March 7, 2014

Russia and Ukraine: No Surprises

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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About the Author

is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. He is now a tactical tracking instructor and the author of the military thrillers Task Force Desperate and Hunting in the Shadows.

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  • YankeePapa

    JohnChristopher1   . "...I don't know how you go about pretending that didn't happen..." . ...The U.S. pretended that Communist China was not the "legitimate" China for a couple of decades.  Didn't seem to crush the spirits of the Chicom leadership... . -YP-

  • JohnChristopher1

    "it will not be recognized by most of the world." Well, that's what they said about East Germany: It wasn't recognized until it was. Except, with Crimea, following a putatively fair vote for secession, it'll be part of Russia. I don't know how you go about pretending that didn't happen. All in all, Russia if gains Crimea, it loses the Ukraine. (Alternative solution: Russia "leases" Crimea.)

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa exactly.....

  • YankeePapa

    . ...If Putin annexes the Crimea, it will not be recognized by most of the world.  Wow... and that means what, exactly?  Much of the world does not recognize Jerusalem as the seat of the Israeli government (our ambassador in Tel Aviv) but otherwise business goes on as usual.   . ...The people of Russia will recognize the annexation... and that is all that matters to Putin. . -YP-

  • Fred82

    CloydDowling  I think China has Russia beat in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the rest of South/Central American. When the USSR collapsed, China moved in as a sort of new "sugar daddy" for Cuba and Latin American leftists. China is also after increasingly large amounts of natural resources to fuel its growing economy and industrialization. Likewise, I wouldn't say Russia is a contrarian to Western interests. The Russians are out for their own interests and will step on Western interests when they run contrary to those of the Russian regime.