Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Is Russia Really the Aggressor in Ukraine?

By Tom Mullen - March 16, 2022 at 12:07AM

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If you haven’t received the memo, the U.S. government is vitally interested in you seeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine one way and one way only: Russia is the aggressor due to its “unprovoked” invasion of a sovereign country. Ukraine must be supported by NATO with every economic and financial “tool” in its toolbox to punish Russia for this lawless act.

It is your duty as an upright and moral person to suffer the economic consequences of these sanctions because, “that is who we are.”

It is true that Ukraine had not committed any overt acts of war against Russia prior to the invasion. It had not breached Russia’s borders with troops. It had not conducted airstrikes on targets inside Russia’s borders. It had not released any biological weapons against Russia’s population (as far as we know).

By those parameters, Russia was certainly the aggressor in this war with Ukraine. And by the same parameters, the U.S. was the aggressor in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Yugoslavia, and Kosovo, just to name a few previous interventions. So, are there other valid reasons (by their standards) for preemptive war?

The stated reason for invading Iraq was the supposed “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) that would be used against the United States in the future. Russia has similarly cited weapons of mass destruction (biological weapons labs) in Ukraine that could be used against Russia in the future.

The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were not there. Plenty of people suspect the Bush administration never really believed they were and simply used them as a false pretext for the war. That invasion plans were discussed at Bush’s very first cabinet meeting, months before 9/11/2001, certainly lends indirect support to that theory.

The U.S. government vehemently denied there were any bioweapons labs in Ukraine until Victoria Nuland told Marco Rubio during her Senate testimony the Ukrainians had “research labs.” The new story became that the labs were studying “purely defensive” biotechnologies to thwart a chemical weapons attack.

This may be true. Yet, Nuland is nevertheless concerned that materials in these labs may fall into Russian hands as a result of the invasion. Just remember that narratives given full-throated support from the media often evolve:

“The Covid vaccinations are 95% effective at preventing infection.” “The Covid vaccinations’ protection may wane.” “The Covid vaccinations don’t prevent infection but do prevent serious illness.” “We never said the Covid vaccinations prevent infection.”

A similar evolution occurred regarding the lab leak theory of Covid.

At the beginning of the bioweapons lab controversy, the idea there were labs at all was pooh-poohed as “conspiracy theory.” Today, they’re “not really weapons labs but still have dangerous materials in them.” What will the story be a month from now?

Regardless, there seems to be a lot more bases for the Russian claim of bioweapons labs in Ukraine than there was for the U.S. claims of WMD in Iraq. Yet, no worldwide boycott of the U.S. occurred following its invasion of Iraq.

Russia also claims to be defending breakaway republics in Donbas against atrocities committed by the Ukrainian government. No one disputes President Zelensky was shelling the region prior to Russia’s invasion. How is this different from U.S. military interventions in Syria or Kosovo?

Kosovo is especially similar in that it was a breakaway region, populated by people of a different ethnicity, language, and culture from the rest of Yugoslavia. The U.S. took the side of the seceding region against the government of the country from which it seceded. In both Kosovo and Syria, the U.S. justified its military interventions based on supposed atrocities committed by the recognized government against the rebels.

Why is it different when Russia does it?

There are two important differences between the Russia-Ukraine conflict and any of the aforementioned U.S. military interventions. One, Russia is intervening in a conflict on its own border, not thousands of miles from it as in the case of the U.S. interventions.

Two, Russia is obviously responding to the decades-long attempt by the U.S. government to admit Ukraine into NATO, thereby justifying the deployment of NATO troops and weapons, including nuclear weapons, in Ukraine. These efforts have included running color revolutions to overthrow the Ukrainian government twice, in 2004 and 2014, for that express purpose.

To this allegation, the U.S. government-media complex responds that Ukraine is a sovereign country and can enter any alliance it wishes. Putin responds, “International documents explicitly enshrine the principle of equal and indivisible security, which, as you know, includes the obligation not to strengthen one’s own security at the expense of the security of other states. I can refer here to the OSCE Charter for European Security adopted in Istanbul in 1999 and the OSCE Declaration of Astana in 2010.”

It is Putin’s contention that Ukraine has violated these agreements. Even if it is not an official member of NATO, it has been a de facto member given the deployment of troops and weapons in Ukraine over the past eight years.

What is NATO’s response to this argument?

Does anyone really believe that if Russia not-so-covertly overthrew the government of Mexico, admitted it into an alliance against the United States that included, let’s say, Cuba and Canada, and began running military exercises within Mexico’s borders while the Mexican president mused about acquiring nuclear weapons, that the U.S. government would stand idly by because “Mexico is a sovereign country?”

The U.S. has long claimed status as the “exceptional nation,” imagining it has a mandate to police the world militarily and punish what it considers “rogue nations” for bad behavior. What “exceptional” really means is the U.S. government doesn’t believe international law applies to it the way it applies to every other country on earth.

Vladimir Putin has shown tremendous restraint while watching NATO’s long march eastward towards his borders. The U.S. government has dismissed his concerns as those of the leader of a “secondary power.” His last diplomatic effort was made in late 2021, asking for what any objective observer would describe as very reasonable assurances: a written guarantee of Ukraine’s neutrality and abstention from placing weapons near his borders.

The “exceptional nation” blew off his requests yet again. So, Putin has now made a clear statement in Ukraine: “Russia is exceptional, too.”

The Book of Proverbs says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Which nation had been the proud and haughty one before this war broke out?

Tom Mullen is the author of It’s the Fed, Stupid and Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Reprinted with permission from Tom Muillin Talks Freedom.

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