Generals would love to use Ukraine as their military base projecting into the heart of Russia
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
The author is a Ukrainian political analyst and director of the Center for Eurasian Studies.
The Warsaw NATO summit was a striking demonstration of double standards. We’ve long been used to the West's double standards. We know how the North Atlantic Alliance can bomb sovereign countries, contribute to their dismemberment, and then issue angry communiques condemning "aggression" in some other part of the world.
In Warsaw, double standards with regard to Russia were so concentrated that they became contradictory. Just take the statement by Netherlands Foreign Minister Bert Koenders that the West needs to "show Russia a clenched fist while simultaneously extending an open hand." Just imagine a person extending his hand while at the same time threatening you with a clenched fist. Get the picture? That was what this NATO summit looked like!
This was particularly evident in the decision to station American-Canadian-German-British battalions in the Baltic region and Poland, combined with an "appeal for dialogue": Allegedly these battalions will only promote a "peaceful dialogue with Russia." Great amusement was caused by the statement that "all three battalions in the Baltic countries will be stationed a long way away from the Russian border." Have those who said this even seen these Baltic countries on a map? Can they tell us how it is possible to deploy anything a long way away from the Russian border?
This attitude was also present in the stance toward Ukraine, to which particular attention was devoted. Without citing any facts, the alliance adopted a number of documents condemning "Russia's aggression against Ukraine”, demanding that Russia "end its political, military, and financial support for the militants" in Donbass. It was particularly indicative that these statements were made on the very day when militants in Syria downed a Russian helicopter using an American weapon.
Where did the Syrian militants acquire American military hardware? What does the Warsaw summit communique say on this matter? Well, it actually mentions Syria only in passing, to condemn Russia "supporting the regime in Syria." Just a minute, what about the principle of sovereignty and integrity about which the West is allegedly so concerned with regard to Ukraine? Where has this principle suddenly gone with regard to the legitimate government of Syria (much more legitimate than in Ukraine)? Yet these two absolutely opposite approaches coexist in the same document, in the same paragraphs and even in the same sentences!
Or take yet another quote from the Ukraine-NATO Commission document: "We are particularly concerned at the increase in the number of violations of the ceasefire regime along the contact line, primarily (!) by militants supported by Russia." Note this "primarily." That is to say, NATO recognizes that Ukraine is also violating the truce (albeit, in the alliance's opinion.). If that is so, it would be logical to also condemn Ukraine for these violations of "Minsk." But no, this same document describes Ukraine as a "stable partner of NATO" to whom it will offer further military-technical assistance. Might that be in order for it to continue to also violate the Minsk agreements?
The pinnacle of stupidity, of course, is the appeal to Russia to "withdraw Russian troops" from Ukrainian territory. I do not know how many Western or even Ukrainian politicians have said that there are no regular Russian Army units in Donbass nor can there be any (at least right now), unlike Western units. In this connection let me mention that Point 10 of the Minsk agreement clearly specifies that no "foreign armed formation" can be present in Ukraine. Note that it says “in Ukraine” in general, not just “in Donbass”!
You can speculating all you want about the presence of Russian troops, but Russia has always denied it, while even after “Minsk", the West sent military instructors to Ukraine and is conducting regular military exercises with its own units - directly flouting said provision and feeling no shame about it, as was enshrined at the Warsaw summit. Are these not double standards too?!
It cannot be said that this summit was unproductive for Ukraine, as some Russian observers have hastened to do. Kiev got a few more handouts - Ukrainian Foreign Minister Klimkin routinely refers to the "trust funds" that the alliance is to set up. What else does the current Ukrainian regime need if not the opportunity to live off aid that will inevitably end up in its own pockets?
Of course, Ukraine has not yet moved closer to NATO membership. But I would urge Russian analysts not to relax, but to abandon their claim that "membership in the North Atlantic Alliance will never beckon for Ukraine." We should not confuse the EU and NATO. Nobody will ever see Ukraine in the European Union. But many NATO generals would love to use Ukrainian territory, which projects into the very heart of Russia, as their base. (As some unambiguously hinted ahead of the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.)
I venture to assure you that these plans have not gone away, so their significance should not be dismissed under any circumstance. They should definitely be taken into account when formulating Russia's defense strategies. Also, of course, we should do everything to ensure that NATO’s Russophobic dreams are not realized, regardless of how they approach Russia - with a clenched fist or an "open hand...."
Source: Izvestia - Russian daily news
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons