“In June of 1998, Clinton declared a national emergency under the pretense that the governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia, with respect to Kosovo, were threatening to “destabilize countries of the region and to disrupt progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the Dayton peace agreement, and therefore constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
NATO intervened, ended the war and brought an end to most of the immediate suffering.
This poses the question: When does America have a moral obligation to intervene — particularly for humanitarian reasons — in conflict? And which factors contribute to the choices we make?
America and NATO have a clear geopolitical interest in Ukraine: President Vladimir Putin of Russia cannot be allowed to get away with such unprovoked, naked aggression. What kind of precedent would that set? And who’s to say that he would stop there?
But when the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, spoke via video to Congress on Wednesday, part of the appeal he was making was a moral one, an appeal to the American belief in and commitment to the very idea of democracy.
Peace in your country does not depend anymore only on you and your people. It depends on those next to you, on those who are strong. Strong does not mean big. Strong is brave and ready to fight for the life of his citizens and citizens of the world. For human rights, for freedom, for the right to live decently and to die when your time comes, not when it is wanted by someone else, by your neighbor. Today the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine, we are fighting for the values of Europe and the world, sacrificing our lives in the name of the future.
The question is how far is America compelled to go. President Biden signed off on $13.6 billion in aid on Tuesday and announced on Wednesday that $800 million in military assistance would be sent to Ukraine as part of that funding. These are not trivial amounts. Furthermore, America and its allies have imposed stiff economic sanctions on Russia. The sanctions could contribute to inflation, which means that Americans may pay even more than what the administration is pledging in direct assistance.
I say that the United States must supply military aid and should supply humanitarian aid. But I also say that we must be more consistent in determining who deserves outpourings of our humanitarian impulses.
Human suffering is human suffering. It has been a constant in the story of mankind. Sometimes it overlaps with our national interests, and sometimes it does not. But our sense of morality must remain constant, and in it we must find a place for equity.” -38-
David Lindsay: I think NATO should treat Ukraine like a member, and go to war to save the country. Here are some comments I endorse:
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