If Russia doesn’t invade Ukraine, there will be a lot of disappointed Progressives in this country. The Left has been using Russia as the “bad guy” for years now. Russia served well for a while to keep Trump preoccupied and prevent him from doing too much damage to their programs. Now that Covid is winding down, a good war could help the current administration recover before the midterm elections.
If we were to get seriously involved it might even serve as an excuse to “postpone” the midterms, perhaps indefinitely. It would certainly keep the populace fearful, distract from inflation, and justify all sorts of measures to eliminate “subversive elements who criticize the government” from any participation in society.
Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Progressive Left has been using Russia as a scapegoat and boogeyman. Aside from their feeling that Russia betrayed the Revolution and backslid into capitalism, the Left has been able to capitalize on the long history of sentiment against the communist Soviet Union. The Cold War period from the end of the Second World War until the advent of the Glasnost rally in 1965, the Soviet Union was considered an existential threat to the West. Since Russia was the dominant state in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) it is now the new replacement for that institution in the minds of many.
Any port in a storm
After several attempts at reform, the Union finally broke up in 1991 into a set of independent states. Russia became the Russian Federation. Unlike Europe and the US, the USSR lacked good port facilities that were available year ’round. The few all-year ports were problematic because they either required ships to traverse relatively narrow passages controlled by often unfriendly powers, or were at the far Eastern end of the country, distant from the population centers. This lack of ports greatly hindered economic development, as well as development of a Naval military force. The one bright spot was the port at Sebastopol in the Crimea. While not ideal, it was near both Russian population centers and European trading partners.
Consequently, the USSR invested heavily in development of both commercial and military port facilities at Sebastopol. When the Union fractured, Russia was left without access to a port they had come to depend upon, as well as one they had invested much in development. In case anyone hasn’t looked recently, there is a large country sitting directly on all the land routes between Russia and Sebastopol in Crimea. That country, a former Union member, is Ukraine.
In the time of Stalin, Ukraine was a problematic member of the Union. As one of the largest member republics outside of Russia, and one of the Union’s principal agricultural areas and sources of grain, Ukraine felt it deserved a larger voice. Stalin had other ideas. The difficulties grew to the point where during a food shortage in the rest of the Union in the ’30s, Stalin confiscated the crops of Ukrainian farmers, leaving many of them to starve. Many Ukrainians today either remember that time directly, or have parents and grandparents who remember that period well, and hold substantial mistrust and animosity toward Russia.
Besides the land access routes to the Sebastopol port facilities Ukraine also sits astride many of the best land routes for pipelines between Russia and Europe. Gas and oil are two major products for Russia and some of its best and most reliable sources of foreign exchange.
Poking the Bear
As one might guess, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine has not been the easiest even before the breakup. Several agreements have been made between Russia and Ukraine in attempts to ensure right of passage for Russia’s fuel exports. While both sides have broken agreements at times, Ukraine has on several occasions attempted to use the pipelines as leverage against Russia. This has not led to the best of relations. Unfortunately, there has not been a sufficiently strong third party respected by both countries to act as a neutral arbitrator and enforcer of the agreements, so the disputes continue.
Add to that the effective hostage situation that exists with the Crimean port facilities, and the situation is ripe for conflict.
This is where the Progressives come in.
By casting Russia as a meddler in our elections, as a manipulator of our leaders, and a general malign agent in the affairs of our country, the Progressive Left has managed to both prevent the development of cordial relations between Russia and the US, as well as to force Russia to reluctantly seek closer ties to China.
A history of conflict
China and Russia have never been comfortable companions. Heavily populated China has often looked longingly at the virtually empty, but resource rich portion of Russia to the north, known as Siberia. The Sino-Soviet border often saw troop buildups by both countries during the Cold War period and even after. Although both countries were nominally Communist, both had their unique flavors and were not mutually agreeable. As one might expect, dragons and bears frequently do not play well together.
A more natural relationship would be found between the US and Russia. Both were major world powers, and both had worked together well during the Second World War. Both were essentially European descended and shared many common features. That commonality may have contributed to the difficulty between the countries, much like the conflict that can exist within families.
Gorbachev, who led the breakup of the Union was receptive to assistance in turning Russia into a capitalist democracy. After over seventy years of Communism, though, about the only ones who knew how to make any sort of capitalism work were the Russian mafia – hardly the ones you want in charge. Unfortunately, hawkish elements in both countries worked to discourage a closer relationship at the time.
Today, the Left finds it useful to have Russia in an adversarial position. Russia now serves as a useful scapegoat to blame for their own unpopular actions. Election manipulation – blame Russia. Trump does something to oppose the Left – his is a Russian agent or a Putin pawn. Russia has become something of an all-purpose enemy for the Left, useful to blame for almost anything they want to deflect or hide. This is rather a paradoxical position for them, as they were once strong supporters of Russia when it seemed that it would be a successful model for Socialism/Communism. Their disappointment broke hard when their hero fell. For all these reasons, the Left has been stoking division between our two countries for several years now.
This brings us to a second major concern of Putin and a second factor behind the current Ukraine/Russia conflict. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was originally formed to “contain” the Soviet Union. After WWII, the West was concerned that the USSR would exercise expansionist ambitions into Europe, so it seemed necessary to do something to discourage such thoughts. After all, it had annexed, or brought under their sphere of influence, Latvia, Lithonia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia, among others in the years following the war. Territorial ambitions seemed a reasonable assumption.
