The Cold War - Background of Annihilation.
The year 1950 saw the Korean War going on overseas, and the civilians of the U.S. were dealing with a different type of crisis. Known as the second red scare, or McCarthyism, the American public found itself fearing a rise in communism from within. It reached such an extreme fervor, that one had to only be accused of being a communist, to have their lives ruined and total alienation from the public. It would seem likely that this scare, along with the Korean War, largely contributed to N.A.T.O. making the decisions that would follow soon after. In 1954, the U.S.S.R. had already demonstrated that they had nuclear power like the U.S., and a willingness to help communist countries battle democratic ones. Next, they shocked N.A.T.O. leaders with an attempt to actually join N.A.T.O. and avoid open war with the free nations. If sources are to be believed, the Kremlin reached out shortly after Joseph Stalin’s death to the countries of N.A.T.O., but they were quickly rebuffed. Apparently, the response from the West was, “the unrealistic nature of the proposal did not warrant further discussion.”, and the information of the proposal was not even released to public attention until after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1989. It seemed that N.A.T.O. and the U.S. never intended to allow the communist country to join N.A.T.O. To drive that point home further, the N.A.T.O. document MC 48 was drawn up in December of the same year, which explicitly states the rules regarding nuclear retaliation in the event of any hostilities with the U.S.S.R. or other communist countries. In essence, the document stated that in the event of hostility of any kind to a N.A.T.O. country would be grounds for complete nuclear retaliation, preemptively if at all possible.
A chilling document from last century to be sure, but more chilling still is the realization that even then, N.A.T.O. understood the devastation that nuclear war would bring on both countries. This concept became known as a deterrent to war through mutually assured destruction, and it was extremely effective in the fear it generated and the policy changes that were made as a result. It should be no surprise that the Russia, Poland, East Germany and other communist countries formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. With the two opposing sides firmly established, the Cold War had officially begun.
“Fear is one of those intangibles of history that often explains a lot about why things unfolded the way that they did. The problem with it is that it’s also a fact of history that evaporates quickly.” - Dan Carlin
When most people think of the Cold War, they think of espionage activities, space races, and hockey games. It has always been easy for the American public to reduce that entire forty-year period into the few public events where the United States supposedly came out on top. What they have forgotten however, is the fear that accompanied life back then. For the first time, human beings had to consider the fact that the entire human race could be wiped out based on the decisions of their leaders. A concept that inspired fear, and with that fear came a way of life that has been completely forgotten.
In 1989, the Berlin wall came down and the Cold War ended with victory claimed by the side promoting democracy, N.A.T.O. The Warsaw Pact dissolved, and many of the countries that made up the collective of the U.S.S.R. claimed their independence. When Germany eventually joined N.A.T.O. in 1990, a verbal agreement took place between Mikhail Gorbachev and then U.S. Secretary of State James Baker that N.A.T.O. would not expand at all to the east. The agreement should have been put into writing. N.A.T.O., acting as if no deal was ever made, set out to recruit the various countries that were born because of the fall of communism. They have added 12 countries in the 25 years since, including Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia, and many others in the east, right up to the Baltic. N.A.T.O. is also in talks to recruit other countries, such as Ukraine and Georgia, all closer to the border of modern Russia.
The Latest Piece of the N.A.T.O. Security Plan, Revolution Included Free of Charge
N.A.T.O. had been considering membership for Ukraine since 1994. Some situations like the Kharkiv Drinking Water Disaster have helped strengthen N.A.T.O.-Ukrainian relations while other instances such as the Cassette Scandal led to strained relations later on. The consensus of polls conducted in Ukraine seemed to indicate that most of the polling population thought that N.A.T.O. was a significant threat to their sovereignty. Then again, one has to question how far into the west the polls extended. In 2010, the acting president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, had completely ended N.A.T.O. and E.U. talks by dissolving the alliance.
Russian leadership, most recently their third term president Vladimir Putin, had been content with the leadership in Ukraine being more aligned with Russia, while opposed to their admission into N.A.T.O. However, the leaders of N.A.T.O. and the E.U. continued their campaign of attempting to influence the population of Ukraine and they are credited with a large portion of the unrest that grew as a result. When a loan was needed in 2013 to help bail out the ailing Ukrainian economy, President Yanukovych elected to receive support from Russia instead of countries in the E.U. This obvious pro-Russian agenda angered the citizens of Ukraine who began to start peaceful protests. The Ukrainian government responded by making laws in an effort to limit the protests and silence the citizens. The citizens protested even more, which started to escalate into violence.
On February 20, the deadliest day of conflict yet, a very suspicious occurrence took place that largely shaped the events over the next year. Snipers allegedly took strategic positions and began to shoot a protesters and police alike, and to date, nobody has taken responsibility for the attack. Many people were killed or injured in the attack, and many believe that the snipers were taking orders from someone that wanted to see a change in regime, especially when you consider the eventual outcome.
