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History on NATO and Russia

February 19th, 2022 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
The following reads help give a full picture on the situation with Ukraine / Russia, since the media is omitting a lot of information and context.  
- https://www.vox.com/22900113/nato-ukraine-russia-crisis-clinton-expansion
- https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-russia-vladimir-putin-soviet-union-4619a72d1597673e4112b673a9f6fd9c
- https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/19/putin-russia-ukraine-nato-george-robertson/

In short, NATO expanded from 15 countries to 30 in the past 20 years, and now there is Ukraine trying to join, which is right next to Russia.  When a new country joins NATO, the US tends to put its missiles there in the name of defense and common good.  Basically the last 20 years has been slow-creep of getting and closer to Russia and now we're trying to add a country right next to them.  So in this context, it makes a lot more sense how things got here and why Russia wants NATO to commit to not putting more missiles or adding more countries.  This graphic from BBC makes this problem obvious just looking at it.  If viewed through the lens of military (or even just Starcraft), it could be misunderstood as threatening.

The last and most important point is that NATO requires all its countries (including the US, Germany, UK, etc) to go to war if any one of these NATO countries are attacked.  So it's really insane that it's gotten up to 30 countries - basically you have 30 countries now required to go to war if any one of them gets drawn into (or starts) a conflict, which is more or less the definition of a world war.  If you read about WW2, it's actually the same trigger - some treaty that requires all countries to jump into war if one country gets attacked (Poland) - except now it's even a larger number of countries (some of which are not that stable to begin with).

This interview with Putin himself actually confirms a lot of this is their concern:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOkl2XgZlw0

It's a very tricky situation right now, so it doesn't help that a lot of the substantive issues are being masked by symbolic gestures/statements, grandstanding, etc.  Have to hope that there's more substance in the discussions behind the scenes rather than just what we see in the headlines.

In my opinion, it would seem the best solution they should try to push would be to declare the eastern European countries between western Europe and Russia as demilitarized zones (similar to Switzerland, etc), so no one is allowed to plant missiles/troops in those areas.  However, the hard part is both sides will want something they can spin as a win, so it would be hard to get something neutral like that.
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