A brief explanation on Russian ‘agression’

Wether or not you see Russia has being aggressive in Eastern Europe or not they so have a strategy and sound logic on why they are doing what they are doing. Let’s quickly disprove some silly theories. One big one that you hear a lot is Russia is trying to retake the former USSR. IF this was Russia’s goal, it would be impossible. Too many former Soviet states are now members of NATO and house a lot of anti-Russian sentiment. There is no real way for Russia to retake the former USSR. It is simply not their goal, what they say their goal is that of defense and national security.

Russia’s claim

Russia claim’s after the USSR fell NATO has continued to build up on their border and farther encircle them. They say after 1990 the Secretary of State,  James Baker made the promise to Yeltsin that NATO would ‘not expand a single inch forward.’ This is a controversial point between Russia and NATO, which will be discussed later. But, if we go ahead and say this is true. Russia sees NATO as adding the former Soviet states such as Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states is a clear sign that NATO/the West broke their promise to Russia. They also claim this is why they over reacted in the Russo-Georgian War (South Ossetian Conflict). The claim is that NATO was about to add Georgia as a member of NATO, but when Georgia acted up in South Ossetia by killing Russian peacekeepers that gave Moscow the go ahead to move in against Georgia troops who were currently invading South Ossetia. The EU did end up siding in Russia’s favor stating for the most part that Georgia was at fault, but Russia over reacted. The government of the Russian Federation explains everything that the West sees as aggression they are doing it out of defense. They consider Euromaidan a coup that was meant to destabilize the region and bring Ukraine into the EU and NATO farther destabilizing and encroaching on their border. They claim that they ethnic Russian people of Crimea and Donbass feel and felt threatened by the new pro-Western government in Kiev which gave them reason to aid Donbass rebels and move into Crimea. It is true that the people of Crimea and Donbass (Lugansk and Donetsk) do want to be Russian, and claim Russia is defending their right to Self determination, which is in the UN Charter which states simply, “All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.”

NATO/the West’s claim

NATO counter claims in two ways generally. The first is that James Baker had no right to make that promise, and therefore that promise is voided, and NATO is not breaking the promise and only ensuring security and the safety of its members, especially that who fear Russia… Such as Poland, Estonia, Lithuanian, ect. Therefore what Russia has been doing is pure aggression. The other claim that you hear often is, ‘technically NATO hasn’t expanded by adding members since NATO has yet to build any military installations or permanent troop positions past Germany, therefore NATO is not breaking the promise.’ This argument can also be made, which would also result in Russia being purely aggressive, which is how much of NATO sees it. They see Russia as trying to regain its geo-political control, and NATO does not pose a threat to Russia anymore.

Conclusion

Both sides seem to be stuck in their way and both are making continual defensive moves, which each perceive as an aggressive action. It is clear that the West and Russia both have very different goals, and it will take a lot for NATO and Russia to ever work together. Both see national security differently, but there is a very good chance that both sides might not be trying to be aggressive, but are perceived that way by the other.

Worsening relations between America and Russia? It’s not what you think.

In the media you constantly hear a how relations are worsening between the United States and the Russian Federation. The two strongest military powers on the globe at the moment. Just last week Russia released it’s newest nuclear intercontinental Missile nicknamed the “SATAN-2” by NATO. This missile is said to have the capable of outfoxing the NMD (National Missile Defense) and delivering a payload of fifteen warheads, which has the destruction power to take out all of the state of Texas.
This doesn’t look good for US-Russian relations. It may even seem like both countries are reverting back to the Cold War period, with one potential presidential candidate threatening to shoot down Russian jets that fly in Syria, and the Russian president deploying surface to air missiles (S-400s) to Syria to shoot down any American or NATO aircraft.

The truth behind the matter is before every presidential elections tensions increase around the world for many different regions. I’ll explain why Russia is acting the way it is, or at least why I believe it is acting this way. Russia is acting on the idea that it is most likely another Clinton will become president, and Russia had terrible experiences with Bill Clinton for two reasons.

1. Bill Clinton is seen as breaking the 1993 promise to Russia that NATO wouldn’t expand Eastward past East Germany. Now, this is a very controversial subject between Russia and NATO. At first NATO claimed that it never existed until released transcripts said otherwise. Then they said Baker had no right to negotiate that with Yeltsin. Now NATO claims that they never broke the promise because they have not expanded “militarily.” What do they mean by militarily? Military installations. On the other hand Russia claims that Baker made that promise to Yeltsin, and when he said not another inch eastward, they also expected NATO to not add countries East past Germany. But for Russians, this is true to them. Therefore, this is one reason they are afraid of another Clinton. They fear farther encirclement.

