Mexican American border, Wikipedia

Over the last week, three foreign policy events have dom­i­nated the news cycle: The Russian seizure of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait; the CIA’s dis­covery that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the killing of Wash­ington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi; and the storming of our southern border by the Central American migrant caravan. Only one of these, however, involves American rights and American interests.

United Nations Ambas­sador Nikki Haley, speaking on behalf of “the highest level at the American gov­ernment,” declared Russia’s actions “reckless” and “an out­ra­geous vio­lation of sov­ereign Ukrainian ter­ritory.” Three small Ukrainian ships — the largest among them was a tugboat — were cap­tured when trying to pass under Russia’s newly-built Crimean bridge spanning the Kerch Strait, a waterway con­necting the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s U.S.-backed pres­ident Petro Poroshenko (who is polling at about 10 percent) seized this oppor­tunity to declare martial law, giving himself the ability to postpone Ukraine’s pres­i­dential elec­tions. With Pres­ident Donald Trump and Russian Pres­ident Vladimir Putin set to meet this week, this could raise ten­sions between the two leaders and jeop­ardize any potential coop­er­ation.

And last Tuesday, the CIA con­cluded with “high con­fi­dence” that MBS ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

But Khashoggi was not an American citizen, nor was his murder on American soil. It was at the Saudi con­sulate in Turkey. He was a Muslim Broth­erhood asso­ciate and former acquain­tance of Osama bin Laden. In other words, he was an unsavory char­acter, killed by another unsavory char­acter.

Trump’s statement does not rule out MBS as the killer, but points out that regardless of what MBS did, the Saudis agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the U.S. The Saudis have likewise agreed to keep oil prices down. To cancel these con­tracts and jeop­ardize these deals would be foolish, Trump warned, and would allow Russia or China to fill the void.

On Twitter, Sen.-elect Mitt Romney (R‑Ut.) said that Trump’s state­ments do not align with “American greatness.” But Trump’s statement reads loud and clear: He is putting American interests first. Unlike his pre­de­cessors, he will not try to force other coun­tries to be free.

It is not the role of the U.S. gov­ernment to guar­antee Ukrainian ships free passage through the Kerch Strait, nor is it our duty to guar­antee the right to free speech for foreign nationals located halfway around the world.

It is, however, the role of the U.S. gov­ernment to secure our nation and promote our national interest. This leads to the story most rel­evant to American cit­izens: The migrant caravan attempting to “bum rush” the border earlier this week. On Nov. 25, over 1,000 caravan migrants charged the border, hurling rocks and bottles at border patrol agents. Four agents were hit by these pro­jec­tiles, over 60 migrants were arrested, and Customs and Border Patrol was forced to close the San Ysidro Port of Entry in southern Cal­i­fornia.

“The majority are men…and have not artic­u­lated the need for asylum,” an MSNBC reporter said. If they were truly asylum-seekers, they could have requested it in Mexico — the Mexican gov­ernment even offered several hun­dreds of migrants asylum several weeks ago.

“This has nothing to do with asylum,” Trump said. “This has to do with getting into our country ille­gally.”

Trump also called the caravan an “invasion,” and refused to retract the statement, even after outcry from both the left and right.

“Crim­inals are every­where,” one member of the caravan told Fox News.

What word is more apt than “invasion?” How else are we to under­stand a group of mostly mil­itary-aged males marching on our border, waving foreign flags the whole way?

“The U.S. gov­ernment shall protect each [state] against invasion,” guar­antees Article IV of the Con­sti­tution.

Unlike the Kerch Strait (how many U.S. cit­izens could point to it on a map?), and Khashoggi, this is an issue where the American gov­ernment must act. American rights and interests are at stake, and it is our government’s duty to defend them.

The good news: Unlike Saudi Arabia, the right to free speech still lives in American society (although it is increas­ingly threatened). The right to a free, fair, and open press still exists, too. (And it would be nice if we actually had one.)

The bad news: The border between Russia and Ukraine, in the minds of our ruling class, is more sacred than our own.

Gar­rison Grisedale is a senior studying Pol­itics.