Here is the broad story as I now see it. Prior to the coup d’etat in Ukraine, aided and abetted by the neocon expansionist strategies being implemented by its proponents in the U.S. government, Russia and Putin had no territorial designs on Ukraine or such countries as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. It had no designs to take over these countries politically or as satellites controlled by Russian stooges. It had no designs to resurrect a Soviet-style empire. Its wishes were the opposite. It wanted greater integration with Europe.
The neocon strategy was and is to expand American influence, control and dominance as far as possible, around Russia and into Russia. This dominance was to be American-style dominance, which means the use of western banking and aid institutions to entice Russia into an orbit of dependency on the wishes of the U.S. Once dependency is achieved financially and materially, the U.S. can always threaten the blackmail of its removal in order to induce its satellites to act its way on various policy issues that arise.
This kind of dominance is to be sharply distinguished from support of democracy, or western values or free markets. To a large extent, the whole world, including Russia and China, are already westernized in the sense of having repudiated extreme state control of resources and replaced that control of capital with much more decentralized systems that entail greater freedom at lower levels or at non-governmental levels. What this means is that the neocon strategy is completely unnecessary, indeed antagonistic, to western values and free markets. The neocons advocate an out-of-date form of political hegemony and empire that harks back to earlier imperialistic and colonial empires.
Had the neocon strategy been ignored in Washington and had Obama rejected it firmly, rather than embracing certain of its elements in his typical half-hearted style, Ukraine would never have bubbled up into a trouble spot and Russia would not now be regarded by Obama as worthy of sanctions. The neocons and their ilk never had grounds to regard Putin as a villain who is an enemy of America; and they would still have no such grounds apart from certain Russian reactions that have necessarily resulted from their having pressed against Russia in Ukraine and from getting Obama to initiate sanctions.
The neocon inspired coup in Ukraine, the immediate U.S. support of the coup, and the U.S. condemnations of Crimea’s joining Russia produced a totally new situation for Russia. Added to these U.S. moves were large-scale IMF loans to Ukraine, NATO moves, and the presence of U.S. agents in Ukraine, not to mention much rhetoric about the Ukraine’s entering NATO. The U.S. then supplied material aid and advisers as Poroshenko waged a war against the breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine. This is a war in whose initial stages Ukraine lost, and that led to a cease-fire agreement that has proven fragile. Poroshenko has not lived up to his end of the bargain. See here, here, and here. The latest move was a military action against the Donetsk airport that has again led to a military defeat. See also here.
The U.S. now has announced joint military exercises with Ukraine and it is threatening to intensify sanctions. The U.S. will no doubt continue to supply and intensify supplying Ukraine with arms, training and advice through U.S. regulars and/or special forces and/or mercenaries.
From what perspective has neocon strategy backfired? Not from their perspective. They want war and strife. Suffering of others doesn’t count for them. They want instability so as to keep other countries weak and dependent on America. They want sanctions and pressures against Russia. They are getting what they want, but what they want is bad for us. It’s worse than useless for us, threatening yet another region of conflict, threatening still more absorption of American wealth and energies that have far better uses, and threatening the continued growth of Washington’s dominance domestically. At the same time, there is an opposing effect of weakening America and thereby weakening the empire’s supporting resource base.
The strategy has backfired from the perspective of America and Americans. It has been sold as a means of bringing “national security” and countering the empire ambitions of Putin. The fact is Putin had no such ambitions and national security of America never hinged on Ukraine, Bulgaria, any Baltic republic or Poland at any time. Immersion of the U.S. into Ukraine can only weaken America. It has already had the effect of weakening that nebulous thing called “national security” by placing the U.S. into direct conflict, potentially military, with Russia via the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. government on Russia. More accurately, sanctions have in certain respects abruptly terminated the freedom of Americans to trade with Russians. Another effect is to weaken Europe’s trade ties to Russia. This weakens Europe and creates pressures for the U.S. to help Europe. The U.S. is already resurrecting military forces in Europe. What good comes to Americans in general who lose important freedoms when conflict with Russia is raised to levels that attempt to isolate Russia? What good has it done Americans (not those neocons and warmongers among us) to rebuff Putin, demonize him and turn Russia virtually into an enemy overnight? Where is the gain in security from making enemies of formidable countries that had no intent of enlarging their borders and that wanted closer ties with their neighbors?12:38 pm on January 27, 2015 Email Michael S. Rozeff