Does the Trump-Russia Hoax Have Us Closing in on a Possible Armed Conflict With Russia Over Ukraine?

(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP, File)

There are a few ways to address this topic.

One view is that ongoing discussions about the developments in the region are too alarmist.  Yes, tensions are building between Russia and Ukraine, but the two sides will reach an accommodation at the 11th hour as they have done repeatedly over the past nearly thirty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A second view is that regardless of what might eventually transpire between Russia and Ukraine, the United States and Western Europe will stand down and allow Russia to assert itself with regard to its territorial neighbor — a country through which Russia has suffered serious military invasions in the past century.

A third view is that there will be an outcry to stand up to Russian aggression towards Ukraine in the name of “democracy” and Western European interests in checking any further Russian efforts to expand its sphere of influence outward from its own borders.

Tucker Carlson had Glenn Greenwald on his show on Tuesday, and Greenwald added an interesting perspective to the point of view that seems to be tempting the Democrat Party and the interventionists in the Republican Party.

This is a quite legitimate point made by Greenwald that should be more prominent in the GOP response to the Biden Administration’s approach to dealing with the building tension along the border between Ukraine and Russia.

The Russian Hoaxsters who created from whole-cloth the ridiculous collusion narrative needed to demonize Russia and Russian foreign policy in order for the Trump-Russia hoax to constitute a “threat” to American democracy.  Putin had to be evil incarnate, with Trump playing the role of his American stooge, in order for the Trump-Russia hoax to constitute an existential threat.  That justified the attempts to stop the Trump administration in its tracks by calling into question its legitimacy from the very start.

But there never was ANY collusion.  We know this because the cadre of very smart and talented prosecutors — Democrat partisans all — that Robert Mueller turned loose on the Trump campaign and the Trump Administration almost IMMEDIATELY abandoned the Steele dossier and the Carter Page FISA, as well as any bona fide national security investigation of Gen. Michael Flynn or anyone else who joined the Trump Administration, and within less than 90 days focused all their attention on the question of “obstruction” on the part of President Trump and the Administration in their response to the baseless investigation.

But the characterization of Putin’s Russia as the great threat to Western Democracy took root in both the gullible Democrat partisans — and more importantly in the “C” squad national security bureaucracy that Joe Biden has brought back to Washington.

In greatly oversimplified terms, the reality of the situation in Ukraine is that Russia — both during the existence of the Soviet Union and since its collapse — has encouraged the migration of ethnic Russians into Ukraine.  There is now a sizeable minority of ethnic Russians who were born in Ukraine or who have lived in the eastern part of Ukraine for an extended period of time.  The Russian government is going to “defend” its involvement in internal Ukraine politics as part of looking out for the interests of ethnic Russians living there.  While the tactics may be different, Russian’s interest in “influencing” Ukraine’s foreign policy in its favor is no different than the US’s interests in influencing the foreign policy of Mexico or Canada.

Ukraine has openly sought to align itself with Western European powers and has sought confirmation of NATO support in its confrontation with Russia even though it is not a NATO member.  That is certainly not in Russia’s interest, as it brings foreign — and potentially hostile — military forces in closer proximity to Russia’s borders.  The Biden Administration conceded the Black Sea to Putin by canceling a US warship transit through international waters there because of the Russian “military exercises” which are underway.

That was an unmistakable signal to Putin and Ukrainian President Zelensky that Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty is not a significant US concern.

But that is probably as it should be.

Ukraine’s only significant strategic interest to the US is that it serves as a buffer between Russia and NATO members in Central and Western Europe that the US is bound by treaty to defend.  Russia has a much more significant interest in Ukraine — it shares a more than 1200-mile land border, and a 200-mile sea border with Ukraine.

I do not think the current tension between Ukraine and Russia will be resolved by an 11th-hour agreement between the two countries as has been the case in the past.  Putin sees a weak US government with no intention to even attempt to “talk down” the dispute.  The Ukraine government, led by a former television comedian, is not generating any great concern in Moscow.

Putin is spoiling for a fight because he has something to prove.  For 20 years, the US has been able to test and improve new combat weapons systems in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Russia has done the same in a more limited fashion in Syria. In the limited number of times that US and Russian military equipment — but not necessarily US and Russian personnel — have faced off against each other, the results have been one-sided.

Even though nearly all Ukrainian military equipment is from the Soviet era, Russia still wants to demonstrate the lethality of the most recent versions of its combat aircraft and tanks.  Military equipment is a profitable export business for Russia, and products sell better after they have been demonstrated to be effective in the field.

But the wild card for potential US or NATO involvement in a shooting war with Russia over Ukraine is the degree that Democrats are still deranged with the idea that Putin represents a threat to the US due to their inability to concede the reality of what was always a Trump-Russia hoax.