WWII) is and has been its foreign policy. Informed by an extremely defensive doctrine of exceptionalism, which appears to have conferred on those who hold this conviction that they are the de facto owners of the earth and everything in it, the U.S. has run roughshod over various peoples who share the planet with us, and have been surprised whenever we met with resistance or condemnation for our aggressions.
Americans tend to believe in their own virtue, a posture which would be exploded if we were to walk half a mile in the shoes of a typical citizen of Central America, or a Vietnamese veteran of the Vietnam war, or anyone who was "shocked and awed" by the events of 2003. So if you were to credit the bluster coming out of the White House, no matter which party occupies it at any given moment, or the paranoid nonsense coming from the Perennial Aggression Wing of the Pentagon, I'd expect that you haven't noticed the huge loss of international power America has suffered since 2003, nor the rise of other powers that neither fear nor have an excess of respect for us. Chief among these is our old enemy Russia, now divested of its weak economy crippled by communism, and led by the enormously popular and democratically-elected dictator Vladimir Putin.
This country's shabby treatment of Russia has been continuous for the last 15 yrs or so, moving seamlessly from the Bush administration to Obama, which tells you the policy originates somewhere else other than the White House. I suspect the Pentagon is where the "Ukrainian crisis" was first cooked up, along with Putin's "mad desire to re-annex Ukraine and restore the old Soviet Empire," This piffle followed Russia's calling for a vote in the Crimea, which was found to be 90% in favor of the Russian navy resuming its business in Sevastapol -- the country's only year-round warm-water naval base -- a fact which never appeared in U.S. press or TV accounts of America's mad desire to stir up trouble with Russia. Instead everyone followed the lead of the NY Times and the Washington Post, which chose to act as stenographers for the State Department in this dispute rather than doing any real reporting.
At this point, as we went through a "regime change" here at home, the decision was taken to double down in our aggressive and obnoxious behavior toward the people that some in Congress still referred to as "The Soviets." Putin hadn't reacted to U.S. provocation re: Crimea, so we decided to set up "defensive" anti-missile missiles in Poland, When Russians objected that such weapons could easily be converted to aggressive purposes, the U.S. countered that this had never been done before, ignoring the fact that there is no history of nuclear warfare beyond Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
What I've written here is not a comprehensive history of the last 15 years, but simply a brief recounting of the two main areas of dispute. it doesn't even begin to ask "Why?" Why is the U.S. so eager to pick a fight with people who have done nothing to offend, and why has Vladimir Putin failed to react to the provocation?
The first question can't be answered except to point out that the U.S. appears to be the lunatic of international relations, with Kim Jong-un running a close second. And we can now answer the second question this way: Putin did react to the provocations and aggressions, by waiting for the right circumstances to arise for him to act. Now, as the debris from the 2016 election begins to settle, we see the right circumstances for Russian action present themselves in the person of Donald J. Trump.
Putin worked as hard as any Republican to assure Trump's elevation; from Putin's point of view he's a dream candidate, being as how he's too dumb to know when his pocket is being picked. There's a lot due in Mr, Putin's account book, and we don't know at this point what the wily Slav has in mind for us. All we know for sure is he's in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. This is going to be grim.