Why is the US perpetually in conflict with other countries and their leaders? Is it a struggle for world domination, military superiority, economic advantage, imperialism, colonialism, or do these opponents have legitimate grounds to resist America at every opportunity?
Russia is the oldest perennial competitors of the US. Since World War II the US and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) have been at loggerheads. And now both countries are attempting to delve into each other’s domestic affairs via cyber warfare.
After the Second World War the Soviet Union led by Stalin worked to gain territorial advantages as the East and West divided up war torn Europe. The allies encouraged the countries they controlled to become democracies by having free elections, and the Soviets made their acquisitions satellites of the Mother Country.
Stalin, among other things, wanted to create a buffer zone, an Iron Curtain if you will, that would separate the Soviet Union from central Europe in the event of hostilities. Puppets installed by the communist taskmasters governed the Soviet satellites unless they or their citizens refused to cooperate (Poland and Hungary uprisings in 1956).
Stalin knew the US and its allies would be his principal adversaries moving forward during the reconstruction of Europe and beyond. The US acted in kind and the seeds of a cold war were sown.
The Cold War featured a massive military buildup that included thousands of nuclear weapons that could end mankind. The threat of mutual assured destruction was the major reason why a nuclear war was averted during this stressful period of history. The ultimate cost of armaments and fear mongering was massive for the US and the Soviet Union.
In 1991 the Soviet Union fell and was restructured into 15 separate democracies. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned and was replaced by Boris Yeltsin in Russia. A drop in oil and gas revenues, loss of control of Eastern Europe and the failure of Gorbachev’s reforms to bear fruit are some of the most important reasons why the communists fell.
Others might say that the cost of waging a Cold War with the US, and the affiliated cost of weaponry, were also a primary factors affecting the Soviet Union.
Today Vladimir Putin rules with an iron fist in the guise of a truly elected president. As an old Soviet bureaucrat, Putin longs for the good old days and the comforting buffer zone between Russia and the West. His objectives are undeniable although never spoken: bring Eastern Europe and the Balkans back under Russian control. Certain countries have made this objective difficult by joining NATO, a military alliance controlled by the US that will respond as a group if any member is threatened. Note: the response of NATO in Ukraine has been less than impressive.
But, how should the world view Russia’s aggressive activities that are far afield from its national security? The country is powered by its energy industries. It makes deals with other countries that are a combination of economics and politics.
Russia’s dependence on fossil fuel sales is not a healthy situation and Putin knows it. Many of his clandestine activities around the globe are impacted by the country’s cash flow. So one must ask why he uses precious resources in his efforts to antagonize and stifle America. Wouldn’t Russia be better served if cash were used for productive purposes rather than creating havoc.
For example, Russia has joined forces with Iran to protect Syria and Bashar al Assad, one of the most dangerous and despised despots in the world. Of course no one knows how much Putin spends on his folly to keep this murderer in power, but why do it in conjunction with yet another hated country, Iran? Probably, Putin hopes to create disruption in the region that will somehow generate diplomatic opportunities for his country.
Efforts by Russia to influence US elections and elections throughout the world are putting world leaders on edge. How is this beneficial to Russia? These intrusions are so invasive that many in the global community of nations will eventually respond negatively. Putin’s actions are nothing less than imperialistic, an attitude not even branded on the US.
In America the Russian effort to influence our elections have been exposed. At least some of the classified information on this matter collected by Robert Mueller will be disseminated. These will include acts to buy and expose the dirty laundry of certain candidates or making unsubstantiated robo-posts to social media that are harmful to election contenders. The resultant mudslinging opportunities are unlimited and could have great impact.
Why doesn’t Putin want to live peacefully along side the US? Maybe he’s a warrior who needs to be in a battle or trying to overtake another country. He’s definitely not endearing himself to US allies and democratic countries around the world. Ultimately Russia will pay a price for its bellicose attitude.