Once Russia launched its illegal, criminal war on Ukraine, mainstream media spoon fed us one version for the war. Putin decided to re-establish the old Soviet Empire, starting with Ukraine. Additionally, he’s likely a delusional madman in the vein of Stalin and Hitler, who will never be satisfied with one conquest. That plays well with both our government, seeking to hide its colossal blunders leading to war, and the American people, susceptible to any propaganda whitewashing U.S. foreign policy mistakes.
The US has been poking at the beehive of Russian military strength since 1997 with the extension of NATO up to Russia’s borders. That represents 25 years of provocations that Russia has opposed from Day One. Two years later the US led an offensive NATO war against Russian ally Serbia, bombing it for 78 days to sever Kosovo from Serbia. Where was the Western media pushback against that illegal war to change a country’s borders?
But tensions escalated in 2008 when the 20th NATO Summit proposed eventual NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine. That prompted Russia to issue its first red line against further NATO expansion, including placement of troops and missile launchers near Russia’s borders, minutes from Moscow.
But the US really began poking the Russian beehive in 2014 when the Obama administration greenlighted a US inspired and promoted coup against the Russian leaning Ukraine president. Why? Simply to prevent him from signing an economic agreement with Russia that was better than the one offered by the EU. The West would not allow Ukraine to tack East, even if it meant violent coup. Worse, it set off a civil war with Russian leaning Ukraine provinces in the Donbass being brutalized by Ukraine neo-Nazis employed by the new Ukraine government for that venture. For the past eight years the now pro Western Ukraine government has been shelling and killing thousands in those breakaway provinces, in part using weapons the US funneled to Ukraine by the Trump administration.
The final poke at the Russian beehive came last November 10, when the US and Ukraine signed a Charter on Strategic Partnership, which asserted America’s support for Kyiv’s right to pursue membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. That was a poke too far for Putin’s Russia which unleashed the bees of criminal war just a hundred days later.
As Hardy would say to Laurel after Stan blundered into another jam for the duo, “That’s a fine kettle of fish you’ve got us into.”
Now, 13 days later, the US NATO beekeeper is powerless to stop the slaughter in Ukraine without possibly plunging the world into nuclear winter.
While too late for Ukraine, let’s hope the US policymakers finally learn the lesson of the diplomatic beehive. Poke it endlessly at your own risk.
Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.