Vladimir Putin insisted Tuesday that Russia does not want a war in Ukraine and tried to blame the US for the crisis he started.
Vladimir Putin accused the United States of trying to “goad” Russia into launching a conflict. He argued the US wanted a “pretext” to impose withering sanctions on Russia.
- These comments are Putin’s first public comments since he deployed troops to Ukraine’s borders last December.
- Putin stated he thinks the US is trying to “contain Russia’s development” by “ignoring” Russia’s demands to limit NATO’s open-door policy, withdraw NATO troops from countries that fear Russian aggression, and turn back the clock to 1997, ignoring the desires of Eastern European democracies.
- Putin has said publicly he does not believe Ukraine is a “legitimate country.” His desire for a 19th century-style “sphere of influence” over Ukraine is contrary to the views of most of its people. He expressed hope the standoff could be ended if the West gave in to his demands.
- Putin is slated to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday as China considers providing economic and political support for Russia to help lessen the impact of Western sanctions.
- On Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden announced the US would deploy 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe to defend NATO allies. He will send 2,000 troops to Germany and Poland and 1,000 to Romania to defend the alliance’s eastern flank.
- The Pentagon expects to move other forces to Europe in the coming days. Thousands more troops have been put on standby in addition to the 8,500 troops put on standby last week.
- Politico reports on GOP Senators brushing off Tucker Carlson’s pro-Russian attacks on their caucus for supporting Ukraine. Carlson accused military combat veterans of not understanding the US military. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) accused Carlson of taking potshots from the cheap seats and implying he can only have his views because he entirely lacks any power or responsibility.
- Slate argues Putin’s plan to drive a wedge in the NATO alliance has backfired.
- Predictably, Jacobin believes the US is warmongering over Ukraine and is ginning up a crisis to serve its own interests. Jacobin cites the Ukrainian president’s downplaying of the threat of invasion and questions the media “hysteria.”
- Fox News released new satellite photos Wednesday morning showing the scope of Russia’s military buildup along the Ukrainian border.
- Commentary Magazine offers a historical perspective behind Putin’s designs on Ukraine and historical Russian attitudes to Ukraine and the West more broadly. Commentary argues everything the US built in Europe since 1945 is under threat if NATO doesn’t protect Ukraine.
- The Telegraph covered PM Boris Johnson’s trip to Ukraine Tuesday. Johnson said Britain will sanction Russia as soon as the “first Russian toe-cap” crosses the Ukrainian border. Britain, Ukraine, and Poland also announced a new trilateral partnership but offered few details on the arrangement.
Putin’s Tuesday statement is reminiscent of the standard-order progressive foreign policy worldview common in America’s high school and college campuses. According to this view, everything that happens in the world is America’s fault, or a reaction to some action America has taken. It’s an utterly parochial view that removes agency from billions of people who have their own desires, motives, and goals beyond simply what the US is doing.
America’s young leftists spent most of the Cold War blaming the US and sympathizing with the communist thugs ruling the USSR. Today, these same leftists (and a non-trivial number of populist Republicans) use the same rhetoric to blame the US and implicitly side with an authoritarian thug who assassinates rivals and journalists and invades his neighbors.
Whether Russia is left-wing or right-wing, their views stay the same: blame America first.
© Dominic Moore, 2022