American credibility at issue in Ukraine crisis

MAR 5, 2014, 6:00 AM POLITICS

Dawud Walid: American credibility at issue in Ukraine crisis

President Barack Obama’s recent posture regarding the crisis in Ukraine illustrates how much credibility America has lost on the world stage and the dichotomy within our foreign policy.

Obama recently stated that Russia is not respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence and that it is violating human rights and international law in the process. But given America’s recent history of invading Iraq on false pretenses, supporting an illegal incursion of Ethiopia into Somalia and our continuing encroachment on Pakistani and Yemeni sovereignty through extra-judicial drone killings, which have caused many civilian fatalities, the White House isn’t the right voice for touting the respectability of international law.

Just like the Kremlin, American foreign policy is skewed towards what the White House believes is in our nation’s best interests in other countries — not the best interests of non-Americans. Putin supports particular camps in Ukraine and in other places, which serve his interests,  just as Obama supports governments which violate human rights, from Bahrain to Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Kiev to offer $1 billion in aid to the Ukrainian government in a Cold War-type chess move, the Obama administration has given a measly sum in comparison to relief efforts for victims of ongoing ethnic cleansing in Central African Republic. But hey, helping Africans being displaced and massacred in a diamond-rich area is not as sexy as pouring a billion bucks into a former Soviet satellite.

These policies are not about people, but perceived interests.

At the end of the day, Russia is going to do what it wants to do in Ukraine knowing that America can’t stop them. We won’t intervene with our military, just as we did not in 2008 when they bum-rushed the Republic of Georgia. Russia also knows that we don’t have the moral high ground to even lead an international military contingency into the region at this time.

I hope that there’s not mass bloodshed in Ukraine and that its citizens’ will is served, not the will of Russia or the U.S. I just don’t think that making empty threats to Putin and driving up our national debt through $1 billion in aid is going to facilitate the true aspirations of the Ukrainian people.


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