Friday, July 18, 2014

What a world without a policeman looks like


"America is not the world's policeman," said Barack Obama last year, closing out a sixty-year run when America served just that role, from Harry Truman in Berlin to George Dubya in Baghdad. On Friday, we saw what a world without a policeman looks like, with Dutch and other bodies scattered across the soil of eastern Ukraine. The immediate cause was probably the so-called "separatists" who followed Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea by occupying government buildings and declaring a People's Republic.

But the necessary cause was their lawless inspiration in the Kremlin. If Vladimir Putin hadn't invaded Crimea, none of this would have happened. If Putin hadn't destabilized Ukraine by sending mercenaries, military equipment, and special operatives into the country, none of this would have happened. And this is true even if the surface-to-air missile that brought down the Malaysian airliner turns out to be a Soviet-era SAM captured from the Ukrainian army, as the separatists boasted last month but now deny.

And behind Putin sits the Nobel Prize winner who declared that the United States no longer carries a badge. The result was predictable: we live in the most dangerous world since the late 1970s, and arguably since August 1945.

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