Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Ukraine is just the hostage

I know I am  repeating myself, but it is really striking how none of Russia's demands to avoid a Russian invasion of Ukraine are directed to Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has been trying to negotiate with Moscow, but the Russians are not interested in talking to them. It only wants to talk to the U.S. as stand-in for all of NATO. This crisis is not a dispute between the two countries that might go to war. Russia is just threatening to invade Ukraine to extract concessions from other parties, specifically the U.S. and NATO.

That strikes me a very unusual. Aren't most wars about disputes between the countries who go to war? Or at least wars are started under the guise of a dispute between the countries at war?

Some accused the Bush Administration of going to war in Iraq just to show the Muslim world that the U.S. was tough,* claiming that the stated reason for the war (to stop Iraq's weapons of mass destruction) was not the real reason. But that accusation was used to criticize the decision to invade Iraq. The charge that there wasn't a real dispute between Iraq and the U.S. was a way to argue that the Iraq War was not justified. 

Is Russia even pretending to justify a war on Ukraine?