Two hundred years ago, the United States told the rest of the world to stay out of our backyard. It seemed reasonable then, and it seems reasonable now. While the Monroe Doctrine said nothing about expansionist policies of our own government, it was an explicit recognition of spheres of influence.
Fast forward 200 years and we have significant encroachment in the Western hemisphere by genuinely bad actors…specifically Iran cementing military and economic relationships with Venezuela. Is it a coincidence that Venezuela is now making expansionist noises with respect to Guyana and its newly discovered oil fields? But Iran has been in the Western Hemisphere for years, mostly as a supporter of terrorism! Remember the AMIA bombing in 1994? That was Iran.
And let us not forget China’s massive “Belt And Road Initiative!”
Has the Biden junta invoked the Monroe Doctrine to push Iran (or China) out of South America? No. Apparently our sphere of influence is malleable, and based on the political expediency of supporting Iran and the desire of Kalorama to create a powerful counterbalance to Israel’s influence in the Middle East, or simply kowtowing to Biden’s masters in Peking.
But shift to Eastern Europe, and we find the same expansionist tendencies that the Monroe Doctrine is designed to prevent, but in American behavior!
Imagine if the Soviet Union had begun to agitate for an expansion of the Warsaw Pact security umbrella to Mexico or Guatemala or El Salvador or Nicaragua!
Oh…wait! That did happen, and American policy, both public and secret, pushed hard against any Soviet influence in those countries. And it got ugly and nasty and brutal. We can disagree about the tactics, but the overall idea — that communism controlled by the Soviet Union does not belong on our borders — was a reasonable one.
NATO, perhaps the biggest boondoggle in American diplomatic history, is an organization in need of a purpose, and what better purpose than to recreate the Cold War! Sure…expanding into Ukraine, which BORDERS RUSSIA! seems a bit aggressive and confrontational, but those career diplomats and generals love those Brussels restaurants and call girls, and the graft available in Ukraine dwarfs the kickbacks from defense contractors. It’s a Win-Win, except for the American taxpayer.
And if Russia fights? Well, that’s good for defense stocks, and besides, who really cares about a bunch of Ukrainian and Russian conscripts.
We were well aware in 2008 that Russia was unhappy about the idea of NATO expansion into the former satellite states of the Soviet Union. The foolish talking point that NATO was the appropriate vehicle for economic and social expansion is moronic. NATO is military, and inappropriate for other diplomatic functions.
Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Bucharest summit, Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains “an emotional and neuralgic” issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene. Additionally, the GOR and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on Russia’s defense industry, Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally. In Georgia, the GOR fears continued instability and “provocative acts” in the separatist regions.
So why do it? Confronting Putin may be a laudable diplomatic goal, because he is a thug and an autocrat, but risking a world war to contain him is simply unnecessary. Russia is not a global power, and its understandable desire to have influence in Ukraine will not lead to Russian tanks charging through the Fulda gap! But the graft must flow, and Ukraine’s position as perhaps the most corrupt country in the West must be defended at all costs! So we now have a nasty border war that is consuming many thousands of Ukrainian and Russian conscripts, as well as a huge amount of our military supplies. And of course let us not forget the direct payments of many billions of dollars directly into the gaping maw of Ukraine’ corrupt government. How much of that is coming back to America and NATO functionaries? How much to “The Big Guy?”
Am I pro-Russia? No. Am I pro-Ukraine? No. I am pro-America. I am content to allow Russia some control over its neighborhood, because while they may not be able to project power worldwide, they are a nuclear power with thousands of warheads and the capacity to deliver them. That gives them the privilege to control their borders the way the Monroe Doctrine gives us authority over Central and South America.
Add to that our confrontational stance over the last 15 years, and is it any wonder that Russia invaded Ukraine? That we are expending wealth we do not have on a border dispute between two kleptocracies with very few strategic implications speaks volumes about the real reasons.