(BLP) – During a statement he gave before reporters on June 29, 2022, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the military alliance’s encroachments into Eastern Europe since 2014 were done to effectively contain Russia.
“The reality is also that we have been preparing for this since 2014,” Stoltenberg stated. “That is the reason that we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance, why NATO allies have started to invest more in defense, and why we have increased [our]readiness.”
The NATO leader proclaimed that Russia has been “using force in the eastern Donbass since 2014.”
Robert Bridge of RT noted that Stoltenberg ignored several inconvenient truths about what provoked Russia’s fierce response to Western meddling in Ukraine:
What he neglected to mention, though, was the role Western powers played in the outbreak of civil violence in Kiev on February 24, 2014 that led to the Maidan coup and, ultimately, to the current situation. The US and its influence on the ground in Ukraine, channelled through “civil society” groups it bankrolled, was largely responsibility for that mess.
Indeed, Russia is a great power that still believes in some form of sphere of influence for Russia in the 21st century. Ukraine has historically been part of Russia’s broader civilizational sphere and it possesses major geopolitical importance for it. So it will go to great lengths to at least keep Ukraine neutral, if not completely under Russia’s political and economic fold.
Bridge later cited Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland’s meddling in Ukrainian affairs as another factor that made the situation in Ukraine go out of control in 2014:
“Even Victoria ‘F**k the EU’ Nuland (then-US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs) admitted as much in April 2014 when she said Washington had invested $5 billion dollars into “spreading democracy” in Ukraine – apparently because such efforts worked so well before.”
One point that Bridge notes is that Ukraine has been a de facto NATO proxy force since 2014 owing to the military aid and training that the West has provided to it in the subsequent 8 years.
Bridge used a quote from international relations scholar John Mearsheimer to illustrate this point, “The alliance began training the Ukrainian military in 2014, averaging 10,000 trained troops annually over the next eight years.”
The RT writer continued by explaining how the project to turn Ukraine into an anti-Russia project has been a bipartisan endeavor:
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The arming of Ukraine happened regardless of who was in the White House. In December 2017, the Trump administration, together with other NATO states, began sending ‘defensive’ weapons to Ukraine, while Kiev took a major role in military exercises held on the Russian border.
Additionally, the US and Ukraine have held various military exercises in the lead-up to the present Russian special military operation in Ukraine:
The US and Ukraine have been co-hosting Exercise Sea Breeze, yearly naval drills in the Black Sea. The July 2021 iteration was the largest to date, including navies from 32 countries. In September the same year, the Ukrainian army led ‘Rapid Trident 2021’, which the US Army describes as ‘A US Army Europe and Africa-assisted annual exercise designed to enhance the interoperability among allied and partner nations.’
Overall, the US Deep State has turned Ukraine into an anti-Russia entity. Against the background of an international relations arena where great power politics is making a comeback, any moves to strengthen Ukraine and bring it into the Western fold will not sit well with Moscow.
One can express horror at Russia’s current military incursion in Ukraine but also recognize that the West played an outsized role in creating this security dilemma. America First populists should avoid the neocon/neoliberal temptation of blindly supporting Ukraine and instead offer realistic solutions of extricating the US from this conflict altogether.
The present line of foreign policy thinking in DC will have the US sleepwalking into a geopolitical disaster of epic proportions if there is no course correction made in the next decade or so.