Foreign Policy

TR’s Message to Ukraine, and America

Russia’s vicious and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has rightfully drawn the condemnation of the world. Make no mistake – whatever other causes may exist, it is Vladimir Putin who began this war to extend his dictatorship and to resurrect the old Soviet Union.  The Ukrainian people’s defiant and dogged defense of their country exemplify these words of Theodore Roosevelt.

TR’s heart, soul and perhaps body would have been with Ukrainians as they fight for their freedom. We Americans also need to embrace TR’s words and the attendant difficulties ahead for us. Russia, as well as China, have shown the vaunted “international rule of law” to be simply an elitist illusion.  They want to rewrite those rules to reflect the reality of great power competition at best and promote their authoritarian models at worst

If America wants to win this fight, we must accept the sacrifices necessary to build our military and economic resources while working to end the Ukraine invasion.  The President’s promises in his State of The Union speech to ease the effects of sanctions does this cause no good. The best way to show American resolve is to declare an immediate embargo on Russian oil and other imports and force Russian oligarchs to divest their American assets.  We can then unify to cover the shortages with our own oil & gas as much as possible. 

We also should immediately end NASA’s partnership with Russia and demand they vacate the International Space Station.  The Bush-Clinton-Obama Administration’s reliance on Russia for access and operation of the ISS is one of the worst strategic decisions in American history. Thanks to SpaceX and other commercial entities, we now have our own launch platforms for access. There may be, however,  other operational issues that were improvidently assigned to the Russians. If so, it is time for an “Apollo 13” moment where American engineers meet this crisis with the determination and ingenuity that marked the Apollo moon landing program. We can do it and we must.

At the same time, Russia needs an incentive to negotiate an acceptable peace with Ukraine.  The West should thus telegraph to Putin that the barrage of economic sanctions will be eased when such an agreement is reached (see this article). Without such an “off-ramp”, Putin will not only continue the war, but perhaps even widen it to include the Baltic states, thus directly engaging NATO. This is a war we must prepare for, but are not yet ready to fight.

Russia’s invasion has galvanized world opinion against it and the brutal values it clearly stands for. The threat will not go away after this war has ended.  Indeed, our current divisions and failure to prepare for it means we face three to five risky years of exposure. If America and democracy is to prevail, we must accept the sacrifices necessary to build the unity and strength of the American people. Remember that the Soviet Union fell because it lost the socioeconomic battle, not a military one.  TR reminds us that if we build on the strength of our values, we will win yet again.

Foreign Policy

Slouching Towards War

Leeds, England – April 20 2018: – An old blue French postage stamp of World War One soldiers in trenches in the Battle of Verdun
Source: Adobe Stock

The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.

Theodore Roosevelt

In her classic history of the causes of World War I “The Guns of August”, the great historian Barbara Tuchman chronicled how rigid alliances and overweening national pride sparked one of the deadliest European wars.  The Biden Administration’s approach to the Ukraine crisis risks making the same mistakes. If a Russian invasion occurs, it will happen partially because of Biden’s confusing rhetoric which fails to heed the lessons of history. 

The similarities to the drivers of World War I are eerie.  Like today, that conflict began in an Eastern European state that was not formally aligned with any of the major European powers. In the case of World War I, the conflict was sparked by the assassination of a prince of the Austro-Hungarian empire by a Serbian nationalist in Serbia.  Austria-Hungary openly talked about annexing Serbia into its empire. When Austria mobilized to invade Serbia in retaliation, Russia backed the Serbs out of pan-Slavic loyalty. This drew Austria’s ally Germany into the conflict and Russia’s ally France in response.  Britain tried to distance itself, but joined the war when Germany invaded Belgium, also a nonaligned nation. In the end, two great European alliances sleepwalked into a bloody conflict not because of any direct threat to their national security, but due to ethnic and national pride and outdated alliances.

Today, the Biden Administration is hyping a threat to a country unaligned with us and thus risking a wider conflict. Their stated reasons appeal to the worst instincts of unipolar liberal hegemonism.  Indeed, by constantly talking about the imminence of an invasion, we are goading the Russians to do it by poking at the inferiority complex they have had for centuries.

