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Europe Goes Expansionist

In the decade following the Bush administration’s ill-starred adventure in Iraq, the U.S. was routinely, and with some justification, accused of imperial overreach. The hoped-for change from an interventionist foreign policy did not materialize with the advent of the Obama administration in 2009. The Afghan surge and an undeclared drone war which stretches from the plains of the Maghreb into the heart of mountainous South Central Asia have put paid to those hopes.

Europe, too, has not been immune to bouts of imperial hubris, as the 2011 intervention in Libya showed. Yet with the exit of the interventionist Nicolas Sarkozy from the Elysee Palace in 2012, there was perhaps cause to hope for a return to a European foreign policy that was at once both prudential and ethical. Yet the continuing crisis taking place in Kiev indicates that European foreign policy has, again, abandoned prudence and accommodation in favor of a zero-sum mentality that may well anticipate an era of conflict and competition with Russia over the states of the former Soviet bloc.

The crisis which has unfolded in the streets of Kiev since November has its roots in the diplomatic maneuvering of European diplomats as far back as 2008. In May of that year, the foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden, Radek Sikorski and Carl Bildt, proposed the formation of an Eastern Partnership (EaP) which was to serve as a forum for the discussion of, inter alia, free trade and visa agreements between the EU and the presumably aspirant nations on Europe’s southeastern periphery.

The Partnership spoke of “shared values” such as respect for human rights and the rule of law, and promoted the concepts of “good governance” and “sustainable development” in the region. According to Minister Bildt, the EaP was not about “spheres of influence,” which is an interesting assertion in light of the events of the past few months.

Consider the comments of European Commission President Manuel Barroso. In a press conference held in Milan on December 9, Barroso twice appealed to Ukrainians to “have the courage and go out and fight.” Remarks from high ranking European officials (to say nothing of the contributions of American officialdom) have been dutifully echoed in the Western media which portray the strife in Kiev as the manifestation of a clash of civilizations, Russian and European, in what some have taken to call, “the heart of Europe.”

Rhetoric of this sort is a striking departure for postwar European diplomacy, which generally had been a reliable cultivator of consensus and rapprochement in and around its immediate neighborhood. It has, with the notable exception of the United Kingdom, tried to act as a brake on some the more sanguinary tendencies of American foreign policy. Now the EU seems to be picking up some of the American foreign policy establishment’s bad habits.

Though one of the architects of the EaP, Sikorski was forced to admit recently that “…the EU seriously overestimated the attractiveness of its offer,” a report in February 3rd’s New York Times indicated that, rather than leave well-enough alone, American and European diplomats are planning to counter Russia’s bailout package while Vladimir Putin is distracted by the Sochi Games.

If that’s the plan, it indicates that these diplomats are making two very dubious assumptions. First, they seem to believe, against all evidence: historic, economic, and otherwise, that the Ukrainian people are united in their desire to join Europe. Manual Barroso, who should know better, claimed in the aforementioned press conference that it simply wasn’t true that the protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych were only taking place “in the Western part of Ukraine.” Ukraine, to be sure, is one country but it is made up of two civilizations, one that looks to Russia, and one that looks to the West. They speak different languages and have had, as recently as the century just past, different historical experiences.

Consider the fates of Kharkiv in the East and Lviv in the West. On the eve of the First World War, Kharkiv (then Kharkov) was situated firmly within the Russian Empire; Lviv (then Lwow) was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. In the interwar years, Lwow was part of the Second Polish Republic while Kharkiv lay within the newly formed USSR. During the Second World War, Lwow became Lemberg which experienced the horror of life under the German General Government, while Kharkiv was occupied, liberated, re-occupied, and re-liberated from the Reichskommissariat Ukraine by the Red Army. It was with the establishment of Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe that both Lviv and Kharkiv found themselves under the flag of the USSR.

