Ukraine: There Are No Good Guys
The Ukraine crisis is incredibly concerning. The prospect of war, which some parties seem to be positively salivating at, is even more unwelcome in this particular situation than it should always be.
The Cold War may have ended over thirty years ago, but between them the USA and Russia still have enough of a nuclear arsenal to not only guarantee mutually assured destruction, but indeed the destruction of the world as we know it. Rattling sabres when it comes to the Ukraine is a seriously bad idea.
In this regard, one has to give Russia a modicum of respect for their diplomatic restraint on the issue. Even the Ukraine itself has been calling on NATO to tone down its rhetoric and talk of any impending invasion or war, as it isn't exactly helping the situation. But equally, there is no doubt that Russia's military buildup on the Ukrainian border is itself belligerent and threatening.
There has been completely justified criticism of NATO, whose purpose is ill-defined (given the Cold War, and the Warsaw Pact, ended thirty years go) and whose gradual encroachment and expansion has been a source of consternation and trepidation for Russia. There has also been very legitimate criticism of the Ukraine, whose neo-Nazi tendencies cannot be overlooked.
Allowing Russia a free pass in Ukraine, however, is not something anyone should consider an appropriate response. Unilaterally deciding to enter or occupy another country, in whole or in part, is not acceptable when the United States does it. And it isn't acceptable when Russia does it, either.
People have been quick to take sides, and constant, sustained talk of war is gravely dangerous. Its outcome would be horrific, indeed catastrophic.
All war represents a failure of diplomacy.
- Tony Benn
Cool heads must prevail. The alternative is unconscionable. There are no heroes in this quagmire, only villains. All are at fault, the Ukraine itself included. NATO needs not only to stop expanding but disband. The United States needs to stop littering the planet with its bases. And Russia needs to think long and hard before doing something very, very stupid, from which there may well be no return. For any of us.