(Article republished from PaulCraigRoberts.org)
The Reagan administration and Reagan’s successor, the George H. W. Bush administration were open to this idea. President Bush’s Secretary of State Jim Baker affirmed that he promised there would be no movement of NATO east to Soviet borders if Gorbachev permitted the reunification of Germany, which set the stage for the freedom of the Soviet Union’s Eastern European empire.
The Clinton regime, under the influence of Neoconservatives, violated America’s word on the grounds that it was verbal and not in writing and therefore did not count. The Clinton regime not only overthrew Yugoslavia and broke it into pieces while turning a historic part of Serbia over to Muslims, but also moved NATO to Russia’s border. At the time with the Soviet collapse in 1991 Russia was too weak to do anything about it as the Yeltsin government was Washington’s puppet.
At the Munich Security Conference in 2007, Putin, Yeltsin’s successor, declared that Russia did not accept Washington’s unipolar world in which Washington ruled, and that Russia would follow its, not Washington’s interest. Putin’s declaration of independence was more or less ignored at the time, because Washington was involved in its wars in the Middle East for Israel’s benefit.
But as time passed Washington realized that Russia was off the reservation, and that something had to be done about it.
The Sochi Olympics provided an opportunity. The Kremlin thought that a successful Olympics held by Russia would boost Russia’s standing with the West. Instead, US, UK, and German officials boycotted the Sochi Olympics, during the proceedings of which while Putin was inattentive the US overthrew the Russian-friendly government of Ukraine, formerly a part of Russia for centuries.
The Nazi, anti-Russian government that Washington installed in Ukraine began physically abusing the Russian population of former Russian provinces that Soviet rulers had incorporated into the Soviet Ukrainian province. Crimea, a part of Russia since the 1700s, was attached to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956, and the Donbass was attached to Ukraine by earlier Soviet rulers. At the time Ukraine and Russia were part of the same country, the Soviet Union.
Ukraine’s independence was secured by Washington after the Soviet collapse in 1991 when President Gorbachev was arrested by hardline communist party members who thought, correctly in retrospect, that he was liberalizing too much too quickly and giving too much away to Washington without enforceable guarantees.
Crimea is the location of the Russian Black Sea Naval base under long-term Russian lease from Ukraine since Ukraine’s independence. Putin was sufficiently alert to comprehend that the new American puppet government in Ukraine would cancel the lease, thus depriving Russia access to the Black Sea and through the sea to the Mediterranean.
The population of Crimea voted by 97% to be reunited with Russia, and so did the Russians who populate the Donbass. Putin accepted Crimea’s request, but refused Donbass’ request.
What was the reason for this decision by Putin, a decision that has led to the ever-widening war in Ukraine eight years later?
The best explanation is that Putin let Western propaganda make his decision. If Putin took back Donbass in addition to Crimea, which he had to take or lose Russia’s warm water naval base, it would confirm Western propaganda’s claim that Putin intended to restore the Soviet Empire. Why Putin thought Western propaganda should limit Russia’s behavior in its own interest, instead of the West’s interests, suggests a Putin who has one foot in the West and one foot in Russian nationalism.
The Donbass Russians were suffering horribly at the hands of the Ukrainian neo-Nazis that Washington had installed in Kiev. Putin understood that he had to do something. The something he decided on assumed Western good will that did not exist. Putin came up with the “Minsk Agreement,” a scheme to keep Donbass in Ukraine, but protect the residents with some forms of autonomy, such as their own police force, that would protect the Russian population from neo-Nazi persecution.
Putin got Ukraine and the Donbass republics to sign the Minsk agreement, and he got Germany and France to guarantee the agreement. But Washington forbid Ukraine from complying with the agreement and France and Germany from enforcing it.
Putin wasted eight years trying to sell his agreement that obviously never had any prospect considering Washington’s obvious intentions to use Ukraine to cause maximum trouble for Russia. Why was Putin unable to see this?
The danger with Putin’s “limited military operation” and its go-slow policy is that it provides the West with time to gather its forces and to gain the initiative. Despite Putin’s “red line,” the US and Europe send weapons to Ukraine.
As there was no effective Russian response to provocations, despite declared “red lines,” next training for Ukrainian troops was provided. Then intelligence and targeting information. Then longer distance weapons that can reach strategic Russian targets. Then the attack on the Crimea bridge, the Nord Stream Pipelines, and now a plot for a dirty bomb, to be used as an excuse for US intervention with troops deployed in Romania and the destruction of a dam that would destroy the Russian city of Kherson and leave elite Russian special forces soldiers isolated and subject to Ukrainian capture, which would be a tremendous propaganda victory for the West.
As matters now stand, we have a situation where Putin’s method of warfare constrains his own forces and not his enemies. The latest indications are that Putin and the Russian high command are willing for the initiative to remain in the hands of their Western enemies. The Kremlin reacts to the moves of its enemy. If Ukraine with US and UK help blow the Dniper Dam and flood Kherson, then, and only then, perhaps, maybe, Russia will blow the dam that will win them the war by cutting a large chunk of Ukraine off from Ukraine. Apparently, the Kremlin hasn’t addressed the question why Russia accepts casualties and the appearance of humiliating defeats when Russia can easily win the war in one day.
Washington’s provocations mount, and Putin’s response is not a show of force but a plea for negotiations and offers to supply Russia’s NATO enemies with energy. Little wonder Washington escalates the conflict.
The lack of decisive action by Russia has allowed Washington to put humanity on the road to Armageddon. Washington and its NATO puppets have lost their fear of Russia, and the provocations will continue. As Putin has not defended any Russian declared red lines, Washington believes he has none. Putin does not even defend Syria, a country he rescued from Washington’s conquest, from Israeli attacks.
Patience is a virtue in a leader, but Putin’s patience is seen by many in Washington as a lack of resolution. If this interpretation of Putin’s patience turns out to be a mistake, Washington will cross a red line that will bring us into the Armageddon period of human history.
Read more at: PaulCraigRoberts.org