The re-taking of the Crimean peninsula by Russia has old origins. It traces back to the interaction between the Clinton administration in the US and the immediate post-Soviet regime in Moscow led by Boris Yeltsin.
Instead of showing any magnanimity toward a fallen foe, the Clinton administration adopted the same approach as did the Allied powers at Versailles in 1919, of seeking to degrade the Russian Federation’s technological and scientific capabilities to a level that would cripple it from challenging in future not only the US but its major partners in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — Germany, France and the UK. In their eagerness to ‘slash and burn’ indigenous S&T capability in Russia, and acting on the principle that, while Moscow was at the time docile, it could in future once again become malevolent – in the US and NATO perception – the need to degrade its systems and capabilities once and for all became urgent.
Bill Clinton still enjoys worldwide popularity, but what marks did he leave on international geopolitics?
While President Clinton has remained immensely popular in his own country and in much of the rest of the globe, when examined with a lens undistorted by the type of pseudo-scholarship that passes for geopolitical analysis in some countries, his record has been abysmal. It was, for example, under Bill Clinton’s watch that Al-Qaeda became a significant force during the 1990s. Rather than seeking to eliminate the Wahabbi fanatics who suffuse quasi-terrorist bodies such as the Talibans, the Clinton administration went out of its way to assist them in the 1990s, quietly celebrating when they took over Kabul in 1996. A decade later, Hillary Clinton led the disastrous policy of backing Wahabbi extremists in Libya, and thereafter in Syria, to overthrow dictators who were indeed brutal but truly secular.
The initial rejoicing over Gaddafi’s fall did not last for long
When NATO turned on Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, and against Bashar al-Assad in Syria a year later, it dealt with two leaders who were brutal only in a ‘micro’ sense, taking action selectively against specific opponents rather than against the vast swathes of the population that Wahabbi extremists invariably target. It is the giving of weapons, cash and training to Wahabbi extremists in Libya, and thereafter in Syria, which has led to the present revival of Al Qaeda. This includes the efforts from offshoots of that organisation to take control of more territories in Iraq and Syria, in addition to what they already hold as a result of the backing given to them by certain states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Another grave error made by the Clinton administration in the 1996-2001 period was to seek to enforce terms on Moscow that would in effect make it a dependency of NATO. An eastward expansion of the alliance was carried out at the precise moment when its military justification – as a bulwark against a Soviet invasion – got reduced to insignificance. The contradiction between the lessened need for NATO and the massive scale of its expansion can be explained as simply another means of humiliating the Russian Federation, much the same way as Germany was shamed in 1920 by the French military occupation of the Rhineland. Of course, with Boris Yeltsin, the alliance had a Head of State in the Russian Federation who was a prisoner of the mafias controlling vast portions of the post-Soviet economy. These mafias were almost always close to intelligence agencies in the NATO bloc, who manipulated them in order to subserve the Clinton policy of steady degradation of the indigenous capabilities of the Russian Federation. It was only after Vladimir Putin took over from Yeltsin that the country finally got a leader who put Russia rather than NATO first. Both Yeltsin and his predecessor Mikhail Gorbachev had done the reverse.
The involvement of NATO in US-Russia relationships contributed to the geopolitical weakening of the latter
Initially, Putin ignored the fact that neither Germany nor France would allow the Russian Federation to either enter the European Union or to reach the level of primacy within Europe that the Russian Federation’s size and capabilities entitle it to. In fact, after two terms, Putin handed over the Presidency to a Europeanist in much the same mould as Gorbachev or Yeltsin: Dmitry Medvedev. But, thanks to the continuing dominance of Putin in the inner councils of government in Moscow, the damage done by Medvedev was not on the same scale as that which took place under Yeltsin. Nonetheless, the Medvedev interregnum emboldened the US and its partners to continue with the Clinton policy of seeking to tether Russia down, rather than to embrace it in an equal partnership.
Russia’s claim for Georgian lands was probably the first phase of a larger demand
Finally, and despite his surrounding himself with St Petersburg Europeanists, Vladimir Putin understood that the US and the EU would never accept a Russia that was anywhere close to being an equal partner of these two entities. The first symptom of that was his takeover of a Russianised segment of Georgia. The next was the takeover of Crimea. This will be followed by the partition of Ukraine and a policy of linking hands with Delhi and Beijing in order to dilute the impact of the Versailles-style policies pursued by NATO towards Russia, since the time when Bill Clinton was President of the United States of America.
Unfortunately, taken as a collective, the NATO alliance still responds as though the globe followed a 19th century or, worse, a 20th century matrix. The 21st century is witnessing the re-emergence of Asia, and there will certainly be a coming together of the major powers of the continent rather than the intra-Asia conflict predicted by scholars in the US and the EU. Today, the ground realities do not permit the same depth, speed and range of NATO intervention as in the 19th or even the first half of the 20th century. That the Russian Federation has been subjected to the same effort to downsize any potential challenge to NATO indicates acceptance of the fact that Moscow is tethered within Asia rather than Europe – irrespective of what the St Petersburg intellectuals say. Following the mindset of past eras, the key member states of NATO refuse to accept that countries outside the bloc have the chemistry and the potential to be equal partners of the alliance, rather than remain in a subsidiary position. By seeking too much, the alliance is having to settle for much less, as in Ukraine. http://www.lilainteractions.in/2014-6-24-crimea-heart-russian-pre-occupation-md-nalapat-willie-mc-loud-dominik-tolksdorf/#willie_mc_loud