2. Bill Clinton said some insanely idiotic things during the Second Chechen War, which to be honest he did quickly walk back on. He said Russia will “Pay a heavy price” for their actions in Chechnya. Of course the Second Chechen War broke off when the the IIPB (Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade) invaded Dagestan. Turns out they were backed by the one and only Al Qaeda and are linked do approximately 100,000 civilian deaths in Dagestan and Chechnya, which Russia fought to end. Granted, Russian troops were extremely brutal during this war, but the civilian death toll is no surprise to most. By saying that, Clinton was perceived as backing Chechen Islamic Extremist, who were responsible for the Beslan School Siege, Moscow Theatre Crisis, and Volgograd Apartment bombings, which ultimately left close to 1,000 Russians dead.

At this point the most likely person to become president is Hillary Clinton, and Russians see this in a negative light. She is seen as being extremely Russophobic and anti-Russian government. She has claimed Putin doesn’t have a sole, called him a dictator, and a few more personal attacks, which make Russians believe they’re about to see a copy of Bill Clinton. Many do believe tensions will continue to rise if she becomes president, but this is highly unlikely. This has happened before, and tensions went back down to normal, such as after the Russo-Georgian war. If she does get elected, there will be some tense moments, but it will probably not go beyond Armed Neutrality, which is what it currently is now, but leaning towards Cold War. This due to the situation in Crimea, Donbass, and Syria.

Russia is simply preparing for the worst case scenario, which is understandable from how Russians see it. The West (NATO countries) see it at flat out aggression, but either way it will probably not boil past this point, and can most likely be expected to die down after the election.

Russia withdraws troops from Syria

In recent news, Russia is pulling the bulk of it’s troops from Syria for multiple reasons.

1. The economy of Russia has been in a weak state since the price of oil has dropped, which is what the Russian economy is directly linked to. So, waging a war inside of Syria is costly. Plus, this keeps them from investing more into Syria if something was to happen. The Russians not wanting another war like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

2. Mission objects were reportedly completed, with over nine thousand airstrikes, and 400 populated local areas freed from ISIS/Al Nusra/Rebel control.  These five months gave the Syrian Government time to recuperate their war torn forces, all while putting mounting pressure on rebel/terrorist groups operating in Syria.

3. The peace talks will start soon, and according to the Kremlin, a withdraw of troops will help the talks go smoother, which this is true. Russia has also shown when things don’t go their way, they will be more than happy to use military force, which is why there will be troops still on the ground in a minimal role, most likely Special forces and military contractors. Russia has also stated it will keep some air-power there. This could also be seen as a deterrent to Turkish and Saudi military operations in Syria, which both Saudi Arabia and Turkey have stated they are more than ready to conduct operations.

While terrorism in Syria will probably not be quelled for awhile. Russian, French, and US/Coalition airstrikes have beaten back ISIS to a shell of it’s former capacity to fight. ISIS will not be stopped unless someone is willing to invest a lot of money, time, and troops into the region. That is the only way, ISIS will be destroyed.

Riots in Montenegro

That capitol of Montenegro has recently spiraled out of control as thousands after peaceful protest turned violent with the demand the Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic (Leader of the Democratic Party of Socialist, or DPS) step down from his position of power following Djukanovic’s attempts to become closer to the West, and with NATO. This of course throws off the Montenegrin population, as they have always been close to Russia, and Serbia. Keeping in mind NATO bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999. Leaving thousands dead and infrastructure of Montenegro and Serbia ruined. Many still remember the NATO bombings, and oppose NATO with a passion.

Milo Djukanovic blames the Kremlin for these riots, and inciting violence in the Montenegro, while the Kremlin quickly dismisses them.

Sources:
Source One.
Source Two.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria.

Recently we’ve seen Russia’s role in Syria pick up from directly arming the Syrian Government to full air-support and limited troops on the ground. The reason behind this is stated anti-terror operations in the region. Their airstrikes have currently targeted ISIS strongholds near Palmyra and other key regions within Syria. The US State Department has claimed Russia is only bombing about 25% of targets of what they say they have. On top of this, the US State Department has claimed Russian airstrikes have carried out attacks on moderate rebel positions. The Russian Defense Ministry has labeled these anti-terror activities, not targeting just one rebel/terrorist faction inside of Syria. Currently Russian troops are stationed on the ground in Syria, but little evidence has been given that shows them in combat roles. From what the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that Russian troops have not engaged in combat, but are actively involved in the training of Syrian combat troops, much like US soldiers inside of Iraq.

