(RightWing.org) – For Americans over 50 years old, the Cold War is still something that lingers in the minds of many as tensions escalate between Russia, Ukraine, and the West. President Ronald Reagan committed his time in office in the 1980s to defeating the Soviet Union, which he called an evil empire. In 1991, the evil empire finally collapsed due to economic instability and the inability of the Russian military to keep up with Reagan’s massive military buildup.
For much of the 1990s and early 2000s, America was at peace with Russia as it attempted to transition from communism to capitalism. Over the last 15 years, something began to shift. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, seized control of the nation; he’s never held back his feelings about what he perceived to be the glory years of the USSR. In recent months, he created a new alignment with China. The move could be a precursor to an alliance to take advantage of US weaknesses under President Joe Biden.
In recent months, Putin moved Russia’s military along the Ukrainian border and placed it on standby.
What’s at the heart of Putin’s moves?
Could it be he wants to bring back the USSR? He’s repeatedly declared that the Soviet Union’s collapse was the worst geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.
Putin Would Love to Revive the USSR
On Monday, February 21, the Russian president announced a rationale for sending troops into Ukraine. It’s a slanted view of history, but it’s one he’s held to for many years. In a press conference, Putin said that Ukraine was fully created by communist Russia after the 1917 Russian revolution. He accused Soviet Premier Vladimir Lenin of sloppily giving up Ukraine in an act of madness.
Adding to the misinformation, Putin stated that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev allowed Ukraine to break away from Russia without any terms or conditions as the USSR dissolved.
Yet, this isn’t entirely factual. For one, Ukraine was an independent country, and Kyiv a major city, long before Russia was founded or Moscow was incorporated. In 1991, Moscow didn’t grant Ukraine the freedom to break away. The Ukrainian people democratically voted to secede from Russia and re-take their nationalist identity.
In 2014, Putin annexed Crimea much like what happened in eastern Ukraine on Monday, February 21. For decades, Russian separatists groups gave the Ukrainian government fits. Now, Putin is recognizing eastern regions of Ukraine that identify as more Russian than Ukrainian as independent. Still, the areas he’s now occupying do not belong to Russia.
What Is an Invasion?
Over the last 24 hours, some in the media have asked what defines an invasion. Did Russia invade eastern Ukraine, or did it occupy areas held by Russian separatists who broke away and asked Russia to come to their aid?
Former NATO Ally Commander Adm. James Stavridisj (Ret.) said an invasion is the movement of an armed military into a country’s sovereign territory without its consent. It doesn’t matter if it’s 12 squadrons, some tanks, or a massive army. He said that what Russia did on Monday by any standard was an invasion.
Late on Monday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the move by Putin was his way of resolving an eight-year resolution between the two countries about the eastern region of Ukraine’s borders, which the United Nations (UN) and the international community recognized for decades. Zelensky added that Putin is not interested in peace and that Ukraine must defend its sovereignty and statehood.
Regarding the regions that Putin occupied on Monday, Zelensky said Ukraine does not recognize their independence and he does not communicate with the separatist groups.
In Europe, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had begun. Johnson also said that when Putin denied Ukraine’s legitimacy as a country, he set the pretext for a full-scale invasion.
Putin’s rewrite of history is his attempt to defend expanding Russia. His speech came a day before Russia’s “Defender of the Fatherland” holiday, a Soviet-era celebration of Russia’s military. In an untypical fashion, Putin finished his speech by demanding Kyiv stop hostilities and said if they don’t, any bloodshed will be on Ukraine. In essence, Putin is demanding that Ukraine comply with his demands, or hostilities will be their fault, not his.
So, you decide.
What is the former KGB operative’s motive for cloaking his actions in nationalist patriotism representative of the former USSR?
Is it possible that the US is headed for another major Cold War?
If so, will it also involve China, who wants to retake Taiwan as part of its One China policy?
What will the implications be on America, the economy, and potential military conflict?
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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