Foreign Policy Rooted in Wishful Thinking

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Another revealing article about the President of the United States of Fantasyland. How the U.S. and its allies can tolerate this for three more years remains a mystery…

Mark Salter  writes:  For the briefest of moments Thursday, a certain cable news network stopped breathlessly reporting on the missing Malaysian airliner as if its disappearance is a harbinger of the end times, and turned to another news story of more lasting importance, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“…five-plus years of a mostly rhetorical foreign policy, where the president seeks to woo the world with words, but where deeds rarely follow and wishful thinking passes for strategy.”

A brief summary of the dreary news of the day from that embattled nation ended with a mention of some thuggish behavior by extremists who represent a small faction of Ukrainian nationalists. The incident provoked a comment from the show’s host. I can’t find a transcript of the remarks, but as best I remember it went something like this: We’ve been told the Russians are the bad guys and the Ukrainians are the good guys but things are never as simple as we’re told. Sometimes America supports some pretty bad people.

Well, one thing is certain. Things are never as simple as many cable news hosts try to make them out to be. But in this instance, contrary to the opinion stated above, the conflict essentially is a contest between good and bad.

Russians, led by an impetuous, paranoid, corrupt and dangerous man, invaded a neighboring country without just cause. Ukraine did not threaten Russia’s security or legitimate interests. Vladimir Putin invented threats to ethnic Russians in Crimea to justify the invasion. It’s the kind of manufactured casus belli that acquisitive tyrants have historically used to take possession of another country’s territory. All of this makes Russia, in point of fact, the villain.

The Ukrainians did nothing to provoke Russia other than replace a corrupt and repressive government and choose their own foreign associations. The interim government in Kiev has exercised great restraint in reaction to Moscow’s threats and provocations. It refrained from any military response to the invasion and annexation of Crimea. Its leaders have stressed their willingness to find with Russia mutually satisfactory means of coexistence. All Kiev insists on is the right to self-determination. That makes Ukrainians the good guys.

Yes, there is a party in Ukrainian politics usually described in the shorthand of Western journalists as “right-wing extremists,” even though right/left distinctions, as Americans perceive them, aren’t apt here. More accurately, they are a group of militant nationalists active in Ukrainian politics, who have been known to use violence and undemocratic means to achieve their ends. They are a small minority. There is no evidence to suggest they are exerting any real influence within the interim government, which continues to act with all the caution, tolerance and intelligence anyone, including Putin, could ask for.

To take a few isolated incidents and impugn the general character of the mostly democratic, nonviolent, and pro-Western Ukrainians is to turn victims into aggressors. That’s the job of Putin’s propaganda organs — not American journalists. No doubt that was not what the cable host intended to do, but lack of seriousness ought not be a defense in journalism anymore than it should be in government, which brings me to another more serious concern…. Read more….

RealClearPolitics


One Comment on “Foreign Policy Rooted in Wishful Thinking”


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