By Greg Pence
How much is it close to reality for the global public opinion to consider solely Russia/Putin or NATO as the absolute evil, culprit, and initiator of the war? It goes without saying that Putin is the initiator and commander of the war in the literal meaning and the Red Army has committed war crimes and breached the territorial integrity of Ukraine by its underway intervention. However, the initiator of the war is not its sole culprit; those who paved the ground for igniting the war are also to be blamed.
Since the establishment of the Soviet Union, the USA has considered Moscow as a political and security actor; even George Kenan, the American diplomat, proposed the “containment” strategy, which has been used to isolate Russia and separate it from the western world. Insisting on the containment policy after World War II led to the emergence of the Cold War, an all-out political and economic confrontation, and ultimately the establishment of two blocks of the West and the East. Meanwhile, the USA and its European allies supported the idea of the “European Common Market”, the establishment of the EU, and the eastward expansion of NATO.
The promise of President George H. W. Bush during the unification of two Germanys not to expand NATO eastwards in order to create a security margin with the USSR was breached after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and consequently the fall of the eastern institutions such as Warsaw Pact and Comecon Market.
After the unification of Germany, the United States and its European allies determined new key tasks for NATO-even beyond its territorial sphere; a case palpable in invading Yugoslavia in 1999 and Iraq in 2003. The new key tasks had also been set in order to contain Russia in its security proximity or even on a global scale; since Iraq and Yugoslavia were the last cross-border supporting strongholds of Russia.
NATO commenced an indirect war with Moscow in the 1990s by expanding its operation sphere in Europe and having an indirect presence in regions indirectly related to the strategic depth of Russia. Expanding NATO towards the borders of Russia finally led Putin to react and issue the order of the war, in 2014, in order to occupy Crimea, one of the regions of paramount importance in the Black Sea. However, when Russia was intoxicated with the euphoria of victory, NATO updated its military structures and established two commanding headquarters in Germany and the USA in order to make itself ready for the further expansionism of Russia.
Ukraine’s war revealed the existence of the vestiges of the Cold War era in the minds of Biden and Johnson. In the first days of the war, Biden explicitly told that the sanctions are to punish Russia, and not to stop it from invading Ukraine. His quotes implicitly suggest that the United States was already prepared for the war, considered it an ideal option, and even pushed Russia into it. Britain, too, declared that the sanctions sought to topple Putin.
The root of the current tension between Moscow and Washington is pursuing a containment strategy and the discourse of the Cold War era. The united states, by intermittently bringing up the necessity of Ukraine joining NATO, incessantly tried to put Russia and Ukraine in confrontation with each other. What paved the way for the realization of this dream was the toppling of the then Ukrainian President, Yanukovych, with the support of the USA. In addition, a year after the occupation of Crimea, the CIA began to conduct secret and intensive training courses for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and intelligence personnel in America. Although the reason behind establishing such courses was not clear enough at that time, on January 13, a little more than a month before the start of the Russian offensive, it was reported that CIA-trained forces could soon play a major role in Ukraine’s eastern border, where Russian forces had been massing and preparing for a possible attack. In fact, the purpose of training them was to engage the Russian forces in different parts of Ukraine in order to ground them- not just to defend against military aggression. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine was clearly recognizable to America and NATO in advance, and even Biden had clearly announced its time a few months before the start of the war. When the flame of the war ignited, NATO started sending heavy and semi-heavy military equipment to Ukraine from its two active and up-to-date command centers in America and Germany at an unbelievable speed and trapped Putin and the Russian army in a deep quagmire. In less than two days, Putin’s unmotivated army turned the golden dreams of Peter the Great into a terrible nightmare.
By continuing the crippling and comprehensive sanctions against Russia, the United States fueled another crisis to make living conditions so difficult for the general public, especially the middle class, that the ground for the fall of Putin’s government or the collapse of Russia’s political structure would be provided.
Forcing Russia to attack Ukraine was practically a pre-planned game for Putin; and inadvertently, he stepped into a trap that America and its European partners had already laid for him with the aim of weakening Russia or making strategic changes in the Kremlin. But why Ukraine was chosen as the bait of the conflict has its own reasons. Ukraine was a ripe fruit to implement the strategy of weakening or making changes in the Kremlin because the national feelings of the Ukrainians had the necessary motivations to defend their country, originating from the separation of Crimea.
Turning Ukraine into a trap for Russia was exactly taken from the model that the United States had previously used in the Soviet attack on Afghanistan and Iraq’s attack on Kuwait during Saddam’s time, and by the way, it had achieved its desired result.
By equipping the Afghan Mujahideen and fighters from other Islamic countries, Washington and the CIA chose Afghanistan as a place to avenge the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, the help of the Russians to the Viet Cong ultimately caused the heavy defeat of the United States.
By the same token, Ukraine has turned into another revenge arena for the united states in order to avenge Russia over the US soldiers killed by the Taliban; above all, it was Russia who had trained the Afghan group to kill the Americans. The war in Ukraine has so far caused more human, financial, and military losses to the Russian army than the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, and has made the Kremlin more isolated in foreign policy; like a silkworm in the threads of its miscalculations.
Now America and NATO are trying to make Russia remain a potential and actual threat to justify the increase in military spending of the United States on the one hand, and on the other hand to turn it into capital for their future confrontation with China. This situation has put Russia in front of a labyrinth that has made it very difficult for the Kremlin to get out of it.