The Russians are a weird people. For some reason, known only to their bizarre selves, they object to German invasions of their country. And not only that: they have the inexplicable habit of strenuously opposing another such eventuality.
One might well have thought otherwise. After all, the Germans bring with them in their wake all sorts of salutary benefits: law and order, good government, peace (as long as their orders are followed), world-class beer, wiener schnitzel, sauerkraut, great pretzels, luxury automobiles, magnificent music (it is hard to beat Johann Sebastian Bach!). What more could the Russians want?
Any rational country would be more than happy that the Germans offered them such benefits, not once but twice during the last century. Do you think the Russians were appreciative? No. They are a bunch of ingrates! Instead of being open for a third “visit” by the Germans, almost their entire foreign policy was dedicated to the principle of “never again.” It sometimes seemed that it consisted of little more than to preclude a third benevolent appearance across their borders of their friends, the Germans.
Thus, they tried to set up a cordon sanitaire, a buffer zone, between them and their German buddies to the west.
NATO was set up to confront supposed Soviet expansion in the westward direction. Yes, the USSR did engage in this defensive maneuver, aimed at keeping their German friends at bay. But then the Soviet Union ended. That would have been the perfect time to disband both NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Instead, NATO kept creeping, sometimes jogging, in an eastward direction. Given its past history of invasions, the Russians strongly objected. They have not been behindhand in making this desire, this fervent wish of theirs (remember, they are a weird folk), explicit.
At one time the Ukrainian government was more or less friendly to its neighbor to the east. But then, thanks to a coup d’etat, organized by NATO (guess which country is a prominent member of that organization. If you said Germany, go to the head of the class) that democratically elected government was overthrown. It was replaced by one that had an entirely different attitude toward Russia. So much so that it applied to NATO for membership. This would have meant that enemy weapons of mass destruction would have been placed at the very doorstep of Russia. Patience finally wore thin and Russia said: “no mas” to this policy.
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If there were any justice in the world, Russia never would have entered Ukraine. Instead, they would have declared war on all the member nations of NATO, all of them without exception. Thank God that there is no justice in this world. We should thank our lucky stars that Putin is a mensch. Otherwise, the very existence of the entire human race would have been put at high risk. Even now, the chances of a nuclear Armageddon are perhaps as strong as they ever were, since the Cuban missile crisis. (Amazingly, the US vociferously objected to the placing of enemy weaponry 90 miles from its shores.)
What has been the reaction of the US to the present blow-back against its decades-long policy? Unfortunately, both Democrats and Republicans, with but a few rare exceptions, have been rattling sabers; calling for all sorts of harm to the Russians. Do these people not realize what danger they place on all the rest of us, to say nothing of themselves, their children, and grandchildren? Have they not yet learned the lesson that a nuclear conflagration can ruin our entire day?
What should happen now, if sanity is to return? Peace should once again reign, after a complete ceasefire. All troops should return to their home country. No other nation should supply Ukraine with weapons of any type or variety. This country should cease and desist from its attempt to join NATO. That mischievous, nasty and malicious organization should be disbanded and salt sowed where once it stood.
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Reprinted with the author’s permission.
Copyright © Ron Paul Institute, Walter E. Block
Dr. Block is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.