Ian has a post everyone should read. Also, as a reminder, give this show Ian and I did with noted Russia specialist Anatol Lieven, where we discuss at length Russia and the Ukraine and NATO a listen.
Everything which transpired over the last week has been about one issue, and one issue only: the Ukraine. Russia will never let the Ukraine join NATO. Not now, especially as they have the power and the means and quite clearly the will to thwart its accession.
Why is Ukraine important? Other than the key points Ian makes there is one other key point that must be made. Had Charles XII, or Napoleon or Hitler had a Western friendly country with borders less than a few hundred kilometers from Moscow their invasions would have ended in a drastically different fashion. It’s called ‘strategic depth’ and the Russians will never give up the Ukraine for that reason. If you think nations change, well they do, but not nearly as fast as you think. And for the Russians the Mongols, the Swedes, the French and the Germans are still very, very real in their collective memory.
We are at a very dangerous point right now. The US is over-extended and to some extent paralyzed by the election that is upcoming. The next 12 months are the perfect time frame, as Ian notes, for Russia to make it very clear that it will not tolerate a Ukraine in NATO.
It won’t happen, and if the West persists, Europe will have some damn cold winters ahead and maybe even a fighting war on its hands.
Stay out of the Ukraine. America has its red-lines; the Israelis have theirs, and so do the Russians. We’d be wise to remember that in all our flag waving jingoistic glory.
Nota bene: I want to really urge you all to listen to the podcast Ian and did back in April 2007. Starting around minute 30 it is very, very worthwhile and goes to the heart of the issues we are dealing with in Georgia right now.