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.

2 Responses

  1. Michael Strenk says:

    I think that Mr. Gordon seriously misreads the situation in Ukraine. Much of the civilian infrastructure in Donbass has been steadily eroded by the eight year long civil war started by the insistence by the Western Ukrainians that all things Russian be cleansed from the landscape, including the Russian speakers themselves. I think that Mr. Gordon needs to listen to the rhetoric of the ideologues of the ruling clique in Kiev to understand that surrender of what was left of Donbass meant certain death for much of its population. Russia chose, perhaps, the best moment to officially enter the fray as Ukraine had amassed as many as 200,000 of its top front line troops on the borders of free Donbass for an invasion of this rump and whatever part of Russia that they could snatch. This has, so far, largely limited the conflict to an area already ravaged by war, leaving much of the rest of Ukraine relatively unscathed. Russia had no choice but to attack the military infrastructure in the rest of Ukraine including de facto NATO bases in order to limit damage to its own forces. To do otherwise would be to follow a losing strategy such as that of the U.S. in Viet Nam or Korea, neither of which were necessary invasions, of going only thus far and no farther, thereby ensuring high casualties and failure, about neither of which did the establishment in D.C. give a rat’s -. Not taking southern Ukraine would be a colossal mistake ensuring an endless cycle of repeat conflicts. Much of the Black Sea coast is Russian speaking and always has been. There are also significant non-Ukrainian minorities living in the region, most notably Greek and Bulgarian, who have been under extreme pressure by the Nazi regime and who deserve protection by Russia, especially as their co-ethnics abroad appear to have sold them out.

    Does Mr. Gordon expect Putin & co. to abide by mere public statements regarding Ukraine when Ukraine itself and the West as a whole has given no thought at all to abiding by signed negotiated agreements?

    I wonder what civilian infrastructure Mr. Gordon has in mind that Russia is presumed to be intentionally targeting. Throughout much of the conflict the water, electricity and natural gas and, until recently, the trains have continued to run where the Nazis themselves have not intervened to stop it. In contrast, the Ukrainians have intentionally destroyed civilian infrastructure and civilians where ever possible and seem to be trying to cause a nuclear incident at Energodar.

    How is Russia contributing to world hunger when it continues to export food in ever increasing amounts? Ukraine’s total contribution to global trade in food amounts to something like .5% of the total and this amount has mainly been controlled by Western interests to be used for the profit of those interests, not to feed the world. Meanwhile Europe and Canada and, to some extent, the U.S. are willfully destroying their already collapsing conventional food system by limiting access to fertilizer and natural gas due to their own self sanctioning behavior. Add to this a global drought in the northern hemisphere, for which, no doubt, Putin is also to blame, and it is not hard to see where the real deficits are coming from.

    The West is collapsing. It has been doing so for decades. Now that its ability to effectively steal the natural resources of the rest of the world has been sharply curtailed the collapse is accelerating. I think that we need to concentrate on reigning in the extreme systemic and moral corruption in our own society rather than requiring Putin & co. to fall down and beg our forgiveness for ruining the party. Russia is doing fine and is building bridges all over the world, Asia, South American and Africa. It is we that are to blame for the mess and it is we that need to clean our own house and leave the rest of the world to its own devices.

  2. Russell Gordon says:

    I appreciate you filling in all the blanks and adding all the history and current context that I left out. It was meant to be, and is, a basic introduction to some issues I have noted. About 50% of the people I know who read it liked it and agreed, or universally and angrily condemned it for diametrically opposite reasons. Germans were angry because they thought I was way to soft on Putin and Russia and too focussed on criticising US foreign policy, while some Serbs and Americans mildly berated me for being too hard on Putin and the Russians and too soft on the US. I stand by the short, accurate introduction to the issues I raised.