February 26, 2022

Russia's Hand Was Forced

Russia had greater right to invade Ukraine than NATO when it invaded Afghanistan in 2001 based on false pretenses. 

That said, war represents a failure of politics and a failure of statecraft. Russia's powers of persuasion vis a vis its immediate neighbours were obviously limited. Its legacy in Eastern Europe has left it isolated. It has few friends in the region. Even nationalist, religious, and conservative politicians in Europe are not willing to stick their necks out and make a case for Russia's actions.

But none of that matters when national security is at stake. Putin acted to defend Russia's national security regardless of the costs to its economy or reputation. It shows that the situation was dire for Russia. 

For the past eight years, ever since the illegal regime change in Kiev, Washington and the West proved to be uninterested in diplomacy. They were egging Putin on, pushing him to the edge, leaving him no choice but to capitulate to NATO's expansion or invade.


An excerpt from, "Ukraine: US “Diplomacy” is the Problem. Can it Become the Solution?" By Thomas Knapp, CounterPunch, February 23, 2022:

As the Warsaw Pact disintegrated and the Soviet Union collapsed, US encouragement for those events included pledges that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization wouldn’t take advantage of the situation to expand eastward. Since then, NATO has inexorably pushed in that direction, nearly doubling the number of member states. Thanks, US “diplomacy.”

Things began coming to a head with the US-sponsored coup in Ukraine that replaced its “Russia-friendly” regime with a “US/Europe-friendly” regime in 2014, courtesy of Barack Obama. Thanks, US “diplomacy.”

Then in 2019, the US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which forbade the US to place missiles within surprise strike distance of Russia, and Russia to place similar missiles within surprise strike distance of NATO. The US followed up by placing exactly such missiles in Poland, courtesy of Donald Trump. Some “diplomacy.”

Then the US went into overdrive (courtesy of Trump and Biden) against the opening of a pipeline (Nord Stream 2) which would have supplied Russian natural gas to Germany.  The pipeline would have been a force for peace insofar as Russia likes to sell natural gas (at a fraction of prices the US can offer), and Germans like to not freeze to death. To flip and paraphrase an old maxim, when goods are crossing borders, armies usually aren’t.

An excerpt from, "Bilderberg vs. Putin" By Joyce Nelson, CounterPunch, December 10, 2014:

Daniel Estulin, the foremost (non-member) expert on Bilderberg, reported in June 2012 that the “top headache” for the Bilderberg participants at that May 2012 meeting was Russian President Vladimir Putin because of his “opposition to war in Syria and Iran,” his “belligerence with respect to U.S. bases encircling Russia,” his “insistence on maintaining state sovereignty intact,” and his plans for another natural gas pipeline to Europe (South Stream) that “could turn into a major victory for Russia” at the expense of competing plans (the Nabucco pipeline) backed by Bilderberg members.

Video Title: Stephen F. Cohen: NATO expansion and Russia. Source: Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Date Published: June 2, 2010.