With the world on the brink of a major confrontation or even all out war, reason dictates balance. Since no complete timeline of Vladimir Putin policy currently exists, here's one reasonable attempt
Phil Butler is our regular contributor. This article also appeared at his blog
If you’re sitting in America reading this on your PC, tablet or smart-phone there’s a 64% chance you believe Vladimir Putin and Russia are the aggressors in the Ukraine conflict. If this is what you believe, then there’s a 100% probability you are wrong. Let me explain why, for the 13% who are undecided who have ventured to read here.
First of all, let me congratulate those of you who made it this far in your quest for the truth. Most who are reading this with you right now, they’ve their own path to studying the disaster that has unfolded this last 14 months in US-Russia détente. I’m sure most will read to the end to be reminded of their journey, of the utter absurdity of US and EU strategies over Ukraine. Maybe a good way to help you grasp the nonsensical nature of these strategies is via a headline at The Buffalo News, if middle America offers a snapshot, Buffalo is as good a litmus strip as any. The opinion piece; “Putin is making it violently clear that Russia’s aggression will not end,” it would be laughable if not for the message’s prevalence in America. You see this is what’s being broadcast in my country, over, and over, and over, and over again in every town big and small, before 300 million people. To realize the real situation though, American’s in particular need to understand a more genuine reality.
Without going into a long history lesson encompassing the Fall of the Wall, and world strategy since, it is necessary to reveal the real intentions of one Vladimir Putin. The Russian president, in tandem with current Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev, they’ve made no secret of Russia’s intentions the last decade and a half. If you’ll allow me to simplify, I believe a greater understanding of US, EU and Russia détente today can be had. Here is a bullet list of Putin/Russia action/reaction pointing to a less farcical international relations situation today. It’s a long list, one you’ll never have seen on The New York Times, in TIME Magazine, nor even in a CNN infographic.
Looking at this more complete timeline several things become more apparent. In all the western media timeline events I’ve seen, key elements have been omitted to form a super negative tone where Putin and Russia are concerned. Granted my timeline is slightly overbalanced in the opposite direction, but this is a way of achieving an unbiased view of our current situation. All of Putin’s (Russia’s) strategy moves are not so positive, but it was clear from the onset Mr. Putin had a straightforward plan for Mother Russia. What’s, more, his plan was on course before the current hostilities began. I quote from his inaugural speech:
“We want our Russia to be a free, prosperous, flourishing, strong and civilized country, a country that its citizens are proud of and that is respected internationally.”
I’ve also mentions something called the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) as being instrumental in all this current chaos. It should be noted that Vladimir Putin and Russia decided not to become part of this foreign relations group/instrument for one simple reason. Russia wanted to be considered on “equal” terms with the EU, the United States, and other countries within the so-called G8 rather than in a secondary status. This is important to understand, for western strategy has always hinged on keeping Russia subdued. The greater number of ENP partners with the EU, they are smaller countries, so Russia chose to cooperate via something called the EU-Russia Common Spaces agreement. While the distinction seems slight, it is in this subtlety much of the current west-east conflict can be seen. Put bluntly, America and Britain do not want the EU and Russia solidly connected on an equal status.
To sum up, if we take all this into account from afar, then it’s easier to see the greater anti-Russia strategy I’ve been talking about. First we must look at Putin’s intentions and moves from the onset. Next, the growth of Russia influence was clearly being offset by countermeasures from America via political chips like missiles, and so forth. Then, an emergent Russian influence simply became too strong. Putin endeavors were leading exactly to where US strategists did not want relations to go, to such things as free trade and free visas in between Russia and the EU. A point in fact is, Putin was to have signed with the EU free visa travel by January of last year via the “Common Steps” guidelines set forth by the European Commission. Obviously, this could not be allowed to take place. First came Sochi, then the Kiev coup, and all hope of EU-Russia integration was shattered.
Now, weighing what I’ve presented properly, the reader should have a concrete grasp of the Russian view on all this chaos. While it is unfair to assume every initiative from the west to be negative or evil, it is fair to insist Russia has not been the overt aggressor as suggested. If we can consider this, then perhaps a divorce in between all these nations can be averted. I leave you with a graphic that is a bit funny, but actually pretty sad. It is a sort of truth and a cause of all this conflict, I am sad to report.