A couple of months ago I looked at Russia's possible longer-term evolution ("Russia's big plans", April 28); now Peter Hitchens, still struggling to get a balanced message across all the shrilling, reminds us of the bigger picture as seen by the USA:
"It’s useful, at this point, to recall words written by Zbigniew Brzezinski( Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, and the unsung architect of Moscow’s doomed intervention and eventual downfall in Afghanistan. He wrote in his 1997 book ‘The Grand Chessboard’ : ‘Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.’
"‘However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.’"
This provides a context for what seems to be an economic war using European gas consumption as its battleground, as discussed earlier today ("A dirty war for clean energy: Ukraine and beyond").
The attempt to contain Russia, which is under pressure to expand economically in order to stave off a kind of collapse, could potentially be as dangerous as the imperial hemming-in of Germany before WWI, or the victors' pound-of-flesh approach to Germany after 1918.
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