Scott Horton: U.S. meddling contributed to the Russia-Ukraine war, it’s time we stop meddling around the world

Editor’s note: This commentary was originally published in print on May 7 as part of a pro-con debate page. To read the counterpoint, click here.

The United States should end involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war, call for a cease-fire and begin negotiations immediately.

No matter what the War Party claims about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s supposed desire to reinstate the Soviet Union or Russian empire, the fact is that this war was provoked by the United States, and — no surprise — particularly the neoconservatives.

Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama overthrew the government of Ukraine twice in 10 years, with their astro-turfed fake Orange and Maidan so-called “revolutions” of 2004 and 2014 because the people of Ukraine kept voting for the wrong guy.

W. announced at Bucharest in 2008 America’s determination to bring both Ukraine and former-Soviet Georgia, both of which border Russia, into the NATO alliance, just as he had overseen the addition of the Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in 2004. This led to war in Georgia just a few months later when their American-installed regime attempted to reconquer two provinces lost during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

W. also began installing anti-ballistic missile systems in Romania and Poland, which are launched from the dual-use Mark-41 launchers, which can also fit Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can be fitted with hydrogen bombs, thus violating at least the spirit of Ronald Reagan’s great Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty of 1987, which President Donald Trump tore up in 2019.

The Obama administration — led by Robert Kagan’s wife, former Dick Cheney advisor Victoria Nuland — supported the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014, with neo-Nazi and far-right groups taking an active role in the overthrow. Soon, the new regime threatened to kick the Russians out of their only year-around, warm-water port at Sevastopol, Crimea, leading to Ukraine’s loss of the entire peninsula and the outbreak of war in the far-eastern Donbas region, which was majority ethnic Russian and had supported the recently ousted president.

After France and Germany struck the Minsk peace deals of 2014 and 2015 between Ukraine and Russia, Obama and Trump sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons to Kiev, incentivizing their continued violation of the peace deals.

After eight years of so-called “low-level” proxy war in the east, Putin demanded the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and a new treaty with the United States promising not to integrate Ukraine into NATO or station missiles there.

Instead of negotiating in good faith, the Biden administration said they were looking forward to replicating U.S. support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s. They would bog Russia down and bleed them to bankruptcy just as the Soviets had helped do to the United States in Vietnam and our own government has been helping Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda do to us for the last 20 years in the Middle East.

They had presumed the Ukrainian military would crumble and they’d be supporting an insurgency by now. Instead, the military still stands, if barely, and so the policy of using Ukraine to fight “to the last man,” as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina put it, to “weaken Russia,” in the words of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, has been going better than expected and continues.

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But neither Vietnam nor Afghanistan was right on Russia’s border, just 300 miles from Moscow. Our security force has knowingly and deliberately increased the risk of nuclear war for this bogus geopolitical game. Ultimately it is treason against the American people — the enemy being the H-bombs on both sides.

Imagine if Russia had overthrown the government of Canada twice — using violent neo-Nazis to do it — threatened to kick the United States out of our naval bases in Alaska and declared war against the people of Vancouver who refused to accept it, pouring in weapons and trainers and killing more than 10,000 in the first year.

First of all, it is ludicrous when one puts it like that. They would not dare try because they know the U.S.A. would immediately invade Canada to crush the new pro-Russian regime and probably nuke Moscow for good measure.

Imagine China pulling a similar stunt in Mexico and the consequences if you like that example better.

America should abandon its world empire, withdraw from the proxy war in Ukraine and end the new Cold War with Russia immediately.

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of, author of “Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism” and the forthcoming “Provoked: How America Started the New Cold War With Russia and the Catastrophe in Ukraine.”

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