It is a total myth and falsehood that the United States won the Cold War when the Soviet Union unexpectedly collapsed, and Mikhail Gorbachev dissolved it on December 25, 1991. During the remainder of the 1990s the Washington elite, American academic specialists and especially the inept civilian U.S. intelligence agencies completely failed to anticipate, and predict the rapid rise of Communist China at the turn of the century as a possible military AND economic superpower. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has now become a much more potential dangerous adversary in 2021 than when the Soviet Union opposed the United States during the Cold War from 1945 to 1991.
One of the PRC’s long term goals in its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative is not only the domination of the South China Sea and “reunification” of Taiwan along with “neutralizing” much of the western Pacific Ocean, but the semi-encirclement of India through the indirect control of Nepal and Bhutan along with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and perhaps Bangladesh.
Their recent desire to establish a naval base in Bata, Equatorial Guinea on Africa’s Atlantic coast is a further indication that PRC’s plans to establish itself as a dominant military and economic superpower before 2049 in addition to its three existing naval bases in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, Gwadar, Pakistan and Doraleh, Djibouti. I would not be surprised before 2030 that the PRC also attempts to establish another naval base in either Cuba or a country in the eastern Caribbean located between Puerto Rico and Trinidad. That especially includes Barbados and possibly Venezuela.
Washington’s failed economic policy since January 1993 of encouraging the corporate investment of trillions of dollars and the wholesale exportation of five million American manufacturing jobs to mainland China as advocated by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama has completely failed to produce any liberal multi-party or semi-democratic reform resembling Gorbachev’s 1986 policy of glasnost within the PRC.
Communist China under President Xi Jinping has no intention of liberalizing or reforming his country’s political system let alone apologizing for the Chinese Communist Party’s mass murder of forty-five million Chinese citizens, who died during the Great Leap Forward (1958-62), and another million executed under Mao during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) or its shameless de facto military alliance with despotic and totalitarian North Korea under Kim Jong-un. This also includes the massacre of hundreds to thousands of peaceful demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in June 1989, the PRC’s violation of the 1997 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong in 2019, the continued oppression (Sinonization) and enslavement of the Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province in far northwestern China, and the “cultural genocide” or brutal assimilation (Sinonization) of Tibet since 1950.
The Ukraine must not join NATO because the United States needs to “befriend” and improve diplomatic relations with Putin’s Russia and an eventual post-Putin Russia as a future counterweight to the PRC. While some critics might mistakenly call this diplomatic approach as appeasement I call it simple pragmatism or realpolitik.
Vladimir Putin is not Adolf Hitler with Machiavellian grandiose plans of western military expansion and the occupation of eastern Europe because the former KGB lieutenant colonel has much more common sense and intelligence than the drug-addled and “eloquent” ranting Hitler. In order for the United States to improve diplomatic relations with Russia, the Ukraine must not join NATO in order to lessen any potential military tensions between the United States, which is essentially NATO, and Russia for many different reasons.
Many Americans, Canadians and western Europeans fail to understand that Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine and cradle of Eastern Slavic civilization along the strategic Dnieper River, has always held a special historical, commercial and cultural significance to the Russian national psyche. It was in Kiev where Vladimir the Great, the ruler of the Kievan Rus and Eastern Slavs composed of both modern day Ukrainians and Russians, first accepted Eastern Orthodox Christianity in 988.
Through the subsequent centuries Kiev became the foundation or springboard for the creation of modern Russia itself ultimately ruled by Muscovy or Moscow, which regarded itself as the “Third Rome” after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and increasingly superseded the city of Kiev with the Russians becoming the most dominant ethnic group among the Eastern Slavs.
The “special relationship” existing between the Ukraine and Russia is somewhat analogous to the “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and United States, but one that is much stronger and more enduring because of a shared 1,426 mile border, identical religions (Eastern Orthodoxy) and most especially length of time: over 1,000 years for both good and bad. If the Russians often regard the Serbs as their “little brothers” in the Balkans, the relationship between Russia and the Ukraine often resembles an argumentative middle aged or elderly husband and wife. And Russia believes that divorce is not an option.
If the Ukraine were to join NATO, it would be the geographical equivalent of either Canada or Mexico joining a military alliance led by the PRC. The United States would naturally find this scenario both totally unacceptable and intolerable especially if there was a Communist Chinese naval base located along the Pacific coast in either Acapulco, Mexico or Vancouver, Canada.
