posted on Oct, 5 2016 @ 01:39 AM
While I don't feel war is probable let alone inevitable... at least not at this stage... I do feel that we in the West have failed to develop
comprehensive insight and sensitivity to Russia's very real sense of having its sphere of influence curtailed, and how far they are willing to push
back against that trend.
They see everything we do, after all... they know full well the policy promulgated by PNAC and others to "prevent a resurgent Russia from rising,"
etc. etc. And our foreign policy - under both George W Bush and Obama - has done nothing to reassure them on that front. We arbitrarily pulled out of
the ABM treaty; we continued to fast track NATO expansion or at least provisional status; we established missile defense systems in places they
repeatedly said were red lines for them (which was possible because of the aforementioned scuttling of the long standing ABM treaty, which had been
one of the pillars of warmer relations with Russia); we tried to destabilize a government they consider of extreme strategic vital importance to them
in Syria; etc. etc.
I say this not to defend Russia and vilify my own country. Far from it. My point is that comprehensive statecraft means understanding your neighbors
(or adversaries, if we really want to see it that way) - developing correct insight into how they're likely to respond to your own actions, and
vice-versa. We haven't done that. In short, we have miscalculated. We underestimated their resolve and how strongly they feel about this, and are
reaping the fruits of that psychological failure on our part imho. When peoples don't take pains and make strides to develop an understanding of one
another, miscalculation and disaster can result. Nothing we've done has had the desired affect, and now we find ourselves in a situation we're far
less on top of.
The same thing happened prior to WW2 with Japan. We underestimated how profoundly Japan would be affected by the sense of loss of influence on the
world stage following several broken treaties and bad deals they had forced on them, and the result was a rapid nationalization and militarization of
the country. Which ultimately led to their involvement in WW2. It's not about right or wrong at that point - it's about, "could we have better gauged
the affects of our actions?"
You can look at this in two ways. One, as a lack of mutual respect, on a personal, emotional level. Two, as an intelligence failure in terms of
accurately estimating the likely behavior of a rational actor in response to our own actions. Either way, it's a miscalculation and not a good thing
in terms of the ability to predict and thus prepare for future events. Which is bad for the whole world, because it increases the risk of further
miscalculations... especially in the spaces we and they are currently so closely engaged, which are chaotic to say the least. (Syria, etc.)
What's more, this has all happened at a time when trust and confidence in Western governments is at an all time low among their own people... which
has led to many seeing Russia in a far more favorable light than in the past. Personally, my view is that neither the U.S. nor Russia are saints. Both
can be equally ruthless, and both have designs on the regions in question, and want to expand and protect their own spheres of influence and ability
to project power. But both can also be equally gregarious, good, and constructive for the world. We need to not lose sight of that: good exists
everywhere if you look for it, but both need the will to find it. In themselves, and in one another.
Saying, "to prevent conflict we must cultivate greater understanding of one another," sounds idealistic and naive... but in this instance, it's the
most pragmatic thing we can possibly do imho. If we don't... if both sides continue to simply pursue their own interests to the exclusion of all
else... and if we continue to make Russia feel they have no recourse because the alternative is the complete erosion of their influence in the world
and in time even their direct security... well... things look much less rosy given enough time and chaos in due course. It doesn't matter whether
that's actually the case or not. What matters is what each side believes is the case. That's what we have to come to understand, and
Or we can all just say to hell with it and let things slide even further toward madness.