Yet another foreign policy success of the Obama administration and the isolationist wing of the conservative movement is shaping up nicely Ukraine. After having carved a chunk of his neighbor’s territory off via a bald-faced military coup as the West stood by dumbly, Vladimir Putin has proceeded to try the same tried and true strategy that worked in Crimea in Eastern Ukraine. Capitalizing on Ron Paul’s favorite idea, “self determination,” suspiciously well -armed Russophone militias have started seizing government buildings and clashing with Ukrainian troops. They have also established entities like the “People’s Republic of Donetsk.” It is presumed that the real purpose of these newly independent enclaves is to ask the Russian Duma to allow them to join Russia.
One of the first actions we’ve seen from the purported authorities is to require Jews to register with the government and pay a fee or face deportation. One should not consider this to be an idle threat. The situation in Ukraine is volatile. The government in Kiev has tenuous control of its territory and the militias operating under Russian approval and, seemingly with the assistance of the Russian Army, have only a sketchy chain of command. As The Telegraph points out:
What does this tell us? Whoever is responsible for the notice, it indicates that the situation in Ukraine is descending into violent anarchy exploited by extremists. Ever since the crisis began, the Russians have claimed that the Ukrainian nationalist movement is riddled with neo-Nazi anti-Semites – and they certainly do have a presence. But if this notice comes from the pro-Russian side then it’s evidence that they, too, contain elements of anti-Semitism. And, if the situation is allowed to descend ever further into chaos, Jews could end up becoming targets of violence. Which is obviously a terrifying thought.
Unfortunately, this crisis comes at a nadir of American diplomatic and military power. Barack Obama has frittered away everything accomplished by every president since Jimmy Carter just for grins. His kowtowing to Vladimir Putin in Syria and his naive belief that Putin could be a useful interlocutor in bringing Iran to the negotiating table have marked him to his opponents and allies as a rube, a veritable babe-in-the-woods. Complicating the issue is the fact that the GOP cannot muster a coherent voice on the subject less one of its members get panty-twisted about “tweaking” Russia.
The unfortunate thing about the ebbing of Pax Americana is that a lot of real people get hurt. The great thing about being an isolationist is that you don’t care because they don’t speak English.