It’s a thing on red-pill Twitter lately to quip that it sure is strange Putin’s only aggressions toward Ukraine take place when Democrats control the White House, instead of when Putin had a “Russian puppet” in there. This is a dig at the Russia Hoax that was planted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election cycle, which led to people connected with her campaign being indicted for lying to the FBI. Of course, there are Democrats out there who will go to their graves believing Trump was secretly a Russian asset or whatever, but this whole thing has been debunked as a matter of fact.
But is the red-pill hot take an accurate way of looking at the situation in Ukraine? No, it’s not. Trump does not have to be a Russian plant to have positions that are strategically useful to Putin. And it’s painfully naïve to think Putin ever stops getting into trouble.
There are a lot of reasons why Putin wants Ukraine. They have a major pipeline running through the country that supplies the rest of Europe with natural gas, which is one of Russia’s big exports. Paying for right-of-way costs Russia billions of dollars every year.
Putin also sees seizing Ukraine the same way China sees seizing Taiwan – as a means of reuniting Imperial Russia. When you live in a country as “young” as the US, it’s sometimes hard to grok the folks who see things through the lens of ancient civilizations. In fact, one could also look at the military alliance between Russia, China, and Iran as a cultural alliance of people who belong to ancient civilizations versus the postmodern west. These are people who like the old ways of doing things – cultural conservatives from a different hemisphere.
But the main reason Putin wants to invade Ukraine is to push NATO forces away from Moscow.
Trump has said in the past that if he gets a second term, he would withdraw the United States from NATO. Putin would absolutely love to see NATO crack up, and without the US, that’s exactly what would happen. So if you think Trump is not pushing for policy changes that would benefit Russia, well, you’re just flat-out wrong.
BOTH Biden and Trump have policy attitudes that contribute to the weakening of western forces and the ascension of eastern forces. Both of them have and will continue to sabotage our domestic financial and political stability. It does not matter whether Biden or Trump is in the White House, Putin will win either way – with Trump because Trump supports policies that benefit Moscow, and with Biden because Biden is a senile old man and a catastrophically weak and incompetent executive.
A lot of political discourse these days is so stupid because it’s absolutely devoid of logic. “Because Hillary Clinton made up a lie about Trump and Russia, Trump is necessarily not a pawn of Russia from a policy standpoint.” These things are two separate considerations. It’s also incomprehensible to the folks who worship Trump as an alpha male to think that he is capable of being played by Putin. Trump has the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers playing capture the flag on weekends, Putin gives his enemies radioactive Big Macs. These are not the same people.
I am not saying there isn’t anything to criticize about NATO. But if you break up western alliances, then you have nothing at all to stop the ascendency of superpowers in the east, which is becoming increasingly inevitable with all of the in-fighting within western democracies.
The hate-your-neighbor crap in the US and Europe has absolutely made our countries less competitive economically and weakens our ability to defend ourselves. The pissing matches between right and left in Washington DC and having old people with short time horizons running the show has left the US with third-world levels of indebtedness, the inability to raise interest rates much to control inflation without creating a fiscal mess, among many other crises. All of this amounts to our country starting off in a weaker position with less resources if a bona fide geopolitical disruption arises. Finally, this country really shit the bed over covid – which is basically one giant Chinese psyop that both Trump and Biden have fallen for hook, line, and sinker – lighting trillions of dollars on fire, killing off the economic engine of our country, and permanently disrupting social support networks.
In short, if you are on the right looking at the disaster that is our foreign policy right now, you don’t have a whole lot of reasons to take a bow either.