by Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Craig Roberts:
As I have emphasized for a number of years, the Kremlin’s passivity in the face of provocations encourages more and worse provocations. I have expressed concern that the provocations will cross a red line, and the Kremlin will cease being a passive receiver of provocations. When that time comes, the West might not be prepared for the consequence, comfortable, as it was expressed by the US Department of State the other day, that Russian red lines are just “bluster.”
I have said that if Russia were to put its foot down hard, the provocations would cease, but my opinion has had no effect on the Western “foreign policy community” or on the Kremlin. Russia, it seems, courts provocations, and the West delivers them.
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Consider the provocations to Russia of just the past week. Israel attacked the civilian airport in Damascus, Syria, closing the airport. This is just another way of putting pressure on Russia while Russia is engaged in clearing Donbass of Ukrainian forces. Syria has effective Russian air defense systems, but evidently is not allowed to use them to deter Israeli attacks. Apparently, the Kremlin doesn’t understand that it cannot simultaneously protect its Syrian ally and appease Israel.
Hardly before NATO military exercises in the Baltics concluded, Lithuania blocked Russia’s rail and road connection to part of Russia, violating long-standing agreements. Is Russia to accept this aggression from a military insignificant country? If Russia does, imagine the grossness of the next insult the Kremlin will have to eat. When will the Kremlin get sick of eating insults? This is an important question. Asking it is in the interest of realization that leads to different–peaceful–behavior before war explodes.
The US and NATO continue to shove weapons into Ukraine and have committed to supporting Ukraine to victory, declaring the goal to be not only the reconquest of Donbass but the “liberation” of Crimea. The idiot who commands the British toy military has committed his few soldiers to fighting Russia in a land war. Is this a joke or total insanity?
To what conclusions does Russia’s passivity to provocations lead?
One conclusion is that there are sufficient influential Russians who prefer inclusion in the West to Russian sovereignty and that they are able to block effective Russian responses to provocations.
Another conclusion is that the Kremlin thinks that there is more reason and sense in Western leadership, and less stupidity and evil, than there is. It probably makes no sense to the Kremlin than an out-gunned people would provoke nuclear war. The Kremlin likely thinks that sooner or later logic and reason will catch up with the West. This is Russia’s delusion.
Until the Kremlin sees the Wolfowitz Doctrine renounced by the White House and the military/security complex, and the neoconservatives sent into exile, this unfounded belief in the sense and integrity of the West leaves Russia exposed to destruction. Russia’s leaders simply do not comprehend the evil that they confront.