by Mark Sleboda
What the Kremlin’s inaction over the Ukraine means for Russia’s geopolitics, international relations, and the Eurasian Union:
All moral and national security issues aside for a moment, the precedent that Russia’s inaction is setting in the Ukraine in terms of both geopolitics and foreign policy alone is crippling. The surrender of Ukraine to the West by Russia inevitably means exactly that the US achieves its primary goal – the end of the Eurasian Union project and the Russian/Eurasian civilizational space.
Russia has now set the precedent that it does not have the right, ability, or political will to act or intervene in the post Soviet space when facing serious Western opposition. Further it has set the precedent that the US and EU DO have both the right and ability to act to the point of orchestrating regime change, civil war, and the complete domestic political reordering and geopolitical reorientation of a country in what was once considered Russia’s “near abroad” and that Russia lacks the ability and/or political will to counter or resist this in any way. It will grumble but just accept the new status quo to preserve “peace” and a conception of “business as usual”. That is to say, appeasement.
The lessons that the governments and peoples of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan will invariably take away from Russia’s inaction in the Ukraine are:
(1) that they can neither trust nor rely on Russia to support or defend them when the West comes for them, as it inevitably will, whether with unconventional warfare/color revolutions or with direct military action and
(2) the complete impunity with which the new Kiev regime is not only massacring people who are calling directly on Russia for succor but has also shelled Russian territory, borderposts, homes, and citizens no less than 9 times in 3 weeks tells the former Soviet space that they need neither respect nor fear us, as we have no respect or political will even to defend ourselves, whether out of fear of Western ostracism, economic dependability, or fear of using our own military force in earnest to defend our interests when faced with serious opposition by the West. Respect, loyalty, and fear are important and essential aspects of Russian and Eurasian socio-cultural values and conceptions of leadership and hierarchy throughout history. Without them, there is no leadership and the center cannot hold.
I was going though his out loud with my wife just earlier today, and when we arrived home she coincidentally stumbled across prominent Armenian political bloggers despairingly mocking and deriding the Kremlin’s paralysis in near those same terms, confirming my fears.
If Putin’s inaction in the face of what is happening in the Ukraine continue much longer it will not only mean the loss of Ukraine to the West, but in the long-term the suicide of Putin’s own plans for a re-consolidation of even the core of the post-Soviet space particularly in the form of the Eurasian Union, as well as the end of dreams of a wider Eurasian civilization or “Russian world”. The US will have achieved its primary goal in all of this, Russia’s geopolitical horizons will shrink further to its own borders (or not even that), and it will in truth fade and diminish itself to the role and form of just another “normal nation-state” as fifth columnists like Dmitri Trenin at Carnegie speak of so longingly. “The end of Eurasia” as he once put it, in truth…