Western Ukrainian militias and rebels turned out in amazing numbers to show the governmental police forces that they wanted the direction of the country to be altered. They began to win and overwhelm the police forces. Many members the Ukrainian government were quick to listen to the protesting public and turned their back on the President Yanukovych and his supporters. By February 21, they were unanimously voted out of office, and the former president himself had to flee to Russia. Almost immediately, the various Western entities like the E.U., N.A.T.O. and the U.S. recognized the new government, and stepped in to help mediate and guide Ukraine in a more economically open direction. Perhaps the immediate public western influence is part of the reason why the situation continued to get worse from there, which is to assume that western influence did not directly contribute to the entire situation from the beginning.
With the initial Euromaidan protests over and the new pro-European government installed in Kiev, an entirely new uprising began to take place almost immediately afterward. The original protesters ended up taking positions within parts of the acting military, and a new wave of protesters began to emerge. The new protesters were against E.U. and N.A.T.O. integration, and did not like the new government that had taken power. The Anti-Maidan protests began almost as soon as the Euromaidan protests ended, largely fueled by pro-Russian Ukrainian citizens, as well as various militias and other groups. Ever since, these groups have been fighting the newly established government in Ukraine and their acting military, in what will likely be known in the future as a civil war of sorts.
The former president Yanukovych, already enjoying safety in Russia, made the official request of Russian President Putin for Russian military intervention on behalf of the pro-Russian citizens all over Ukraine. What followed was the eventual annexation of a peninsula on the southern portion of Ukraine known as the Crimean peninsula. A vote took place shortly after, and the people that remained in Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine. It shouldn’t be surprising that the vote passed with over 95% support, because reports claim that there wasn’t even the option to pick “No” on the ballot. Just an option to pick “Yes” and that was it. While Russia denied any initial involvement to the annexation, the move was largely carried out by the majority Russian population in the area, as well as the vast military naval assets and soldiers belonging to Russia that were stationed there from the previous agreement.
As a direct result of the assumed Russian involvement, the U.S. and their various European allies have levied a multitude of sanctions against everyone in Russia or Ukraine they claimed contributed to the current Ukrainian situation. This list, totaled at well over 100 various entities now, is comprised of various government officials, companies, business people, and banks. Basically, anyone believed to be involved at all. The purpose of the sanctions is an obvious attempt to force the various targets to change their tactics, by forcing their respective countries’ populations to suffer the consequences in the meantime. Russia has looked to weather the sanctions by making a few smart economic moves. They were already involved with BRICS negotiations. The BRICS group is a group of nations comprised of Russia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa, with the goal of starting a joint bank with the plan to have a monetary reserve to fix infrastructure issues in their respective nations. In addition to that, due to the freeze in most trade with the west, Russia has since begun formal trade with China to the east. Of course, that does not solve all the economic problems imposed on Russia by the U.S. and the E.U., but it certainly helps keep Russia from making any desperate moves for the time being.
After the Euromaidan uprising in early 2014 and the new government established in Ukraine, the public opinion there seems to have swayed to supporting N.A.T.O. and E.U. membership. This change seems to be indicative of better representation of the people in western Ukraine as well as public acknowledgment of the Russian military threat within the Ukrainian borders. Initially, the new Ukrainian government had claimed that N.A.T.O. admission was not on the table, perhaps in an attempt to quell the rebel uprising, but later they formally announced a new alliance and application into N.A.T.O. in Dec of 2014. In light of all of these occurrences, N.A.T.O. leadership has been very quick to condemn any allegedly Russian activities relating to the Ukraine situation, as if to imply that Ukraine was already a member. A more likely indication of this is that N.A.T.O. plans on fast tracking Ukraine membership, or at the very least, an attempt to further antagonize Russian leadership.
Now that the pertinent historical information is out of the way, we can examine how an uprising that is only affecting a medium-sized country like Ukraine could possibly affect the rest of the world. You have to look at the major entities that are choosing to get involved. Once you begin to ask why these entities are involved, the conclusions that are reached make it pretty obvious where the morality and ethics of the situation lie, or at the very least ascertain what the bottom line is for each major participant.
The Players, The Motivation, and the Bottom Line
There is one other focus for American interests, and the talking points of the people pushing for involvement in the Ukraine give away their true motives. When Secretary of State John Kerry or warmongering senator from Arizona John McCain speak of the situation, they act as if they are anticipating open conflict with Russia, as if it were somehow necessary for the preservation of freedom here in North America. Other assessments of the talking points of these two men are that they are simply brain-damaged. Either way, the congressional body has heard their comments. The U.S. is currently trying to put in place a mission that will send modern military equipment, as well as up to 300 military personnel to advise and train Ukrainian military. Great Britain has already done so as well. While that may seem familiar to some older readers, it should. It sounds eerily reminiscent of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam conflict last century.
