Skip to main content

Ukraine and Imperial Foreign Policy: A Debate

Russia's invasion of Ukraine may mirror actions by the U.S. since the end of the Cold War, but does this imply equivalence?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent tensions between Russia and the West—already strained—to new and dangerous lows. As the U.S. and Europe support the resistance to the invasion, the lives of millions of Ukrainians remain in the balance, and president Volodymyr Zelensky continues to ask the international community for greater support, including the establishment and enforcement of a no-fly zone. Journalist and lawyer Bill Blum, political analyst Eric Draitser and surgeon and former intelligence officer Dr. Keith Rose joined Roundtable's Rob Nelson to discuss the conflict, its grave implications, and how it might be ended before things spiral out of control.

In this segment, the panel discusses Russian and American imperialism, global support for Ukraine, and the reconfiguring of the geopolitical chessboard.

Dr. Keith Rose argues that the United States ought to intervene to stop the war by hitting Putin where it hurts: by exporting oil and gas to Europe and thereby cutting off Russian oil revenues.

"Putin's biggest Achilles heel is his economic policy," said Rose. "We need to stop the war. The fastest way to do it would be to open our energy sector and start exporting immediately."

Eric Draitser disputed Rose's analysis, arguing that U.S. interference will only escalate the situation. He sees the ongoing conflict as a sign of realignment of forces among imperial powers.

"The U.S. has been the single global dominant imperial power for more than a generation, since the end of the Cold War, and that is now changing," Draitser said. "What Putin has done is revealed that the world is unfortunately extremely fragmented, and that what comes after unipolar global imperialism is more and deadlier imperialisms." 

While Blum agrees that the United States can be characterized as an imperial power, he argues that it's important to consider how it can intervene on behalf of the Ukrainian people.

"America is an imperial power. That doesn't mean that U.S. society is the same as Russia," Blum said. "Russia is a dictatorship. There's no freedom of the press in Russia. There's no freedom of assembly in Russia. Russia is a homophobic state. It's a kleptocratic state, but that doesn't detract from the fact that the U.S. is an imperial power."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

The most urgent issue, Blum insists, is ending the war.

"The question we have to ask ourselves is not only what are we against, but what are we for," Blum said.

Roundtable Guests:

Bill Blum, lawyer and columnist, Blum's Law

Dr. Keith Rose, M.D, surgeon and tactical medicine physician

Eric Draitser, political analyst and host, Counterpunch Radio

Watch the full discussion below: