On his website, Buchanan.org, Pat Buchanan discusses the potential for the Russian invasion of Ukraine to go nuclear, and the culpability of American neocons for goading Russia into the war, to begin with. He writes (abridged):
It is a dictum of geostrategic politics that a great power ought never cede to a lesser power the ability to draw it into a great war.
In 1914, the kaiser’s Germany gave its Austrian ally a “blank check” to punish Serbia for its role in the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne. Vienna cashed the kaiser’s check and attacked Serbia, and the Great War of 1914-1918 was on.
In March 1939, Neville Chamberlain issued a war guarantee to Poland. If Germany attacked Poland, Britain would fight on Poland’s side.
Fortified with this war guarantee from the British Empire, the Poles stonewalled Hitler, refusing to talk to Berlin over German claims to the city of Danzig, taken from her at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.
On Sept. 1, 1939, Hitler attacked and Britain declared war, a war that lasted six years and mortally wounded the British Empire.
And Poland? At Yalta in 1945, Winston Churchill agreed that a Soviet-occupied Poland should remain in Stalin’s custody.
Putin is a Russian nationalist who regards the breakup of the USSR as the greatest calamity of the 20th century, but he is not alone responsible for the wretched relations between our countries.
We Americans have played a leading role in what is shaping up as a Second Cold War, more dangerous than the first.
Over the last quarter-century, after Russia dissolved the Warsaw Pact and let the USSR break apart into 15 nations, we pushed NATO, created to corral and contain Russia, into Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2008, neocons goaded Georgia into attacking South Ossetia, provoking Russian intervention and the rout of the Georgian army.
In 2014, neocons goaded Ukrainians into overthrowing the elected pro-Russian regime in Kyiv. When they succeeded, Putin seized Crimea and Sevastopol, for centuries the home base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
In 2022, Moscow asked the U.S. to pledge not to bring Ukraine into NATO. We refused. And Putin attacked. If Russians believe their country has been pushed against a wall by the West, can we blame them?
Americans appear dismissive of dark Russian warnings that rather than accept defeat in Ukraine, the humiliation of their nation, and their encirclement and isolation, they will resort to tactical nuclear weapons.
Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.
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