Surrender Georgia, Invade Venezuela

Ivan Eland of the libertarian think tank the Independent Institute has published a goofy piece this week arguing that Washington has absolutely nothing to fear from a “resurgent” Russia that they should stop messing around in Moscow’s declared “sphere of influence” – which I suppose means everything from the former Iron Curtain going East. (Remember the satirical Monroe-ski Doctrine?) Here’s the closing argument:

Of course, throughout history, small countries living in the shadow of larger powers have had to make political, diplomatic, and economic adjustments to suit the larger power. Increased Russian influence in this sphere, however, should not necessarily threaten the security of the faraway United States. It does only because the United States has defined its security as requiring intrusions into Russia’s traditional sphere of influence. By expanding NATO into Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the United States has guaranteed the security of these allied countries against a nuclear-armed power, in the worst case, by sacrificing its cities in a nuclear war. Providing this kind of guarantee for these non-strategic countries is not in the U.S. vital interest. Denying Russia the sphere of influence in nearby areas traditionally enjoyed by great powers (for example, the U.S. uses the Monroe Doctrine to police the Western Hemisphere) will only lead to unnecessary U.S.-Russian tension and possibly even cataclysmic war.

Doesn’t this sound like a preposterous argument for the United States to invade Venezuela because a far off power is striking up independent relations with a country within our “sphere of influence”? This spheres of influence or preferred regions dialectic is so last century, and I really wish people would just drop it. The world is no longer a pie to be cut up.