If you have been following the Western media line on Russia lately, you might believe that not only is the Kremlin plotting continental conquest, but that Russian policy is driven by a dark, irrational “paranoia” centuries in the making.
There’s a second round of the Cold War in production, and we’re all supposed to buy into the scare story that Vladimir Putin and his fellow KGB veterans have pounced on a courageous but hapless Ukraine yearning only for freedom, French fries, democracy and Disneyland. (Never mind that the US State Department openly installed the current regime in Kiev by way of a liberal-nationalist coup in February 2014.) Moreover, Putin was labelled a power-mad dictator for protecting the Russian-majority Crimea and facilitating its reunion with Russia by referendum this spring. In the following months, NATO furiously hyped Novorussia’s rebel movement as the prelude to an invasion that never materialized. What, then, is the real context behind Russian “aggression” and “paranoia?”
Seemingly so obvious as to be overlooked, the historical record provides prime insights as to why Moscow would be so distrustful of Western strategic designs. Geopolitical directives from the 160-year-old Crimean War (control of the Black Sea/Caucasus and access to the Eastern Mediterranean) remain roughly the same as today, a fact duly noted when Russian paratroopers and GRU spetsnaz units secured Sevastopol in March. Every hundred years or so for the whole modern era, a major Western power has seized upon the utterly crazy idea of attacking and conquering Russia. So let’s take a stroll down memory lane, century by century:
- 17th Century – Poland: In the early seventeenth century, the mighty Rzeczpospolita of King Sigismund III exploited Muscovite Russia’s Time of Troubles and went so far as to occupy the cathedrals of the Kremlin until finally being expelled in 1612. Few of us have ever heard of the massacres and persecutions inflicted upon the Russian lands by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but the Russians themselves remember all too well.
- 18th Century – Sweden: While now submerged in decadence, early eighteenth-century Sweden was the superpower of its day. Led by the swashbuckling Charles XII, the Swedes fought for dominance over the Baltic against Peter the Great and his men, who through a brutal and close-fought contest won Russia’s “window” to Europe.
- 19th Century – France: In 1812 warlord extraordinaire Napoleon Bonaparte took the Grande Armée all the way to Moscow, expecting submission from a vanquished populace. Instead, Russian forces under Marshal Kutuzov would chase the Little Corporal all the way back to Paris.
- 20th Century – Germany: The twentieth century, the age of total war, saw Germany invade Russia twice in massive campaigns of unparalleled ferocity. Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa remains the largest-scale military action ever undertaken, one that cost 20 million Russian lives before Soviet soldiers ascended the Reichstag amidst the ruins of Berlin in May 1945.
- 21st Century – USA/NATO: The Cold War policy of “containment” never ended – the United States and the NATO alliance it controls are actively pursuing a policy of destabilization along Russia’s periphery with an eye to dominating Eurasia and its hydrocarbon riches. Western oligarchic elites dream of somehow eliminating Russian-led resistance to their New World Order; thus, CIA-engineered color revolutions, covert wars using jihadist proxies and humanitarian bombing from the Balkans to the Hindu Kush are all par for the course.
Upon assuming responsibilities as the new Secretary-General of NATO, Atlanticist functionary Jens Stoltenberg declared that the alliance would continue projecting power “wherever it wants.” The Russians, doubtless, will beg to differ, as they are the inheritors of a strategic culture shaped by successive wars for national survival. Even if you are paranoid, someone out there still might be gunning for you.