At The American Conservative, Doug Bandow explains the debacle in Ukraine. He writes (abridged):
Recently Ukraine has been thrown into the spotlight as Democrats gear up to impeach President Donald Trump. More important, though, is its role in damaging America’s relations with Russia, which has resulted in a mini-Cold War that the U.S. needs to end.
Ukraine is in a bad neighborhood. During the 17th century, the country was divided between Poland and Russia, and eventually ended up as part of the Russian Empire
In 1991, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. gave Ukraine another, more enduring chance for independence. However, the new nation’s development was fraught: GDP dropped by 60 percent.
In 2014, Washington and European governments backed a street putsch against the elected, though highly corrupt, pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The Putin government responded by annexing Crimea
To more traditional hawks who are always seeking an enemy, the issue is less pro-Ukraine than anti-Russia. Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, improbably attacked Russia as America’s most dangerous adversary
After the Soviet collapse, the U.S. pushed NATO eastward into nations that neither mattered strategically nor could be easily protected, most notably in the Balkans and Baltics. Even worse were Georgia and Ukraine, security black holes that would bring with them ongoing conflicts with Russia.
Many challenges remain, but the West could aid this process by respecting Russian security concerns. The U.S. and its allies should formally foreclose Ukraine’s membership in the transatlantic alliance and end lethal military aid.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.
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