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Running Against Russia

Threat of nuclear weapons overshadows concerns about political espionage

This is David Keppel.

Russia appears to have been involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee. The deeper issues, however, go beyond partisan politics.

At the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Secretary of State at the time, James Baker, assured the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO would not absorb former Warsaw Pact states. The most recent NATO summit was held in Warsaw. We plan to deploy advanced weapons in Poland.

While Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the United States was involved in an intense political crisis in Ukraine, which had been a republic of the now extinct Soviet Union. Ukraine’s president at the time, Viktor Yanukovich, an unsavory leader by any standards, was close to Moscow. Washington supported a revolution by Yanukovich’s political opponents, Western-oriented free market advocates. They prevailed. Ukraine’s pro-Russian eastern population revolted, and Russia then seized Crimea and interfered in eastern Ukraine. Five thousand Ukrainian forces — anti and pro Russian — have been killed, along with 2,000 civilians.

Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, was caught on tape designating one Ukrainian leader as “the guy”; he became Prime Minister.

To be sure, both the U.S. and Russia have interfered in many countries, but when it comes to former Warsaw Pact states and especially to former Soviet republics, the moral issues of democracy — or hypocrisy — are overshadowed by extreme risk.

As the West incorporates former Soviet republics into NATO, as it has the Baltic states, it becomes obliged to defend them with nuclear weapons. In turn, Russia is moving toward nuclear launch on warning, with greatly increased danger of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation. The next President will need to manage tensions with Moscow to avoid a new arms race.

For Speak Your Mind, this is David Keppel.

David Keppel

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