NATO has received a well-deserved trouncing in the Ukraine and the coup d'état organised to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Yanukovich has spectacularly backfired. This result is in line with other recent examples of Western foreign policy in the Middle East, so we can detect a certain continuity here. The wish to bring Ukraine into NATO must now be put on hold.
When the residents of the Donbass region rose in revolt because their Ukrainian government had been overthrown by force, the leaders of the Kiev putsch decided to continue the use force and brutally crush them. Thus we saw a stand-off between Kiev backed by the West and the Donbass rebels back by Russia. Why has this turned out to be such a fiasco for the West? Two main reasons can be detected.
First, NATO’s tried and tested method of gentle persuasion, the bombing campaign, could scarcely be employed in the Ukraine. What had been used with such alacrity in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria could scarcely be ventured against Russia. True, Russia can be bombed, but it was also possible for Russia to bomb back. Russia is not a militarily ineffectual Third World country and in Putin, NATO must have known they were dealing with a man who could not be trifled with. Hence the hysterical fist waving in the Western media whenever Putin’s name is mentioned.
But the second reason is, in my opinion, the more important and interesting. There are a number of countries in the EU who want and benefit from good relations with Russia and do not share the present US obsession with weakening Russia at every opportunity. The most prominent of these is Germany which is Russia’s most significant trading partner. I doubt whether Merkel was consulted on the policy to destabilise the Ukrainian government. Certainly, she must be hopping mad as to how the Ukrainian stand-off has so badly damaged Russo-German relations. It’s clear she wanted the Ukrainian problem fixed and German differences with the US on this matter are not just ‘tactical’ as Obama recently fondly maintained. US and EU interests do not always coincide and the Ukraine crisis acts as a big red flag to both parties.