The relationship between Russia and the U.S. is tense now. Russia apparently interfered with the U.S. Presidential election. It is siding with Iran, a country the U.S. considers a nation of evil. It is supporting Assad of Syria, a man who the U.S. would like to see lose his seat. There are suspicions that Russia wants to expand beyond its borders by invading eastern Ukraine and maybe some of the Baltic nations. It took over Crimea, did it not? Enough reasons to be concerned, right?
Don’t be so sure. Let’s analyze each of the above causes for concern.
What about Russia’s potential interference with the elections?
This reminds me of a Yiddish joke.
An old lady goes to a butcher to buy a whole chicken. The butcher gives it to her. She lifts one wing, smells under it, and makes a face of disapproval. She lifts the second wing and says, “Fuy!” Then, she lifts the tail, smells the rear of the chicken, and is now really disgusted.
The butcher, towering over her from behind the counter, says, “Lady, could you pass this exam?”
Whom are we kidding? We are acting like virgins although we own the whorehouse. The CIA has manipulated elections and revolutions, playing kingmaker wherever it could. Who deposed Allende of Chile, who was democratically elected by his people? The U.S. invented electoral interference but now makes it out to be a crisis, behaving as if this maneuver has never been and should not be made.
What about the suspicions that Russia wants to expand beyond their present borders?
I think that the average person on the street does not realize there is a difference between the Soviet Union and Russia. It was the communist Soviet Union that wanted to spread communism around the world. Yes, the Soviet Union threatened the market economies of the West, but today’s Russia is not communist. Culturally, Russia is more capitalist (by which I mean, materialistic) than the U.S. Please notice: Russia has a stock market. It has private ownership. Billionaires businessmen. True, many are corrupt, but Russia is now in its life cycle where the U.S. was during the reign of its railroad barons. At that time, the U.S. was no less corrupt than Russia is now. So, we should not judge Russia for not being as developed in law and order as we are. Russia and the U.S. are at different points in their life cycles.
How can we be allied with Russia which is dictatorial; the U.S.is dedicated to support democracy?
Please, let’s stop this hypocrisy. The U.S. has supported endless dictatorial regimes when it served its interests.
Do Russia and the U.S. have different geopolitical interests? Fact: Russia is interfering with Eastern Ukraine and took over Crimea illegally.
Let’s clarify. Putin, like any other politician wants to keep his chair. The Euromaidan Revolution against corruption in Ukraine threatened Putins’ power. The revolution could have spread to Moscow. Russia is corrupt, too. The Russian people could have taken a hint from the Ukrainians and started some serious turmoil. So, Putin did something the Russians would consider heroic, and in doing so he protected his power. He took over Crimea, a region most Russians consider Russian anyway. Putin opposition had no voice after that. His popularity grew tremendously. The threat of the Euromaidan revolution was over for him.
And Putin had to support the Russians in Eastern Ukraine. They’re Russian, for goodness’ sake. The Eastern Ukraine people refused to join NATO, a move Kiev was considering, which would have positioned them against Mother Russia. Many people in Eastern Ukraine do not even speak the Ukrainian language. These people identify with Russia. Putin could not ignore them. If he had, he would have been ostracized by his people as a traitor. Putin could not allow NATO to inhabit Russias’ Ukrainian border. He could not allow more missiles that close to Moscow. Why are we surprised? The U.S. almost went to war over missiles the Soviet Union put in Cuba. The missiles were too close to Washington.
Because of the events in Crimea, the West imposed certain sanctions. So, Putin made his countermove. He undermined the West in Syria and in Iran. This is a typical game of power countries play: “Since you did this, I will do that, and let’s see who calls ‘chicken’ first.”
Russia should not be the enemy. It is not the enemy. Russia has no aspirations to fight the U.S. or any Western power. Russia even tried to join NATO, and it was rejected. Why?
Because the American industrial complex needs the U.S. to have an enemy. Without an enemy, the defense budgets will dry out.
If not Russia, who else can be the enemy?
China? It’s a good candidate. It’s an ally of our most dangerous enemy, North Korea. But no. No way. The Chinese market is too big. The business community needs it.
I believe that U.S. foreign policy is publicly driven by human rights concerns. Behind the curtains, what is driving foreign policy are business interests. Period. Not democracy. Not human rights, but money. Money. Money.
Making Russia the enemy is a political maneuver driven by business interests. That is my honest belief.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes