The specter of (yet another) Russian invasion is currently hanging over the nation of Ukraine, which only three decades ago managed to extricate itself from the Soviet “prison of peoples.” Concurrently, our own southwestern border has been in major crisis ever since Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president and began to dismantle our country’s border security from day one. Although the Biden administration is right to be concerned about a Russian assault on Ukraine’s national sovereignty, its dereliction of duty when it comes to our country’s borders is hypocritical, illogical, and irresponsible.
The two crises plaguing the Biden administration right now are obviously different in some significant ways. On this side of the Atlantic, we are dealing with primarily economic migrants trying to enter a prosperous country without authorization, interspersed with criminals, gang members, and drug traffickers attempting to smuggle deadly narcotics – including fentanyl – into our nation. However, with 2 million illegal migrants apprehended since President Biden took over, the Southwest border situation is clearly out of control. Why any self-respecting country would tolerate this is mind-boggling.
In the Russia vs. Ukraine case, the context is that of a Russian regime firmly rooted in the Soviet past and attempting to rebuild Moscow’s lost empire by preparing what appears to be a major military invasion. But one theme both crises have in common is that both are, at their essence, about a nation’s right to sovereignty and having its borders respected. That applies to the United States as much as it does to Ukraine.
In and of itself, there is nothing at all wrong with the U.S. supporting the territorial integrity of other nations. There are many compelling reasons to do so, including the above-mentioned principle of national sovereignty. The problem, however, is that the Biden administration hypocritically refuses to apply this key principle to our own borders and sovereignty. If we wish to be viewed as a serious superpower on the international stage, we need to be able to “walk and chew gum at the same time,” which includes pursuing our foreign policy interests while ensuring that our borders are secure.
Unfortunately, the current U.S. leadership – like much of the foreign policy establishment in Washington – seems concerned about the borders and security of every country but ours. Thus, Biden Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer stressed a “very fundamental principle of all nations, which is that our borders should be inviolate, that our sovereignty should be respected.” Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are pushing a bill – known as the “Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act” – that would sanction Russia if it violated Ukraine’s sovereignty or borders. Several months ago – following its disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban takeover – the Biden administration also chose to secure Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan. But what about the inviolability of our own borders?
As the White House faces the twin challenges of the Southwest border crisis and the Russia-Ukraine stand-off, President Biden and his administration would do well to learn from Ukraine’s determination to defend its borders instead of taking them for granted.