So the theory of Russian self-restraint that Russia learned from Afghanistan that it should never again engage in such a quagmire of imperial overstretch should now be shelved in view of the Ukraine war, which has long since ceased to be limited to the Donbass. Now it turns out the question of whether one could have seen all this coming and when this current development took its course.
On the one hand, this is probably due to the underestimation of Russia’s reaction and the importance of Ukraine, which the then US Presidential advisor Brzezinski himself pointed out, but probably assumed that the Russians would allow Ukraine to become a member of NATO, including the loss of their Black Sea fleet: Because even from Brzezinski’s point of view, there was more at stake. As he wrote in his book Chessboard :
“Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global dominance will play out in the future (…) Nevertheless, Russians will eventually have to understand that Russia’s national self-discovery is not an act of surrender but of liberation (…) Despite its protests will Russia accept the fact that NATO enlargement in 1999 will include several Central European countries (…) In contrast, Russia will find it incomparably more difficult to accept Ukraine’s NATO accession“
„It cannot be stressed enough that Russia ceases to be an empire without Ukraine, but automatically becomes an empire with Ukraine subordinate and eventually subjugated to it.“ (Brzezinski, NZZ, 10/29/99)
We’re also focusing a little too much on Putin. One has to see that the first turning point came already under Yeltsin in the Kosovo war, when Russia in protest deployed Russian troops in Pristina, which US General Wesley Clark wanted to expel, but a British general refused, saying that he did not want to risk war with Russia Yeltsin was very angry about this, immediately visited China to protest,ostensivly tested the new Russian Topol intercontinental ballistic missile, aired nuclear threats, which at that time, unlike in the case of the sober Putin, were attributed to Yeltsin’s excessive consumption of vodka, just as he lost the first Chechen war. He was also angry about the NATO war, which he saw as illegal under international law, and then the secession of Kosovo, including the establishment of the US military base Camp Bondsteel. In short: the foreign policy reorientation, which then continued in Putin’s persona, already took place at the end of the Yeltsin era. In addition, the joint Chinese-Russian paper calling for a new multipolar world order was largely ignored, as were the implications that the term New International Security Architecture implies for Putin and Lavrov and also for Xi in geopolitical terms
.Then you should read Putin’s so-called peace speech before the German Bundestag in 2001 again more closely. In it, Putin speaks of the goal of unifying the economic and defense potential of Europe and Russia, means: an Eurasian military alliance. It was either not taken seriously and viewed as a pipe dream, or it was simply ignored and ignored. Putin formulated this clearly in his speech to the German Bundestag in 2001:
„No one doubts the great value of Europe to the United States. But I believe that Europe will only consolidate its reputation as a powerful and independent center of world politics in the long term if it combines its own potential with Russia’s human, territorial and natural resources, as well as with Russia’s economic, cultural and defense potentials.”
In short: it was not just about change through trade and a purely civilian Eurasian economic area, but about a Eurasian military alliance between Europe and Russia. Nobody cared about the term: unification of the Russian and European defense potential, i.e. dissolution of NATO and replacement by a Eurasian military alliance under Russian leadership, since this has the largest nuclear arsenal that can also compete with the USA, while the French and British nuclear weapons are rather marginal .
In the course of the Iraq war in 2003, there was also a strong distance to the USA and Germany and France did not take part in the war. This was also the temporary climax of Eurasian fantasies, which culminated in Emmanuel Todd’s book America: An Obituary. On the one hand, Putin initially relied on the SPD and especially Gerhard Schröder, who wanted to expand and eursianize the G7 to include Russia and China to form a G9 in order to receive support from both of them for a German seat on the UN Security Council, which also remained an illusion. On the other hand, Putin then also used right-wing populist politicians such as the Front National, to which he gave a 40 million euro loan through an oligarch in the hope that France would then leave NATO and the EU and, with Russia, form a Eurasian axis against them USA and the EU would disintegrate without the German-French axis. He also supported the AfD in propaganda, later also by means of an official reception of the AfD by Lavrov in the Kremlin, in the hope that he could use a Dexit after Brexit to marginalize the EU and NATO. And especially since there was hope in Trump, who, like him and Xi, would like to dissolve the EU and NATO, especially since Macron’s „brain death“ statement about NATO and the speech about „European sovereignty“ raised hopes in Putin again.
When that didn’t happen and NATO and the EU wanted to expand further, the time to be nice, friendly and funny and had passed if you’re not willing, he uses violence, especially when the two pillars of Russia’s security architecture, the Black Sea Fleet through the Maidan coup in Ukraine and the Mediterranean fleet was endangered by the Arab Spring in Syria, Putin intervened militarily.
Ex-NATO chief Rasmussen now claims, like many Anglo-Saxons, that the historical mistake was that Merkel and France did not agree to NATO membership and a NATO action plan for Georgia and Ukraine at the 2008 Bulgaria summit. But who can tell us that in this case Putin would not have invaded earlier. to suppress such a membership, especially since he had made clear threats at the MSC 2007?
In my view, these are four important points that should be considered when analyzing the „errors“ of the Russia policy of that time, insofar as they are errors and not two diametrically opposed imperialist interests of the USA and Russia, which are now being belligerently discharged, especially since the West is not willing to accept neutral Ukraine with South Tyrol’s autonomy status could be negotiable and Putin is now demanding a rollback of NATO to the pre-1997 borders by means of his draft treaty. https://www.merkur.de/politik/ukraine-warfare-conflict-germany-nato-chef-waffen-kiew-moskau-selenskyj-putin-fehler-rasmussen-91390385.html