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US FOREIGN POLICY AND UKRAINE: Russian Aggression, Rebellion, and War by Richard R. Matheny

US FOREIGN POLICY AND UKRAINE: Russian Aggression, Rebellion, and War

by Richard R. Matheny

396 pages
The book explains US-Ukrainian foreign policy during the Trump presidency from the outlook of US national interest. It also analyzes the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and the future of US foreign policy under a Biden presidency.

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Category: Politics
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About the Book
Are you curious about the war in Ukraine? Will the war be the next Afghanistan? What is US interest in Ukraine and how did President Trump do in formulating Ukrainian policy and what will President Biden do? What do Americans think about Ukraine and do they want to help it against Russian aggression? This book answers these questions for ordinary citizens in clear, understandable language. The focus is on realism and the clash of US and Russian national interests with Ukraine caught in the middle. Is the war an existential threat to the US? Dr. Matheny answers “no” but Washington can assist a negotiated peace but domestic politics forbids that at the present. Will US troops take a combat role? “No” answers the author but they will continue in a non-combat defensive role.

Does Russia see NATO’s advance toward the motherland and Ukraine’s desire to ally with the West as existential threats? Dr. Matheny says “yes” and he explains Moscow’s policy from a macro-global struggle for power perspective as well as a regional “neighborhood” micro-defensive position. Will they fight to protect their sphere of influence of which Ukraine is a part? Again, the answer is “yes” but they are unlikely to provoke a total conventional war since a policy of protracted, proxy warfare will likely succeed. Readers also inquire about Ukraine’s national interest and policy options and the book answers these questions as well. It explains that self-determination and freedom from Moscow’s yolk are in Ukraine’s interest, which requires a slow, thoughtful movement westward but with a cautious eye on the giant, paranoid Russian bully to the east.

Dr. Matheny emphasizes that Kyiv has few options while the war is waging since there is little Ukrainians can do unilaterally to end the conflict, which is draining a poor country of resources it can ill afford to lose. While the author is pessimistic about the war ending soon, he offers five scenarios. Two unlikely possibilities are Russian conquest or withdrawn. The two most probable outcomes are a settlement negotiated by the US or a Korean-type stalemate but these are longer-term possibilities. The scenario that he thinks most in Ukraine’s national interest is divorcing the rebels and kicking them out of the Ukrainian nation-state saying “good ridden”, although he admits most Ukrainians oppose such a solution.

People ask, what is Ukraine’s future? Dr. Matheny’s answer is optimistic, pointing to the decline of the Russian Federation in terms of economics and governance and the rise of Civic Nationalism in Ukraine. He does not see Ukraine as a hostage of its brutal past but sees Ukrainians succeeding in the future because they are a “brave and noble people” who are destined to achieve self-determination, freedom, prosperity, competent governance, and their rightful place among the nations of the world.

All of these questions are answered with clarity but Dr. Matheny’s analysis is in reality two books in one since the latter part addresses questions raised by the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath. Citizens want to know how a weak candidate was able to “defeat” President Trump and what will be the consequences for the health of the American Republic? How will Biden deal with Russia and Ukraine and will his policy be different from Trump’s policies? These questions are answered with the clear eyes of a realist who keeps his ideological biases under control, although he does not try to hide his political allegiances.

The author treats President Trump objectively and fairly and he challenges the false narratives of news media and the left-leaning academia. So, if you wonder about the war in Ukraine or have questions about the 2020 presidential election, this book is for you.



About the Author
Richard R. Matheny Dr. Richard R. Matheny is a political science professor retired from the University of Guam. He holds a Ph.D. and MA in political science from Vanderbilt University and a BA in Government and History from Eastern Kentucky University. He is a resident of Tennessee and resides on a farm west of Nashville.



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