August 1st, 2023 | NICK EDWARD

Russia Is Not The Sole Aggressor

The West has been provoking Russia and Putin since 2004.
The annexation of Crimea sent shockwaves across the international stage. However, the United States and NATO, driven by a series of antagonistic actions and policies, stoked the flames that ultimately resulted in Russia's annexation of Crimea and its eventual invasion of Ukraine. With so much talk of the masses living inside of a “matrix”, now is a good time to break the programming. There is nothing more indicative of mass programming than the sheer number of people who continue to believe the myth that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked.
Like a powder keg awaiting a spark, the relationship between Russia and the West was teetering on the edge well before the annexation of Crimea. The end of the Cold War, with its promises of a new era of cooperation, slowly gave way to NATO's expansionist agenda. The alliance, which initially aimed to ensure the collective defence of its members, began encroaching upon Russia's traditional sphere of influence, ruffling feathers and igniting Russian fears of encirclement.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO found itself at a crossroads. With the Warsaw Pact dissolved and a new era of geopolitical relations dawning, assurances were given to the Soviet Union and its successor state, Russia, that NATO would not expand eastward. These assurances were primarily conveyed through diplomatic channels, official statements, and high-level meetings.
A pivotal moment in the early negotiations between the West and the Soviet Union occurred in February 1990, when Secretary of State James Baker held talks with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. During these discussions, Baker made assurances that NATO would not expand "one inch" eastward if the Soviets accepted a unified Germany within NATO. This commitment was a crucial factor in gaining Soviet consent for the reunification of Germany.

Revolutions And Betrayal

In 2004, NATO started eyeballing Ukraine like a hungry wolf gazing at a juicy piece of meat. They welcomed in the Baltic states and others from the Eastern Bloc, and it got Putin angry. He saw NATO's move eastward as a direct threat to Russia and he wasn't going to take it lying down.
The West played an active role in supporting the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004. The United States, in particular, saw an opportunity to bolster pro-Western forces and assert its influence in the region. The Russian leadership perceived this as a direct challenge to its interests and regarded the revolution as an example of Western meddling and interference.
The U.S again backed a coup in Ukraine in 2014, sometimes called the “Revolution Of Dignity”, which saw protesters and rebel groups oust the country's pro-Russian leader.
Adding fuel to the fire, the West's response to the Kosovo crisis in 2008 further heightened Russia's concerns. The unilateral recognition of Kosovo's independence by some Western countries, bypassing the UN Security Council, set a dangerous precedent. From Moscow's perspective, this displayed a double standard and undermined the principles of international law. It perceived the West's actions as a warning that it could similarly intervene in regions like Crimea.
The subsequent push by some factions in Ukraine for closer ties with the West and potential NATO membership only exacerbated tensions. With NATO's open-door policy and Ukraine's strategic location, Russia saw this move as a clear threat to its security, reminiscent of the Cold War era. It viewed the potential deployment of NATO forces on its doorstep as a direct encroachment on its sovereignty and vital interests.
A series of "colour revolutions" that swept through countries in the post-Soviet space, often with Western support, deepened Russia's apprehension about potential subversive activities on its doorstep. Similarly, the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East, which saw the fall of regimes like those in Libya and Egypt, further heightened Moscow's concerns about Western-led regime change efforts.
In the complex web of international relations, actions often have unintended consequences. While the annexation of Crimea was a clear violation of international norms, it is essential to acknowledge the contributory factors that led to this volatile outcome. The antagonistic policies pursued by the United States and NATO, fueled by a series of historical and contemporary events, inadvertently exacerbated tensions with Russia. This antagonism created an environment conducive to the annexation of Crimea, highlighting the dire need for diplomacy and a more nuanced understanding of each party's security concerns in the pursuit of lasting peace and stability. As the world continues to grapple with this conflict, the lessons learned must guide future policies to prevent further escalations and foster cooperation in an increasingly interconnected world.

The Importance Of Ukraine

When the Soviet Union went belly-up back in '91, things were supposed to change. There were talks, handshakes, and promises of a new world order, but as the years rolled on, it seemed like those promises were worth less than a nickel in a penny arcade. Putin, being no dummy, remembers those days when the West and Russia were playing nice, sipping vodka and shaking hands. Even James Baker promised no inch of NATO would crawl eastward. But as the wind changed, so did the tune.
Now, you might wonder why Putin cares so much about Ukraine. Well, it's more than just geography. Ukraine is like a bridge connecting Russia to the rest of the world. It's a strategic lifeline for Russia's Black Sea fleet, and you bet your boots, Putin ain't letting that slip through his fingers. Eastern Ukraine also has a very large ethnically Russian population. 
In 2008, there was that Bucharest Summit, where NATO almost gave Ukraine and Georgia a ticket to the membership dance. That ruffled Putin's feathers and he let out a roar. He has made it clear as crystal that NATO expansion eastward is like a thorn in his side, and he's not letting Ukraine become the next domino in NATO's line dance.
Not to mention Ukraine's uncomfortable proximity to Moscow and its ongoing biological research partnerships with the United States. For NATO, Ukraine puts the alliance and its forces one step closer to Moscow. 
All in all, Ukraine is a piece of the chessboard that Putin isn't willing to lose. The United States, mostly under the leadership of Barack Obama and Democrats, planted the seeds of Russia's eventual invasion and everything that will come next.


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