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Venezuela Presents an Opportunity for Peace with Russia

January 31, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

For a moment, at least, the latest crisis is in Latin America,
not the Middle East. The Trump administration is hoping to
overthrow the disastrous Maduro government, which is busily
destroying Venezuela. Although the issue would appear to be of
little concern to Russia, its government is actively opposing U.S.
efforts.

Washington should insist that Moscow stay out—remember the
long ago Monroe Doctrine? But how could anyone, and especially
Russian President Vladimir Putin, take such a claim seriously?
America incessantly meddles along Russia’s border, up to which it
wants to expand NATO, just a couple hundred miles from the Russian
capital. Washington’s intentions don’t matter; it’s effectively
invited Moscow to return the favor. Thus is Russian involvement
also growing in Cuba, another revolutionary failure.

U.S. policy towards Russia has become a hopeless muddle.
Historically, America and Russia were friends. Unlike other leading
European countries, it did not lean toward the Confederacy during
the Civil War. In what should be a lesson for today, Washington
similarly stayed out of European battles with Russia, including the
Crimean War and later struggles in the Balkans that ultimately
triggered World War I.

It’s time for Trump to
ignore the critics, sit down with Putin, and talk
turkey.

The latter conflict spawned the Bolshevik Revolution, along with
the Red Terror, Stalinist madness, and the simmering Cold War,
during which Moscow and Washington were estranged. But Christmas
1991 presented an opportunity as the Soviet flag was lowered for
the last time over the Kremlin. Friendship with Russia seemed
possible again. Alas, the West underestimated the difficulty of the
transition from totalitarian communism to democratic capitalism.
And the U.S. and Europe appeared determined to constantly deepen
Moscow’s humiliation, incorporating its former allies and even
former Soviet republics into NATO, pushing the alliance ever
eastward.

Putin initially appeared to harbor little animus towards the
West. However, he and his people—Putin is far more
representative of the Russian public than Americans want to
believe—saw Western behavior in the Balkans, Georgia, and
Ukraine as hostile. Moscow’s response to the anti-Russian
street putsch in Kiev, ostentatiously backed by American and
European officials, was brutal but effective. Russia reincorporated
Crimea under its control after a six-decade hiatus and enmeshed
Ukraine in an ongoing internal conflict, making it ineligible for
NATO membership. Sanctimonious complaints about Russian behavior
notwithstanding, no U.S. government would have stood idly by had
the old Soviet regime staged a coup against a democratically
elected, pro-American government in Mexico, and then invited the
new regime to join the Warsaw Pact.

The result has been a renewed rivalry highlighted by steadily
worsening bilateral relations. Western sanctions have caused pain
but had no apparent impact on Moscow’s behavior. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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