Second, the idea that Putin will be so distracted by the Olympic Games that a renewed approach to Ukraine by the EU would go unnoticed betrays a deep misunderstanding as to what Russia’s political elite will countenance. To Russia this is not simply an economic issue, but one with profound security implications as well. And for very good reason.

The EU-Ukrainian Association Agenda which came into effect last summer has a specific Foreign Policy and Security Protocol in which the EU and Ukraine are to “further strengthen convergence on regional and international issues, conflict prevention, and crisis management.” They are to work together to “increase interoperability” and “explore further concrete ways of achieving higher convergence in the field of foreign and security policy.” In other words, the EU is preparing Ukraine for eventual accession to NATO.

If the idea of NATO extending its front line into the heart of Slavic civilization strikes you as exceedingly reckless, it should. In his book Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives [1], the historian Stephen F. Cohen writes that if the neoconservative project of expanding NATO to include Ukraine succeeds:

The Kremlin has publicly warned that the West’s ‘relations with Russia will be spoiled once and for all’ and ‘the price to pay will be high.’ Privately, it is said that it would be seen as a ‘declaration of war.’

And so for admirers of the EU’s postwar record of building a prosperous and socially just society through negotiation and compromise, the current urge to expand ever Eastward is both a puzzlement and a concern. Is it so impossible to imagine that over the long run the European Union might be able to establish a modus vivendi with a Eurasian Customs Union? Putin seems to think that that’s a possibility, why do European leaders foreclose the idea of such an outcome? Is there any reason to suppose the EU will somehow falter unless it continues to incorporate the majority of the states of the former Soviet Union?

The last thing we should want is for the Europeans to start picking up the expansionist foreign policy habits of the Washington establishment at the price of their own peace, prosperity, and security. Several years ago the eminent scholar of Europe, David P. Calleo, wrote that “…today’s EU needs institutions that will allow them to co-habit amicably with their giant Eastern relation. Otherwise there seems scant hope for a happy European future.” It was true then, and it remains true today.

James Carden served as an advisor to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the State Department from 2011-2012.

32 Comments (Open | Close)

32 Comments To "Europe Goes Expansionist"

#1 Comment By Fulton On February 7, 2014 @ 12:27 am

“Rhetoric of this sort is a striking departure for post-war European diplomacy”

I don’t know about that, if you go back to the crack up of Yugoslavia in the early 90’s and you had the Germans charging to recognize Croatia and generally accelerate the conflict there by bringing the rest of the EU along with it. The EU countries were then also solidly in favor the Americans bombing in Bosnia and then Kosovo, in much the same manner as they were more recently in Libya. And, of course, the French had their rather dubious intervention in Rwanda during the mid-90’s too (if memory is serving). Sticking their noses into the Ukraine is fairly consistent with post-Cold War EU diplomacy I’d say. This is not, of course, a compliment.

#2 Comment By Leonardo On February 7, 2014 @ 10:07 am

More than an expansionist policy of the E.U., I fear and I’m saddened by the secular drift that the Union has taken within its borders. It is interesting because,for that reason, many Catholics in Europe today look to Russia, and to Putin, as the last European hope for Christianity, but Catholics in the Ukraine certainly do not see it that way. That leaves many western European Catholics perplexed, as they fight against Brussels and see their Ukrainian Greco-Catholic friends demonstrating for closer ties to Europe.

#3 Comment By Johann On February 7, 2014 @ 10:24 am

And we have the US goading the EU into stronger action in the Ukraine. A hacked phone call between Helga Schmid, a deputy Secretary General for the EU and the Polish ambassador to the EU, Jon Tombinski, was posted on youtube most likely by the Russian government. Ms Schmid is complaining about criticism from the US on being too soft in their dealings with the Ukraine crisis.

[2]

And another probably Russian leaked hacked phonecall from long time neocon Victoria Nuland of the State Department and the US ambassador to Ukraine. The telecon is proof positive of US direct meddling in the Ukraine. Nuland brags about getting the UN to help the US and curses the EU.

