At the recent G7 summit in Bavaria in Germany, President Obama and other leaders continued to spout the same lines about Russia and the Ukrainian conflict that they’ve been saying since last year.
Russia needs to stop doing things we don’t like; we’re going to put more sanctions in place if they don’t.
And what is the cause of a year of hissing? Russia politically annexed the Crimean peninsula last year—under debatable circumstances—but the fact remains that the area is firmly under Russian administration. Additionally, the pro-Russian separatists have continued their military campaign in Eastern Ukraine against Kiev. They are substantially and quite obviously supported by Moscow… which should come as no surprise despite the amount of shock and condemnation Western leaders express as they point this out. The European Union (EU) was probably hoping to integrate Ukraine, something which will now be indefinitely on hold due to the conflict. And NATO might have been looking to add more members too. Both organizations have swallowed up several Warsaw Pact members since the fall of the Berlin Wall and even former SSRs, like the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, none of which are capable of defending themselves independently.
Obama patronizingly said:
“He’s got to make a decision… Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire, or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries.”
Pot and kettle; Obama is calling Putin black. This is how all empires behave. Russia has substantial ties, historical claims and influence in the regions where it is interfering and annexing territory. The same cannot be said of the United States’ history of indiscriminate invasions and bombings since the Second World War. The damage to the Russian economy is being done by Western powers which want to contain Russia and are trapped in the world domination mindset of the Cold War.
I don’t consider myself to be much of a Putin aficionado; at most I would call myself a soft russophile. But if we are to say that Russia has no right to do what it is doing, or that it has violated some international law, and then we do nothing to reverse it, we are full of crap. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict is one of a number of post-Soviet wars which do not require our intervention or posturing unless we have ulterior motives. Those motives have been laid bare by the absorption of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into the European Union and NATO. If the West is to oppose Russia, it has no platform on which to stand other than the same aggression which Russia displays towards its former thralls.
Borders change. The enlargement of the EU and NATO are clear evidence of that. Why is the enlargement of Russia something that the United States, Germany and Britain have to oppose at all costs? Don’t we have bigger things to worry about than Eastern Slavs fighting over land that’s almost in Central Asia?