There are reports that Russian tanks are again rumbling into Ukraine. Separatists in eastern Ukraine are looking for other cities and regions to join them. The West seems powerless to stop the aggression, and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declares that the world is on the brink of a new Cold War – he blames the West.
The brutal truth is that the world has ignored for years the signs of a re-formed (perestroika) Communist empire, which had its beginning with Gorbachev. Gorbachev’s headline making statements are, in reality, nothing more than a slightly bolder reassertions of Kremlin propaganda: the West, especially the United States, is picking on Russia and attempting to steal the “near abroad” from Moscow.
This propaganda theme is often repeated, especially in the Russian press and among the Kremlin’s apologists in the U.S. and Europe. While Gorbachev complains of Western “triumphalism” in Western dealings with post-Soviet Russia, the Secretary of the Russian Security Council and former FSB head (FSB is the old KGB operating inside Russia), Nicholoi Patrushev, stated in a recent interview in the Russian press that Russia’s relations with Ukraine are being poisoned by Western subversion. This Western policy, according to Patrushev is nothing more than a continuation of Cold War policies which undermined the Soviet economy and the close relationships between Soviet republics.
The official line from the Kremlin is that the Soviet Union was a victim of Western hostility to Socialist (Communist) nations.
Gorbachev echoes this line when he speaks of “triumphalism.” Of course there should be a sense of “triumphalism,” an evil system responsible for the deaths of millions apparently collapsed.
Patrushev’s comments completely ignore Soviet aggression across the globe. Patrushev sees the Cold War simply in terms of Western hostility to the USSR.
There is no expressed sense in the Kremlin that the Soviet state was, as U.S. President Ronald Reagan accurately declared, an “evil empire.” Millions died under Soviet rule, tens of millions more languished in gulags. Elementary freedoms were unknown, and dissent was a crime. Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe and protected Soviet-backed governments after World War II. Soviet agents worked to establish Communist regimes throughout the world. The Soviet secret police became the model for Communist oppression from East Germany to Cuba.
Today, Moscow’s apologists ignore past Soviet oppression and portray the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine as only the most recent example of Western interference. Patrushev refers to the U.S. and its “closest allies” as working for decades to raise a generation of Ukrainians who are “completely poisoned by hatred against Russia” and “by the mythology of European values.”
Left out of Patrushev’s analysis is the desire expressed over the centuries by Ukrainians for an independent nation free of Tsarist or Communist rule. The rebellion against President Viktor Yanukovych was prompted in large part by the threat that Ukraine could again fall under Moscow’s domination.
The presence among the eastern Ukrainian separatists of red flags with the hammer and sickle give visual evidence of the fate awaiting the entire Ukrainian nation, should it again become a subservient component of a re-formed Soviet state.
Moscow, however, is not going to be content with just a portion of eastern Ukraine. The Russian puppet ruler of the Lugansk Peoples Republic, Igor Plotnitski, was quoted in the Russian media as stating that he believes other sections of Ukraine will join in declaring their independence from Ukraine. If the war spreads, the Ukrainian nation will be increasingly weakened in its ability to withstand Moscow’s aggression.
The West will be sorely tested in its willingness to defend Ukraine against the Kremlin’s assaults. Moscow is betting that the West, including the United States will eventually tire of assisting Ukraine and let Russia take the entire country.
If the West, and especially the United States, fails this test of determination and strength, the stage will be set for additional and more serious challenges, and not just in Europe. Russia’s military cooperation with the Peoples Republic of China is already preparing the conditions for a military confrontation with the United States in the Pacific, with the fate of America’s Asian allies at stake. Japan, Philippines, the free island of Taiwan, and even Australia are at this moment targets of the Moscow/Beijing alliance.
The very notion of freedom is in danger. Should the darkness of a renewed Soviet Communism succeed in its goal of world domination, the very memory of human freedom and individual dignity existing apart from an all-powerful state will disappear, and God Himself will be seen as merely the concern of a department of The State.
Mr. Toby Westerman, author of LIES, TERROR, AND THE RISE OF THE NEO-COMMUNIST EMPIRE: ORIGINS AND DIRECTION, is the editor and publisher of International News Analysis Today (www.inatoday.com).