Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy


What the US should and should not do

As President Biden reaffirmed his support for Ukraine during his visit to the country this week, opinions vary on whether such support is a good idea.

For those of us who have spent years opposing the influence of the military industrial complex on U.S. foreign policy, the situation poses a peculiar challenge. It’s possible to believe that the undue influence of the U.S. war machine – aided in Washington by “the Blob” of foreign policy experts – is very real, and at the same time believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a criminal venture that cannot be tolerated by the world.

The United States has perpetrated its own egregious imperialistic ventures, a fact which shouldn’t be ignored by anyone. It’s not an overstatement to say that millions of people around the world – including thousands of U.S. military – have died as a result of our own misadventures. But that does not, and should not, give Vladimir Putin a pass on perpetrating an imperialistic war of his own.

Clearly, not all wars are the same. Just as some point out that the war in Ukraine is not a replay of World War II, it’s important to remember that it’s also not a replay of Iraq or Afghanistan. Did American foreign policy mistakes contribute to the war in Ukraine? Yes. But that does not mean we are ultimately responsible for Putin’s invasion, nor does it mean that our larger interests, the interests of the people of Ukraine or the interests of the rest of the world, are best served by our staying out of the conflict now.

The war in Vietnam should never have been fought. The war in Iraq should never have been fought. The war in Afghanistan – with the exception of its beginning phases – should never have been fought. All of them were examples of American military malfeasance. The war in Ukraine, however, is a very different situation. I believe there is legitimate justification for military support for Ukraine from Western allies, including the United States.


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