Quo Vadis, Mother Russia?, by Patrick Buchanan

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“The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” Russia’s new leader Vladimir Putin said in his 2005 State of the Nation address.

“As for the Russian people,” Putin continued, “it has become a real tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and compatriots have found themselves outside the boundaries of Russian territory.”

From Putin’s point of view, the statement was then and remains understandable today.

Consider. When Putin entered his country’s secret service, Berlin was 110 miles deep inside Soviet-occupied East Germany. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria were member states of the Warsaw Pact.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were republics of the USSR. Ukraine was the most populous and ethnically closest of the Soviet republics to Russia itself.

And today? Berlin is the capital of a united, free and democratic Germany, a member of NATO, which is beginning a rearmament campaign triggered by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are members of the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The former Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are also members of this Western alliance established to contain Russia.

Sweden and Finland, neutral during the Cold War, ask to join NATO.

Ukraine, supported by the United States and NATO, is waging a war to drive the Russian army out of its territory, a war that has the support of almost all countries on the European continent.

Even the fall of the British and French empires at the end of World War II do not correspond as geostrategic catastrophes to the collapse of the Soviet empire and the break-up of the Soviet Union since the end of the Cold War. .

How is the Russian war in Ukraine, launched on February 24, going?

Russia has expanded the territory it controls in Crimea and its enclaves of Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbass. And now, with the fall of Mariupol, Moscow controls the entire Sea of ​​Azov and has completed its land bridge between Russia and Crimea.

But Russia failed to capture and was forced by the Ukrainian army to withdraw from kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s largest cities, and Putin saw his forces humiliated again and again.

Yet Russia remains a great power today.

The largest nation in the world with twice the territory of the United States, Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and surpasses the United States and China in tactical nuclear weapons. It has vast tracts of land and is underpinned by huge deposits of minerals, coal, oil and gas.

But Russia also has glaring weaknesses and growing vulnerabilities.

While Putin has built up impressive forces in the Arctic, the Baltic Sea, with Finland and Sweden joining the Western alliance, is becoming a NATO lake. Russian warships sailing from St. Petersburg to the Atlantic must pass through the coastal defenses of 11 current or future NATO countries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain. Brittany and France.

Among the questions Russia, shrunken in many ways by the great American Cold War rival it once was, must answer: “Quo Vadis?

Where does Mother Russia go from here?

Bitter at their losses during the Cold War and post-Cold War years, many Russian nationalists are urging the regime to align itself with the current great antagonist power of the United States, Xi Jinping’s China.

This is a recipe for a second Cold War, but how would this war benefit the Russian nation and its people?

In any Russian-Chinese alliance, there is no doubt who will be the main partner. And it is not the United States that covets and wishes to one day control Russia’s resources from Novosibirsk to the Bering Sea.

China’s population of 1.4 billion is 10 times that of Russia. East of the Urals, the Chinese population is 50 to 100 times greater than that of Russia in Siberia and the Far East.

What about US-Russian détente as Moscow’s future rather than Cold War II?

During some of the coldest days of the Cold War, American presidents like Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan sought to find common ground on which to stand with Russia to avoid conflict.

Ike invited the “Butcher of Budapest”, Nikita Khrushchev, for a 12-day visit to the United States in 1959. Nixon initiated a “détente” with Leonid Brezhnev, who had ordered the Warsaw Pact to crush the “Spring of Prague” in 1968. Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev negotiated the dismantling of an entire class of nuclear weapons in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Given the hostility Putin has stirred up over his invasion of Ukraine, Western leaders may be unable to bring Russia in from the cold. But if we isolate Russia, push it out of the West, Moscow has only one direction to go – eastwards, towards China.

In 230 years, the United States has never gone to war with Russia. Neither with the Romanovs nor with the Stalinists, nor with the Cold War communists nor with the Putinists.

The vital interests of the United States dictate that we maintain this tradition.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To learn more about Patrick Buchanan and read articles by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: designerpoint on Pixabay

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