#4 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 7, 2014 @ 11:24 am

So now today we have the conspiratorial conversation leaked between US diplomat to the EU Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt shedding sunlight about our government’s true interests, far less about democracy in the Ukraine than American control.

While discussing who they propose to allow to make up the rulers of the Ukraine, dismissing the leading opposition figure as unsuitable to their interests, they talk about how the compliant UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, viewed as a reliable carrier of Washington’s water, can be used to undercut the Europeans’ position.

That will “f— the EU,” gloats Nuland, with Pyatt enthusiastically echoing the sentiment, concurring that this will pre-empt Russian interests.

Nuland is married to prominent neocon Robert Kagan, former principal national security adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Ki-Moon, educated in the United States, has family ties to Wall Street, where his U.S.-educated son is an investment banker. Seen as deferential to U.S. interests, he appointed a former American ambassador, B. Lynn Pascoe, UN Under-Secretary-General for political affairs.

Stirring up foreign conflict is the neocon passion. By their own pronouncements from influential Washington perches, and despite being discredited with the American public, nothing would please this claque of aggressive military adventurism so much as a reboot of the Cold War. This despite a reality of the Soviet Union long dead and the Communist Party a tiny rump without influence in the new multiparty Russia – the reasons sold to the American people for the vast expansion of our armies standing over the world.

What this world needs now, according to our duopoly parties perfectly aligned in common cause with the neocons for a state of permanent warfare, is a resurgence of the nuclear competition between the United States
and Russia, in pursuit of American hegemony, a “Pax Americana” driven by threat of U.S. military violence.

We are, after all, “the world’s greatest nation,” as the President recently confirmed, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereof, but apparently none of the responsibilities or wisdom of our best moral visionaries, such as Martin Luther King.

Does Americanism really have to be all about serving the narrow interests of the military-industrial-financialist one percent and their greed, an obsession enabled by the ever-growing military budget fed by sowing constant conflict?

No, but if President Dwight Eisenhower was correct in his dire prediction, if we did nothing to restrain this cabal’s growing influence – and we didn’t – that American democracy would be subverted from within, then his warning is now fulfilled prophecy.

The remedy to the propensity of our authorities to deceive us, manipulating public opinion to support their obscured secret aims, must be robust journalism that exposes the truth to us. There can be no democratic accountability without the press performing this needed public service, as Thomas Jefferson so presciently argued.

#5 Comment By rebecca On February 7, 2014 @ 11:45 am

I couldn’t help but notice this: [3]. The top 2 EU countries pictured here have both invaded Russia/Soviet Union in the past. This didn’t work out too well either time, so they are trying it again a bit more collectively as well as surreptitiously.

#6 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 7, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

Don’t rule out that these surveillance leaks could have originated with yet another disgruntled NSA whistleblower disgusted with the discrepancies between what the American people are told and what the neocons actually do.

We can assume that the NSA keeps these conversations, as they “collect it all.” Do they also have the “pillow talk” between Nuland and neocon hawk husband Kagan? What plots against the security of the American people might that pull back the covers on? If they’ve done nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide. Pre-emptive bugging is just an insurance policy, in case it’s needed later.

We do know that the NSA is an extremely leaky boat, with those hundreds of thousands of fraudulently cleared contractors and employees. It is possible that this is the most likely source – even that in the best Washington tradition, the leak is politically motivated, and then fobbed off as being of foreign origin to obscure its source, or even leaked to a foreign player likely to make use of it.

#7 Comment By Johann On February 7, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

I guess I should make an attempt to translate the German phone call that I posted above between Schmid and Tombinski. My pen name not withstanding, my German is terrible, so if someone else is better at it, please feel free to do a better job than my sad attempt. Well here goes.

Tombinski – Hello

Schmid – This is Helga. I wanted to tell you that the Americans are going around saying that we are too soft and that their stance on sanctions is stronger. I spoke with Cathy (the EU secretary general) and we are in agreement that our policies are appropriate and well thought out and reasonable, but you should know we are very angry at the Americans for accusing us of being too soft. They have said so to reporters. Maybe you could tell the US Ambassador that we are not soft at all and that we have recently come up with a strong statement about Bulatov. It makes me angry that the media here says that the US is on the side of freedom.