There’s also a great deal of misinformation surrounding the airstrikes. Western Media claims Russia has hit civilians, citing a twitter post as a source…. Of course, twitter is always an accurate source. Russia also claiming they’ve only hit ISIS targets, while it’s widely known moderate rebels are targets of the Syrian Government and Russia. Overall, both sides have been responsible for either putting commas in the wrong places, or claiming false information.

Ukraine before and after EuroMaidan.

EuroMaidan was  the revolution which took place in Ukraine, and started on November 21st, 2013. This was caused when Yanukovich declining to sign the EU Association treaty. Of course, Yanukovich didn’t sign a border alliance with Belarus and Russia. Ukraine has always been closer to Russia, rather than the EU.  This revolution ended with Yanukovich being ousted by the people of Ukraine, and replaced with a more temporary pro-Western government, which has opted to become closer to the EU. The temporary government was replaced with Petro Poroshenko, who assumed office on June 7th, 2014.

Currency: Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) before EuroMaiden was 8UAH to 1USD. Yanukovich got quite pressured from letting it go from 5UAH to 8UAH. Many claimed he was hurting the economy by getting closer with the Russian Federation. After Yanukovich was ousted, and fled to Russia. The UAH fell to 41UAH to 1USD. Since then it’s stabilized to 25UAH to 1USD.

Unemployment, and corruption within employment: Since the value of the UAH plummeted, it’s resulted in companies laying off employees and overall unemployment of Ukraine going up. Some of this due to the result of refugees coming from the war torn regions of the country. During 2013 unemployment in Ukraine has been at it’s lowest. 7.4%-7.5% of the population was unemployed. Since the new Government has been in power it’s gone from 8.6% to 11.3%, and now back down to 10.2% as of January 2015. The switch caused a big dip in unemployment, which now has people looking for jobs constantly. This now gives companies the excuse to hire people for much lower amounts of money, say… 5,000UAH a month. That’s vastly below minimum wage, and it’s not even being enforced.

The rise of the ultra-nationalist party (Правый Сектор): They also were the ones allegedly responsible for the acts of senseless violence in Maiden protest.  Currently you may read nationalist military groups are one of the big proponents of the war against the DPR and LPR.  These nationalist would be the American equivalent of skinheads, and tend to be very anti-Russians. Many even calling for the removal of all Russians from Ukraine. Just recently these nationalist got into brawls against riot forces in Kiev over the constitutional amendment. They were also a big force against the Minsk treaties, which brought some silence on the Ukrainian front before both sides started to shell one another. They’re responsible for the volunteer battalions, which make up a good majority of the fighting force for the Ukrainian army.

Police: The police situation in Ukraine has somewhat improved from corrupt police to untrained recruits. While these men are untrained, they’ve shown heir passion for their work. Giving some hope that the police situation could get better.

Is Russia’s involvement in Syria aggression or protecting its assets?

Recently it has come out that Russia has sent military instructors and hardware to the Syrian Government, and unconfirmed reports on combat troops adding Syrian forces in combat operations. The west claims this is an act of aggression or worrying. Let’s look at some facts?

1. Syria has always had close ties with Russia and the former Soviet Union.

2. It’s had it’s naval base in Tarsus since 1971, and doesn’t want to lose it’s easy access to the Mediterranean.

3. ISIS/ISIL has declared war on Russia, and militants in Chechnya have sworn allegiance to ISIS.

4. Russia has had a long time problem with Islamic Extremism in Chechnya.

5. Russia has stated it’s given hardware and instructors to Syria.

America has even suggested Russia join the other thirty seven country coalition in the fight against ISIS/ISIL. America doesn’t want Russia supporting an regime which uses chemical weapons and has a dictator. Sadly, when it comes to picking your allies in Syria it has become a lesser of the two evil situation, and it’s implied by the Russians that Assad held a much more stable Syria together. He protected religious minorities, such as the christians. So. To the mind of the Russian government, Assad is a lot better choice than Al Nusra or ISIS.

Russia has voiced its support for the Syrian Government since the early days of the conflict. Russia was also the one to work out the chemical weapons deal in Syria, after it was alleged Assad used chemical weapons on his own people to fake an attack from the Syrians. Assad and Russia claim it was a rebel faction using the chemical weapons.