Reagan called the Soviet Union the “evil empire”. But if you look at the international relations of the United States in the last 70 years, the litany of terrible outcomes and consequences is almost breathtaking — Vietnam, El Salvador, regime change in Iran, second Iraq war, Afghanistan. I’m sure this short list is missing other significant fiascos. So the bottom line might indeed be that today’s “evil empire” is not them but us — we are the evil empire!
At the very least, I think it is time that the United States government seriously reevaluate its goals relative to international affairs, and make the key objectives not exploiting weaknesses of other countries for some illusory gains for the US, but instead rectifying potential areas of conflict between nations so that peace and prosperity world-wide are assured.
Instead of jockeying for some questionable advantages, a more high-minded diplomacy on the part of the US would be, for instance, to seek ways to peacefully unravel the conflict between North Korea and South Korea so that that potentially explosive issue just melts away. Ditto the issue of China and Taiwan. Not gain specious advantage from these situations but actually solve them so they go away.
Wouldn’t it be a huge sea change if US foreign policy were to pursue goals that were on the side of the angels rather than policies that, in the last 70 years, have led inevitably to the death of millions, devastation of whole nations, and terrible unintended consequences — the heritage of our evil empire.
So this brings us to the present moment and the Ukrainian situation, which isn’t fundamentally about Ukraine at all, but instead the uneasy relationship between an expanding NATO and a Russia with security concerns, having been invaded by Europe twice in history.
A high-minded diplomacy on the part of the US would have the US seek to bring these two parties together to work out an agreement that would leave both feeling secure and respected, so that the world could breathe easier and enjoy peace and prosperity.
But what has the US done instead? It has elected to exploit the Ukrainian situation in a proxy war to debilitate its supposed enemy Russia. The end result is not hard to see. Ukraine will be decimated, many there will die, and the relationship between NATO and Russia will deteriorate, perhaps to the breaking point, with the specter of nuclear war rising up once again.
All of this because the cognoscenti in the US see Russia as the enemy, even though, around the world, there are actually very few points of direct contention between the United States and Russia — the Arctic region being the conspicuous exception. That this is so is probably a consequence of geography, as the two countries are, after all, on opposite sides of the globe. And there are many similarities between the two countries — both are threatened by Muslim extremists, both are principally Christian, both are ostensibly democratic, with elections, both are capitalist.
Yet we are led to believe by our leaders in the US that Russia is the enemy. Why? And what will be the net result, but another decimated country called Ukraine, decimated as much by the narrow-minded and short-sighted diplomacy of the United States as by Russia.
Add yet another country to the list of countries victimized by the current evil empire, the United States.