A foreign policy realist would see Ukraine as an opportunity, not a crisis. We start with the basic premise that we make our foreign policy, not Putin or any other nation. Our short-term goal should be to declare that while the US supports Ukrainian sovereignty, it is not in our national interest to defend it and so Ukraine is not a candidate for NATO membership.  The President’s disclaimer of intent to station missiles in Ukraine was helpful, but then contradicted by rhetoric threatening to impose “long-term consequences that will undermine Russia’s ability to compete economically and strategically”. See the President’s statement of February 15, 2022 here. Instead, any talk of economic and other sanctions should be measured and leave room for tougher action in future conflicts. Otherwise, we risk the mistake of driving Russia to consider a wider conflict against the Baltic states and other NATO members.

Moreover, we should not be dictating Ukraine’s foreign policy any more than Russia should. This means we should not be negotiating with Russia about Ukraine’s future if simply because it implies acceptance of a permanent Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe   In a G0 world of increasing equality of power, it should be our long-term policy to oppose this kind of domination. Biden betrays his stated commitment to “the right of countless countries to choose their own destiny, and the right of people to determine their own futures”, when he negotiates with Russia about Ukraine’s future and threatens Germany with a promise to stop the Nord Stream pipeline. A better response would be to use this opportunity to discuss a restructuring of NATO to tailor it to current and future European geopolitical realities; in particular, Europe’s economic strength and thus capability to defend itself from Russian aggression.

Theodore Roosevelt was not afraid of war, but also was an avid historian. He was also proud that no American soldier had bee killed during his time in office. He would have appreciated the lessons of the guns of August and the importance of tailoring our foreign policy to the particularities of the times (see this previous post).  The United States needs to cool the rhetoric about Ukraine and save our economic and military gunpowder for more serious threats to our national security in our own hemisphere and elsewhere.

General, Politics

A Public and Self-Centered Betrayal

Why American Nationalists Should Support the Impeachment of President Trump

The impeachment spectacle in Washington is heartbreaking for American nationalists on so many levels.  As mentioned previously, Trump was always a flawed standard-bearer for nationalism, if simply because of his shameless public encouragement of the Russian and Wikileaks hacking of the Democrats.   The Mueller report has since shown that his consultant Roger Stone knew at the very least when the leaks would occur. Further, Trump knew Stone was using this knowledge to coordinate campaign activities.  Any hope that Trump would mend his ways and find nationalist ideals has been cruelly dashed by the results of the House impeachment investigation, which exposes his attempt to hijack American foreign policy and defy the law for his own electoral benefit.       

Trump’s own betrayal, however, does not mean we should overlook the hypocrisy of his Democratic critics, who have either engaged in or condoned similar sleazy conduct.  Whether it is Hunter Biden using his and his father’s name to whitewash a corrupt Ukrainian company or Bill Clinton hitting foreign leaders up for money for the Clinton Foundation while his wife was Secretary of State, it has apparently become acceptable for American politicians and their kin to trade on their connections much like Russian oligarchs and Chinese princelings.  The recent Justice Department Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s misconduct in the investigation of Russian ties to the 2016 Trump campaign also showed how our own foreign intelligence community can be manipulated and abused by foreign and domestic governmental elites for personal political interests.  Trump’s conduct can arguably be seen as simply the logical extension of this sickening phenomenon.   It proves that, while globalization and the globalist ideology may have spread some freedom elsewhere, we have blithely ignored how it is importing here to America the same kind of elitist corruption seen in the worst authoritarian regimes.  If this continues, the American Century of Shame I warned about in another post will occur faster than we think.       

The key to preventing this decline is to follow Theodore Roosevelt’s advice above and stand by our country first, not the President, whatever the transgressions of his detractors.  Indeed, true American nationalists must lead in holding the President to a high standard of loyalty to our Constitution and values if we are to build the consensus we need to attack the sleazy elitist betrayals. Thus, we should sadly, but resolutely, support his impeachment and removal from office.   

