Lessons Not Learnt

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Putin holds all the cards now. However, this situation was only allowed to occur because of the political and moral vacuum that developed in the West since the end of the Cold War.

Michael Totten: “What he [Putin] most fears is that Ukraine might join NATO, removing yet another buffer state between himself and the West and kiboshing his plans for the Eurasian Union, a euphemism for a 21st century Russian empire. (Does anyone seriously believe Kazakhstan will be an equal partner with Moscow?)

Keeping his former Ukrainian vassal out of NATO will be easy now even if a militant anti-Russian firebrand comes to power in Kiev. The Crimean referendum—whether it was free and fair or rigged is no matter—creates a disputed territory conflict that will never be resolved in Ukraine’s favor. It will freeze and fester indefinitely. There isn’t a chance that NATO would accept a member that has a disputed territory conflict with Russia. No chance at all. Ukraine is as isolated as it could possibly be from the West without getting re-absorbed into Russia entirely.

Putin did the same thing to Georgia in 2008 when he lopped off the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and he did it for the same reason.”

What Vladimir Putin is Up To
http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/what-vladimir-putin

“Ronald Asmus: This war [The Russia–Georgia war of 2008] is all about the rules of the game in European security. And I think most Americans, perhaps even including people like me, thought five years ago that we had successfully all but completed a post-Cold War European security architecture that had rendered war in Europe impossible and had allowed the United States to shift its strategic focus away from Europe to new hotspots in the wider Middle East.

And the key moment in that was the [2002 NATO] Prague Summit where we completed the so-called “big bang” enlargement of NATO [to] Central and East Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

I think what this war showed was that Russia no longer believes in those rules of the game, because those rules of the game were based, among other things, on the rights of countries to choose their own path and their own alliances.

And as I argued in the book, the fundamental cause of the war was not ethnicity, was not Abkhazia or South Ossetia. This was a war that was fought over Georgia’s desire to go West and Russia’s determination to stop it from going West.”

Interview: Georgia’s ‘Little War’ Raises Big Questions
http://www.rferl.org/content/Interview_Georgias_Little_War_Raises_Big_Questions/2023466.html

Every Tyranny Is Paranoid
https://simonjmeath.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/every-tyranny-is-paranoid/

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