Tomblinski – But Helga you need to realize that we are not in a competition on who will make the strongest statement…we have other ways… it’s good … (sorry, I get lost here)

Schmid – But I don’t want Cathy to be hurt or backed into a corner ….(i get lost here again) Cathy will raise this issue with Kerry. I want you to know that while I agree we are not in a competition it is very unfair on their part to spread things like this.

Tomblinski – I learned a few minutes ago that the opposition will make a new offer to the President. I will let you and Cathy know about it.

Okay thanks!

Thanks bye!

#8 Comment By Leonardo On February 7, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

Interesting article about the role of Ukrainian Catholics:
[4]

#9 Comment By James Canning On February 7, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

I think eventual membership in the EU, of Ukraine, would actually be a good thing for Russia. But it should not happen for many years. And, no Nato membership.

#10 Comment By Jamie Estevez On February 7, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

Make no mistake. The Americans are knee deep in this crisis as well. Check out the tapes of US diplomats discussing who will lead up the Ukrainian opposition and who will be in what position in a “new” pro US Ukrainian government. Then check out the recent visit by members of the feminist punk rock group “Pussy Riot” to the US Embassy in Moscow to meet with a US diplomat there. My government, the United States government is shameful. They are now taking an actively anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox Christian stance in world affairs. May God humble them.

#11 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 7, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

A new NBC report by journalists Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Mark Schone and Glenn Greenwald confirms Nixon-era “dirty tricks” methods are being employed by current security agencies but on cyber steroids.

Personal computers of targets are hacked, false information planted, family, acquaintances, employers and businesses are alerted to the disinformation in order to discredit and ruin targets.

We used to call this COINTEL when it was secretly deployed against targets by the FBI; domestic critics of the military-industrial cabal like Martin Luther King who was the subject of covert harassment designed explicitly to cause him to commit suicide. He failed to commit suicide, he ended up assassinated instead.

Given that domestic critics, including reporters, have been called traitors, spies and criminals who support terrorists and who have caused incalculable damage to national security by the heads of these agencies, the political leaders who front for them and by the administration, what would stop these domestic critics from having these approved disinformation tactics applied to them also?

What defense is there when personal computers are hacked and evidence planted, which could then become the basis for a secret Grand Jury indictment fueled by secret evidence to allow completely unlimited surveillance and tracking of journalists, sources and even sympathetic members of the public? And, of course, since they “collect it all” as an insurance policy for future use, subsequent arrest, incarceration and trial, if future circumstances should allow.

#12 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 7, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

The relevance of the NBC report is that one of the takeaway revelations is that often the campaigns of selective leaking and disinformation are conducted in such a way as to cast blame on a nation or group regarded as the adversary – just as Russia is being blamed for what most resembles Washington political infighting and backstabbing.

#13 Comment By thanks hill! On February 7, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

“Victoria Nuland of the State Department and the US ambassador to Ukraine”

Yet another consequence of the mess Hillary Clinton left behind her at State: foul-mouthed hacks like Nuland (a Bill Clinton era hire) promoted well beyond their competency now roam the earth armed with US diplomatic credentials. As with her role in the Benghazi fiasco, no part of this story is the least bit surprising. If our government weren’t a haven for screw-ups she would long since have been fired for cause.

#14 Comment By J On February 7, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

It’s hard to take arguments seriously in which Putin’s ‘Eurasian Union’ is asserted to be a legitimate enterprise with a future. The ‘EAU’ amounts to one more scheme to prolong Russian empire, with its diseased culture and deficient quality of its elites. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the venture, the reality is that it’s insustainable in post-1992 Europe and Asia.

