A major example of this was the Cuban missile crisis. Why did the Soviet Union under Khrushchev introduce missiles into Cuba? The current conventional answer, provided by Wikipedia, blames the U.S. It reads “After the US had placed nuclear missiles in Turkey and Italy, aimed at Moscow, and the failed US attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime, in May 1962 Nikita Khrushchev proposed the idea of placing Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter any future invasion attempt.”
Now the Ukraine is a similar example. The U.S. did what it could to remove Ukraine’s president by supporting a coup. It then immediately recognized a new government, despite its illegal foundation. The U.S. exploited discontent in Ukraine because of its poor government and economic situation. This overthrow has destabilized the region, causing the Russian Federation to respond in Crimea, as well as the Crimean Russians and Parliament. Now there is a further possibility that further portions of Ukraine will want to break away and join Russia and/or that the Russian military will enter those regions. There is already a report of a natural gas distribution facility being seized. Politically, Russia now is calling for Ukraine to adopt a federal form of government with greater autonomy for all its regions. The U.S. and the EU are responding with sanctions aimed at isolating Russia.
Some of this new instability may have occurred even had the U.S. never supplied Ukraine with $5 billion to promote democracy or had never supported the coup, but that would have been in the hands of Ukrainians, Crimeans and Russians, not involving the instabilities of a major kind that involve confrontations of the larger powers.
Obama warned Russia against incursions into Ukraine as “deeply destabilizing”. Yes, so they may be if that occurs, but if so they cannot be viewed in isolation with fingers pointing only at Russia and demonizing Putin. This is because destabilization of regions is a peculiarly American practice that occurs over and over again whenever the U.S. inserts itself into some foreign arena and raises the stakes by promoting its ideas of political organization.
In the Ukraine case, the U.S. is surely not without responsibility as a cause of Russian responses and surely not to be absolved of itself being a major cause of instability in that region, turning a relatively local issue into a global one.
Of course what may be the largest and most disastrous example of amplifying conflict while creating massive political and military fallout in the long term is the U.S. entry into World War I.2:15 pm on March 17, 2014 Email Michael S. Rozeff