By Johnny B. Davis
In his farewell address, President George Washington warned against a foreign policy guided by habit, ideology, or undue influence of factions or special interests. Washington advocated a foreign policy driven by the national interest, which requires a flexible and pragmatic approach. The U.S.’ post-Cold War policies toward Russia have been a hallmark of habit, ideology, and undue special interests exemplified by its role in Ukraine. Meanwhile, these ill-considered policies of the political establishment have been cheered on by the pro-war and pro-interventionist media.
American media coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has failed to ask the fundamental questions about the U.S.’ goals and the second and third-order effects of its sanctions and hostile policies toward Russia. These policies are not serving the United States’ interests, and the long-term consequences of the U.S.’ Russia policy are likely to be heavily negative for the world. The reigning interventionist establishment in government and the media are determined to ignore these dangers and to push ahead with the habitual hate for Russia as if the Cold War never ended.
The United States’ Role in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict
After Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, the United States quickly began sending military aid to the Eastern European country that has totaled more than $6.92 billion. This aid has come in the form of drones, heavy artillery, tactical vehicles, aircrafts, radar systems, guns and ammunition, protective gear, and missiles and anti-armor weapons.
The United States support goes beyond supplying weapons to Ukraine. Its military has given direct targeting information that has led to Ukrainian air-strikes on Russian ships and the killing of Russian generals.
Given the United States’ support for Ukraine’s cyber defense, Russia has unsurprisingly failed to cripple Ukraine with cyberattacks. Despite these de facto acts of war, there has been no serious congressional debate or authorization to use force.
What Are the Consequences?
Notwithstanding, the United States has little tangible interest in the outcome of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, while massive U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons sales to Ukraine are enriching the U.S. military contractors. Meanwhile, the conflict has strengthened China’s strategic position, driven it closer to Russia, and increased the odds of a dispute between it and the United States.
China, not Russia, is the true implacable power determined to displace the United States. Russia is an authoritarian regime driven by its national interest that the United States could have placated by an agreement to keep Ukraine out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The most significant consequence of the United States’ activist foreign policy may be its impact on food supplies. Russia and Ukraine are both major food producers, especially for the Middle Eastern and African nations. The war has cut off Ukraine’s exports, and sanctions have largely reduced Russia’s food exports. Had this occurred in the twentieth century, American farmers would have ramped up food production to cover the shortfall. However, the globalization policies of the post-Cold War presidential administrations severely weakened the domestic agricultural industry.
The United States is now dependent on imports of fertilizers and materials to make fertilizers, which Russia and Ukraine are both leading producers. Now there is a significant shortfall hindering the ability of American farmers to ramp up production to fill the gap. The Washington decision makers are ignoring and denying the problem while focusing on the next taxpayer-funded weapons package for Ukraine. The United States should be engaged in a program of increasing domestic fertilizers production to enable a significant food production increase.
Food prices worldwide are rapidly increasing, especially in the Middle East and Africa. For example, in April, Turkey experienced a 73% inflation rate in food prices while food shortages are also swiftly spreading across the globe. Still, the impact will be felt in the future after stockpiles are exhausted, and the effects of fertilizer shortages reduce future crop production. Many nations in the Middle East and Africa will likely enter famine conditions later this year. The Washington political and media establishments either ignore the problem or blame Russian President Vladimir Putin without confronting the U.S. foreign policy’s role in exasperating the situation.
The food crisis in the Islamic world could lead to the fall of numerous regimes in a more extraordinary wave than the 2011 “Arab Spring.” The only plausible alternative to the present dictatorships is radical Islamists. Therefore, the U.S.’ interest is in preventing famine and the potential political and social earthquake it could unleash through regime changes across the region. The United States should seek a compromise peace in Ukraine instead of incentivizing a protracted war. The longer the war continues, the more the U.S.’ interests are threatened.
It’s Time to Reevaluate the U.S.’ Foreign Policy
The United States needs a strategic reevaluation of its Russia policy. Russia is wrong to engage in war aggression against Ukraine. Still, the United States and Russia’s interests do not conflict. The conflict between both countries is primarily a product of the globalist ideology guiding the U.S.’ foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. However, Russia and the United States will not easily overcome the contentious relationship at this stage.
The first step to improving relations would be to realize that China is a long-term, more significant threat to Russia than the United States, as China covets the vast raw materials of Siberia to fuel its economy. The United States needs to work to divide the two Eurasian powers to isolate and contain China.
Ukraine is an issue between the European Union and Russia and a distraction from the U.S.’ strategic interest in the Indo-Pacific. The United States has blindly given the Europeans a blank check since the Cold War and has gotten nothing but trouble in return.
Johnny B. Davis is an international and constitutional law attorney. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Liberty University. An Army Reserve JAG, he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Liberty University School of Government