[Marxism] "Ukrainegate" - Treason or common sense?

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Mon Dec 9 19:07:45 MST 2019

>From the WSJ's "World View". This article implies that it may be both. The
reality is that what we're seeing is an increasingly fragmented capitalist
world order. The "Atlantacists" argue for stability based on the allied
efforts of the imperialist world; the others argue it's a matter of "every
man (or nation) for itself. " This, incidentally, was debated in depth in
"Foreign Affairs" some months ago.
John Reimann

‘Ukrainegate’—Treason or Common Sense?Beneath the circus lies a real
conflict of foreign-policy visions.

“Ukrainegate,” like Russiagate before it, is more than a domestic scandal;
it is also a foreign-policy showdown of historic proportions.

Much of the American foreign-policy establishment, both inside and outside
the government, is liberal internationalist and Atlanticist. They believe
that America’s chief task is to build a world order on liberal principles
and that America’s chief allies are the NATO and European Union countries
that share our convictions. They see Russia as the primary opponent of this
effort and therefore of the U.S. Moscow’s efforts to interfere in European
and American domestic politics threaten the cohesion of the EU and the
liberal democratic principles for which the West stands. Russia’s invasion
of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea are direct attacks on liberal order and
the Atlantic world.

>From this perspective, the war in Ukraine matters to the whole world. To
use Ukraine’s aid as a bargaining chip in a cynical domestic political ploy
isn’t merely a political dirty trick. It’s collusion with the enemy. It’s
like blocking Lend-Lease during the Blitz to make Winston Churchill
investigate Thomas E. Dewey. President Trump’s exact feelings toward the
Kremlin aren’t of great importance. It doesn’t matter if he is being
blackmailed into it, sees the Russian president as a soul mate and fellow
traveler on the road to destroying American democracy, or is a malignant
clown bent on destroying a complex international system that he doesn’t
understand. Donald Trump, his most determined opponents believe, has
committed something very close to treason even as he shamelessly abuses his
office to enrich himself.

For most Republicans, the Ukrainegate question is much narrower: Was Mr.
Trump’s attempt to hold back congressionally authorized aid to force
Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden a constitutional crime that requires
removal from office, or can the decision be left to the voters? Unless
investigators can show that Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine to frame the Bidens,
to concoct false evidence and make false charges to discredit them, the
president’s hold on the White House through January 2021 looks secure.

It isn’t that Republicans don’t care if Mr. Trump is a Russian agent. They
approach Ukrainegate differently because many of them, uneasy as they may
be about some aspects of his foreign policy, see some much-needed changes
taking shape.

Among the administration’s most consistent features is a belief that the
U.S. should change the priority it gives to the different theaters in world
politics. From this perspective, the center of gravity of American policy
must move from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific. Latin America deserves
more attention as a growing social and political crisis creates larger
threats in the hemisphere—of which the chaos on the Southern border may be
only a foretaste.

After Latin America, the threats of jihadist violence and Iranian
expansionism make the Middle East the next-highest priority for the Trump
administration. Europe, America’s highest priority for much of the Cold
War, has fallen to fourth place. For the Trump administration and many of
its Republican allies, Russia, because it is weaker and poorer than China,
comes after Beijing on America’s list of geopolitical concerns—an important
disagreement with the liberal Atlanticist foreign-policy establishment and
not the only one.

Beyond geopolitics there is ideology. The rules-based world order means
much less to Mr. Trump and to many Republican senators than it does to
liberal Atlanticists. The president isn’t a believer in the application of
the broken-windows theory of foreign policy—that a violation of one rule in
one place materially increases the chance of other rules being broken in
other places. A “realist” in the jargon of international relations, Mr.
Trump thinks that national power matters much more than international law.

Given these views, it is natural that Mr. Trump and some of his Senate
defenders don’t believe Ukraine matters much to the U.S., or that a few
weeks or months of delay in military aid would have a discernible impact on
world events. Even Republican Russia hawks like Sen. Ron Johnson of
Wisconsin tend to see developing a long-term strategy to combat China as a
top priority for U.S. foreign policy.

Mr. Trump’s views on foreign policy aren’t always correct, and his conduct
of foreign affairs is often destructively chaotic even when his instincts
are sound. But he is not all wrong, either. The decline of Europe as a
force in world affairs and the shift of the axis of world politics to the
Indo-Pacific are realities that American foreign policy cannot ignore. The
liberal Atlanticist consensus cannot guide American foreign policy going
forward, and new ways of thinking and acting will have to be found.

The domestic political circus will go on as it must. But the need to
replace the liberal Atlanticist approach with a new foreign-policy
framework is a bigger problem than the future of President Trump. One must
hope that Democrats and Republicans can find ways to advance this vital
debate even as each episode of the Trump Show that airs is more dramatic
than the last.

*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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