Imagine your neighbour across the road sets up a machine-gun nest on his roof with a great big belt-fed Gatling on a tripod pointing directly at your front door. Wouldn’t you feel uneasy, uncomfortable or even down-right scared? That’s what Russia feels about having USA/NATO military assets up against its western borders. In Russia’s view, those weapon systems represent an existential threat.
Let’s briefly review the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization aka NATO.
NATO was founded in 1949. The original 12 members were the USA, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom. In 1952, Greece and Turkey joined, West Germany in 1955, and Spain in 1982 following its return to democracy.
The original purpose of the alliance was to provide Western Europe with a collective defence against the communist Soviet Union and to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent.
The agreement not to expand NATO eastwards
East Germany held free elections in 1990 after which a unification treaty was signed between the new East and West German governments. This reunification meant the eastern borders of NATO would expand to the new border on the east of a reunited Germany.
General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR agreed to allow East Germany to reunite with West Germany provided NATO did not expand eastwards of the new German border with Poland. Such an agreement in writing was signed by US Secretary of State James Baker III and Gorbachev.
East and West Germany were reunited in October 1990.
America breaks the agreement
A few years later, President Bill Clinton of the USA (1993-2001) proposed the eastward expansion of NATO. France and Germany were opposed on the grounds that it would antagonise Russia. But, as usual in NATO, the USA got its way and the signed agreement with Gorbachev was ignored!
The first countries to join NATO after the reunification of Germany were the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999. The new Russian Federation protested but it was still militarily weak and could only bluster. NATO marched eastwards.
But as NATO expanded eastwards after 1999, and its eastern borders got closer and closer to Russia’s western borders Russia began protesting more and more vehemently.
Russia’s existential crisis looms large
When Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, along with the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, joined NATO in 2004, Russian protests became extremely vocal. Who could blame Russia? The Baltic states had common borders with Russia, meaning Russia had NATO military assets on its doorstep.
Now missiles from the Baltic states could reach St Petersburg in about one-and-a-half minutes and Moscow in less than three minutes, not much time to mount a response. No wonder Russia was feeling uncomfortable and fearful of its very existence.
Would the USA allow China to enter into an alliance with Mexico and place Chinese military assets on the southern side of the Rio Grande? The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when America threatened Russia with nuclear war, gave us a clear answer to that one.
In 2009, Albania and Croatia joined NATO. In 2017 Montenegro joined NATO, followed by North Macedonia in 2020. Again, each time, Moscow protested. It looked like all of Europe was ganging up on Russia (at least in Russian eyes).
In 2008, NATO announced that Georgia and Ukraine would join someday. This was viewed by Russia as a direct threat to its security and, indeed, to its very existence. So in August that year, Russia invaded Georgia and took over two separatist regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Despite this clear warning, NATO never publicly abandoned its goal of bringing Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance. In addition, for the last 15 years the USA has adamantly refused to discuss Russia’s security concerns. America’s policy seemed to be based on provoking the Bear.
In 2014, Russia invaded the Crimea where it had a massive naval base. It was afraid that following the CIA instigated coup in Kiev in February of that year, it would lose the naval base which would then be given to the US Navy. If this happened the US would command the Black Sea and the Russian fleet would no longer have access to the Mediterranean.
The invasion was a success without a shot being fired. The Russians were welcomed with open arms.
The Russians then held a referendum in which the vast majority of Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation. The result was hardly a surprise given that more than 62% of the population were Russian and had no desire to stay in Ukraine which had just passed laws curtailing their language rights.
Another 12% or so were Tatars who had lived in the Crimea for centuries and who were a minority ethnic group in racist Ukraine. Ethnic Ukrainians made up about 24% of the Crimean population, many of whom were native Russian speakers which suggests that they were culturally Russian.
Russia had now secured its possession of its naval base on the Black Sea.
Russia begins to freak out
Let’s recap … the written agreement between the USA and the USSR that NATO would not extend east of reunited Germany was blithely broken by President Bill Clinton … as the eastward expansion of NATO’s border continued, Russian objections grew louder and louder … the fact that the USA/NATO now have missiles on Russia’s borders that can reach St Petersburg in one-and-a-half minutes and Moscow in less than three scares the bejaysus out of the Russians.
With NATO continuously stating that the Ukraine would be joining NATO and thereby depriving Russia of its remaining strategic depth, the Russian perception that it was in the midst of an existential crises and just had to do something about it is totally understandable.
Thoroughly scared into action, in 2021 Russia began accumulating an invasion force on its borders with Ukraine. Russian Foreign Secretary Lavrov started traipsing around Western capitals trying to get the USA, NATO and the EU to discuss Russia’s strategic security concerns but to no avail.
No one would talk to him except for President Macron of France whose shuttle diplomacy made him a pariah in the eyes of Washington. The US Secretary of State Blinken said that such discussions were not on the table in tones that could only be described as arrogant and highly provocative.
Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022.
Refugees from Ukraine
The West seemed well prepared for the invasion and the resulting hordes of Ukrainian refugees flowed quickly and seamlessly across the border with Poland, no checks, watched by the same Polish border guards who had beaten back Afghani refugees at the Poland-Belarus border a few weeks earlier and are still doing so today
From day one, on the Polish side of the border welcoming committees had set up facilities to meet, feed and shelter the Ukrainian refugees. Buses were on standby to carry them onwards into Europe. This ultra-swift organisation of reception facilities suggests a great deal of preplanning.
Ukrainian refugees were exempted from European visa requirements and were accorded residency visas and the same rights (including the right to work and receive medical and social services) available to EU citizens.
But for the thousands of third-level foreign students studying medicine or STEM subjects in Ukraine, it was a different story. While the border guards on the Ukrainian side of the border with Poland only checked the white Ukrainians to ensure that no men of military age were leaving, they made the African and Indian students stand in the snow for up to 48 hours without food or water before allowing them through, a display of blatant racism not seen in Europe since World War II.
Non-whites trying to leave Ukraine by train were pulled from their seats even when they had fully paid tickets. It’s no wonder India and many West African governments are refusing to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Their populations won’t allow them.
Of course none of this shows up in the narrative being peddled by the Western media.
Since 2014, the USA and NATO allies have been training the Ukraine military in modern warfare and how to use the latest American military equipment. Since February 24th, this training has intensified and the latest military equipment is being supplied.
As soon as the invasion began, Kiev started handing out assault rifles to millions of Ukrainian citizens so they could resist the Russians. Stockpiling them was obviously part of the USA/NATO pre-planning. Now US arms, ammunition and training are being sent daily to Ukraine.
This war is being bankrolled by America. As of the end of May 2022, the USA had sent US$ 13 billion in the form of military equipment and training to Ukraine since the start of the invasion. In the last week of May 2022, another war bill for $40 billion was passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Biden. Fifty-three billion dollars in equipment and training makes for a lot of war!
Even a blind man with half a brain would be able to see that this is America’s war on Russian using Ukraine as a proxy. America’s goal is obviously to weaken Russia by getting the Ukrainians to engage it in a protracted war. Russia suffered a similar fate in Afghanistan decades ago after which its weaknesses led to the downfall of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine is just the battle field in a long-planned war by the USA/NATO to weaken Russia … which has been dumb enough to react to the goading of the USA/NATO. It is the only explanation of the war taking place in Ukraine that makes sense.