Vladimir Putin never mandated that I submit to nonconsensual medical treatment to keep my livelihood. Putin didn’t ban me from social media for criticizing the regime. It wasn’t Putin who eviscerated my years of saving with skyrocketing inflation.
Joe Biden did.
Kiev is 5,000 miles away from where I sit in southeastern Michigan. I pray the conflict ends swiftly and with minimal loss of life, but that should be the extent of my involvement. The war between Ukraine and Russia is not my fight. Putin’s rule in Russia is not my problem.
Joe Biden’s reign is.
Contrary to the claims of historian Jon Meacham, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is not a battle between autocracy and democracy. Instead, it is a conflict between dictators on all sides. Joe Biden, no less than Vladimir Putin, governs through edict and fiat. In the past two years, the entire nation has been governed under a persistent state of emergency. No legislature anywhere in America ever voted for lockdowns or mask mandates. Congress has never voted to require COVID vaccines for either public or private employees.
Over and over again, Americans have been subjected to draconian regulations of their private lives by unelected bureaucrats and executive officials who claim unlimited emergency powers. In Michigan in 2020, there were no churches open for Easter service—by the order of the governor.
Twitter bluechecks and liberals can spare me their righteous indignation in the name of freedom. Mindless blatherers, all. Their “liberal democracy” is neither liberal nor democratic.
As an American, I hold to the founding tradition of noninterference in the affairs of other countries. The Declaration of Independence says that the nations of the earth occupy a “separate and equal station” in relation to each other. No nation, or group of nations, constitutes a common judge for the others.
The consent of the governed is the only just ground for rule. Ukrainians and Russians have not consented to unilateral American rule over their affairs. And the American people have not consented to govern them. Therefore, the affairs of those powers are their own. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We are not bound by any treaty obligations to protect that country.
Claims that Russia has engaged in “aggression” are irrelevant. Aggression according to whom? Foreign policy “experts” with Georgetown master’s degrees? Who died and put them in charge?
The aggression standard heardled by liberals implies that every conflict has a “good” guy and a “bad” guy. It is a recipe for turning every war into a righteous crusade with which every nation on earth must align itself. This standard is a recipe for total war. Every enemy is an absolute enemy and every war is a total war. Every aggressor is Hitler and the fate of the West is always in the balance.
Neutrality, in this formulation, is impossible. America must side with freedom and democracy, so called, no matter the cost. As Jen Psaki told Fox News’ Peter Doocy, Americans must accept $5 a gallon gas and a lower standard of living because defending Ukraine means defending American values. American values which, apparently, have no relevance to the actual interests or liberties of Americans.
This perpetual reference to abstractions and overwrought historical examples (this is just like Poland in 1939 or Munich in 1938!) prevents clear-sighted thinking about foreign policy. The liberal reliance on World War II as the justification for the goodness of the post-1945 world order is likewise suspect. American involvement in World War II, remember, consisted of an alliance with brutal tyrant and murderous dictator Josef Stalin. If that conflict really was a war against aggression and tyranny why did it involve such close cooperation with such a vicious regime?
Ideology prevents the asking of such a relevant question, to say nothing of answering it honestly!
George Washington in his Farewell Address presents a far more sober and measured take on America’s role in the world than the bleating of our current chattering class and its childish World War II metaphors. America, he argued, should avoid “habitual hatred or habitual fondness” toward other regimes in order to avoid enslaving itself to foreign interests. Slavery to animosity or affection clouds our understanding of our real interests.
Washington was entirely correct. The Left’s vicious and crazed hatred of Putin, an offshoot of their boiling resentment of Donald Trump, prevents them from seeing clearly how little connection the United States has to eastern European politics. Ukraine’s border security and the squabbles between its ethnic groups is not America’s business. Our business is to defend our own rights.
Without a declaration of war by Congress, Joe Biden has no right to conduct acts of war against the Russian regime. It is absurd and unconstitutional that the president can lay down sanctions against a foreign power without legislative approval. A sanction is an act of war—the equivalent of a blockade. The American people deserve a say in such actions. But the deep-seated antipathy and ideological crusading of the D.C. chattering classes obviates all such restrictions on America’s warmaking power.
Joe Biden promises to go ahead with his desire to hold Russia “accountable.” John Quincy Adams said it best when he argued that America “should not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Adams saw clearly that “for centuries to come, all the contests of . . . the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right” that would be extraordinarily bloody for all involved. America, he argued, should avoid such wars. America should be the “champion and vindicator” only of her own rights. Other powers should defend themselves.
Adams and Washington were far wiser than the shrieking liberals on Twitter. Were they here today they would argue that Americans should fight against dictatorship at home before going abroad to lecture others about democracy and liberty. The war in the Ukraine is none of America’s business. Censorship and administrative edicts here at home are. Let us pull the log out of our own eye before demanding that others pull the splinter from theirs.