Thursday, September 11, 2014
Putin: Waiting to Be Crowned Tsar of the World
Russia’s conspicuous belligerence is not as astounding as is the Western leaders’ paralysis and fear. Western intelligence services have been criminally guilty of not accurately analyzing Russian intentions and history, and anticipating its actions. This fiasco has been going on since the United States diplomatically recognized the Soviet Union in 1933, at the height of Moscow’s murder by starvation of up to 10 million Ukrainian men, women and children.
In the past 81 years Washington and the West have failed to understand Moscow’s objectives in Eastern Europe, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czecho-Slovakia, the dissident movement and even the downfall of the Soviet Russian empire and the Spring of Nations.
Russia’s strategic goal has been victory and domination while the West’s has been containment and peaceful coexistence. Moscow is proactive while Washington is reactive.
The US, EU and NATO have been consistently missing Moscow’s signals in the false hope of not upsetting the sleeping bear. Vladimir Putin forewarned the world about today’s Russian invasion and seizure of Ukrainian territory during a visit to Kyiv in the summer of 2013. He talked of the brotherhood of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples and their reunification, cautioned Kyiv about seeking membership in NATO, warned NATO not to creep up to its near abroad, and laid the groundwork for the reestablishment of the prison of nations.
Consequently, the West’s docile manner led to a bloody Russian war in Ukraine, panic among the former captive nations about who’ll be next, and head scratching by Western leaders as they ponder what just happened. There has been a fatal dearth of assertive ideas and actions on the part of the Western leaders with regard to Moscow.
In the meantime, Putin has been busy dictating terms of surrender for Ukraine, its former captive colleagues and the West.
The crux of the matter is Ukraine’s intention to realign its foreign policy from Russia to the West. Not only by joining the European Union but also establishing a strong relationship with NATO – both win-win situations for Kyiv. Moscow adamantly declared its opposition to Ukraine’s membership in NATO.
“Ukraine in NATO would be an unprecedented challenge to European security, the biggest since the collapse of the Berlin Wall,” said Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s envoy to the European Union, echoing oft repeated admonitions by his bosses.
“Our message to the EU is: don’t undermine the Ukraine peace process by supporting the party of war in Ukraine,” said Chizhov, referring to President Poroshenko and the patriotic forces that have surfaced in the Ukrainian government since the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year. “Only the UN Security Council has the right to impose sanctions. But sanctions have never been an effective tool. The EU’s unilateral measures against Russia are wrong, unfair and misleading, based on the assumption that Russia is part of the conflict. It never was, it is not and will never be.” Actually, Russia’s involvement is not an assumption but a fact that everyone is aware of.
Russia has also denounced the EU’s ineffective sanctions that have not forced Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “As for the new list of sanctions from the European Union, if they are passed, there will undoubtedly be a reaction from our side.”
For its part, NATO has been woefully ineffective as pundits observed that after nearly 65 years it still is grappling with an adequate response to Russian aggression.
Attempting to counter Russian warnings against Ukraine’s bid to join the Western alliance, NATO did assert that no third country could veto its enlargement policy.
“No third country has a veto over NATO enlargement,” Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference on the second day of the NATO Summit, adding: “NATO’s door remains open. Each country will be judged on its merits.”
Actions are louder than words and NATO’s passive posture resounds loudly around the world. Ukraine and the former captive nations are left to console themselves and hope for the best with President Obama’s inadequate words expressed at the NATO Summit press conference in Newport, Wales: “Our Alliance is fully united in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and its right to defend itself. To back up this commitment, all 28 NATO Allies will now provide security assistance to Ukraine. This includes non-lethal support to the Ukrainian military -- like body armor, fuel and medical care for wounded Ukrainian troops -- as well as assistance to help modernize Ukrainian forces, including logistics and command and control.”
Note the phrase “its right to defend itself” not “our collective responsibility to defend Ukraine.” As for the non-lethal support, we’ll believe when we see it.
In the scenarios of war that are played in the top-secret situation rooms in Washington or Brussels, the possibility of Russia launching a war against a former captive nation or any other country is no longer hypothetical. It is reality and the only unanswered question is who’ll be next and what can be done to stop Russia.
Artis Pabriks, Latvia’s former minister of defense and foreign minister, a member of the European Parliament, observed in The New York Times that it’s NATO’s moral responsibility to defend Ukraine.
“NATO and the European Union are both based on moral values that demand us to support weaker nations suffering foreign invasion who have chosen to become democratic countries. What is going on is a crime against humanity and we can’t silently walk away. This especially applies to our elected European and American leaders.
“Unfortunately, we have already been delaying such support and time is ticking away. We have to act now to avoid a greater disaster and to uphold our common beliefs in liberal democracy, freedom, justice and human rights.”
Will NATO leaders be able to look into the eyes of future generations if it fails to uphold these beliefs?