Either way, it is difficult to believe that the U.S. has humanitarian aims in mind. U.S. foreign policy has hardly ever ended up being about the welfare of citizens in the countries they are involved in. Instead, they have been about either economic gains, or to influence the direction of any governments with contrary ideas to the U.S. For example, one could look at the war on terrorism. When you look at the actual results of the war, and who made actual gains from it, it becomes obvious that the focus is simply to maintain the war for economic prosperity. If the goal of the war on terrorism was to actually end terrorism, then it is an obvious failure. However, as long as the war generates money for various U.S. entities, then it will continue as a success. One has to consider if perhaps there is a financial incentive for the U.S. to get involved with the conflict in Ukraine too. Either way, the bottom line for the U.S. or the E.U. is money.
The majority of the population left in Ukraine are traditional Ukrainians, and most of them have decided to further separate from Russian influence. The further west away from Russia you travel in Ukraine, the Russian influence in the population drops. This is the group that now controls the government and the military, and is receptive to negotiations with N.A.T.O., the U.S., and the E.U. While the powers in Ukraine have likened to this expansion of western policy, it is completely reasonable to question their willingness to use their own military arms against legitimate Ukrainian citizens on home soil. They may be involved in an uprising, but that is hardly an excuse for a country to use a military force instead of a police force. With the violence aside, the people of Ukraine have the legitimate right to embrace whatever culture, customs or ideology of anybody from any country they want, as long as they don’t represent a threat to the people of the world around them. It is not fair to the citizens of any country to be forced to make that decision without a clear view of all the sides to consider, and it is not fair for the people of Ukraine to not enjoy western culture just because Russia doesn’t want their leaders involved in N.A.T.O. Fair or not, it does not appear that Russia or N.A.T.O. are not willing to let Ukraine choose either way.
The third major global player that needs to be in this conversation is N.A.T.O. It cannot be stressed enough that the entire purpose of N.A.T.O. was to unite countries against Russia and then later its allies, with a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction. Since, they have done everything possible to present a credible threat to Moscow, while repeatedly trying to control every other world situation that could possible represent a threat to itself.
Finally, as hard as it may be for most Americans, you have to willing to analyze the Russian point of view on this situation in order to shed light on what is likely to come. You have to understand when considering Russian foreign reactions is how it has been shaped by a major part of its history. Russia has been invaded more than once from European countries to its west. First, it had to repel Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century. Later, during World War II Russia had to fight of a Nazi surprise attack that turned out to be an all-out invasion. The Russians saw an estimated 40 million casualties at the hands of the Nazis. For perspective, that’s more than if you took the entire U.S. casualty total from every war it has participated in, and combined them. Then you have to multiply that total by 13. The point is the Russians saw that devastation to their population in 4 years. After that, thanks to aggression by the U.S. and N.A.T.O., they had to consider those loses possible happening in a matter of hours through nuclear annihilation. In America, we too have had fear of war and devastation to our populations, but the Russians have actually lived it. When you begin your considerations for Russian action from there, it is easier to understand their actions since.
When the Cold war ended, and communism fell, it would seem that some of the leaders in Russia assumed, or were led to believe that N.A.T.O. would not expand to the east toward the Russian borders. If that was the agreement, then it was an outright lie because N.A.T.O. has run a campaign to actively recruit countries right up to Russia’s borders ever since. Russia has also leveled a couple of major bombshell accusations at N.A.T.O. and the U.S. since the Ukrainian war started. Russia claims to have evidence that not only did the west influence the Euromaidan uprising from the beginning, but they also claim that the identity of the snipers that attacked both sides on February 20, 2014 were agents from either N.A.T.O. or the U.S. . If this were true, it would be another case where the western allies have used illegal methods to influence foreign interests, and start conflicts that cost many lives. Either way, Russian officials have said in the past that they will not allow the Ukraine to join N.A.T.O., and would respond with their military if Ukraine makes that decision. While the people and the media in the West aren’t willing to acknowledge these things, it would appear that Russia has indeed been transparent with their wishes and plans, even if they are counter to the western narrative.
When the government in the Ukraine fell, and the new one was put in place, it should not have come as a surprise that Russia took the steps it did. Is it acceptable that Russia helped capture Crimea and is likely involved in what is happening in Eastern Ukraine? Of course not! It is wrong to try to influence any sentient entity that wishes for its own independence. It is that concept alone that makes it obvious that the people of the U.S. have no place criticizing the acts of Russia; that is dealing with a country not only in its sphere of influence, but also on its very border. How many times has the U.S. been caught directly trying to influence foreign affairs through violence and subversion? Enough to affirm that the U.S. leadership has no room to talk on this subject for a long time to come. The bottom line for Russia would seem to be the safety of its citizens, in a situation where that safety has been in jeopardy in the past.
