During Thursday’s speech announcing ever greater sanctions on Russia, Joe Biden claimed, “The Russian military has begun a brutal assault on the people of Ukraine, without provocation, without justification, without necessity.”
This was a Western chauvinist point of view that does not take into account Russia’s security concerns and historic grievances since the Soviet Union’s defeat in the Cold War.
There is another reading of history — one from a Russian chauvinist point of view — that Western governments and media turn a blind eye to, and that has inevitably led to the current conflict and the specter of a much wider one.
Putin recounted an event during his extensive pre-invasion speech on February 21.
In 2000, when he first became president of Russia, he had proposed to then–U.S. president Bill Clinton that Russia join NATO and be integrated into Europe. Russia was an economic basket case after decades of ruinous communist rule and its military a shell of its former greatness.
It was an opportunity for America to seize on its Cold War victory, similar to how we had capitalized on our victories over Germany and Japan after World War II.
We can speculate as to why this opportunity was squandered, but I suspect that Europe’s leaders feared competing economically with a newly liberated Russia and that America’s defense industry was reluctant to lose a geostrategic foe that had justified decades of huge military budgets.
What is not in question is that the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, and France had, in 1991, promised Russia that NATO would not encroach on Russia if Russia withdrew its troops from Eastern Europe. That promise was broken just eight years later, when Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic were granted NATO membership.
Five years after that, seven more countries in Eastern Europe were allowed to join and four more since then, including that military powerhouse, North Macedonia.
In 1999, NATO engaged in an air war against Serbia, a Slavic nation, like Russia, that had been part of the USSR under Yugoslavia. This was widely seen as a grand gesture by then-president Bill Clinton and secretary of state Madeleine Albright to show how NATO was even willing to bomb Christians in order to protect Muslims.
Today, many of the same Democrats and neocons you see decrying the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were vocal cheerleaders for the partition of Kosovo, over bitter Serbian and Russian objections.
The ethnically Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army then proceeded to ethnically cleanse Serbian Christians from their ancestral homeland, while NATO stood idly by.
The roots of this current conflict go back, most recently, to 2014, when Barack Obama’s State Department sponsored a coup that toppled a duly elected Russia-friendly government in Kyiv and installed one that opposed Russia.
Obama funded that so-called color revolution to the tune of $6 billion, and the notoriously corrupt nation became a feeding frenzy for the families and cronies of U.S. politicians, including the Biden family.
Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy at the time, and his crack-addled son was dispatched as the Biden family bag man.
Later that same year, assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, who had managed the coup in Ukraine, testified before a congressional committee that Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, had also spent $20 billion on a similar effort at regime change inside Russia itself.
So Vladimir Putin might be forgiven for believing that the Western powers, in their refusal to forswear NATO expansion into Ukraine — the historic approach for invasions — don’t have Russia’s best interest at heart.
The bitter harvest of this history is the current invasion of Ukraine and an emerging second Cold War in which the U.S. and Europe may hold far fewer advantages than the first one.
By pushing Russia into the arms of an ascendant communist China, the West, and the so-called “adults” who are back in charge, have made a geostrategic blunder of historic proportions.
The truly tragic part is, it did not have to be this way.
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