic phenomenon of blood for money, a pathological condition of thinking we are the answer to the world’s problems when we can’t even manage our own. This hubris will be our ruin as a warfare state, and domestically the same as a welfare state; the two seem tied at the hip in a dance that we keep tripping our feet over.
The US really has to move on and recognize that we as a people are not obligated to provide our youth and resources as the world’s police, and ethically should avoid doing so. To meddle in the affairs of other countries is not an honorable policy, deserves no glory, usually results in the opposite outcome than intended, and leads to more conflict than peace.