Stop Putin and die
Many strategists in the West are convinced that the Ukrainian crisis is a product of “Russian aggression”. President Putin, they say, annexed Crimea to Russia, based on his long-time desire to “reanimate the Soviet empire.” Beyond the Crimea, he can capture the rest of Ukraine, and there he can make a march to the countries of Eastern Europe. However, there is another opinion in the West: the United States and its European allies are largely responsible for the current crisis. The root of all ills is the expansion of NATO initiated by the West, which is a central element of a broader strategy of involving Ukraine into western orbit.
This is exactly the point of view of John Mirsheimer, who wrote an essay for publication "Foreign Affairs" (issued by the Council on Foreign Relations, USA).
In his opinion, the expansion of NATO is the central element of that broader strategy, which aims to integrate Ukraine with the West. EU enlargement to the east and the West’s support of the “democratic movement” in Ukraine, beginning with the 2004 Orange Revolution, are important elements of this same strategy.
The last straw that filled Putin’s patience, the analyst writes, was “the unlawful overthrow of the democratically elected and pro-Russian president of Ukraine,” which the Kremlin owner “rightly called a coup.” Putin responded by joining the Crimea, fearing that otherwise the peninsula could become a NATO naval base.
This "objection" of Putin is not surprising, the expert notes: after all, the West acted "in the backyard of Russia." The elites in the United States and Europe were stunned only because the author believes that they did not take into account their blunders in international politics. They somehow believe that realism has little to do with the twenty-first century. The crisis in Ukraine has shown how wrong they are. But now, an even bigger mistake is to continue this unrealistic policy.
When Russian leaders look at what kind of “social engineering” the West has launched in Ukraine, they fear, the author writes further that their country “may be next.” And such concerns cannot be called unfounded, the essayist points out.
Just imagine, he continues, as the Americans would resent, if China could organize a powerful military alliance, and then try to include in it ... Canada and Mexico!
In the emergence of the Ukrainian crisis, the “spark” that ignited the Maidan’s flame was Yanukovych’s refusal of integration with the EU in November of 2013 and the adoption of 15 billions of dollars from Russia. This decision led to anti-government demonstrations. The current government in Kiev is completely pro-Western and anti-Russian "to the bone", Mirsheimer writes, and even high-ranking officials are in it who could be "legally designated as neo-fascists."
And it is clear that the coup was supported by Washington, a publicist points out. Victoria Nuland and Republican Senator John McCain participated in anti-government demonstrations for a reason. The scale of real US participation in the crisis will show time.
At this point, it is time to act against Ukraine and the West for Putin. The Crimea was incorporated into the Russian Federation, which turned out to be a relatively easy task thanks to the thousands of Russian soldiers already deployed at the naval base in Sevastopol. In addition, in Crimea, ethnic Russians make up approximately 60 percent of the total population. Most of them did not want to be part of Ukraine.
Putin’s next step, the author writes, was putting pressure on the new government in Kiev. Putin made it clear to this government that he would “destroy Ukraine as a functioning state” before Ukraine becomes “the western stronghold on the threshold of Russia.” The President of Russia provided his advisers and diplomatic support to the east of Ukraine, Mirsheimer continues. He concentrated large army forces on the border with Ukraine. And besides, he inflated the price of natural gas.
Putin’s actions are easy to understand: after all, Ukraine is a buffer state that has “enormous strategic importance for Russia.” And so the Russian leader will not tolerate the military alliance of Ukraine with the "deadly enemy of Moscow." Great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their territory, an essay reminds strategists from Washington.
Does the United States allow anyone to deploy military forces anywhere in the western hemisphere? And even more so at its borders? (See above for a hypothetical example with China, Canada, and Mexico.)
According to the publicist, the West, especially the United States, "is unable to understand that its policy in Ukraine laid the foundation for a major clash with Russia."
And today the alignment is as follows: Putin and his compatriots think and act as realists, while their Western colleagues adhere to "liberal ideas about international politics." Result: The United States and its allies "unknowingly provoked a crisis around Ukraine."