A quick exercise, just for the sake of proving it. Imagine Russia gaining control of the East Canadian coast, the northeastern U.S., and then putting a base in Boston. That is literally the distance equivalent to N.A.T.O. putting a base in Ukraine. We would not even allow them to put a missile base in Cuba, and we were willing to start a war to do it. That base would have been a lot further away than Boston. Thankfully though, there is not a base in Cuba, but let’s not begrudge the Russians the same interest in the safety of their country in relation to Ukraine. It would be beyond hypocritical to do so considering all the various countries in the globe that N.A.T.O. has affected in its mission to suppress communism and Russia.
Conclusion - An Outlook of Concern
Russia has been taking steps to remind the western interests that they are a viable contender on the world’s stage. Remember, Russia is working closely with several other world powers to establish the BRICS group, an alternate to the western banking system. Russia is also in talks to conduct joint military training exercises in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in an effort to bolster global activity and test its long-range defense capabilities. Interestingly as well, this tactic also seems to be a rather genius effort on Moscow’s part to expose hypocrisy on part of the White House by putting the U.S. in the same situations that they insist on putting Russia in. The Russian military has also taken a couple of jabs at the security of Great Britain and the U.S., by flying some bombers into the respective air space of each in separate instances in the last year. While some may see this as a direct provocation by the Russians, I consider it as a warning of reality. The complacency that people have built around them is good for numbing ourselves to the reality of the world, and then fully embracing the perceived safety because we haven’t seen the horrors of war in our generation is not good at all. Our survival is not a guarantee, and even if it was, it doesn’t give us the right to control the actions of other countries, nor condemn the actions of other countries in similar situations. It would seem that the actions of Russia in the last few months have been an effort to prove that to us.
Finally, when it comes to N.A.T.O., we have to look at their history, and the threat that they represent. The organization was created specifically to hold Russia down, and despite the fact that the communist element in Russia that N.A.T.O. opposed in the first place has fallen, N.A.T.O. persists in its mission to control Russia and how it operates. In addition to that, it still stands on the belief that any conflicts with N.A.T.O. needs to be met with a pre-emptive nuclear strike that will result in annihilation for most of the countries involved. It is beyond asinine that such an organization could still exist decades after its reason for creation has lapsed and that it still can wield the threats it does. Perhaps most stupid of all, is this organization operates parallel to American interests, which are the interests of the cooperate and business elite in an effort to get more money. As a person who tries to remain objective, I can’t understand why people have not taken to the streets, and demanded a different way of solving these problems, and ensuring the safety for everyone involved. Furthermore, I can’t understand why citizens in this country refuse to understand how the actions of N.A.T.O. are absolutely a representation of aggression to Russia, accompanied by a refusal to admit that they would advocate similar actions if the roles were reversed.
Having the fortune to grow up during a time that saw the very end of the Cold War, I haven’t really had to worry about living under the threat of nuclear annihilation like my parents did. As a result, considering the possible chain of events that could be in our future has brought a new sense of apprehension, instead of the unconditional confidence of survival. Now, with how this situation has shaped up in Ukraine, and with the eagerness of the western powers to intervene with the same posturing they always have, I no longer have that confidence when I consider the stakes. I believe that there are ways out of this situation with Ukraine, and I find the current ceasefire to be encouraging, but I think that the U.S. , the E.U., Russia and N.A.T.O. need to stay out of it, and I wonder if that’s going to happen. Above all others, I believe N.A.T.O. should be as far away from this situation as possible, because the Russian people will never see them as anything other than a threat. They have no reason not to, and neither does anyone else, including us. The same document that I listed above, MC 48 also mentions the estimated length of aggression should nuclear war break out. The total estimated time would be a 30 day barrage of every nuclear missile from both sides. The loss of life would be beyond catastrophic, in the matter of just one month. These are the estimates that N.A.T.O. drew up over 50 years ago, and even now, they are quick to put us back in the same position of possible annihilation. Considering the goals and estimates of N.A.T.O. in general, I don’t think they should be anywhere near Ukraine, or in existence for that matter.
In closing, I have to quote Dan Carlin again, because he is the master at summing such things up and his words and ideas have contributed so very much to this piece. He says to his eastern European listeners including the ones in Ukraine “…if you’re concerned, and I think you have a right to be. I think we have to start to try to find ways to improve your security outlook, that doesn’t, at the same time, undercut the security outlook of the Russians. I think it can be done, but I don’t think it can be done with N.A.T.O. I think N.A.T.O. has got to go. And the sheer fact that I can’t imagine our leaders willing to embracing a post N.A.T.O. world bodes ill for all of us.”