Long term EU planning involves getting European Russia as a member nation. If so it will be the largest member population-wise and an economic heavyweight internally. It’s possible it will never join, of course. In either case the EU is wise to view it at present as a jealous rival entity with deficient government and civilization. The EU’s present policies of a level of altruism towards Russia’s healing up and maturation internally, and yet slowly and subviolently pushing it back to its ethnic territories, are commonsensical.

#15 Comment By James Canning On February 7, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

@Jamie Estevez – – Hostility toward Orthodox Christianity is not likely to be a factor in the formulation of American foreign policy.

#16 Comment By DeepSouthPopulist On February 7, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

Great comments here.

#17 Comment By richard vajs On February 8, 2014 @ 8:12 am

Luring Ukraine into the EU would not be doing Ukraine any favors – they would be immediately eaten by the Western “bankster” crooks like another Greece, and used by America as another black site and listening post on Russia. This has nothing to do with “freedom” except to be another free lunch for Western corruption.

#18 Comment By Bianca On February 8, 2014 @ 11:13 am

@J — your comment is a prime example of supremacism that cost millions of lives of Russians. Russian culture has been part of Europe and vice versa for millenia, and you talk of “diseased culture and deficient qualities of its elites”. Obsession with Russia is Vatican obsession, and Europe and Russia (and other Christian Orthodox nations) paid too high a price for it. From little Napoleon to the little altar boy, Hitler, the obsession has not ended. That is the illness we need to be talking about.
Eurasian integrations cannot be stopped, as it is not just Russia but China that is involved in building it. If US plans to keep Europe like its own possession, that is OK, for as long as Europe likes it. But it will remain an isolated appendix of the large Eurasian land mass, without its land connection, and with the Atlantic to share with its natural partner. For anyone who think that EU economy is any recommendation, look at Bulgaria and Romania. Without Russia, they would be hungry. Hunger is stalking Balkans, as the EU spread its neoliberal economic wings. What makes you think all Ukrainians want this?

#19 Comment By Dean Acheson On February 8, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

Her infantile obscenity to one side, is Victoria Nuland’s detailed discussion of sensitive policy matters on an unsecured line the “new normal” at the post-Hillary State Department?

Incredibly, Nuland was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote and with no debate,after her evasive post-Benghazi performance. An obvious advise-and-consent failure, in particular by the GOP.

Heckuva job, Vickie …

#20 Comment By sid_finster On February 8, 2014 @ 11:20 pm

IIRC, most of the population of western Ukraine are not Uniate or otherwise Catholic, although, to the extent there are Catholics in Ukraine, that is where most of them are concentrated.

#21 Comment By Alex On February 9, 2014 @ 4:49 am

Rebecca, not only Germany and France invaded Russia in the past. Sweden (1708), Poland, (1612), Britain (1854, 1918) committed major invasions. Number of other European nations joined the 1918 intervention. Most of them rolled through modern Ukrainian territory.

#22 Comment By Konstantin On February 9, 2014 @ 4:52 am

If Americans and Europeans are ready to that that million people will be lost, thousands cities will be destroyed, then forward you continue to push Russia in an abyss, in Russia people already understood true sense of that that occurs and that soon to them it is necessary again as well as to protect to their ancestors the life up in arms.

#23 Comment By George Bordakov On February 9, 2014 @ 5:36 am

Any politics of “subviolently pushing it (Russia) back to its ethnic territories” are definitely not wise.
Russian elites still have efficient military with nukes and missiles, willingness to use it against those who consider them and their civization deficient and strong popular support for defending territorial integrity. Even released Khodorkovskiy in Germany says that in the case of choise between cecession of Northern Caucases and war he chooses war [5] (sorry you have to listen to interview in Russian to hear these words, never found translation of this in English media).

#24 Comment By mf On February 9, 2014 @ 9:37 am

The author, writing for “American Conservative”, is non-interventionist for the time being because the WH is occupied by the wrong party.

