Russia’s head of state said in a speech on state television that key issues of Russian national defense were at stake.
Moscow state television Rossiya 1 broadcast President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Sunday, which he held on Friday. It gives a much broader picture of the grave crisis brewing in Russian-American relations than what the extracts in the Russian media tried to convey over the weekend.
Putin has expressly for the first time warned about itthat his future course of action “will be based exclusively on the proposals that our military experts will make to me” if the USA and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization refuse to give the security guarantees demanded by Moscow. It is clear that there is no more leeway.
This is anything but the White House cliché that “all options are on the table,” as with Washington’s interventions in Venezuela or Syria. Putin has indicated that since this is about core issues of Russian national defense, military considerations will come first.
That is, Russia cannot accept the eastward expansion of NATO and the US missions in Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, or the creation of anti-Russian states along its borders. And Russia expects “that the diplomatic talks on the documents will lead to a legally binding result”.
Not surprisingly, Putin, too said, Russia will endeavor to achieve a positive outcome in the talks on security guarantees. Moscow calls for an early meeting. Interestingly enough, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stressedthat Moscow does not seek a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden.
There is little likelihood that the US will agree to a legally binding security guarantee for Russia. There are obstacles on the way there. For starters, Biden simply doesn’t have the political capital to put Congress on a conciliatory path towards normalization with Russia.
Even among the United States’ European allies, consensus on the delicate issue of NATO expansion is difficult to achieve – provided Washington is receptive to Russia’s demands, which is not the case.
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned on the weekendthat not only Ukraine and Georgia, but also the possible admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO will have “serious” military and political consequences, which Moscow will not leave unanswered.
NATO and Russia
To put it simply: Russia expects the US and its allies to keep the assurance given to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO will not expand “an inch”. (The Kremlin-funded news channel RT published on Saturday the corresponding released documents).
The point, however, is that NATO’s withdrawal from Ukraine so soon after the debacle in Afghanistan would irreparably damage its credibility. Indeed, if NATO stops expanding, it could wither away. As long as NATO cannot concentrate on an “enemy”, it will lose its hold and no longer have any right to exist.
The transatlantic system falls apart when NATO goes into a tailspin. And NATO is the anchor of the United States’ global strategies. As simple as that.
As for Ukraine, the West ate more than it could chew when the US intelligence agency Central Intelligence Agency staged a coup in Kiev in 2014 to overthrow the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych and replace it with a US-friendly government to replace. The regime change agenda was pushed forward without really understanding that Ukraine today is a country, not a nation.
Ukraine is a creation of Josef Stalin. In a brilliant essay earlier this month entitled Ukraine: Tragedy of a Nation Divided, former Ambassador Jack Matlock, the American envoy to Moscow who played a pioneering role as confidante of Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev in the negotiations to end the Cold War, warned that Ukraine would be without Russia’s helping hand Has a future.
On the other hand, the “Deep State” in the USA and large parts of the foreign and security policy establishment in the Washington “Beltway” harbor the fantasy that the CIA can embroil Russia in a swamp in the Ukraine.
David Ignatius threatened last week in a column in the Washington Post Moscow, with a full-blown US-backed guerrilla war, should dare to intervene militarily in Ukraine. Matlock’s essay will act like a cold shower for those daydreamers.
The main problem is that Biden is personally in a bind. He was instrumental in the regime change project in Ukraine. We will never know whether the then President Barack Obama delegated the dirty job to Biden or if Biden asked him to do it. Suffice it to say that Biden must now take responsibility for the mess in Ukraine, which has turned into a kleptocracy, a bastion of neo-Nazis, a den of sin and a cesspool of viability and depravity.
The refugee crisis is getting worse
A wrong step, and Europe will have a stream of refugees from this country (45 million inhabitants) on its doorstep that is so massive that it makes Syria seem like a picnic – and at a time when that Ghost of Yugoslavia haunted the Balkans.
Since Biden has been an ardent supporter of Obama’s containment strategy against Russia in the past, it will be a bitter pill for him to be the destiny-chosen Western leader to guarantee Russia’s national security. And that with Vladimir Putin at the helm of the Kremlin, a head of state whom Obama and Hillary Clinton viewed with hatred.
Biden has hardly made a secret of his dislike of the Russian head of state. Biden has added people known as Russians to his foreign policy team. Acting Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland was personally at the regime change in Kiev in 2014 involved and is now responsible for US policy towards Ukraine.
The protagonists in Washington have each other Made illusions. Basically, they imagined Russia was a declining power – a broken, sulky, petulant country longing for its superpower pedestal.
The grim prophecies of a Russian collapse have belatedly given way to the grudging realization that Russia is an enduring power. The resurgence of Russia – both its soft and its intelligent power – has taken the West by surprise.
The armament of the Russian nuclear and conventional forces under Putin has produced surprisingly impressive results. Putin has restored the nation’s pride in being the “heir to an ancient and enduring identity – forged in the time of Peter the Great and enduring in the Soviet era – as a major player on the international scene,” according to a comment by Andrew Latham, a American professor of international relations, with the title Reports of Russia’s decline are greatly exaggerated to quote.
Why such a crisis at this point in time? The whole point is that the US has decided that it needs to clip Russia’s wings first before it messes with China.
Russia and China
Although there is no formal military alliance between Moscow and Beijing, Russia offers China “strategic depth” by simply being a great power pursuing an independent foreign policy and an alternative vision to the so-called liberal international order in the sense of a democratized world order based on the UN Charter and Multipolarity.
Relations between Russia and China are at the highest level in history.
The pragmatism of the Russian elite is legion. The Americans apparently thought that somehow the Kremlin could be appeased. Putin’s remarks must have been a bitter shock. The point is that Russia’s maximalist demands and its minimalist stance are one and the same.
That leaves no room for trickery even to an accomplished politician like Joe Biden.
“We have nowhere to retreat,” Putin said, adding that NATO could deploy missiles in Ukraine that would reach Moscow in just four or five minutes. “You have pushed us to a limit that we cannot cross. They have come so far that we just have to tell them: ‘Stop!’ “