March 11, 2022

Among the other things which are not much discussed  or understood is  the reasoning behind Putin/ Russian aggression in the Ukraine. The why of it all. Talking  heads and  media pundits incessantly speak of  the bravery, the heartbreaking stories, and the determination of  the Ukraine in the fight for independence. But this is all about what is happening and the why is dismissed as the evil of off Putin. One  needs only to look at  a map of eastern Europe and understand the history of NATO after the break up of  the USSR at the end of the cold war to understand the why.

When the Soviet domination of eastern Europe  collapsed and the eastern European states regained their independence from   Russia, there was an agreement  that NATO would not expand into these countries: Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania …et al.  Russia remembered that Germany had twice invaded Russia and more than 25 million Russians perished by the atrocities committed against  civilians. But of course NATO did expand and troops and missiles were moved in along the entire  Eastern front, from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The threat of the Ukraine joining NATO reduces the distance of NATO members to Moscow by two thirds. Russia would not tolerate. 

Professor Steven F. Cohen (Princeton/NYU and among most distinguished scholars of Russian history and relations with America) argues there have been three periods of détente since the end of World War II: beginning under presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Regan. Détente  (meaning avoidance of actions that may provoke war) w as possible because Russia perceived Republicans were more pragmatic and more interested  in  getting things done and doing business an democrats were more ideological as in President Wilson’s  “making the world safe for democracy.”

When Trump was elected, he said he believed we could be friends with Russia… meaning détente was possible.. Democrats  declared Russia was America’s greatest threat and the  Clinton cabal fabricated the Russiagate  hoax. Predictably the elites of the Washington swamp (media and deep state) jumped in with charges that Trump was a traitor, under the control of  Putin, and Russia interfered with the election which caused Trump to win election. For his entire term of office, Trump was harassed by Russiagate and wholly partisan efforts to remove him from office. Thus Trump and Putin were demonized and detent not possible.

It is not possible to predict the future  course of events or outcome of the Ukraine war but it is reasonable to assume resolution must include a détente which  assures   Ukraine’s independence with, possibly, the  Switzerland neutrality model. Res publica.

By C. Augustus Landis

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