The whole debate on the Ukraine issue, or lack of it, is deeply disturbing. What is the purpose of NATO actions toward Southern Russia when we cannot decide whether our jets should be armed or not? Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been out-front in vilifying the actions and character of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but without offering any assessment of what motivates Putin to marshal large troop concentrations at the Ukraine border.
The context of Putin’s “aggression” is not hard to find. The Soviet Union suffered an unbelievable 20 million casualties from Nazi Germany’s invasion in the Second World War – a disaster that traumatizes Russia to this day.
The Warsaw Pact was a manifestation of its need to protect itself from such vulnerability, while the later spread of the European Union eastward, along with its NATO memberships, inevitably tended to raise Russian anxiety in Cold War terms.
Russian apprehension about the exposure of its Black Sea Fleet can have been a surprise to nobody and the recent deployment of NATO jet fighters and warships into the Black Sea only adds further fuel to their paranoia.
The nature of NATO’s intentions desperately require debate and clarification.