From the beginning, the Obama administration has tried to portray the ongoing conflict with Russia as the result of tensions in Ukraine.
But this highly disingenuous media tactic attempts to conceal the totality of the president’s strategy regarding Russia.
You see, Ukraine is far from the only flashpoint in this conflict. And astute followers of military science see a broader conflict with Russia that has the potential to engulf all of Europe in a wider war.
Meanwhile, Obama doesn’t realize that Putin is playing for keeps, though the Russian president has made this crystal clear in his recent military maneuver in Germany.
If we aren’t careful, almost anyone could become a target of Putin’s widespread takeover…
Germany on the Radar
On October 28, German Air Force jets stationed at Amari, Estonia intercepted seven Russian Air Force planes flying in the airspace near the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
The German Air Force units, working as part of NATO, identified the Russian planes as attack planes and escorts. The Russian jets included two MiG-31 Foxhounds, two Su-34 Fullback jets, one Su-27 Flanker jet, and two Su-24 Fencer jets.
This intrusion into Baltic airspace is, according to the Latvian military, “one of the largest formations intercepted by NATO fighter planes during the last couple of years.”
Yet it wasn’t an isolated incident. Less than a week prior, Swedish military authorities gave up the hunt for a Russian submarine that had been spotted prowling inside their territorial waters.
This underwater encounter brought back memories of the Cold War, a time when Soviet submarines regularly invaded Swedish waters.
Coupled together, these incursions show that Vladimir Putin is serious when he talks about the Baltic Sea being important to Russia’s strategic defenses.
Racking up Countries
Unfortunately, none of these encounters are a coincidence. The truth is that Vladimir Putin is looking to reclaim Russia’s old empire.
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To illustrate this point, let’s take a look back at history…
By the end of the 19th century, Russia’s Imperial Empire was exceeded in size only by Qing China and the British Empire.
The Russian Empire was assembled by both conquest and colonization, and as each territory was added, the Czar would encourage Russian-speaking people to immigrate to the new region. In 1802, for example, Russian armies liberated Georgia from Persian occupation, then turned and used Georgia as a base for operations against the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Russia also added lands that had formerly belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which become a protectorate of Russia in 1768. This union gave Russia control over much of the Baltics, Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland.
And when the Russian Czar fell in February 1917, the new leaders doggedly held onto the territory assembled by the Imperial Court. In fact, the Soviet Union even expanded the empire in the aftermath of World War II.
Today, each of these nations has gained its independence… but most still have significant Russian-speaking minorities. These Russian people were essentially exported by the empire to cement control of a political jurisdiction, and Putin knows he has this ace up his sleeve.
Hail, Czar Putin
I believe Putin considers himself a modern-day Czar, and he’s intent on reassembling the territories that were historically part of the Russian Empire.
Meanwhile, Russia believes that it’s only safe with a ring of buffer states around it. Coupled with the large Russian-speaking minorities in these surrounding countries, it’s easy to see the recipe for ongoing conflict.
Putin won’t be happy until many of these counties are vassal states, and if Obama doesn’t come to grips with this history, he’ll never understand the ongoing conflict, and the government’s policy responses will continue to fail.
Your eyes on the Hill,