Thursday, May 8, 2014


I think this insightful response from Jim Dubbs to my essay on Wondering What's Going On In Ukraine deserves to be circulated to subscribers.

It seems to me the seeds of the crisis involving Ukraine were planted by the policy of Bush I and Clinton to voraciously expand NATO membership to countries formerly in the Warsaw Pact.  Since these countries along Russia's borders formed what was historically a "cordon sanitaire" (Iron Curtain to Churchill fans), or sphere of interest at a minimum, for the Soviet state, this US policy could hardly be seen a nothing less than a provocation to Putin  -- a push for US hegemony.  (Bad enough, especially in a geopolitical sense, that Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Albania and the Baltic countries joined NATO -- after all they had at one time or another be independent states -- but Ukraine, lordy, it was where ancient Rus began.)  

This provocation had to be tolerated by a weakened Russia in what was gleefully but fleetingly called the unipolar world.  That description of the world doesn't quite work anymore for the US, given the quagmires of Afghanistan and Iran, upheaval in the Middle East, the rapid rise of China.  Sort of like DeGaulle for France after WWII, Putin has rekindled a Russian nationalism that must be satisfied.  And he knows that NATO doesn't have the capacity to resist, at least militarily.  And as for economic sanctions, what can he fear if the head of Exxon-Mobile still comes a'courtin?

Come to think of it, while Lenin may have indulged in a bit of hyperbole when he said that the capitalist will sell us the ropes to hang them, he was on to something.


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