Says U.S. is world’s policeman despite widespread opposition to role by Americans
March 19, 2014
Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, used the State Department orchestrated unraveling of Ukraine and the failure of the United States to confront Russia militarily to criticize the “weakness” of the Obama administration. He said because the U.S. has not pursued the role of world policeman more aggressively it is inviting terrorism.
“If you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again,” Ya’alon said during a speech at Tel Aviv University. “This is a war of civilizations. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world. Nobody will replace the United States as global policeman. I hope the United States comes to its senses. If it doesn’t, it will challenge the world order, and the United States is the one that will suffer.”
“We were shocked by Moshe Ya’alon’s comments, which seriously call into question his commitment to Israel’s relationship with the United States,” an unnamed U.S. official told the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. “This is part of a disturbing pattern in which the defense minister disparages the US administration, and insults its most senior officials. Given the unprecedented commitment that this administration has made to Israel’s security, we are mystified why the defense minister seems intent on undermining the relationship.”
According to polls, Americans are uniformly opposed to the United States assuming the role of global policeman and reacting militarily to international crises such as the civil war in Syria or the coup in Ukraine. Majorities believe it is not appropriate for the United States “to punish governments” when they allegedly use chemicals weapons and kill civilians. A plurality of Americans “say that the United States has no responsibility to get involved in Ukraine even under extreme circumstances” and “has no responsibility to protect Ukraine in the case of a Russian invasion,” according to a survey conducted earlier this month.
A Pew Research poll conducted on March 11 revealed nearly three quarters of poll participants rejected involvement in the situation with Ukraine and Russia.
Despite the widespread belief by the American people that military intervention abroad is inappropriate, the Obama administration and members of Congress have called for confronting Russia over its reaction to the coup orchestrated by the U.S. State Department in Ukraine and the decision by the people of Crimea to secede from the country.
While the Obama administration has called for sanctions imposed on Russia, a move some consider an act of war, others in Congress have called for arming the Ukrainian junta and providing non-lethal assistance.
On Tuesday Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader, called for “House Committees to examine additional steps that can be taken to impose greater costs on Russia,” including an assessment of “what military support we can provide Ukraine.” Cantor’s statement follows a demand by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain to arm the junta in Kyiv, “including some small arms and ammunition, as well as significant non-lethal assistance, such as protective equipment, spare parts, fuel, and sharing of intelligence.”
Other Republicans, including tea party favorites Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, have come out in support of confronting Russia over its role in Ukraine.
“America has receded in leadership across the world and into that vacuum has stepped nations like Russia and Iran and China and made the world a much more dangerous place,” Cruz said on Wednesday. He also said the U.S. needs to install ballistic missile batteries on Russia’s border.
Paul has also taken a confrontational stand on Russia, although not a military one. “It is important that Russia become economically isolated until all its forces are removed from Crimea and Putin pledges to act in accordance with the international standards of behavior that respect the rights of free people everywhere,” he wrote in an op-ed posted on the Time magazine website on March 9. Paul echoed Cruz on the installation of missiles on Russia’ western border. However, in accordance with his libertarian views, Paul suggested the Europeans pay for it.
Prior to launching his Senate campaign in 2009, Paul argued against Georgia becoming part of NATO. “Georgia sits right on the border of Russia,” he told the College Republicans group at Western Kentucky University. “Do you think that might be provocative to put them in NATO? NATO’s treaty actually says that if they’re attacked, we will defend them. So, if the treaty means something, that means all of a sudden we’re at war with Russia. If Georgia would had become, Bush wanted Georgia to become part of NATO, had they been part of NATO, we’d be at war with Russia right now. That’s kinda a scary thing. We have to decide whether putting missiles in Poland is gonna provoke the Russians. Maybe not to war, but whether it’s worth provoking them, or whether we have the money to do it.”
Republicans are not alone in calling for aggressive action against Russia. “Ukraine faces a menacing threat that challenges its very existence. We need to stand with the Ukrainian people to choose their own destiny without Russian interference,” said Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved loans and aid for Ukraine along with sanctions against Russia.
The Obama administration and Congress are seriously out of step with the American people. Increasingly, Americans are adopting the philosophy of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the founders who argued the United States should not get involved in foreign entanglements and should acquire friendships abroad based on mutual benefit through trade.
The reaction of the Obama administration to the remarks of a foreign defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, reveal the complexity of the relationships between the U.S., its military-industrial complex, and foreign governments, most notably Israel, a small country that receives the largest amount of U.S. foreign aid.