US meddling on Russia’s turf puts relationship at risk

US meddling on Russia’s turf puts relationship at risk. By Michael Sexton.

The real dispute, however, between the US and Russia has been the expansion of NATO into what the Russians see as their sphere of influence.

This started under the presidency of Bill Clinton in 1994 and eventually led to Hungary and Poland joining NATO in 1999 and then Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2004. Now Ukraine would like to join them and Russia views this prospect as a threat to its authority on and around its borders.

It is not alone in this view; in 1977, veteran American diplomat and Soviet expert George Kennan wrote that “expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era”. He added that such a decision might be expected “to restore the atmosphere of the Cold War to East-West relations”.

Russian resentment at the policies of the Ukrainian government is exacerbated by the fact until 2014 Ukraine had an administration that was much less hostile to Russia. But that regime effectively was removed in 2014 with the moral support of some members of the EU and $US5bn of fin­ancial assistance by the US to Ukrainian opposition groups. …

Russia has little appeal for the West and that has been true for most of its history but that is no reason for the US and its allies to become involved in conflicts where they have no real interests of their own at stake. They might remember the advice of sixth US president John Quincy Adams that the nation “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy”.

Thirty years ago, the Soviet empire was crumbling and they were thinking of withdrawing Soviet armed forces from East Germany, Poland, Hungary etc. The West solemnly promised it would not expand NATO into those countries. This is rarely mentioned any more in western media.

Not only did it break that promise, but now the West is flirting with expanding NATO into Ukraine, once an integral part of the Soviet Union.

Russia has advanced weaponry. It’s hypersonic missiles might be able to sink half the US Navy in about ten minutes. And then there’s the nukes. Why take those risks, just to add Ukraine to NATO and the EU?

The US Democrats are unpopular and falling fast on any number of domestic issues, so they desperately need something to change the public’s focus. Maybe they think they can have a limited war with Russia in Ukraine.