President Vladimir Putin says the West must respect Russia's interests if it wants to normalize diplomatic relations.
Putin said Thursday during a televised call-in show that the United States "doesn't need allies, they only need vassals." He said Russia would never accept that role and urged the West to take Russian interests into account.
Putin is pretty much describing Russia:
Really, is Russia incapable of having friends or allies? Is Russia only capable of dealing with foreigners as conquered people or client states, targets for conquest or dominance, potential enemies that have to be resisted before it comes to armed conflict, or potential enemies who must be appeased while Russia prepares to resist them?
Russia's "interests" clearly include dominating everyone near them within the limits of their available military power projection capabilities to back their demands:
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Thursday blamed the United States and its allies for the conflict in Ukraine, saying their drive to bring Kiev closer to the West was a threat to Moscow and had forced it to react.
A Ukraine not dominated by Russia is a threat which justifies Russian aggression. That's a lovely bit of logic for everyone else near Russia to ponder, eh?
And let's take a stroll around Are You Effing Kidding Me Court, the lovely cul-de-sac off of Paranoia Lane, shall we?
Ukraine has long tried to sell itself to Europe as the once-and-future breadbasket of the continent, promising that Western investment is the key to making its under-exploited black earth bloom.
But official Russia would like you to know that all this agricultural development talk is really just a secret plot to help companies like Monsanto take over the world.
Good grief. How much vodka do you have to swill down at breakfast to believe this stuff?
I assume China's plan to lease 5% of Ukraine for agriculture is way different under the circumstances.
China is more powerful. So China gets far more deferential treatment.
Russia really could have been our friend after throwing off communism; just as Germany, Japan, and Italy became our friends after losing Nazism, militarism, and Fascism.
But no, the Russians see us--and everyone--as enemies or potential enemies who they conquer and dominate as vassals if they can; or appease and talk to if they can't--and until they can.
By the by, I started reading Gulag. Which might be important these days as Putin seems to be acting on his view that the fall of the USSR was a great misfortune.