Ukraine, a lawless playground for NATO?
The following is collecting my thoughts on why Ukraine appears important for NATO and how we seem to have badly miscalculated.
When the NATO doctrine changed to include and support “out-of-area” operations, it transitioned from a defence treaty, to what is effectively a competitive interest consortium. Their website documents the transition, albeit more diplomatically worded. Amongst other things, with NATO’s intent to work with the EU to protect resources for economic interests, I would argue this has forced Putin to act in Ukraine.
Selling NATO as benign
There is a similarity between the self identity of the EU and the way NATO “sells” itself. Both rely upon the image and goodwill based upon a strategy and function they no longer restrict themselves to.
The EU likes to present itself as a union of states for trade and cooperation. This was certainly true with the EEC, but changed when it transitioned into the EU. Similarly NATO was a peace agreement for defence which has now transitioned to a preemptive organisation to ensure the economic positions of member states are not disrupted.
Ukraine was corrupt yesterday; today it is honourable?
With years of reports on Ukraines corruption, 8 years of attacks on the enclaves in the south and east of the country and the rather unpalatable right extremist elements in the Ukrainian military poses the question why are we supporting these people?
Ukraine has been of interest to NATO and the EU, which considering what we know is rather hard to justify.
Ukraine has been a useful playground for the USA. It has provided the European military and political equivalent to Guantanamo Bay. Also a much needed lawless state directly on the border to pressure Russia; after all NATO must be concerned with weakened ties with Turkey that has until now partially played that role.
NATO has a lot to lose and is gambling on destabilising Putin to recover their playground. The problem seems to be they misjudged Putin’s geo-political acumen.
Self projection is not helpful
I think the governments of the “west” have deceived themselves into thinking they understand the other countries of the world. They probably assumed that Putin would exploit the Ukraine situation, as they themselves have done. It appears even now they are still expecting him to occupy the country; but despite the news reports and claims from Ukraine, it appears Putin has acted with reasonable restraint.
He has stated 3 clear objectives and appears to be sticking with them. Defend the Russian speaking people, neutralise the Ukrainian forces who have attacked those people and search and destroy the biological weapons research labs having secured evidence.
I feel the judgement of “experts” predicted he would go too far, but now that he is clearly not, panic has set in. Silencing Russian media and generating anti-Russian sentiment illustrates this panic rather too obviously. Capturing Russian assets from citizens just because they like Putin and labelling the conflict a war are further examples of loosing control.
Having pushed Russia to act in the belief one could predict and be one step ahead, NATO appears to have placed all its eggs in one basket. In attempting to reinvent itself since the fall of the Iron Curtain they have simply found new but flawed reason to make Russia the enemy again.
The West has already lost but it did not have to.
The US sponsorship of biological weapon research laboratories in Ukraine has handed Russia a far more legitimate reason for acting than we, the west, have used justify our own past conflicts.
The pressure on Europe to cut ties with Russia for energy has induced a partnership between Russia and China. With, in all probability India joining in too. This does not bode well for NATO being successful even in its new role as a “competitive interest consortium”.
Equally NATO tolerating 8 years of attacks on the civilians in the Russian speaking areas of Ukraine hurts our reputation badly. As does blaming Germany and France for attempting to calm the situation through the Minsk agreements.
If the west and NATO are using Ukraine as the key to depose Putin and replace him with a more malleable government, I think they have badly miscalculated.
Russians don’t take kindly to their own being killed and oppressed for 8 years by a mutually declared ally of the EU and NATO. Support for Ukraine can be dressed up as a great and noble cause in mainstream media for the West, but not for Russia. After all many in the west are ignorant when it comes to the Ukrainian massacres and draconian discrimination against the Russian speaking population; but not so it appears in Russia.
It is clear that Putin has recognised the narrative madness that has dominated the western world and taken clear steps to undermine this approach from being used in his own country.
Blocking Russia Today and Sputnik handed Putin a perfectly reasonable basis to have western media blocked in Russia. Talk about an own goal on the part of NATO and EU countries.
A way out?
Having blundered our way into miscalculation and the strategic low-ground, I see only one way out for NATO. – Offer the Russians the securities they need.
- Recognise the Russian speaking areas of Ukraine.
- Either make Ukraine agree to neutrality or joint defence agreements with both the west and Russia.
- UN troops with Russians on the ground for the next 10 years.
- Agree to Russia having access to inspect any labs or military sites in Ukraine at any time.
Whilst having a lawless playground could be useful, going to war for Ukraine is not actually worth it! It could only be worth it for individuals who’s wrongdoing in Ukraine could cause legal or political fallout. Either we recognise our errors and correct them or we must “watch on” while what standing NATO has left continues to slip through our fingers.
“Topics ranged widely and included the growing instability in the age of strategic competition,…” 01.02.2022 – https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_191348.htm?selectedLocale=en
“We will bolster our efforts to meet challenges to our energy security…”
14.06.2021 – https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_185340.htm?selectedLocale=e
“The Military Situation In The Ukraine”