Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why Russia Can't Have Nice Things

This attitude is what makes much of the world eager to see Russia fall flat on their faces:

Russia said on Thursday the United States would violate international agreements and destabilize the situation if it supplies weapons to Ukrainian forces fighting separatists in the country's east.

Yeah, Russia invades Ukraine contrary to international law and agreements--while denying their involvement--and when a new democracy wants to defend their independence from Russian colonial rule, our help is the problem that is destabilizing the situation.

Even as Russia provides the arms and diplomatic support to allow Assad of Syria to slaughter his way to retaining power.

And underlying this is just a bizarre notion that assumes we spend all our time thinking about ways to screw them:

"As for the concept behind to the use of coercive measures, the West is making clear it does not want to force Russia to change policy but wants to secure regime change," Tass news agency quoted Lavrov as telling a meeting of the advisory Foreign and Defense Policy Council in Moscow.

Good grief, man! You invaded Ukraine! That is why the West is imposing sanctions! Come on, get a friggin' clue!

The truth is, if Russia didn't act aggressively, we wouldn't care one bit about them. Which probably hurts more than anything, really. If we really are out to get them, we think they are important.

So the truth hurts--we'd rather pivot to Asia and the Pacific and keep Atlantic Europe quiet. And our attention is just a reaction to them and not some bigger plan.

Russia's rulers are crushing the post-Cold War hopes and sympathy of the West that Russia was a victim of communism as much as we were, and could move on from that horrible past to join the West as a free and prosperous democracy.

Which means that should China decide that large chunks of Russian land in the Far East are a core interest in China, Russia will have far less ability to call on the West for help or even much sympathy when they might want help from us to avoid loss of territory and loss of independence as Ukraine seeks today.

UPDATE: This is what I'm talking about. Russia denies that bad relations with the West have anything to do with Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

"When Russia starts... safeguarding people and its interests, it immediately becomes bad (in the view of the West), he said.

"You think it's over our position over east Ukraine or Crimea? Absolutely not! If it wasn't for that, they would have found a different reason. It has always been like that."

Good grief. Of course relations are bad because Russia has attacked Ukraine.

It's not so much that Russia has invaded Ukraine. I mean, what do you expect from Putin? He isn't a lion-lying-down-with-lambs kind of man.

It's that he denies he is even doing anything wrong--or doing anything at all, really.

And this is why when the chips are down, help will be hard to come by for Russia:

Back when my finances were pretty tight, I sent a small check to Russia to help after the Beslin Massacre. I can't imagine even caring with Putin in power.