A Russian soldier fires a rocket-propelled grenade during drills at the Kuzminsky range in the southern Rostov region of Russia - Picture: Reuters
For two decades now, starting with the destruction of the World Trade Centre and continuing through the war on terror, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, The Arab Spring, and on to ISIS, Yemen and the current and entirely avoidable crisis in Ukraine Western foreign policy is a catalogue of disaster, mainly through the inability of diplomats and military leaders to understand that the leaders of Russia, China, the Islamic states of the middle east and Africa they are dealing with a different mindset to those they encounter in dealing with other western nations. Thus the wreckage of several previously prosperous and successful nations are stark examples of the unintended consequences of US / NATO interventions.
Sadly, on encountering successful nations such as Bashir Assad's Syria or Col. Muammar Gadaffi's Libya western leaders only see tyranny, a lack respect for human rights and an absence of decent values, and fall victim to a self righteous urge to put things right by overthrowing the local tyrant and imposing western style democracy, without a though for what the people of those states actually want.
Russia and China are vastly different to Gadaffi's Libya or Assad's Syria, China is a military and economic superpower the global influence of which may have already passed that of the USA, it's difficult to tell because the communist regime is so different to anything we are familiar with. Russia still fits Winston Churchill's 1939 definition: "A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,"which perfectly describes the current Western sense of Moscow as the "other" - an inscrutable and menacing land that plays by its own rules. While relatively backward in economic development, Russia is a military superpower and though it has been demonised to a ridiculous extent by mainstream media recently, only a fool would seek confrontation.
Unfortunately while banner headlines scream a narrative about Russia's imminent invasion of Ukraine, the US and Europe's current hostile and provocative attitude towards Putin's Russia and its allies is certainly founded on ignorance, short-termism, and the half - witted belief that Russian leaders will react in the same way as western leaders would to similar situations.
Russia has been accused of fomenting war with Ukraine and threatened wit an economic winter if it were to invade, although now, as in 2015 when this particular game was last played there is little evidence that Moscow intends to invade in spite of the large number of troops stationed perfectly legally on Russian soil close to the Ukrain border. Their presence is not new, they have been there since 2014, , maybe to deter the neo - Fascist regime in Kiev, which was installed after a democratically elected, pro - Russian government was deposed by a US / EU engineered colour revolution, from embarking on a campaign to rid Ukraine of its substantial ethnic Russian minority, or maybe to warn the powers behind that colour revolution that any attempt to enroll Ukraine as a member of NATO will be seen by The Kremlin as a threat to Russian security.
Another way of looking at the current crisis is that while demonising Putin and bigging up the threat of war creates another convenient monster and stoke up fear and insecurity to deter opposition to the idiocies of globalism and cultural Marxism, Russia has little to gain by attacking Ukraine. What Putin wants is a guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO. Russian leaders have always worried about the vulnerability of their long southern border and to have the relatively large state lies on the other side of a significant chunk of that border join the Alliance The Kremlin sees as its main enemy is absolutely unthinkable.
The US State Department has already pushed Belarus, a nation led by the Russophile autocrat Alexander Lukashenko, out into the cold although with backing from Putin, Lukashenko survived an attempt to bring him down by unknown actors (the usual suspects) staging a colour revolution in 2020. Both Putin and Lukashenko have become major irritants to the west and an obstacle to those organisations promoting the cause of global government. But it is Western hostility to both these leaders and their nations that has worsened the current energy crisis and initiated a full-blown agricultural crisis and food shortages in the USA and some EU member states, particularly Germany.
These are grave unintended consequences indeed, and all current indicators suggest they are only going to get worse unless the western powers learn to stop meddling in the internal affairs of nations with governments Washington, London, Paris and Brussels do not like.
At the moment, while the US Administration <ATO and EU leaders are stirring up war fever over the imminent invasion, President Biden and the EU Commission are talking of no military response should Russia invade, but only economic sanctions. This policy would not deter a Russian invasion if Puting ever intended to actually invade, and greatly overestimates the deterrent effect of sanctions in defusing any situation that might need to be defused. There are several powerful reasons to believe sanctions would have little effect on Russia and in fact wold probably harm western nations that depend on Russias gas and oil for energy more than they would hurt their target itself.
We must remember Russia has lived with economic sanctions since its 2014 annexation of the Crimea, yet the Russian economy remains stable if stagnant, propped up by massive foreign exchange reserves from oil and gas and its relatively low debt to GDP ratio. Ukraine, the pattern of events is fairly predictable. Should the attack on Ukraine happen and The West's response was to impose sanctions rather that offering military resistance, Putin would simply switch off Europe's gas supply and ban oil exports, and the continent would plunge into an economic crisis as a result.