What was not fully appreciated at the time, was that Russia was acquiring a buffer zone around itself. During its history, Russia had been invaded by Mongols, the Japanese, the French, Islamic armies, Germans, and even the Swedes. Having no surrounding aquatic barriers, Russia built a land moat around itself. The acquisition of territory was as much an attempt to protect itself as it was a mechanism to spread the Communist ideology.
While some at NATO may have realized this situation and understood that Russia would likely back off once it felt safe, there was pressure from Europe and America to assure its own safety from assumed Soviet predation.
Now the Soviet Union is gone, but NATO remains. In fact, since the breakup of the USSR, several former Soviet states have joined NATO, eroding that buffer zone Russia had constructed. Worse, NATO still saw its mission as containing the Union now existing in the form of the Russian Federation. Under pressure from the US, NATO states were encouraged to place military facilities in their borders and even to accept missile launch facilities aimed at Russia close to the Russian border. Understandably, this was very concerning to Russian leaders.
I have to thank Kurt Schlichter at Townhall for pointing out the increasing encirclement of Russia by NATO forces and facilities. When Ukraine wanted to join NATO, that was simply too much. One of Putin’s major demands of Ukraine in this conflict is that it not join NATO.
What if it were us?
Imagine for a moment that China had formed an alliance with Canada and Mexico, along with Cuba and Caribbean countries. Call it the North American Chinese Organization. Now imagine that China was encouraging these NAChO members to accept military bases and missiles aimed at the US. Would we not be concerned? Would we not complain? We might even threaten to invade some of those countries in an attempt to discourage Chinese “containment” efforts and activities. China might even apply sanctions against us.
Just as we might object to NAChO encroachments, it is only reasonable to expect a similar response from Russia to NATO efforts. In fact, even a modest effort to put ourselves in Russia’s shoes would suggest several possible win-win solutions to the situation that do not involve armed conflict.
An intolerable result
Heaven forbid that such understanding ever develop! The Left cannot permit it. They would lose a perfectly good scapegoat that they can use against us nasty conservatives – anything we do to oppose the Left must be directed by Russia as we are too stupid to think it up for ourselves. Further, with the decline of Covid, the Left fears losing control, and like Canadian truckers, the great unwashed masses might start clamoring for restoration of their freedoms.
A good war would serve to justify more restrictions, would distract from and even justify inflation effects. It would even promote further restriction of speech, assembly, and other subversive activities. It would enable them to further promote the idea that our Constitution is obsolete and irrelevant and groom the population toward Socialism and government dependency. No, the Left can ill afford to let this potential crisis go to waste.
Never mind that Putin says that he doesn’t want war. Just like they did with Trump, the Left can claim he is evil and lying and really wants to kill innocent Ukrainians. Forget that the President of Ukraine is asking us how it is we know that Russia is on the brink of invasion. Generate lots of conflicting news that Russia is withdrawing troops – no, Russia is moving forward – no we need to arm the Ukrainians to resist – no, NATO won’t get involved – no, we won’t send troops – no, we are airlifting troops and support battalions to Eastern Europe – Putin isn’t sincere in wanting to enter talks — it goes on and on.
All the while the Leftist media is beating the war drums hoping someone makes a mistake and hostilities start for real. Distract people enough and they won’t notice that we haven’t fixed our election systems so they will be able to jigger the results of the midterms just as they did in 2020, or that forced vaccinations are killing people, or that economies across the world are in shambles from Leftist authoritarianism.
Power from the people
Like flies attracted to manure, those who want power are drawn to concentrations of power and will always seek to increase it. More government means more power. The reasons given to increase power are always that more is needed in order to do all the wonderful things that need doing. Funny how those things never seem to get done because there never seems to be enough power to do them.
If Russia doesn’t attack Ukraine, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments among the Left. All their information attacks, all their accusations of Putin as an evil warmonger, all their manipulation of public opinion will be for naught. They will have to find another excuse for more suppression of the populace. How are they going to keep those slaves down on the plantation once they have seen the lights of freedom?
The Left is in a dangerous position now. Across the world people are rising up to oppose their arbitrary restrictions, their suppression of basic human rights. The only thing that has kept them safe is the deeply entrenched willingness of the people to follow the rule of law. Should that break down, the Left would be treated to its own retribution. Just ask Marie Antoinette how that worked out.
The question now is: Will the Left get the war they long for, or will Mr. Putin try a different approach to achieving his goals? Perhaps India might step up to serve as intermediary in negotiations, since the current US administration is too far Left to want a peaceful solution.
Even if Putin takes a military course, it would still be possible to avoid the sort of massive conflict the Left desires. The Left would put pressure on NATO to escalate matters, but if Putin continues to show restraint and willingness to obtain a peaceful resolution, Europe would be unlikely to favor NATO aggression. It could even be an opportunity to punk the Left by simply withdrawing troops and pointing out how hysterical was the liberal media’s response to their presence. Of course, laughing at a Leftist gains you an enemy for life, but at this point, what is there to lose?
Who is more dangerous, a Russia seeking its own security, or a hawkish Left thwarted in its lust for power? Will the Left stage a false flag operation to provoke hostilities? How far will they go? Stay tuned for further developments.
Featured photo by Mil.ru, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Content syndicated from TheBlueStateConservative.com with permission.
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