America’s Ukraine policy is on a collision course with reality

Madeline Monroe/Anna Rose Layden/Associated Press-Efrem Lukatsky
News accounts say President Biden is being lauded globally for bold leadership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

If we accept the mainstream media narrative about Russia’s war in Ukraine, we are witnessing the emergence of the Biden administration’s greatest triumph to date. Under this roseate scenario, the Ukrainians are doing wonderfully well in their fight against Russia; the Russian troops are failing badly almost everywhere; NATO is enjoying a renaissance of unity not seen since the Cold War; and President Biden is being lauded globally for bold leadership and for proving once again that the United States is the world’s indispensable nation.  

Perhaps best of all is the narrative that Biden is delivering his long-promised bipartisan unity among Americans, as large numbers of Republicans sign onto his requests for more money and more weapons for Ukraine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are among the luminaries who paraded to Kyiv for coveted photo-ops with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In stark contrast to these upbeat perspectives about the war, however, a far less pleasant reality is forcing its way to the forefront of American consciousness: The U.S. economy is reeling through a historic crisis in the direction of an almost certain recession, with inflation far outpacing wage gains; income inequality soaring, as elites continue to prosper and the working class is crushed by the cost of living; frightening levels of violent crime plague large cities; and unprecedented numbers of illegal migrants are surging across America’s southern border.

In light of these less palatable realities, it cannot be surprising Biden’s approval rating and that of his Democratic Party are plummeting to new depths — including among bedrock elements of the Democratic coalition such as Hispanics, Black voters and, perhaps, educated suburban women. Traditional liberals such as Democratic strategist James Carville clearly see the looming electoral disaster of this fall’s midterms, but it’s being ignored by Pelosi and the party’s progressive wing, which continues to influence Biden’s policy initiatives.

The disconnect between these two realities has become evident as new complications arise in Ukraine and America’s domestic disorders worsen. In particular, the holes in the upbeat Ukraine narrative have reached a point where the mainstream media no longer can credibly deny them, as John Walsh described in a recent Asia Times article, “NY Times shifts pro-war narrative.” 

Walsh draws attention to two items appearing recently in the Times: a front-page story about Russia seizing much of the East, and an opinion piece entitled, “America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t.” 

The Times notes Russia’s naval dominance of the Black Sea and near-total control of Ukraine’s coastline, a fact that gives Russia enormous leverage in any future negotiations. Walsh further reports that the effective blockade of Odessa means that Ukraine’s last maritime export corridor is closed. This is critically important, given the dire condition of the Ukrainian economy with 30-50 percent of all businesses closed and fully a quarter of the population driven from their homes, most of them now in foreign exile. Also, it is slowly dawning on the world that this war threatens to create a global food crisis, since Russia and Ukraine together produce approximately one-third of the world’s wheat exports.

At present, the American people are struggling to recover from two decades of debilitating foreign wars in which we were never able to clearly define the mission, whether our goal was “victory,” however described, and which never had a coherent exit strategy. Now we risk dangerously sliding into another conflict — one that could have far more ominous implications.

As a democracy, we should be alarmed that we can only speculate on the identity of those who are guiding our president and writing his speeches but staying in the background, immune from any meaningful accountability for his undefined but risky foreign policy.

William Moloney is a Fellow in Conservative Thought at Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute who studied at Oxford and the University of London and received his doctorate from Harvard University.  He is a former Colorado Commissioner of Education.

Tags Biden cost of living Democrats Inflation James Carville Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Russian invasion of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

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