U.S.-Russia Relations: Not Another Cold War
Should the United States intervene in matters of security when it comes to Russia and some of its neighbors?
- The defense budget of Russia, a superpower rival of the United States as the USSR until 1991, has dwindled to a small fraction of the Pentagon's.
- If Croatia were swallowed by either Russia or Serbia, the effect on the liberty, safety or welfare of Americans would be submicroscopic.
- Ukraine-Russian relations have historically been tense, and could erupt in armed conflict despite the recent 2010 election of Ukraine President Viktor Yankovych pledged to amity.
The United States is urging NATO admissions for Georgia and Ukraine. Both are at risk of war with Russia. In 2008, Russia fought Georgia over the break-away territory of South Ossetia. Russia has formally recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia. It kept troops in Georgian territory in violation of 2009's cease-fire accord over South Ossetia.
Moreover, it has established a military base in Abkhazia. Georgia's volatile President, Mikhail Saakashvilli, might exploit NATO membership to provoke Russia to war. Saakashvilli probably initiated the clash over South Ossetia to accelerate Georgia's NATO bid. A Russian conquest of Georgia would not heighten Russia's national security threat to the United States.
It would tie the Russian army down with a restive Georgian population reminiscent of Russia's quagmire in Chechnya, and similarly squander billions of rubles.
Ukraine-Russian relations have historically been tense, and could erupt in armed conflict despite the recent 2010 election of Ukraine President Viktor Yankovych, who has pledged amity. Russian ethnics concentrated in the east constitute 17.3% of the population.
Ukrainian politics split sharply on an East-West divide, which finds expression in the rancor over Russia's leased naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea, scheduled to expire in 2017.
Why should the United States be militarily bound under Article V to defend Ukraine from Russian conquest? With or without Ukraine, Russia does not threaten the sovereignty of the United States or the liberties of its people. That the United States would even contemplate, not to say encourage, the admission of Ukraine into NATO is indicative of the American Empire's instinct for world domination.
And what national security sense does it make for the United States to defend Croatia if it were attacked by Serbia over a border dispute, or by Russia as an ally of Serbia? If Croatia were swallowed by either, the effect on the liberty, safety or welfare of Americans would be submicroscopic. Croatia, moreover, can contribute nothing to deterring or retaliating against an attack on the United States.
The argument that Russia would become a greater threat to the United States by conquering Croatia is nonsense. Croats would resist Russian troops like Afghans resisted the Soviet invasion in 1979 or like the Chechens opposed the Russian army in the First and Second Chechen Wars.
The Russian military would be harassed and vexed by seething Croats. During World War II, the Roman Catholic Croats fought the Orthodox Serbs and Soviet forces as an independent fascist state under the Ustasha organization.
Russia's encounter with the Chechen resistance in the Second Chechen War is instructive of how Russia might fare in Croatia. Even after victory, tens of thousands of Russian troops remained years later to provide security. Chechnya is an economic albatross.
It earns only 5% of its budget. The remainder comes from Moscow. Russia subsidizes Chechnya to the tune of over $1 billion annually. A Russian conquest of Croatia would probably curtail, not enhance, its danger to the United States.
The defense budget of Russia, a superpower rival of the United States as the USSR until 1991, has dwindled to a small fraction of the Pentagon's. It is not an existential or even semi-existential threat.
The safety of the United States does not turn on mutually assured destruction. Russia's armed forces are a shadow of the Soviet Red Army. Its military struggles to defeat primitive Islamic forces in Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia.
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Bruce Fein's book, "American Empire Before the Fall," published by CreateSpace on July 4, 2010. Copyright 2010 Bruce Fein. Reprinted with permission of the author.