Several recent events along a geographical line of unofficial demarcation in the tension-addled zone of influence currently contested by both the Russian government and the governments of the Western alliance (including the United States, Canada, and the members of the European Union) have once again altered the character of the conflict itself. So what is going on? Why do countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia matter to United States policymakers? What in the world (or at least Eurasia) is going on over there, and why is such a complicated situation of concern to the U.S. and Europe?
Instead of bludgeoning you, the reader, with quotes and references, this article is designed to be a small explainer piece—something to help the reader understand, in a generic sense, the conflict between Russia and the West. It’s not a thorough historical analysis of ethnic territorial battles, wars of nationalism, or a high-minded academic piece on the causes of war. It’s meant for you, the reader, to find a bit more clarity as to why events in the past year seem to lead from one into the next.
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