by Gray Connolly
The Russian military has pushed further into Ukraine and now meets stiff Ukrainian resistance. As with so many nadirs in the West’s relationship with Russia, this war, too, was wholly avoidable. Saying this does not negate Russian culpability for this aggressive war.
A major error is made, however, especially in Western media, when Russian policy is seen as peculiarly that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, when Putin’s policies serve Russian ambitions since the tsarist empire.
When the Soviet Union formally collapsed in 1991, the West did not accept its victory over a weak and debilitated Russia. Instead, the West reneged on understandings the Russians have always said were made by the first president Bush to not expand the NATO alliance. Not only did NATO expand to include a reunited Germany but, also, a weakened Russia’s nearby, former Warsaw Pact, allies. At the same time, this originally “North Atlantic” alliance – formed to combat Soviet aggression – launched military interventions in the former Yugoslavia and, in 1999, bombed Serbia, Russia’s long-time Balkans ally.
Were this not enough, the liberal 1990s delusions of globalisation and multiculturalism gave way to the post September 11 world, the endless war on terror, foolhardy “regime change” interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, as well as the credulous American support for the disastrous “Arab Spring”.
The Russians, having crushed Chechen and Dagestani insurgencies, looked with alarm at American recklessness. To the Kremlin, it seemed the Cold War’s victors were interested only in stirring up geopolitical chaos. Americans, who would never renounce the Monroe Doctrine – by which the US, rightly, polices its western hemisphere – mindlessly stoked insecurity among hypersensitive Russians. The expansion of NATO into Russia’s own historic sphere of influence – Russia’s “near abroad” – and Western support to the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine, toppling the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, was the Russian bear poked too often.
After all, Russia’s history, since its early days in what is now Kyiv Ukraine, in the 9th century is, overwhelmingly, a story of war, after invasion, after war. The Russian mind resultingly knows that Russia is either a great power dominating its 11 time zones from the Baltic to the Pacific, and imposing Russia’s will on others – or others’ wills are imposed upon Russia.
Thus, it is not that Putin manipulates Russians who are anxious for their security – it is, more simply, that Putin thinks as any Russian leader must to have the confidence of the Russian people. If, tomorrow, any of the Russian tsars replaced Putin, the tsars – “the gendarmes of Europe” – would have either the same policies or would defend Russian interests even more aggressively.
Indeed, what is notable about Putin, portrayed in the West as a supposedly mysterious ex-KGB Colonel, is how frequently and plainly he speaks and writes of Russia’s security concerns and Russia’s next moves. The only surprise is how often Western leaders, who are presumably not all complete fools, fail to take Putin at his word.
There is no leader of the Russians, past or present, that would dispute their duty to unite Russians as one “motherland”. In the case of Ukraine, any tsar would see the merit in adding, by whatever means, the roughly 10 million ethnic Russians there to Russia’s population. In a Europe with falling birth rates – and with an eye to Russia’s resource rich but sparsely populated far east, next to China – more of your own people is more national power. Only in the post-everything West, where children are too often seen as a present cost, not a blessing for the future, is this remotely controversial.
Russia is in real trouble.
Look at the facts.
9.45 births/1,000 population (2022)
13.36 deaths/1,000 population (2022)
Median Age: total: 40.3 years
male: 37.5 years
female: 43.2 years
Their population pyramid is upsidedown:
War, and taking people of Russian ethnicity into their fold is the only way they survive as a people and country.
Russia is already 15% Muslim, accounting for that bump in population growth of youngsters on the bottom of their population pyramid.
The worst thing about Biden’s response to Putin is his lack of diplomacy.
Joe never gives Putin an “off ramp” by which he can maybe gain a few Russian Ukrainians then quit fighting.
Stupid joe is contributing to this war in Ukraine by his war mongering and threatening language.
I’m afraid after the way Putin has conducted his war there IS an off ramp. It was idiotic, though, for idiot Biden to openly call Putin a “war criminal”, even though he obviously is one. How can the US conduct any negotiations or diplomacy with him now?
But the one constant you will find in idiot Biden’s “diplomacy” is stupidity.
The Biggest Lies (so Far) Surrounding Russia and Ukraine
The Biggest Lies (so Far) Surrounding Russia and Ukraine (noqreport.com)
Putin is a war criminal – and so was Madeleine Albright
Putin is a war criminal – and so was Madeleine Albright | Middle East Eye
I don’t think countries near Russia joining NATO is equivalent to the Soviet Union putting its missiles in Cuba. The Soviet Union propped up Cuba. The propped up Nicaragua, via Cuba. The Soviet Union sought to spread its influence through South America and the Caribbean, not allow nations to apply to be a part of a defensive alliance.
And there is the vital difference. NATO does not seek out members; prospective members apply for membership. Putin himself was told this when he wanted to be a member in the late 90’s. He wanted to know when NATO was going to ask HIM to join. He rejected the idea that Russia would stand in line awaiting membership with lesser nations.
Imagine China’s reaction if Taiwan sought membership in NATO and think about WHY they would react negatively. For the same reasons that Putin pretends to believe NATO is a threat to Russia. In fact, NATO is a threat to Russia’s (read, “Putin’s”) ambitions.
I know there are machinations between nations. I’m not deluded otherwise. But Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression upon Ukraine for territorial expansion and there are no indications it would be the last if allowed to succeed.
Not just Russia but all of Europe has a war-mongering heritage, but they seem to have changed their ways; in fact, some have gone to the opposite extreme. And the map of Europe has changed over and over. Benevolent victors of wars have told nations and peoples how and where they should live. It appears no one realizes this more or better than Poland.
India, China, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Iran and others are all talking about ending the Petro dollar. Russia is welcoming the South African white farmers as refugees,they are being murdered, another west caused and ignored genocide. Nothing backs our buck except oil and imagination.
The dragon has been like a spoiled child expanding steadily into the S. China sea with man made island bases quietly taking over and claiming international waters. In South America with loans, buying up resources in Africa, being allowed to steal our technology and industry. There are former soviet nations that will not enforce the Russian sanctions, understanding it means pain to their own people. The Nato alliance isnt a suicide pact, or is it?
Crouching Bear Hidden Dragon