Russia is poised to invade Ukraine. The Russian Army didn’t post 100,000 soldiers on the border to prevent an invasion by its far smaller neighbor. The Russians are there, ready sweep in and “rescue” the tens of thousands of Russian citizens it asked over the years to move to Ukraine.
To justify this pending invasion, Vladimir Putin is using the same old game —sending in waves of Russian families, to include armed separatists, to live in Ukrainian regions that border Russia simply to have the excuse to invade to “save them from oppression and to protect Russian citizens.”
NATO is a military and economic mutual defense pact where if one nation is invaded, all of NATO will respond.
The Russian position is that NATO and the U.S. should have no right to offer protection to Ukraine or to any country on Russia’s borders. A few days ago, a Russian general even warned that Russian “separatists” should be allowed to convert Ukrainian soil to Russian control without any challenge, or face the consequences.
We did the same thing to Mexico in the mid-1800s.
America expanded our borders by sending militiamen and thousands of settlers into California and Texas, then under Mexican rule. These American migrants ultimately started a “war of independence” from Mexico and, with American support, removed Mexican authority.
Remember the Alamo?
Eventually, sending in separatists and immigrants worked.
California, Texas and other territories separated from Mexico and were in time integrated under American sovereignty.
Communist China, on the other hand, has taken a different approach.
Rather the encouraging, funding and arming nationalists to move to and then attempt to separate authority from a neighboring nation, China is expanding its military presence by building massive military bases and manipulating neighboring governments.
Now boasting the world’s largest navy, the Chinese approach is to dominate the seas and to ensure its neighbors are puppet governments under Chinese economic and political control.
U.S military assessments state that China is planning new naval bases in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola and Tajikistan.
Huge Chinese naval and submarine bases are already being built in Indonesia, Myanmar, Djibouti, and by converting atolls at sea into military installations designed to expand their military influence.
China exerts a powerful grip on its neighbors.
For example, when the democratically elected Myanmar government resisted allowing China to build a multi-billion-dollar naval complex at Myanmar’s main port, China responded by helping install a Chinese-friendly military coup that overthrew the duly elected government last April.
It is clear that Russia and China are exerting military dominance and expanding their hegemony.
Is this wrong and should we care?
Donald Trump’s policies relating to Russia were clearly to “let them do what they want.”
But Trump was quite aggressive toward China and even waged a losing but vigorous economic war with China for a time.
The Barack Obama administration pretended to have been caught by surprise when Russia invaded and then annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Intelligence reports about the pending invasion certainly gave warning with ample time to react, but Obama chose to do nothing rather than interfere.
The “tough sanctions” the European Union and the Biden administration promise to enact when Russia invades Ukraine are nothing of real concern for Russia. So long as local opinion favors invasion, international opinion does not matter.
The only way to stop Russia from going into Ukraine is for NATO to immediately accept Ukraine as a member. An absence of NATO protection tells Russia to go ahead.
And it will.
With respect to China, we understand China’s desire to expand its forcefield of safety and influence along trade routes and its borders.
Who is to say it is not their right to enlarge their influence? Had not the U.S. installed puppet regimes throughout Central America in the recent past and has bases around the world?
The top three international powers, Russia, China and the U.S., exert influence over their respective geographic territories and protect their economic security. Despite international objections and idle threats, each world power is going to do what is in its best interest.
No one contested our right to place military bases around the world, just like China is doing now. If exerting military and political influence is not wrong for us, how can we say it is wrong for others?
So, I guess the answer is no — when Russia invades Ukraine, despite the whining and complaining from the rest of the world, we shouldn’t really care.
Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations agency, is the CEO of a private security firm, is the COO of an accredited acting conservatory, a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.