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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Original post)

Mon May 12, 2014, 12:42 PM

4. Looks to me like EU and NATO actions helped provoke this


The issue seems to have been whether or not Ukraine would tighten relations with the EU and NATO, and implement an austerity program for doing so. Russia offered an alternative deal with the objective of keeping the Ukraine out of the EU orbit. It appears the population was fairly intensely divided by that issue.

I don't claim to understand what happened next ... there is considerable fog. What was the involvement of the west in stirring up the pro-EU protests? What role did extreme right wingers and neo-Nazis play? How much of the unrest was due to Russian agitators? Claims. Counter claims. Factual inaccuracies detected in the statements of all sides. Fog of war. But it's hard not to describe it as a coup ... the elected government was forcibly deposed.

But, unlike the Ukraine, Russia was not divided. Consistently over the years, they have held the west to agreements which were intended to limit NATO expansion eastward. And that position accurately mirrored deeply held attitudes of the Russian people. Perhaps the Russians are being paranoid, but you do have to admit that they have had trouble with aggression from west of their borders from time to time. (And not all of that originated from western Europe itself ...)

Rightly or wrongly, the west crossed a line which everyone knew was there, plain in the sand.

Now, if it was clear that a majority of Ukrainians wanted that alignment with the EU, one could argue that going forward was the right thing to do. A country should be able to make those decisions for itself, regardless of Russian sensitivity. (Wonder what would happen if Mexico aligned with China right now, on popular demand? Would we do the right thing and acquiesce?)

But that is far from clear. By pushing the issue (and we did) we crossed that line, and we did so without adequate popular support in Ukraine.

So I guess my take on it is that both sides need to calm down, and find a way to step back from the line of fire. The Russian military is not inept nor under armed. They have been quietly upgrading the on board systems of old but capable air frames, and it would be unwise to underestimate their air power. Their tactical nuke capabilities remain impressive ... and down that road lies madness.

Just my take on it ... but even filtering out all the accusations and counter accusations, it was stupid to think Putin would not respond to what Russians perceive as encroachment. It was a geo political blunder, that reeks with the arrogance of those who, on the collapse of the Soviet Union, proclaimed "the end of history", and a new world order based on a global economy as the final, conclusive victor.


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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 OP
The Magistrate May 2014 #1
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 #2
hobbit709 May 2014 #3
Igel May 2014 #8
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 #10
LineNew Reply Looks to me like EU and NATO actions helped provoke this
The Traveler May 2014 #4
polly7 May 2014 #5
Benton D Struckcheon May 2014 #7
1000words May 2014 #9
malaise May 2014 #12
bemildred May 2014 #6
pampango May 2014 #11
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