Putin’s War–A Few Caveats
I have been a Russophile since covering the Balkans in the mid-90's as a journalist and news photographer. I appreciated the Russian volunteers who fought and died for Bosnian Serb sovereignty and UNPROFOR in Bosnia and East Slavonia. I was also influenced in part by Srdja Trifkovic's view that Russia should have been completely assimilated into the West after 1991, and that we are semi-natural allies, and Greg Copley's assertion that the State Department is responsible for starting Cold War II.
That said, Putin fell for the bait offered by US militarists, who have for some time been dreaming of the total and final destruction of Russia as a powerful nation-state. They baited him into Ukraine, which he is trashing at considerable cost to civilians, when he should have entered Donbass and Crimea only. Russia had a moral right to defend ethnic Russians in the Donbass region, and majority-Russian Crimea. He would have been right to take on and destroy Ukraine's Azov Battalion. They are, as he has claimed, nazis. But was it really necessary, in order to make Ukraine a neutral country, to destroy so much human habitation and infrastructure? And what is the use of having a now-heavily armed failed state on one's borders? Despite being warned by Putin repeatedly since 2012, Zelensky, Biden and NATO pushed Russia into a corner by not respecting her security concerns. But Putin also was warned repeatedly not to invade Ukraine. He and Serguey Lavrov promised they wouldn't, then did it anyways.
The former Soviet Union, and later Russia, worked hard to form alliances throughout the world, often through military and food aid. Russian and Ukrainian grain were vital to the sustainance of numerous Third World nations. It should have been obvious to Putin that Russia, by causing hunger, would damage its relations with those nations. Putin's actions, plus the excessive sanctions and Western media's extreme Russophobia, have tarnished the good name of the Russian nation for the next 20 years.
Fortunately, some countries are not being swayed by the West's destructive and excessive isolation of Russia, and have maintained normal diplomatic and economic relations with them. Some governments, however, are showing unjustifiable support for Russia's adventurism in Ukraine, such as Serbia, where crowds of thousands have frequently marched in support of Russian war aims.
Even Russophiles should say a few words about Putin's duplicity, when he denies targeting civilian infrastructure. Millions of people have now fled into European exile; there is a reason they are running away. It is time even his foreign supporters tell him he is out of line.