When it comes to U.S. foreign policy, what we frequently hear from politicians and mainstream media is that it must be based on the well-known foundations of Western values, such as freedom, democracy, defense of human rights, and the supremacy of the rule of law. What we do not see on this list of values is the need of preservation of human life and its toll due to the endless and numerous wars which America started and in which it is still engaged.
The instigators of these wars claim that their intention is to promote Western values. Is it really?
This is not just an academic or philosophical question since the same paradigm was often used as a justification by former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for conducting foreign policy.
Let us now look at the results this policy has brought to America and the world.
In the most recent fundamental study, several American experts have quantified the human and budgetary costs of U.S. military interventions in the 21st century. Their report was published by the Watson Institute for Public and International Affairs of Brown University and showed that more than 480,000 people (including close to 15,000 U.S. military, contractors and civilians) have died due to direct-war violence, and several times as many indirectly; 21 million have become refugees and displaced persons; the U.S. federal price tag for the post 9/11 wars is more than $5.9 trillion (by comparison the total student loan debt which Sen. Bernard Sanders wants to write off is $1.6 trillion).
However, the worst is still to come. According to an increasing number of experts and former U.S. government officials, the decade-long anti-Russia hysteria may end up in a direct military U.S.-NATO vs. Russia confrontation with the use of nuclear weapons.
One important factor in Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 was his pledge to extricate America from all these wars and find a mutually acceptable accommodation with Russia.
So far, unfortunately, he has not delivered on this pledge and although a large portion of the blame for that could be attributed to the swamp, the ultimate responsibility for national security is the president’s.
When it comes to values, there is a huge difference between those who sincerely believe and follow them in their daily life and those who cynically use the noble rhetoric as a tool for political schemes. The latter has resulted in dramatic failures of U.S. foreign policy.
Setting America on a better path will demand a gigantic effort from Donald Trump but no one ever said the president’s job is easy.
For example, when it comes to U.S.-Russia relations President Trump now has a perfect opportunity to end the Ukrainian mess in which Mr. Obama got us involved. We have to also thank such “dedicated believers” in Western values like then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who blackmailed then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to save his son Hunter from criminal investigation; or like Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who managed to insult all EU allies with four-letter words while selecting new Ukrainian government officials after the 2014 coup. Most of her appointees had to later quit their jobs in disgrace.
Congress added its share when it gave a hero’s welcome with the standing ovation to the corrupt oligarch Mr. Poroshenko during the joint House-Senate session and by throwing hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayers dollars to keep the conflict alive.
Deep State “professionalism” was also on the full display when U.S. representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, endorsed Mr. Poroshenko on the eve of the recent presidential elections only to watch in dismay his dramatic loss to the comic actor Vladimir Zelensky.
All these years, we’ve been told that the 2014 overthrow of the legitimately elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, had nothing to do with geopolitics but rather with the further promotion of democracy and other Western values. In reality, the major goal of the regime change was to damage Russia by breaking its century’s long ties with Ukraine and by eventual bringing Ukraine into NATO.
This would be an assured way to World War III, but President Trump is in a position to reverse this dangerous course by playing a crucial role in ending Ukrainian tragedy and making a first major step in improving U.S.-Russia relations.
European allies want to implement the Minsk agreement which is a road map to peace. The majority of Ukrainians also want to end the war which is proven by the massive election victories of Mr. Zelensky and his party The Servant of People.
However, without Mr. Trump’s resolve progress in Ukraine has little chance for success. The well-organized and some openly neo-Nazi Ukrainian nationalists are in a position to derail the peace process. But if Mr. Trump sincerely believes that getting along with Russia is a “good thing, not a bad thing,” overturning Mr. Obama and the swamp’s legacy in this part of the world is the place to start.
This move would be also in line with his America First policy rather than with Deep State’s futile desire to maintain a global empire.
• Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow.
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