Despite what you might read in the mainstream press, the United States and NATO, not Putin, are the ones ultimately responsible for the crisis in Ukraine. More specifically, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has consistently provoked Russia by:
- Repeatedly interfering in Russian elections and internal politics from Boris Yeltsin on
- Resulting in the shocking U.S.-sponsored theft (by privatization) of the Russian people’s communal property by oligarchs and the Russian mafia
- Ignoring Russian sensitivities about the geostrategic importance of Ukraine in Russian history. (Russia has twice been invaded by its European enemies using Ukraine as their entry point.)
- Discounting Russia’s concerns about the ideological ties of Ukraine’s current leadership (including that of its army) to Nazi collaborators during World War II
- Breaking the promise of George H.W. Bush to Mikhail Gorbachev not to move NATO “one inch closer to Russia” than its position in 1990
- But instead incorporating into NATO countries of the former Soviet Union often extremely close to the Russian border
- Constantly entertaining the possibility of extending NATO membership even to Ukraine against Russia’s demands to the contrary
- Refusing to put in writing a promise not to do so
- In this way blocking diplomatic solutions to the Ukraine crisis
- And also hypocritically denying to Russia the same rights the U.S. claims (via its Monroe Doctrine) to be free from international threats in its own “backyard”
- Engineering a coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014 to replace the neutral (towards Russia) and democratically elected president of Ukraine (Viktor Yanukovych) with a far right rabidly anti-Russian U.S. client (Petro Poroshenko)
- Who then surrounded himself with anti-Russian, often neo-Nazi advisors, and cabinet members who are internationally recognized as constituting one of the most corrupt governments in the world
- Selecting the leaders of Ukraine by American fiat rather than by democratic processes
- Thus, making Ukraine a quasi-U.S. neo-colony right on Russia’s border
- And giving rise to an anti-coup, anti-corruption, anti-NATO rebellion on the part of constitutional democrats and anti-fascists centered in Ukraine’s pro-Russian Donbas region
- Which over the last seven years has been subject to shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces costing over 14,000 mostly civilian lives
- Ignoring the provisions of the Minsk I and Minsk II agreements between Russia and Ukraine calling for a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Donbas front line, release of prisoners of war, and constitutional reform extending self-government to certain areas of Donbas, while restoring to the Ukrainian government control of its national borders
- Pouring weapons of mass destruction into Ukraine
- Countenancing (by not denouncing) Ukraine’s threat to seek installation of nuclear armaments on its territory
- While constantly proposing harsh sanctions on Russia as if it alone were responsible for the Ukrainian crisis.
None of this is to say that Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is justified. Like the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, it is clearly a violation of international law.
The claim here, however, is that Putin was provoked into his act of aggression by NATO led by the United States. The provocations benefit the U.S. not only in terms of discrediting Russia as a regional power, but of providing European markets for U.S. liquified natural gas (after sanctions deprive Russia of its own natural gas markets in Europe). The crisis also creates huge profits for U.S. arms manufacturers along with persuasive rationales for increased Pentagon budgets. As well, the entire fiasco promises to raise (at least temporarily) President Biden’s abysmal poll numbers.
As a final note, there is good reason to believe that the United States would long ago have adopted military measures similar to Putin’s had it experienced comparable acts of aggression for instance on its border with Mexico.
Imagine the response of “our” government had Russia or China sponsored a coup d’état replacing a Mexican government neutral or friendly to the U.S. with a virulently anti-American puppet regime. Imagine further if Russia or China had armed that hostile government to the teeth and shelled mercilessly Mexican citizens friendly to the United States. History (such as that of United States throughout Latin America during the 1980s) tells us that such action would never be tolerated. It would predictably result in American military operations dwarfing those of Russian forces in Ukraine.
So don’t believe what the mainstream media is telling you about Ukraine. Putin has his reasons and is no worse than our own country’s leaders. This is yet another tragedy created by the country Martin Luther King described as the “greatest purveyor of violence” in the world.