Even the way you structured the purpose of your thread in the preamble precluded the possibility that we ever make a move Russia feels compelled to respond to. I find concept that the US doesn’t drive world events which other countries then respond to be...quite original. Sure, Putin does nasty stuff for his own agenda, but do you think it was Russia that requested NATO start talking to Georgia about NATO membership? You think it was Russia that requested NATO bomb Serbia? Do you think Putin called up the US Navy and asked for guided missile cruisers to patrol the Black Sea? The US drives events with Russia as much as or more than it reacts to them.
Actually the header I gave is pretty clearly open to both sides of the debate. Do I think the present crisis is primarily driven by Russian political issues? Yes. Am I open to the idea that Western nations have made the situation considerably worse than it might be? Well as Ive suggested for the past 15 years ABM was a stupid idea, so clearly so. Ive never asserted that there is not a US dynamic to the problem. Where I think YOU are completely wrong is the idea that if the West suddenly gave Russia everything it wanted, that it would be content. Even if this were verifiable, and it isnt, It strikes me as a foolish idea to throw away notions of our own security to provide for our own security. Russia rejects the idea of making itself indefensible, justifiably, so what does Europe get out of doing the same thing? Hence the reason for a mutual defence treaty. Its the only way to reconcile the problem Russia has of thinking the only security it has is Europes insecurity, and vice versa. An ultimate settlement of East West relations, if it is not NATO, will very likely be something like it.
The argument that Russia could have joined NATO in the 1990’s had it requested it I find to be impossible for various reasons, yet you consider it so natural that my focus rapidly moved to why you would make the assertion. It’s like saying that Germany in 1913 could have joined the Triple Entente. No Stuart, it couldn’t have – the Triple Entente would have simply created conditions of entry that would have been a humiliation, and the more Germans proved willing to be humiliated the more the terms would have moved to make it so.
Im not talking about the 1990s. The situation I talk of existed for the briefest period between 2000 and 2003. You find it impossible because you dont want to believe it. Look at the approaches Russia made, and ask yourself whom would have chosen to have blocked it, particularly in the 2001 timeframe. . I can look the book out, but its on the record that George Robertson communicated to the Russians, whom expressed some interest, 'Well if you want to join, you have to make an offical approach'. And Russia did not make the final move, and settled for a lesser relationship that had Russians based in Brussels, again a curious situation to allow if we didnt trust Russia in this period. So clearly the final decision on it not happening was not the west, it was Vladimir Putin. Read up on this yourself, Im pretty sure the evidence will bear me out. If you can find evidence to the contrary, please post it, id find it an interesting read. In short, the blame for NATO existing to the exclusion of Russia, is Russia's own choice, not ours.
You’re asserting without evidence that in an alternative universe where Russia had actively pursued NATO membership after 1991 it would have succeeded. We’ll never know. My opinion is that this was quite unlikely. There were too many hurdles on the NATO side for Russia to have gotten in. One example, during the breakup of Yugoslavia, Russia in NATO could have paralyzed the West’s response by vetoing all military action against Serbia.
Im merely suggesting it was not tried because Putin decided not to, for whatever reasons that might be. Short of some parallel dimension defying machine, clearly we cant know what would have happened, but it strikes me as unlikely to be worse than the present situation is becoming. It didnt happen because of Vladimir Putin. Nobody else got the chance to defy the possibility, and my own view, if the US president got behind it, it would have happened. Funnily enough, contary to what most people seem to remember, relations between Vladimir Putin and George Bush in the early 2000's were actually pretty good. Bush was a Christian, and both had heartfelt discussions on the subject. More to the point, Bush needed Putin for the war on terror. Might it have failed even then? Perhaps. Though im damned if I can see why.
If Russia had requested entry after 1991 I think a series of negotiations would have commenced in which criteria would be set down that Russia could not meet, and over time like Turkey and the EU, it would become clear that NATO had no intention of Russia ever meeting the entry requirements. These discussions would have the form of a negotiation but the appearance of a one-sided humiliation. For example, if Russia is joining NATO, what would the purpose of Russia nuclear arsenal continuing to exist? The US umbrella shall protect Russia now.
Again, its contary to the evidence. Russia was allowed into the G8 with narry a murmur, why precisely would NATO be any different? You seem to be suggesting because we were concerned of Russia's threat. Which to my mind, even if it were true in the 2000's, and it wasnt because the Russian military was broke, it commends closer ties, not less. Again, if we didnt want to bring Russia in from the Cold, why let them join the G8? It makes no sense.
You’re mixing up two concepts. The first would be the negotiation for union between equals, like a couple talking about getting married. The second is the negotiation between the victor and the defeated, like Rome talking to Carthage after the Battle of Zama. A Russian request to join NATO would have been Zama, not marriage. .
Actually it would have been more akin to West Germany joining the allies that defeated it, in defending itself. Or indeed the former warsaw pact nations. So not quite such an alien concept as you insist. What makes Russia any more proud and keen to protect its independence than say, Poland?
The EU will survive or break up independently of Russian actions. Personally, I think Europe has passed some sort of hurdle towards eventual unity that it will overcome even the breakup of the EU.
Actually there are a number of news reports that suggest the Euro is in bad shape, and I would not put money on if the Euro goes under, it wouldnt take the EU with it. Again, a personal view.
We recently had Italy vote against a reform to integrate its constitution closer to the EU, which is a long way form wanting the leave the EU, but not perhaps the ringing endorsement you might expect from a nation that has sucked the hind tit of EU subsidy for years.
We of course had Brexit, and there seems now to be increasingly a choice between 3 Presidents in France whom only differ in the level of disgruntlement they have with the EU. Im also hearing lots of disgruntlement with the EU in Portugal Yes, it may well weather the storm. But im not going to take it for granted.
Sermon time? Ok, here’s my sermon. It’s all about domination and submission, haves and have nots. You want Russia to submit to the West and if it will not submit, it has to be cowed into submission by economic means, internal political division, or even militarily if this could somehow be accomplished without risk. You are a friend of a Russia that knows its place and an enemy of a Russia that does not. This is all perfectly defendable attitudes, of course. But for some reason, you just won't come out and admit it.
Yes domination, of the corporation. Read Niall Fergusons book on Kissinger, he pointed to the rise of Globalisation and how obsolescent the Nation state was in the era of jet planes and mass communications. That was in 1965, before the rise of the internet, satellite TV, and offshore hedge funds. Russia is fighting a reality that we are all fighting one way or another, that the Nation state is a force of some significance of the worlds stage. As far as security, it still does. As far as economic policy, in fact in many cases in foreign policy, it really doesnt. Russia itself realises this, which is why all its leaders prefered to bank in London.
The “globalised” society you mention is a knock-on benefit to the effects of increased trade relations allowed by communications technology (trade tends to be more win/win than win/lose). It is also due to the interplay between the haves (1st world) and have nots (3rd world). In Canada, a similar thing occurs. We are a wonderful cultural milieu because of gradual transfer of power, status and wealth from the haves (British heritage) to the have nots (indigenous and immigrant populations). As long as this trend continues, we will continue to be wonderful. If it stops, we will stop being wonderful. So too is the new world order; once the have nots have transferred all the power and economy possible from the haves through cooperation, cooperation will lessen and become rivalry. Globalization works so long as the world's economies grow. Globalization will collapse if this no longer occurs.
Except in the west as a whole, that no longer is true. Hence the rise of Brexit and the rise of Trump (and to be honest, the rise of Putin as well). They are all a rejection of globalisation. Ultimately doomed I suspect, but it doesnt mean they dont have real effects in the interim.