Today’s Guest Saturday post by Norma Brown of Ooobie on Everything reflects on the still dangerous geopolitical maneuvering playing out between the US/NATO and Russia on the fiasco taking place in the Ukraine. Her essay was originally published on April 13, 2014.
There’ll be a change in the weather
I am absorbed with events in Ukraine. There is a growing possibility that a military confrontation between NATO and Russia is in the offing. If things go awry, I’d bet right now that it will be occasioned by the miscalculation by NATO of Russia’s will to fight on its 10-yard line. NATO thinks if things get tough enough for Moscow economically, or if NATO ramps up its military presence in Russia’s backyard sufficiently, Russia will break. Moscow will decide it doesn’t want to test NATO, it will cry uncle and give back Crimea and put its troops and military equipment somewhere far from the Ukrainian border so NATO doesn’t have to worry.
Of course that is a big load of horse poop. Russia isn’t going to do any such thing. Russia is mad as hell and it isn’t going to take it anymore. NATO has vastly increased the security of its original founding members over the past twenty years by eating away at Russia’s safety zone. It did so in violation of an agreement between western heads of state and high officials with their counterparts in the USSR that NATO would not expand eastward. And in exchange for that security guarantee, the USSR withdrew 400,000 troops from eastern Europe and made possible German reunification and continued NATO membership. I read today that the Supreme Court has previously ruled that an agreement (such as that with Gorbachev) made between officials authorized to make such agreements has legal standing as a treaty, even if oral and thus not ratified by the Senate. So from the start of Russia’s rebirth as a non-communist nation, it has seen the West renege on commitments vital to Russian interests.
NATO has gone as far as it can go without provoking a predictably horrible ending. The US deliberately flaunted its support for the mob in Kiev that ousted a legal government, immediately adopted the self-declared authorities as its own, and now is pushing itself more aggressively into internal Ukrainian affairs. It is patently clear that the objective is to “score” Ukraine for the western team, thus denying it to Russia. Victoria Nuland was choosing government officials in an intercepted conversation, and I hear John Brennan, the man who tries to be the least untruthful he possibly can, has already been in Kiev advising. Our military is everywhere, working with the police and military. This is exactly what NATO did in Kosovo prior to their bombing — they used their “legal” cover to carry out subversive activities including liaison and coordination with the KLA and target acquisition. So I don’t get it — how do they think making Russia hyper-reactive and utterly paranoid is making Ukraine more secure? If I know what the US is up to in Kiev, so do the Russians and in far greater detail. If we turn Kiev into an anti-Russian bastion, its future is in dire peril. And the only way that the US can protect it is with war.
So here we are again at this fundamental question: do Americans want to die in Ukraine for a non-NATO member in opposition to the regional power with a rightful and vital interest in what happens in Ukraine? Russia cannot ignore or be indifferent to whether Ukraine, under the impulse of an illegal overthrow of power, moves into an enemy military alliance, or whether it is a friendly neutral nation that doesn’t threaten Russia or anybody else.
There are all kinds of rumors floating around that NATO is planning on deploying missiles in Poland. To what end? Such a missile system isn’t going to save Poland if Russia and NATO go to war. That is a pipe dream. Even back in the 50s we knew that nobody wins a nuclear war, and Russia will use nukes rather than tolerate NATO aggression. All that deploying a missile defense is going to do is further heat up the re-arming and re-militarization of Europe. Russia is apparently dumping the US dollar for its gas and oil trade, it is reconfiguring its industry to enhance self-reliance and it is dealing like crazy with China. We are at the point of diminishing returns. The uglier NATO gets in its tone toward Russia, the hotter the Russian nationalist fire is burning. And they are igniting the pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine at the same time. This is the scary story many Russians grew up on, NATO with a knife at Russia’s throat. Now Russians see this as not about Ukraine at all, but about Russia and long-time foe NATO. Their reactions from here on are going to be those of a nation that perceives itself to be under immediate threat.
I won’t be around in thirty years when historians are writing about this period of history, but I think this is the point at which the unipolar world collapses, just as did the USSR. We can actually see the new balance of power emerging. It is the first time since 1991 that NATO has had any opposition to its will worth mentioning, only third-rate opponents that could never hope to fend off NATO militarily. Now it is between the big boys. Will it be war or some form of mutually acceptable accommodation?