Once again Americans are watching their government involve itself in an issue in which the United States has nothing at stake economically and no genuine national security interest at risk. Ukraine is a place that is worth neither a single American dollar nor more than a brief scan of the headlines by U.S. citizens. And yet Obama and his fellow European interveners and democracy mongers are conducting themselves in a bellicose manner that could lead to some kind of military conflict in Eastern Europe. Indeed, they already are conducting warfare against Russia via economic sanctions, a punitive exercise they promise to make more severe in the next few weeks.
Last week, Real Clear Politics quoted Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) saying that “[Mr.] Cliven Bundy doesn’t believe that the American government is legitimate.” Mr. Bundy’s largely accurate belief apparently came as a shock to Senator Reid.
Among the most striking aspects of the current debate over U.S. foreign policy is the almost complete lack of perception among Americans about their country’s actual economic and military capabilities and its international influence. Whether it is Ukraine and Russia, the intensifying Islamist offensive on several continents, or the blatantly Potemkin Middle East peace talks, U.S. political leaders, academics, pundits, and most of the media speak as if today’s America is the America of 1945, 1984, or 1991, times when the United States was a nation of almost unlimited military and economic power and telling international influence.