Ukraine is suffering the same fate that Poland has been for ~200 years before the present. The country has been dominated by neighboring powers, the last being the Soviet Union. It has always aspired to independence and has a history of fighting all occupiers, which pretty much includes every bigger country in the neighborhood. Largely as a result of the latest occupation by the Soviet Union it is now split along the East/West line, with the Eastern part dominated by the past influx of Russians. As most (if not all) post-soviet states the Ukrainian politics is oligarchic and deeply corrupt, as there is little industrial base or indigenous capital, so the only way to get rich quick is through corruption. Ukraine also has a misfortune of trying to become an independent country in the midst of worldwide economic mess induced by neoliberal fantasies, which makes whatever industrial base is there even less useful. There are no easy solutions here, and the split along the East/West line may be the ultimate outcome. As demonstrated by the Balkans, such splits are rarely peaceful, and it is best to engage diplomatically before you actually have the civil war. It is easy for this author to just sit back and complain, as many have before him. He would most likely argue that Danzig was a minor dispute between Germany and Poland and we should have let peaceful Germans have their way. Unfortunately, inaction often leads to a far bigger mess later.

#25 Comment By Michael Kenny On February 9, 2014 @ 10:09 am

This is typical American cloudcuckooland. What Ukrainians want is Russian gas at a cheap price AND visa-free access to the EU labour market. The believe they can have both and I think they’re perfectly right. There is nothing incompatible between an association agreement with the EU and a customs union with Russia. Indeed, such a double arrangement is beneficial to all three parties. Thus, whatever objection Russia may have to the association agreement is probably something fairly minor which will be sorted out after Sochi. As for NATO, when Russia applied to join, the European members were all for it but the US vetoed it. In retaliation, so to speak, the European members vetoed the US attempt to bring Ukraine and Georgia in. Thus, the EU doesn’t want Ukraine in NATO unless Russia is also let in. That completely undermines Mr Carden’s thesis.

#26 Comment By yugo kovach On February 9, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

Attempting to “liberate’ Ukraine may be high-minded of the E.U., but it begs important questions.

Are there any geographical limits to an expanding E.U.? Include Armenia, Georgia and Turkey, and the EU would border Chechnya, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Should Kiev’s young be encouraged to believe that the accord on the free movement of peoples will remain a bedrock principle of the E.U.? This accord will be further tested with the end of transitional restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants come the New Year, as well as Moldovan migrants given the ease with which Moldovans can acquire Romanian citizenship. The scale of uncontrolled immigration into Western Europe will be further augmented from Croatia, which recently joined, and in due course from six other western Balkan states.

Was it wise of the E.U. to entice Ukrainians into abandoning their economic dependence on Russia without offering transitional aid? Does the E.U. want a basket case on its hands? Will the E.U.’s taxpayers consent to bailing out Ukraine?

#27 Comment By celt darnell On February 9, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

Re: “It’s hard to take arguments seriously in which Putin’s ‘Eurasian Union’ is asserted to be a legitimate enterprise with a future. The ‘EAU’ amounts to one more scheme to prolong Russian empire, with its diseased culture and deficient quality of its elites.”

And the EU is any better? Its diseased elites ignore the results of legitimate referenda and are mired in corruption. This, by any stretch of the imagination is a diseased culture. It, far more than Russia, is the heir to the USSR.

With economies in relative decline and indigenous populations in absolute decline, the EU’s future is no better than Russia’s.

How much is Brussels paying you?

#28 Comment By Danram On February 9, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

This is a laughably myopic column. Apparently the author seems to think that it is somehow a bad thing to try and integrate a country of 48 million people into the European Union while at the same time preventing Vladimir Putin from reconstituting the old Soviet Union, as is clearly his aim.

The logic of this thinking totally escapes me. I would argue that preventing a second “Cold War” from happening is most definitely in the interests of Europe’s “peace, prosperity & security.”

The writer seems to feel that leaving Ukraine at the mercy of Putin and his thuggish proxies in that country is the better course of action. Certainly ‘ol Vladimir Vladimirovich will be a nicer guy if he doesn’t feel pressured, right?

