In today’s highly politicised world, the inability for nuanced arguments – specifically from our weak leaders – has resulted in incredibly “low resolution” propositions being utilised commonly, as a trope in order to pursue supposed virtuous aims. Commonly from Western leaders, loudly reiterated is the proclamation that the Ukrainians “must win”, and too as Biden recently alluded to, the fact that the war “will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine”. Yet whilst it seems widespread this phenomena of low resolution proclamations, it is necessary to clearly define as to what these claims refer to.
I ask Western leaders as to what specifically does a “win” look like? Or, specifically and clearly, as to what does the “defeat of Russia” look like? And, from my perspective – in attempt to unravel these low resolution claims – there are a few possibilities in which Western leaders are referring to when utilising these vague pieces of terminology regarding the conflict in Eastern Europe.
Firstly, one possibility is the following: namely, the Western desire for overthrowing, or even assassination of the Russian Leader, Putin. Now whilst this may sound too radical, or even fanatical within nature, I am not so convinced. If – as per the Western narrative – Putin is solely a dictator whom invaded Ukraine out of a desire to “resuscitate the Soviet Empire”, then why wouldn’t the Western leaders desire to eliminate the threat? After all, further escalation by Putin – as per the Western narrative – could lead to not solely Ukraine being “abducted” by the Russian Regime, but further too, the rest of the historic European neighbours. After all, the sole narrative the Western media is reiterating is the idea that the “Russian President Vladimir Putin, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe.”
If this agenda for Putin is true, indicating his future desire to re-establish the Soviet Empire, then surely the notion of eliminating Putin, or at least attempting to overthrow Putin, is within the conscious realm of possibility for Western leaders?
Alternatively, are Western leaders referring to the unrealistic notion that Russia is solely going to “give up”, and “recognise the failure of the conflict”, and thus hypothetically “back off”, bowing their heads in defeat?
This article is certainly not in advocation for Putin. To make it very clear: Putin is a tyrant. Putin, as we saw in the past weeks, often uses incredibly authoritarian tactics, as a means of silencing opposing political figures. The article however is in advocation for understanding alternative views, in the desire to end this conflict. Without an acknowledgement of the alternative perspective, how can we ever find peace? We can’t.
The West Is Not Innocent:
In order to resolve the conflict, and thus come to peace, there is a deep necessity to understand both concerns in which escalated the conflict, and too by extension to move away from the comic book depictions of the conflict, in which very immaturely label the Western nations, and NATO as innocent, immaculate figures.
This is simply just not true.
As noted in the past, the Western media is not telling you the full story when it comes to the reasons behind the conflict, and the Western involvement.
This alternative view states that the US and West generally is at fault – at least in part – for escalation of the conflict.
The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine—beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 were critical elements, too. This view claims that since the mid 1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbour was turned into a Western bastion.
For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president—which he rightly labelled a “coup”—was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.
Further – just to expand this view more – the first round of NATO enlargement took place in 1999, the second in 2004. And during this time, Mosco complained bitterly: Russian President Boris Yeltsin said, “This is the first sign of what could happen when NATO comes right up to the Russian Federation’s borders. . . . The flame of war could burst out across the whole of Europe.”
Then NATO began looking further east. At its April 2008 summit in Bucharest, the alliance considered admitting Georgia and Ukraine. The George W. Bush administration supported doing so, but France and Germany opposed the move for fear that it would unduly antagonize Russia. In the end, NATO’s members reached a compromise: the alliance did not begin the formal process leading to membership, but it issued a statement endorsing the aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine and boldly declaring, “these countries will become members of NATO.”
Moscow, however, did not see the outcome as much of a compromise. Alexander Grushko, then Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said, “Georgia’s and Ukraine’s membership in the alliance is a huge strategic mistake which would have most serious consequences for pan-European security.” Putin maintained that admitting those two countries to NATO would represent a “direct threat” to Russia.
In conjunction with NATO encroachment, the EU, too, has been marching eastward.
The West’s Final tool for peeling Kiev away from Moscow has been its efforts to spread Western values and promote democracy in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states, a plan that often entails funding pro Western individuals and organizations.
Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, estimated in December 2013 that the United States had invested more than $5 billion since 1991 to help Ukraine achieve “the future it deserves.” As part of that effort, the U.S. government has bankrolled the National Endowment for Democracy. The non-profit foundation has funded more than 60 projects aimed at promoting civil society in Ukraine,
When Russian leaders look at Western social engineering in Ukraine, they worry that their country might be next. And such fears are hardly groundless.John Mearsheimer
Whilst understanding this view and the Western involvement in Ukraine, it is clearly not wise to state that Putin is innocent. He is not.
Let’s take a look at the Western perspective as to the conflict in Ukraine.
From the Western perspective, the media constantly reiterates an alternative narrative. Namely this idea that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was due to Ukraine – according to Putin – “being an inalienable part of their own history, culture and spiritual space.”
In fact, Putin did in fact say this himself:
“Ukraine is not just a neighbouring country for us. It is an inalienable part of our own history, culture, and spiritual space.”
As Putin has reiterated in the past:
“Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia.
This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution, and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia – by separating, severing what is historically Russian land.
Nobody asked the millions of people living there what they thought.”
The arguement by the Western media is that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has continued to harbour significant resentment against Independent Ukraine, the country it still thinks of as a critical part of ‘Mother Russia’.
It therefore – according to this narrative – considers the conquest of Ukraine as being vital for the restoration of its so-called “Historical Russia”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spared no effort to promote the false historical narrative that Ukrainians and Russians constitute “one nation”. Putin fervently wishes to reassemble the countries of the former Soviet Union and reverse what he calls the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.” His ultimate goal is to ‘right the wrongs’, as he sees them, of the fall of the USSR in the Cold War, thirty years ago.
Therefore, this narrative implies that the reason Russia invaded Ukraine, was in consideration of the injustice that Putin feels, in consideration of his view – namely that Ukraine is supposedly “a integral part of Russia.”
So overall, you have two differing narratives present: one, stating that the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe.
And on the other side of the debate, another narrative in which argues that the US, and many allies provoked the crisis via increasingly hostile NATO enlargements, EU expansions eastward, and too the Western backing of pro-democracy movements in Ukraine.