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Why Russia Probably will not Bomb Kiev's Forces in Eastern Ukraine

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During the early1950s American warplanes dropped some 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea. In April 1961, the U.S. bombed targets in Cuba. During the 1960s and early 1970s the U.S. devastated Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with approximately 6,000,000 tons of bombs.

In December 1983, America bombed Beirut in response to terrorist attacks there that killed 299 American and French soldiers. To demonstrate America's strength and resolve in the wake of the Beirut bombings, President Reagan ordered U.S. forces to invaded weak little Grenada. The U.S. dropped yet more bombs, including one that killed at least a dozen people in a hospital. In 1986 Reagan ordered the dropping of yet more bombs -- this time on Libya. Some struck civilian areas.

His successor, President George H. W. Bush ordered the dropping of more bombs during the invasion of Panama in December 1989. One of his publicly stated justifications for bombing Panama was America's need to protect the lives of Americans living there. When the United Nation's Security Council drafted a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Panama, it was vetoed by France, Great Britain and the U.S. -- which cited its obligation to protect some 35,000 Americans in the Canal Zone.

After Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the United States bombed Iraq in early 1991. It dropped 177 million pounds of bombs on that country.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, both the United States and NATO found themselves free to invade and bomb countries that would never have been bombed or invaded, had the Soviet Union continued to exist.

Lord Ismay had observed that NATO's purpose was threefold: "To keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down." But NATO's primary mission was to protect Western Europe against possible Soviet aggression. Thus, it should have closed down after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, President Clinton and his advisers thought otherwise and pushed to expand NATO relentlessly closer to Russia's borders by adding new member states from the old Soviet bloc.

From the perspective of the current crisis in Ukraine, President Clinton had committed an error of historic proportions. You need not take my word for it; take George Kennan's, who, in 1997, predicted: "Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era."

"Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking."

Not only was Mr. Clinton's decision strategically short-sighted, it also was dishonorable. After all, President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker, had promised Mikhail Gorbachev that if the Soviet leader assisted in the peaceful unification of Germany under NATO, Western Europe's military alliance would not expand one inch eastward after that. 'Mr. Gorbachev upheld his part of the deal, but President Clinton dishonorably reneged.

America's dishonorable behavior was an affront to Russia's prestige, which, as Mr. Kennan observed, is "always uppermost in the Russian mind." The political elites in Russia were outraged.

Consequently, every round of NATO's expansion poured salt into a festering wound. Making matters even worse was NATO's decision to change its strategic concept to allow for unprovoked offensive war. Thus, although Serbia's ethnic cleansing was despicable and needed to be stopped, NATO's bombing of Serbs during the War in Bosnia (1992-95) and during the Kosovo War (1998-99) was viewed by some Russians as an unprecedented example of "mission creep" that further threatened Russia's security.

America then bombed Afghanistan in the wake of al-Qaeda's terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. But, Afghanistan had it coming -- if only because it continued to provide a safe haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

But, the al-Qaeda attacks on 9/11 also provided a smokescreen for the greatest war crime of the 21st century. It began in March 2003, when the Supreme Court-installed neocon regime of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice/Powell/Wolfowitz/Feith launched the illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq. Like vipers, these unindicted war criminals spewed venomous false allegations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction AND had ties with al-Qaeda. Many clueless chauvinists in the mainstream news media propagated their venom.

Russia, France and Germany fiercely opposed the invasion, but were not about to start World War III over a third-world country headed by a ruthless dictator. Rest assured, however, the invasion never would have occurred, had the Soviet Union still existed.

(There are many reasons to be glad that the Soviet Union no longer exists, but this is not one of them.)

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
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