The United States must pragmatically recognize that the Ukraine is clearly within the Russian sphere of orbit similar to how either Central America or the Caribbean is to the United States according to the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. To think otherwise would clearly be not only stupid, but also a sign of Pax Americana’s imperial overreach, which replaced Pax Britannica in 1945. Plus, the last time I looked at the map of Europe, Kiev is approximately 1500 miles from London or the English Channel unless some government official or bureaucrat in Washington or Brussels preposterously considers the Black Sea to be a far eastern extension of the Atlantic Ocean! Good luck with the illogical reasoning that Kiev or Odessa is geographically near the north Atlantic Ocean.
The future inclusion of the Ukraine into NATO from a Russian perspective most definitely would make NATO appear to be much more of an offensive than a defensive military alliance. Whether Russia is paranoid of another land invasion or pretends to be is subject to much speculation.
I highly suspect that Russia’s paranoia is somewhere between the former and the latter similar to the Krajina (Croatian) Serbs’ justified paranoia from 1991-95 toward Nazi Germany’s and fascist Italy’s former ally Croatia led by Ante Pavelic from 1941-45. However, Russia unlike the United States has had a long history of at least twelve invasions, occupations and foreign interventions beginning with the brutal Mongol Golden Horde (1223-1473), Teutonic Knights (1240-42), Ottoman Turkey (1571), Poland (1605-18), Sweden (1610-17; 1707), France (1812), the Crimean War (1853-56), Japan (1905), Germany and Austria (1914-18), its former World War I allies and Japan (1918-22, Japan (1938) and most destructively Nazi Germany (1941-45) resulting in the death of at least twenty million Soviet soldiers and civilians.
Considering Russia’s long history of repeated invasions and a potential fear of another one it has no desire in a worst case scenario to be conquered and permanently dismantled, and suffer the same tragic fate as the former Yugoslavia, and end up like a landlocked Serbia in a semi-Arctic truncated territory located to the west and east of the remote Ural Mountains with the possible loss of much of eastern Siberia to an expansionist Asian country.
Their “paranoia” does indeed have a rational basis considering their long history of invasions from the east, south and west, and NATO seems to be either totally oblivious of this fact or most likely completely indifferent. From a Russian perspective I can honestly understand why 100,000 or more Russian troops are currently massing along Ukraine’s southeastern border or the Donbas, and I am neither a Russophile nor a Russophobe.
As far as I am concerned the Russian occupation of Crimea in February 2014 is a fait accompli, which historically had been a part of Tsarist and Soviet Russia for over two centuries until 1991, and not worth the lives of any American or NATO soldiers despite the death of at least four million Ukrainians by the terror famine during the catastrophic Holodomor (death by hunger) in 1932-33 under Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. This is strictly a Ukrainian-Russian concern, which frankly is not worth the start of World War III.
The best future diplomatic solution for the Ukraine (along with Georgia) is to become a neutral country like Switzerland, Austria, Sweden or Finland, which would pose no offensive military threat to Russia. A second possible solution may be to emulate Serbia, which would like to become a member of the European Union, and not a member of NATO. A third possible solution is to follow the example of Belarus, and remain a non-offensive military threat.
The Ukraine must realize that neither the United States nor any other NATO country will most likely go to war against Russia for their occupation of the Crimea or the southeastern part of the Ukraine near Donetsk. Plus, there are clear limitations to American military power, which the Pentagon completely fails to understand, and the Ukraine is a clear example. Endless wars will not produce endless peace.
The United States and NATO can sell the Ukraine all the military weapons they require such as the shoulder-fired FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank/helicopter missiles and launchers along with other non-lethal assistance, but Putin realizes that it is highly doubtful that a western country is going to risk World War III in order to defend the Ukraine. Ironically, Russia does not presently consider the three Baltic non-Slavic NATO countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania much of a military threat. The same could be said for Norway, which is also a NATO country and shares a 121.6 mile border with Russia.
In the final analysis the Ukrainians will have to defend themselves if necessary without NATO and American troops on their soil. However, I think that the Ukraine must not join NATO because it will make their lives much easier in living peacefully as a neutral country with Russia, and improve their standard of living due to less military spending for the remainder of the twenty-first century and beyond. Both countries must also mutually reconcile.
“If a “confused” President Joseph Biden or NATO political leader were to militarily intervene in the Ukraine, this would be an extremely serious and foolhardy mistake, which could optimistically result in massive Russian retaliatory cyberattacks (and counterstrikes), disastrous economic disruption during a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and an inevitable slowdown or complete disruption of Russian natural gas flowing to much of Europe despite being possibly cut off from the “international” banking system.”
The United States and Russia do not need to be involved in either a second cold war reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 or a nuclear conflict, which could unimaginably be much worse. This is especially true with the recent advent of hard-to-detect hypersonic weapons, which can both carry nuclear warheads, and fly five times faster than the speed of sound.
Robert L. Maronic / Roanoke Virginia
December 18, 2021