Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Understanding The History Of Russia

Since before the Tzars of Russia, their country had to deal with the Mongol invasion.  Eventually, the Tzars pushed them out of Russia; but then came the threats from the Turks and the West; the Poles, the Swedes, Napoleon and then two World Wars with Germany both of which resulted in millions of Russian deaths.   The result after World War II was the Soviet Union and expansion into the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe to create a buffer zone around Mother Russia.  

When the Soviet Union collapsed and the Baltic countries and much of Eastern Europe joined NATO as protection against the Russian Bear, all of a sudden Russia was surrounded by what they believe to be hostile forces.  NATO in essence is right up against Russia's border with no buffer.  To the Russians aside from American forces, they are facing Germany, their traditional enemy right at their border.  While none of this is an excuse for Russia's aggressive behaviors against Ukraine and other countries that border Russia that were once part of the Soviet Union at least it should help explain their behaviors. 

Russia wants no further expansion of NATO, which is understandable given their history.  They absolutely do not want to see Ukraine join NATO because again it would put NATO forces not far from Moscow.  On the other hand, given Russia's aggressive behaviors toward Ukraine, it is easy to see why Ukraine would want the protection of NATO.  While Trump was President, we did not have to worry too much about the situation in Eastern Europe.  Trump sent defensive weapons to Ukraine when Obama only sent blankets.  Biden has continued to send defensive weapons to Ukraine, which is good; but Biden is weak.  It was during the Obama Biden Administration that Russia took over the Crimea from Ukraine without much consequence.  Again, Crimea was part of Russia going back to Catherine the Great who captured it from the Turks.  There are many native Russians living there.  

Putin sees Biden as weak so he might be tempted to go the rest of the way to take over Ukraine.  Russia is a third rate country from an economic standpoint.  It is only its nuclear and military power that makes it a factor in the world.  But all of this leads to a bit of an inferiority complex, which makes Russia dangerous.  Ronald Reagan's adage of peace through strength should be the operative; but it only works when we have a strong President.   Unfortunately, President Joe Biden is weak and feckless, which is making our relations with Russia and China very dangerous.  Let us just hope that these countries don't miscalculate because of Biden's weakness.   

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