Ukrainian Foreign Influence Endangers America

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. Congress was a disgrace. Congressional fawning and praise after his broken-English demands for more money symbolized an upside-down world, one where the client state orders around the supplicant patron. The corrupt and collapsing country of Ukraine would not last a week without American largesse and has tried to drag NATO into a larger war with false flags. Yet Zelenskyy spoke grandiloquently of “partnership” and “investments.” 

This pseudo-Churchill attempted to play the heroic and austere wartime leader, complete with his trademark and ridiculous green sweatshirt. This is why he could not trouble himself to put on a suit: he is an actor putting on a show. 

His congressional audience was also the producers and investors in the show. Much of the loot will be directly and indirectly recycled back to the American defense industry—lately with less to do on account of the failures in Afghanistan. An unknown amount will also splash into incumbents’ reelection war chests. Of course, Zelenskyy and his entourage will likely pocket much of it, too. 

The unfurling and presentation of the Ukraine flag by Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris at the conclusion of Zelenskyy’s speech were particularly unseemly. This level of identification with a foreign state shows a deep confusion about where the loyalties and priorities of our political leaders should be. 

This slavishness is particularly laughable after the pious nonsense about “foreign interference” in the 2016 election.

Republicans Fail

Congress’ sorry dereliction of duty was not just the fault of the Democrats but, rather, a symptom of a broken political system. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, “Providing assistance for Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now according to most Republicans . . . . That’s how we see the challenges confronting the country at the moment.” 

This is just more evidence that the people in charge know little and care even less about the concerns of American voters. They are giving away massive amounts of money, more than the entire defense budget of Russia, as if we were not already $20 trillion in debt, paying too much for food and gas and healthcare, on the brink of a recession, and dealing with many pressing challenges and crises at home. 

This is an oligarchy in action, the uniparty, the swamp. This is where the pretend representatives of the people join forces with invocations about Our Democracy™ and “our values” all the more strenuously as they transfer money, weapons, and our national honor to shady foreigners and cronies.

We are a long way from George Washington’s Farewell Address. In 1796, he warned presciently: 

foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. . . . Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other.

Then Washington added: 

Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Empire Is Bad For Americans

Washington’s principles prevailed, more or less, until the end of World War II. Our earliest departures—the Spanish-American War and later entry into World War I—were treated as temporary emergencies and ended as quickly as they began. A chastened and more cynical populace recoiled from continued involvement in morally ambiguous adventures that did not provide any tangible good to the American people.

But after World War II and the end of the Cold War, leaders in both parties and the unelected foreign policy “blob” reached a consensus. This consensus held that America needed to control events and assert its powers everywhere. This was to be the continued triumph of the American Century, defined by American power, an American empire in all but name. 

A bloated defense establishment would continue into the 1990s until now, even after the sui generis Soviet threat had receded. In the age of a small, all-volunteer, professional military, voters were generally apathetic and tacitly supportive of this approach, except when things went badly sideways, as in Iraq and Vietnam. 

This is what the neoconservatives and foreign policy idealists deliver in practice: 20 years of nonstop and unsuccessful wars in the Mideast followed, nearly instantaneously, by an expensive and risky proxy war against the largest nuclear power on Earth. 

None of this is cheap. And none of this is risk-free. Despite the flag waving, none of this activity connects to America’s constitutional traditions of limited government and historical practice of neutrality. Most important, none of this has anything to do with the welfare of the American people. 

The Uniparty Loses Its Mind

It is somewhat odd to see the Democrats suddenly so bloodthirsty. After all, they used to be the doves. But it seems the myth of Trump’s Russian collusion, combined with a broader anti-Trump animus, has led the Democrats to become rabid in their hostility to Russia. The false origins of this accusation in the Steele dossier have not caused any of Trump’s accusers to retreat, either with regard to Trump or Russia. 

Biden has a particularly strong antipathy to Russia. Unlike most of his schtick, this one seems to come from the heart rather than his handlers. It has its roots in certain obvious explanations, like his social liberalism, and probably some hidden ones, like his family’s ties to Ukrainian natural gas companies. 

Biden’s entire party follows his lead for reasons of corruption, a lack of imagination, and the moribund ideology of American empire. Both parties seem to have confused the evil Soviet Union with the mildly authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin. Thus, the one-party state of Ukraine—a place where mobs torture their neighbors, Nazis are feted, and churches are banned—has now become the avatar of democracy and the American way of life. 

While it may help the Biden family and Lockheed Martin, the quest to destroy Russia using Ukraine is not in our interest. It is not even in the interest of the Ukrainian people. We are prolonging the slaughter of Ukrainian manhood and the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure to preserve every inch of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a goal that has no realistic chance of succeeding. Proponents of this course should be honest that they think our interest is in weakening Russia regardless of the pretend cause and regardless of the costs to Ukraine. 

The goal of weakening Russia only makes sense if one accepts a bunch of other controversial assumptions, like European security is our responsibility, that being the sole superpower is realistic and sustainable, and that Russia is somehow an existential threat to us because it does not want a neighbor to join a hostile military alliance. 

We have two oceans, a capable military, and a huge nuclear arsenal to protect us. There is no reason we also need to take sides in every conflict in every far-flung corner of the world, prolonging a bloody war of attrition in pursuit of bloodless concepts like “hegemony” and “influence.”

The most striking thing of the recent display is how the ruling class does not even try to conceal their lies and contradictions anymore. The same people who said Trump’s border wall was too expensive at $11 billion now treat $100 billion to defend Ukraine’s border as perfectly reasonable. An investment!

Reality is plainer by the day. We are ruled by a corrupt, stupid, and hostile elite that hates us. In fact, they are willing to endanger our national security and impoverish us to prolong their temporary grip on power. 

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About Christopher Roach

Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

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