Other analysts, the essayist notes, believe that Putin, who regretted the collapse of the Soviet Union, planned to return the Soviet empire by expanding the borders of Russia. The annexation of the Crimea became a kind of test. Some analysts from this camp even compare Putin with Hitler. However, such an argument “collapses on closer examination,” the author writes. After all, there were no signs of Putin’s European campaign for the return of “big Russia”. The actions of Putin in the Crimea, the analyst seems, "were a spontaneous reaction to the overthrow of Yanukovych." In addition, Russia does not have the ability to "easily conquer and annex Eastern Ukraine, and especially the whole country." Even if Russia "could really boast of the power of the military machine and an impressive economy," she would not have been able, probably, to successfully occupy Ukraine. Suffice it to recall the experience of the USSR and the USA in Afghanistan, the experience of the USA in Vietnam and Iraq and the Russian experience in Chechnya to understand: such military actions, as a rule, end badly. “Putin, of course, understands that an attempt to seize Ukraine will be akin to trying to swallow a porcupine.” Therefore, his reaction to events, the analyst points out, is defensive, not offensive.
What is the solution offered by the expert?
According to Mirsheimer, the United States and its allies should abandon their Ukrainian plan. Ukraine should remain a neutral buffer between NATO and Russia. This point of view and must adhere to the West. Western leaders should recognize that Ukraine is so important to Putin that Ukraine cannot support an anti-Russian regime.
This will not mean, the author notes, that the future Ukrainian government must necessarily be pro-Russian and anti-NATO. No, Ukraine must be sovereign - neither Russia nor the West.
How to achieve such a goal?
Very simple: the United States and its allies should publicly rule out NATO expansion in Georgia and Ukraine. The West should also offer an economic plan to save Ukraine. The money should give the EU, the International Monetary Fund, Russia and the United States. Such a proposal would be welcomed by Moscow, given its interest in the prosperity and stability of Ukraine at hand.
And another piece of advice from the analyst: The West must substantially limit its “social engineering” within Ukraine. “It's time to put an end to Western support for the Orange Revolutions,” the essayist says.
Finally, the United States and European leaders should promote respect for the rights of minorities in Ukraine, especially Russian-speaking citizens.
Some may object, the expert notes that a change in policy towards Ukraine could seriously undermine the credibility of the United States in the world. Yes, there will be some costs, the author notes, but the price of continuing the erroneous policy will be much higher. In addition, other countries are likely to “respect the state, which learns from its mistakes and ultimately develops a policy that effectively solves existing problems”.
Foreign Affairs has also published other material on the Ukrainian crisis and the harm that the wrong strategy does to the West. A review of this material was performed the other day by Alena Zelenina (IA "REGNUM").
Eli Ratner and Elizabeth Rosenberg, experts from the Center for New American Security, wrote an article under the telling title "Senseless Punishment." In their opinion, the further isolation of Russia by Western states can lead to the fact that the US will lose more than it will gain. Washington's European Union countries have already faced economic losses as a result of attempts to “stop Putin”. And then the balance of forces in Asia may change - to the detriment of the United States. Japan will be weakened, and Russian-Chinese relations will be strengthened, which the White House is unlikely to consider positive results.
American diplomats recently visited China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Washington wants Asian partners to support economic pressure on Russia (sanctions). But “most of the governments of the Asia-Pacific region, including the American allies Australia and South Korea, have little interest in imposing harsh sanctions against Russia. The fate of Ukraine is simply not among their priorities in relations with Moscow. South Korea not only regards Russia as an important trade partner, but also as a participant in the six-party talks on the DPRK nuclear program. Beijing, in turn, will not only not want to join, but will actively oppose multilateral sanctions ... ”
Let's sum up.
Authoritative Western experts not only believe that the attempts to “stop Putin” are futile, but also predict the losses to the United States and Europe that will arise (have already begun to arise) from the wrong strategy, subordinated to certain liberal principles. In contrast to Western states, the Kremlin adheres to realism in foreign policy and cannot prevent the western ring from bordering Russia. Neither the pro-Western and at the same time anti-Russian government in Kiev, nor the expansion of NATO to the east, nor the US efforts in the field of "social engineering" in Ukraine can not but provoke opposition from Moscow.
If the West had retreated from the idea of involving Ukraine in its orbit and implemented the “John Mirsheimer's plan” (let's call it that), the situation would certainly have stabilized. However, it is unlikely that the apologists of the Cold War, entrenched in the White House and the US Congress, would back up. People like Obama and Kerry (not to mention McCain) who consider the American nation “exceptional” do not know how to admit their mistakes and do not want to. And the fact that people are dying and suffering in Ukraine does not bother them at all. Therefore, it is unlikely that in the near future there will be a world-wide respect of peoples for one state, which "learns from its mistakes."
On the other hand, the White House from Syria, though not completely, retreated. Maybe Comrade Mirsheimer is not such an idealist, huh?
- especially for topwar.ru
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