Oh, for the good old days of the Soviet Union. America’s foreign policy and goals were clear then: containment and opposition to communist expansion. Nuclear weapons had a deterrent effect, but neither side believed the other would use them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has changed the game by threatening to use nuclear weapons if the United States directly confronts his forces currently raping Ukraine and committing war crimes that the world is watching through ubiquitous cellphones, brave journalists and film crews.
President Biden and senior members of his administration say we cannot intervene directly to stop Russia because of Putin’s threat. Is this the new American foreign policy? If we can’t do much beyond sanctions against nations that possess nuclear weapons, it will send a signal to those who possess them – and those who are considering acquiring them – that they don’t have much to fear from America if they continue to invade Taiwan (China) or attack Israel (Iranian).
Suppose Putin is emboldened by at least temporary success in Ukraine and proceeds to invade other countries that were once in the Soviet orbit, but are now sovereign states and, in some cases, members of the NATO? Estonia and Latvia are two of them. Finland has a border with Russia over 800 miles long. Article 5 of the founding treaty of NATO stipulates that an attack against a member country will be considered an attack against all. This treaty was written in 1949. Is it still relevant today? Could someone in this administration tell us how far we would be willing to go to help the NATO allies? Would the excuse that Russia has nuclear weapons be used to prevent America from directly engaging Russian forces if they invaded one or more NATO countries? It would be nice to know and soon.
The increasingly secular West finds it difficult to understand evil except in general terms. That’s why what appears to be a pending nuclear deal between the United States and Iran is fraught with pitfalls. If the reports are correct, Iran would be required to ship its uranium to another country. Could this country be Russia? And as part of the deal, would the United States then buy Iranian oil in hopes of lowering gas prices ahead of the fall election? It would surely be a pact with the Devil and the height of cynicism.
In 2016, the Obama administration bragged that a deal with Iran had guaranteed its nuclear program would remain “exclusively peaceful.” If that were true, why are we in further negotiations to produce a similar deal that will also most likely be ignored? Iranian leaders have said they believe Allah wanted them to develop nuclear weapons and they are not hiding their targets – Israel and the United States.
Evil can never be welcomed. We must oppose it, even defeat it. That was Ronald Reagan’s goal with the Soviet Union. Today, Putin thinks he can reincarnate the USSR.
There is counsel in the scriptures for those who wish to be careful. It is found in both the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps it is not stated with more force than in the Book of Deuteronomy. The instructions are intended for the ancient Israelites, but they apply today because evil is not tied exclusively to one generation or one nation: “You must purge the evil among you.” (Deuteronomy 17:7)
Another thing. As a Wall Street Journal editorial notes, “Putin told us for years what he would do. The West did not listen.
Knowing that something bad is coming and refusing to face it ensures that when it does we will have fewer options to defeat it.
This refusal and “kick the can on the road” also applies to domestic issues, including the necessary reform of social security and health insurance. Are we blind? Are we stupid? Do we have a foreign policy? If yes, what is it?