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.
One wonders how deep a hole the United States and the EU are going to dig for themselves in Ukraine. It was, of course, U.S. and EU leaders — and their media acolytes — who caused the problem we face today by intervening on behalf of self-styled “democrats” in Kiev who without foreign intervention could not have overthrown the Ukrainian president. It is getting to be that any half-baked gaggle of protestors at any location on the planet need only to chant the word “democracy” and the West will come running to their aid with diplomatic assistance, money, and a fierce disregard for either the target nation’s sovereignty or regional stability. Indeed, it may well be that the whole Ukraine protest movement was primed for action by funds, advisers, and computer systems paid for by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in a program similar to those she ran in several Arab countries.
“The pretext of propagating liberty can make no difference. Every nation has a right to carve out its own happiness in its own way, and it is the height of presumption in another to attempt to fashion its political creed.” — Alex. Hamilton to George Washington, 2 May 1793
Most decent people always feel some sympathy and perhaps even pity for those who make mistakes because they are not aware of their own ignorance of issues, people, and history and therefore cannot gauge the calamity their actions are courting. For those who consciously know the mistakes they are making, and so the fires of rebellion they are stoking, a decent person can only have a well-justified contempt as he or she prepares to resist. Today, Virginians are having to decide which of these is the proper emotion to assume in the face of recent events. It appears the latter will win hands down.
One of the few things all the Founders agreed on was that the conduct of America’s very few necessary wars would be the responsibility of the national government, with the assistance of state militias. (NB: By the way, has anyone found the Constitutional amendment negating the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee of state militias? Me neither.) And it is important to note that when the Founders spoke of war, they all spoke — Federalists and the increasingly relevant anti-Federalists alike — of unavoidable “defensive wars,” none of them envisioned unnecessary offensive wars, on this their silence is deafening.
In a talking points memo this week, FOX’s Bill O’Reilly assured his readers and listeners that President Obama does not intend to hurt America, and argued that Obama’s actions as president reflect his passion for social justice. “The far right,” Mr. O’Reilly wrote in reference to his fellow Harvard alum, “is making a huge mistake thinking that Mister Obama is actively trying to harm the nation. He is not. His overriding concern can be summed up in two words: social justice. It all comes back to that. The president sincerely believes the deck is stacked against minority Americans and many working poor people.”
Last week’s State of the Union event exposed the best and worst in America. On a night when President Obama had nothing to say, save to promise despotism — for which our self-emasculated federal legislature gave him eighty-plus standing ovations — Obama, his party, and the Republicans saluted the remarkable service, survival, and nascent recovery of a young American soldier who was terribly wounded in America’s growing and now losing war with Islam.
Tyranny seldom arrives in a country rapidly and fully grown. Military coups against freely elected governments — like the one supported by U.S. Democrats and Republicans in Egypt — are frequent in history but seldom bring permanent changes for the better in government. They are often simply preludes to sporadic violence and ultimately civil war.