Putin Lays Ground Work for Expansion
Former Soviet satellites are ripe targets for Putin to regain lost territory and resources. Ukraine in particular has been known as the breadbasket of eastern Europe, and the loss of Ukraine was a blow to the former Soviet Union. Putin must undertake two goals in order to rebuild. First, he must put NATO on notice that he will push back when they seek to control his efforts. And second, he must create the image that populations within the target country are actually Russian sympathizers or nationals that are simply seeking to realign with the “mother country,” as he did when carving off a piece of Eastern Ukraine. His accusations against NATO are an effort to implement the first goal.
The document [signed by Putin] lists a series of complaints against NATO, including “the intensification of military activities of member countries”, “further expansion of the alliance”, and “moving military infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders”, which it describes as a threat to national security.
Describing “new threats to national security which have a complex, interrelated character”, the strategy document accuses the US and its allies of “attempting to maintain their dominance in global affairs” by carrying out a “policy of containment of Russia”. This, it says, leads to “political, economic, military and informational pressure” on Russia.
The accusations against NATO and the US in Russia’s official national security policy are likely to further strain relations between Moscow and the west.
In an updated military strategy published a year ago, Russia stopped short of explicitly describing NATO or the US as threats or enemies. In the 2009 version of the national security strategy — developed under the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, now prime minister — Moscow criticized NATO expansion and the US move to build a missile defense system in Europe, but did not designate these actions a threat to Russia.
The new strategy document sharply criticizes the west’s position on Ukraine, accusing the US and Europe of supporting “an anti-constitutional coup” which it says “has led to a deep split in Ukrainian society and the emergence of an armed conflict”. It warns that Ukraine has now become “a long-term source of instability in Europe and on Russia’s borders”.
Much of Putin’s growing strength can be laid at the feet of Obama, who has shown himself to be a naive and ineffective leader, with little understanding of the historical activities and aspirations of the Russians, and a paucity of ideas in how to deal with the aggressive premier.
When Obama came into office, he suggested that he would achieve greater world peace and unity by sitting down with various leaders to have civilized talks to reach reasonable accords. In fact, under the leadership of Obama, the world is much more divided, the strength of major foes of America has grown, and the stature and respect that other countries had for the United States has virtually disappeared, thanks to the ineptitude and ignorance of our commander in chief.