Henry Srebrnik: Why does the West blame Russia for the Civil War in Ukraine?

On July 21, an editorial in the Washington Post carried the headline “The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue stateRussia.” Calling Moscow’s policies regarding Ukraine “barbaric,” it asserted that Vladimir Putin now heads a “dangerous outlaw regime that needs to be contained.”Two days earlier, an article in England’s Daily Telegraph by John Kampfner called Putin a “pariah” who “must now be treated as such.”

This all came after the disastrous downing of a civilian airliner over Ukraine, presumably by so-called pro-Russian “rebels” or “separatists.” But such rhetoric is truly alarming, the tropes reminiscent of anti-Soviet statements at the height of the Cold War. Is Russia now to be consigned to a new “axis of evil,” in the company of regimes such as the one in North Korea?

The Russians are being accused of presenting propaganda to justify their actions, but we’re not getting the whole story.

The Ukrainians are bombing civilians in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kramatorsk, and Slovyansk. There are probably several hundred thousand refugees that have left these cities. So the airplanes the “rebels” have been shooting down are Ukraine’s military warplanes that have come to bomb the women and children of these cities. Hence the Malaysian Airlines disaster.

In 1999, an American-led alliance bombed Serbia for 78 straight days, in order to stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq, to topple Saddam Hussein, accused of harboring “weapons of mass destruction.” These countries were thousands of miles from American shores, nor were any Americans there in danger.

I don’t recall any American newspapers calling the U.S. a rogue state.
Eastern Ukraine, on the other hand, borders Russia, and has a substantial population of ethnic Russians who fear the new nationalistic regime in Ukraine. And they have reason to do so.

The Russians must rue the day when they allowed NATO to move eastwards after the collapse of the Soviet Union, incorporating not just former Warsaw Pact countries but even the Baltic states, formerly part of the USSR itself.

While the Ukrainian military shells towns and drops bombs in eastern Ukraine, the West holds Putin responsible for the carnage. Double standards anyone?

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