Why Are We Fighting Russia?

Some claim it is intended to “help democracy”. Others feel it is to hold in check Russia’s desire to expand its territorial boundaries.

I have suspected that our foreign policy elites don’t like Russia because the country has not adopted the LGBTQ agenda; and because it resists following the vaunted “international order”. It is clear we are no longer fighting international communism instigated by Russia, as we had been during the Cold War.

But a provocative article suggests other reasons we are fighting this war. It points out that Russia is extremely resource-rich, thereby suggesting geopolitical importance.

Moreover, it suggests a desire to prevent Germany and Russia from becoming aligned with each other because this would threaten the current order. (It was suggested this was why we took out the Nord Stream pipeline.)

Finally, a desire to weaken Russia was cited because Russia is viewed as an adversary.

The article makes sense. Things are not as they appear on the surface.


4 thoughts on “Why Are We Fighting Russia?

  1. The Long, Destructive Shadow of Obama’s Russia Doctrine

    A series of bad decisions during the Obama years prepared the ground for Vladimir Putin’s war.

    By Adrian Karatnycky, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and the founder of Myrmidon Group.

    JULY 11, 2023, 4:22 AM

    In an interview with Times Radio in May, Richard Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s MI6, observed that “the policy that [U.S. President Barack] Obama followed in 2014, when there was this initial Russian invasion … the way that this was handled, with the benefit of hindsight, was probably a mistake.” Dearlove was right, but he missed a salient point:

    The decisions made in the Obama years aren’t just something to observe through the rearview mirror. Obama’s policies continue to exercise a major influence on the course of the Russia-Ukraine war and have resulted in the unnecessary loss of tens of thousands of civilian and military lives.

    Today, Ukraine is in the early stages of what its leaders say is a major counteroffensive to recapture the roughly 20 percent of its territory occupied by Russia. The task of reconquest is far from simple. Not only has Russia’s military spent many months creating strong lines of defense and digging in, but Ukraine is also handicapped by the slow and belated provision of military aid. It still lacks significant air power and long-range missiles, two categories of weapons that would make reconquest lesscostly.

    Ukraine has already endured an eight-year hybrid war that took 14,000 lives before Russia’s massive invasion in 2022 took even more—with tens of thousands and perhaps as many as several hundred thousand people killed on both sides. Russia at one point held as much as 27 percent of Ukrainian territory before its forces collapsed on several fronts. Yet Ukraine still lacks a wide array of necessary weapons to reclaim what Russia still occupies.

    In truth, all these predicaments trace back to Obama’s Russia policy. Indeed, it can be argued that Obama’s approach to Russia and Ukraine continues to influence the situation fundamentally and detrimentally on the ground and in the U.S.-led allied response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s all-out war.

    Without question, Putin bears full and total responsibility for his war on Ukraine and the suffering and death his forces have inflicted. But his attack on Ukraine in 2014, his growing imperial ambitions, and his subsequent decision to obliterate the Ukrainian state have their roots in the policies and actions of the United States and its allies during the Obama years.

    For most of Putin’s years in power, the United States and the West responded inadequately to Russia’s increasingly aggressive acts, from a series of assassinations in Western countries to the occupation of other countries’ sovereign territories. It began with then U.S.-President George W. Bush’s weak reaction to Putin’s 2008 invasion of Georgia. When Obama came into office, he compounded Bush’s mistake. Instead of pivoting to punish Russia for its aggression, he tasked his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, with launching a “reset” in relations, wiping the slate clean of Russia’s misdeeds in Georgia. More significantly, Obama scrapped the Bush administration’s plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, a decision Putin personally cheered.

    Nor did Obama adequately grasp the scale of the looming Russian threat. During the 2012 presidential election campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney declared that Russia “is, without question, our No. 1 geopolitical foe. They fight every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that [Obama] has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.” In response, Obama mocked his rival: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

    In 2014, after Russia had already annexed Crimea, shot down MH17, and sent Russian troops and security services into combat in Ukraine’s Donbas, Obama staunchly opposed sending arms to Ukraine. He responded to the Russian invasion of Crimea with only minor sanctions targeting Russian individuals, state banks, and a handful of companies. He rejected a leading U.S. role in diplomatic efforts to end Russia’s war, delegating responsibility to France and Germany. While it makes logical sense to expect European countries to take charge of security on their continent, these countries lack the United States’ geopolitical heft, and Putin has never accepted them as peers of or negotiating partners for Russia. What’s more, these two European countries were heavily dependent on trade with Russia and showed little interest in the security of Eastern European countries. Most damaging was Obama’s clear statement that Ukraine was not a U.S. strategic priority.

    Speaking with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in the Donbas, Obama emphasized the limits of his commitment to Ukraine. As Goldberg wrote: “Obama’s theory here is simple: Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.” Goldberg then cited Obama as saying, “The fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-NATO country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do.” In other words, a U.S. president all but acknowledged Ukraine as a Russian client state, elegraphing to the leader of an aggressive, revisionist power that the United States would stand down if Russia were to widen its war. Moreover, the doctrine of Russian escalation dominance—that the Kremlin would always be willing to exercise superior power to get its way in Ukraine, whereas the United States would not—became the governing principle of U.S. policy. This principle echoes to this day, holding back U.S. support for Ukraine.

    During a recent interview with CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, Obama doubled down on his weak response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine in 2014. “We challenged Putin with the tools that we had at the time, given where Ukraine was,” Obama claimed. It’s true that in the early days after Russia’s shock invasion, Ukraine’s degraded armed forces were not ready to fight back to reclaim occupied territory. But Obama neglected to mention that within months, Ukraine had significantly rebuilt its armed forces, in large measure aided by the heroism of volunteer fighters who enlisted by the tens of thousands in a vast civic movement to protect their country. And that means that the most important tool Obama had at that time was to give these fighters lethal weapons, which he steadfastly refused to deploy for the rest of his presidency.

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