The Law

We begin with the Constitution itself, which authorizes impeachment for “Treason, Bribery and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors”.  The language, derived from English constitutional law, is designed to prevent impeachment for simple policy differences.  At the same time, even the President’s own Attorney General Bill Barr has said that this standard is much broader than the statutory criminal law:

By including that English phrase, our Founding Fathers intended to expand the scope of impeachable offenses beyond the scope of criminally indictable offenses. This language incorporates political offenses against the state that injure the structure of government and tarnish the integrity of the political office. As Alexander Hamilton observed, these political offenses include breaches of the public trust that a president assumes once he has taken office.

Barr, William, “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”, 2 Texas Review of Law and Policy, pgs. 9-10 

However, the case against the President can still start by referring to the statutory law.  The federal bribery statute prohibits a public official from corruptly demanding or seeking anything of value personally in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act.  As bad as bribery is, of even more concern to American nationalists should be the potential solicitation of a political contribution by a foreign government in violation of federal campaign finance law. See 52 U.S.C. Section 30121.  Like the bribery statute, it prohibits the solicitation of anything of value from a foreign government by a political campaign.  In this case, the “thing of value” would have been the expenditure of money by the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden and the Burisma company for the purpose of injuring the candidacy of former Vice President Biden.   

The Facts  

The evidence against the President is quite direct.  Rudy Guiliani began pushing publicly and with Ukrainian prosecutors in January of 2019 for an investigation into not only Hunter Biden, but also former Vice President Biden.  In mid-July, Trump instructed acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to withhold $400 million in aid to Ukraine.  Immediately afterwards, the President spoke with Ukrainian President Zelensky to ask for a “favor”.  He then proceeded to talk about Biden’s son and that “[former Vice President] Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that …. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution”.  He urged President Zelenksy to pursue this not only with the Attorney General, but also with Guiliani, his personal lawyer.  Indeed, he seemed to be encouraging Zelensky to act mainly through Guiliani, not Barr.

Trump’s supporters advance two main defenses to the clear implication of this narrative.  First, they correctly state that corruption in Ukraine has been a concern of the United States for years and that this was simply an outgrowth of that policy.   However, the transcript does not refer to the prosecution of corruption in the Ukrainian energy industry in general, which was the subject of past conversations between Secretary of Energy Perry as well as his predecessors.  It focused on only two specific subjects – the issue of whether Ukraine was the source of the 2016 hacking incidents and the activities of the Bidens, one of which was potentially a strong candidate against Trump in the 2020 election. If the purpose was simply to pursue an element of American foreign policy, then why was Trump’s personal lawyer Guiliani involved?  It was because the President wanted Ukraine to focus not on corruption in general, but on the Bidens and especially the former Vice President in particular.

The other defense boils down to the claim that “Obama did it, too”, pointing to the Inspector General’s report.  The Horowitz report is definitely disturbing and calls for more controls over foreign intelligence investigations. However, there is no evidence that any of this was directed from the White House.  It appears to have been almost a rogue operation by elements of the FBI.   The only relevance to the accusations against Trump may be to essentially justify his dismissal of James Comey as FBI chief, and thus refute any charge of obstruction of justice arising out of it.  It does not justify engaging in a modern-day version of the Watergate burglary by using the American foreign policy apparatus to dig up dirt on a political foe.


If American nationalism stands for anything, it is that our leaders must be loyal to the country first and the welfare of our citizens, not their own ambitions or the interests of other nations.   The Ukrainian incident, when combined with his public support and inside knowledge of the Russian hacking of 2016, show that Donald Trump does not have that kind of loyalty to our country.  Moreover, this is the kind of conduct that injures the structure of our government and breaches the public trust within the meaning of the Hamiltonian definition.  The draft impeachment resolution is correct when it says that Trump will be a threat to national security and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-government and the rule of law.  The House of Representatives should impeach the President on the charge relating to Ukraine and the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office.  The Constitution and the facts demand nothing less.