Many felt the exact same way about Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. The deaths of 30 million Europeans and Russians was the ultimate result of such folly. As much as the author likes to quote history, this fundamental fact seems to have eluded him.

#29 Comment By PP On February 9, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

In the past, all Western encroachments on historical Russian territories ended up miserably (the same is true another way round, of course). The problem here is how to define the proper balance. Western parts of Ukraine, former Austria-Hungarian territories, proved very much different from Southern and Eastern parts, which always were part of Russian Empire/USSR. The question is whether or not Ukraine can continue as a single state. Division, which may have perfect geopolitical sense, at the same time can be extremely painful and bloody (remember, once upon a time there was a state called Yugoslavia?). Under these circumstances one may expect that interested outside players (who in the end of the day will have the last say on the future of Ukraine) should demonstrate caution, restrain and at least some understanding of the extreme difficulty of this no-win situation. I think Putin and EU leaders are behaving more or less within these constraints. But US behaves differently, and it is interesting to understand why. Is it just because of low level of officials involved (Nuland in this case), or is this a bigger game of trying to antagonize Russia and EU and not allow them to form a closer union in the future?

#30 Comment By J-Neocon-Insanity On February 9, 2014 @ 6:18 pm

Western Europe is rotting from within.
-Its over-run with immigrants (legal and illegal). London will have a population that is majority non-native (various-muslim, indian-hindi, Asian, etc) than (white anglo, saxon, normal, Britain, etc).
-western Europe is so atheist and secular that it is practically a hostile enemy to Christians and Christianity
-within 25 years western Europe will be majority muslim from London to berlin.
-Except for Germany, Western Europe and the EU are bankrupt and its native western Christian population depopulating while its Islamic and African population is growing geometrically and without assimilation.

In Russia, which also has a hostile southern border with islam and keeps that border closed. Russia has also abandoned atheism as a national policy and embraces orthodox Christianity.

Both Ukraine and Russia and Moldova and Belarus should all be in a free trade zone though no military partnership (though I think Russia has more to fear from China and its southern Islamic underbelly than the EU).

The EU plays a good chess game BUT they don’t even have an aircraft carrier, they don’t even have a military capable of securing its borders and they don’t have an immigration policy that enforces assimilation which is leading to the rot of cultural suicide. The EU is filled with hubris that has no anchor in reality.

Russia is in no position to invade Western Europe but other than trade, the EU is in no position to do much else than pick its nose. Its sad, because the EU needs Russia and Russia needs the EU.

Its very possible that AIPAC and JStreet, neocons what the EU focused on the US and a true partnership between Russia and the EU could translate into an EU and Russia that doesn’t need the US.

#31 Comment By Gazza On February 10, 2014 @ 2:09 am

J February 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

“diseased culture and deficient quality of its elites”
“jealous rival entity with deficient government and civilization”

With such insulting, self-indulgent and arrogant attitudes like yours being commonplace within the US/EU Elites, it is no wonder that nations like Russia and China have such a deep distrust of Western intentions. To be honest, I cannot blame them.

#32 Comment By George Bordakov On February 14, 2014 @ 12:18 am

I think there are really two viable options:
A) Europe from Brest to Vladivostok.
B) China from Qindao (Tokyo? Manila? …?) to Brest.
I thought EU finally got this. Otherwise, why they did not let in Yuschenko and now they are letting Yanukovich. So by my logic they should have allowed Ukraine EAU membership, having cheap gas etc. And finally Russia and the rest will follow. But I have got it wrong. So it seems plan B is going to happen.

BTW, here [6] diakon Andrey Kuraev – prominent Russian Orthodox Church missionary – speaks about his first missionary attempts in China (sorry Russian again but Google Translate can help). Interesting he says that Irish monks are those who first spread Gospel in Rus. They were successful because they were not of any powerful Emperor or Pope. Perhaps spreading Gospel in China is Russia’s role in God’s plan and it may include defeat of Russian state and loss of sovereignty