Paul A. Goble
Since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, it has been obvious to all but the blind and those who refuse to acknowledge what they in fact see that the Kremlin has used regular Russian military units in Ukraine and that Moscow is thus guilty of aggression under the terms of the UN Charter, Aleksandr Skobov says.
“All the intelligence services of the leading Western powers from the very beginning had incontrovertible evidence of direct Russian intervention,” the Russian commentator says. And simply did not lay their cards on the table. Not the intelligence services, of course, but their political leaders.”
“The civilian leaders of the leading Western democracies as a result kept the situation undefined, thus playing the Kremlin game.”
They did so in some case because they did not want to “drive the rat into the corner” and thus cause him to behave even worse. And in others because they wanted to “give him the chance to retreat while saving face.”
On numerous occasions, Western leaders had the chance “to officially, via the UN, recognize the Russian Federation as an aggressor.
They did not use this opportunity,” showing themselves to be “the cowardly and corrupt world bourgeoisie” that Moscow officials have long accused them of being.
The failure of the West to do so is now bearing the fruit that Vladimir Putin counted on from the beginning: given that Western leaders weren’t prepared to be clear about what the Kremlin leader had done, they are now rapidly backing down from what they had done to show they did understand what was going on but weren’t prepared to say so.
Western leaders are about to readmit Russia to the G-8, and ever more of them are talking about easing sanctions and bringing Moscow back into the fold of the international concert of nations.
Putin has simply outlasted them. Had he followed up his invasion of Ukraine with another invasion, they might have behaved differently; but he didn’t.
Instead, just as in the case of Georgia in 2008, Putin has appeared to stop – and what Skobov calls “the cowardly and corrupt” West has rushed to act as if nothing really serious has happened and as if what has occurred must now be ignored in favor of some future that they are certain will be different.
It is as Churchill said at the end of the 1930s, “an old old story,” one in which those who don’t want to stand up to aggression or even call it by name constantly seek to find points of agreement with the authors of that aggression. Most dictators have been in too much of a hurry; Putin isn’t. And now he is collecting the benefits of his on-again, off-again aggression.