As the situation in Ukraine has continued, there’s been less of the “World War III” rhetoric floating around than there was when Russia first became directly involved. Russian intervention in the Ukraine was immediately seen by many in isolation as Russian aggression against their smaller neighbor. Seen in the light of events over the last couple of decades, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Nor should it come as a surprise that NATO didn’t immediately mobilize to come to the Ukrainians’ defense.
The more you look at geopolitics, the more it becomes evident that there are very few events that are really surprises if you’ve paid attention. Russia has been working to bring its former satellite states back into the fold since the late ’90s. When the US and Poland entered into talks about the possibility of installing an American missile defense system in Poland, the Russians threatened to move Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad to neutralize the system. While the justification for the threats was that NATO was “encircling” Russia and “testing our (Russia’s) strength,” Russia has been quick to oppose any movement of one of the former Warsaw Pact states toward NATO and the West.
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