What Americans Should Do if They Are Concerned About Ukraine
You have heard it on the television, you have read it in the newspaper, you have seen it on social media, and perhaps you have even heard it in church on Sunday: the people of Ukraine are suffering because of the Russian invasion. What is then usually said or implied is that the United States (meaning, the U.S. government) should do something—send aid, send supplies, send money, send weapons, or send troops. There is no doubt that the Ukraine people are suffering, and that some of them are being maimed and killed. That is obvious. The question is what the U.S. government should do about it. And the answer is none of the above. Let me say first of all that the same Americans who are lamenting the fate of the Ukrainian people right now were not concerned a whit about the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine who were shelled for the past eight years by the Ukrainian military. And it is these same Americans who never opened their mouth to express concern about Iraqis, Afghans, and Vietnamese who were suffering, bleeding, and dying at the hands of the bombs and bullets of the U.S. military. When it is the United States that is engaging in a military operation half way around the world, then we are told to be patriotic and support the troops, thank them for their service, and consider them heroes. It doesn’t matter where the troops go, why they go where they go, how long they stay where they go, whether they should go in the first place, what they do when they are there, how much it costs to keep them there, how much collateral damage they cause while there, how many people they kill when they are there, how many widows and orphans they make while there, how much infrastructure they destroy when they are there, or how many atrocities they commit while there. Secondly, although the U.S. government shouldn’t be sending aid, supplies, money, or weapons to Ukraine or any other country, the worst thing it could possibly do is send troops. It all comes down to the purpose of the U.S. military. The purpose of the U.S. military is to defend the United States. Period. Not defend other countries, not take sides in wars, not change regimes, not establish democracy, not nation build, not train foreign armies, not enforce no-fly zones, not protect U.S. commercial interests, not serve as peacekeepers, not carry out UN resolutions, not contain communism or “radical Islam,” not invade other countries, not occupy other countries, not provide disaster relief, not dispense humanitarian aid, not intervene in civil wars, not secure the borders of other countries, not try to right every wrong in the world, and not police the world. The terrible truth is: If Russia killed every person in Ukraine—men, women, and children—razed every building, destroyed all the infrastructure, and turned the whole of Ukraine into a parking lot, then it would still not be the business of the U.S. military to intervene. And third, if the U.S. government should do nothing about the crisis in Ukraine, then what should Americans do if they are concerned about Ukraine? Simple. They can—individually or collectively—send aid, send supplies, send money, send weapons, or go fight on behalf of Ukraine. The Ukrainian government is calling for volunteers from other countries to come and fight alongside Ukraine forces. Foreigners who do can even receive Ukrainian citizenship. To those Americans who are calling for U.S. troops to go to Ukraine and fight the Russians, I simply say this: What’s stopping you? Oh, so you’re too old or feeble? Then what about your children or grandchildren? Are you willing for them to shed their blood and die to liberate Ukraine from the Russians? Why do you instead want to send other Americans to fight, bleed, suffer, and die. And for what? What Ron Paul said back in 2014 about the Russian annexation of Crimea (“Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?”) can be applied to the situation in Ukraine today. Whether the Ukrainian or Russian flag flies over Kiev is not worth one drop of American blood nor one penny from the U.S. treasury.
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society.