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CURL: The next hot spot is the world’s problem, not America’s
Question of the Day
The Washington Times headline blared the news: "Senators demand arms for restive Ukraine."
Yes, the illustrious U.S. Senate, which for the past decade has overspent on the U.S. budget by trillions and trillions of dollars, thinks it's a very good idea if America wades into a battle with Russia over some former USSR territory.
No, the lawmakers don't care if one small sector of one small country — Crimea, in the southern part of Ukraine — has voted overwhelmingly to return to Mother Russia. And no, our vaunted leaders in Congress haven't bothered to bring pressure on world organizations such as NATO or the United Nations.
Instead, they think it's a brilliant idea to start arming someone — anyone — in Ukraine to battle the Evil Empire, to thwart, even humiliate, Darth Vader Vladimir Putin.
President Obama's crack team of foreign policy "experts" — two longtime Senate bloviators in Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry — are banging the drums of war nearly nonstop. Never mind that the president bailed from Iraq and botched Afghanistan into a draw, at best. They're swinging in on their Tarzan vines pounding their chests.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the United States has "no reason for concern" about the presence of Russian forces near Ukraine. "Russia has repeatedly stated that it does not conduct unusual or unplanned activities which are militarily significant on its territory near the border with Ukraine," the ministry said in a prepared statement.
But that hasn't stopped the Big Brains on the Yellow Couches in the Oval Office from coming up with a Grand Plan to stabilize the globe.
Mr. Kerry, for his part, told his former colleagues that, boy, foreign policy is hard. Oh, and he's to blame for the mess. "Sure, we may fail. And you want to dump it on me? I may fail. I don't care. It's worth doing. It's worth the effort," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
That was just on the Middle East. On Russia, he said Mr. Putin "has a choice: to work with the international community to help build an independent Ukraine that could be a bridge between East and West, not the object of a tug of war, that could meet the hopes and aspirations of all Ukrainians; or they could face greater isolation and pay the cost for their failure to see that the world is not a zero-sum game."
The Great Windbags always work in that "zero-sum game" thing. Sure, the "world" may not be zero sum, but the bank account is — or should be. The U.S. can't continue to intervene in every hot spot around the world, spending billions to bomb piles of sand in Libya or thrice-shelled apartment buildings in Syria.
And they always find everything "deeply disturbing," as Mr. Kerry did Tuesday. He said the unrest — toss in a "foment" for good measure — in eastern Ukraine could well be a "contrived pretext for military intervention, just as we saw in Crimea."
Sen. John McCain, another foreign policy "expert," belittled Mr. Kerry and the commander in chief for not having already dispatched a swarm of U.S. boys to battle the commie reds. "My hero, Teddy Roosevelt, used to say, 'Talk softly but carry a big stick.' What you're doing is talking strongly and carrying a very small stick — in fact, a twig," Mr. McCain told Mr. Kerry. And the Arizona Republican should know — he was in the Senate when the Rough Rider was riding rough.
But Mr. Kerry said rushing in today isn't fast enough. "If we decided today to give them a whole bunch of assistance, you've got to train them, you've got to do things," he said.
Russia saved Mr. Obama's bacon with Syria, stepping in after the president ignored his red line by offering to take Syria's weapons of mass destruction. Still, America would have been foolish to have waded in there — let the world sort it out.
With the U.S. coffers beyond dwindling ($17 trillion in debt is nothing to sneeze at), America should skip Ukraine. The United States misplayed both Iraq and Afghanistan; of course we should have gone into both, but we should have left Afghanistan after we crushed the Taliban, and cut from Iraq after we took out Saddam Hussein. Our work was done — and if we needed to go in again, we could have.
But if the "world" is so concerned with Russia, let it come to the rescue. The time for America policing the entire world has got to come to an end, for one simple reason: We just can't afford it.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.
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