In one of this year’s more cynical foreign policy moves, the Obama Administration is holding aid for Ukraine hostage to its longstanding goal of reducing U.S. influence at the International Monetary Fund. Yes, you read that right: Reducing U.S. influence is the Administration’s goal.
Believing that the U.S. wielded too much power at the IMF, in 2010 several developing countries initiated negotiations to restructure the organization. These nations demanded a reduction in the U.S. quota and voting power, as well as an election to select the U.S. representative to the IMF board. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration acquiesced to each of these demands.
This agreement was a bad deal in 2010—a fact implicitly acknowledged by the Administration’s three-year delay in submitting it to Congress. Now, in 2014, it’s still a bad deal. But the Administration, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, is pushing to attach approval of the IMF agreement to the House-approved aid package for Ukraine.
These two items are completely unrelated. Assistance to Ukraine does not depend on the IMF reform. Rather, the Administration just views Russia’s actions in Ukraine as another crisis not to be “wasted.” So far, however, the Republicans in the Senate are holding firm against this ploy. Good for them.