The End of The Post-Cold War Era (1991-2022)
John M. Lane
Today, February 23, 2022, the Post-Cold War Era ended. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is the continuation of its effort to re-establish, not the Soviet Union, but the pre–World War One Czarist Russian Empire. That empire was the largest land empire in history, stretching across Europe and Asia, from the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
Russian nationalists believe that for Russia to be “great again” it must re-establish its control of that empire. Most of the independent governments established from the former “socialist” republics are ruled by authoritarians beholden to Russia. The problem is some did not get the message that they owed their allegiance to Moscow. Consequently, Russia has fought wars in Georgia, Chechnya, Azerbaijan, and Armenia to make sure that they remained in the fold of the re-established Empire. These same nationalists have never acknowledged the fact that as of 1991, Ukraine became a sovereign, independent nation. They believe that Ukraine has historically always been part of Russia.
The current Russian government is paranoid that Ukraine has moved to far economically, socially, and politically to the West. The thought that Ukraine might join NATO and the European Union is completely unacceptable to Russian nationalists. The successful invasion of Crimea in 2014, part of Ukraine, was a test case to see how the West would respond. In actuality, the current Russian government could care less as to how the West is going to respond to anything they do.
The Ukrainians are outgunned and over matched. The major problem the Russians will have is occupying the country after they win the war. (They do intend to occupy the entire country right up the border with Poland. Poland is a member of NATO. US troops have arrived in Poland in the past few weeks).
Most Americans are unaware of the following: to paraphrase- Article 5 of the North Atlantic Charter states that an attack on one NATO member state is to be considered an attack on all member states. The United States has re-affirmed its commitment to Article 5, as have Britain, France, Germany, and Canada. The only time Article 5 has been used was right after 9/11. NATO aircraft assisted US aircraft along the east coast of the United States in the weeks after 9/11.
The only thing that has saved Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania from being forced back into the Empire is the fact that they are members of NATO. The sanctions just placed on Russia, over time, will be effective. The public must realize that they will not work “overnight”. The Russian government has been stockpiling resources in the likelihood that they would face sanctions. This indicates that the current Ukraine operation was planned and prepared for over a period of many months, if not years.
For those complaining that the West, especially the United States, has not been “tough enough” or show the proper level of “toughness”. Consider the following: related to Ukraine, the United States and the West do not have any military options short of starting the Third World War. Do you want that? (Well, do you?)
The West must now prepare for a humanitarian crisis along the Polish-Ukrainian border. Governments and private agencies should begin coordination immediately.
The Post-Cold War era has ended. A new ideological struggle between the forces of authoritarian tyranny and democracy is well underway. The Western democracies are already under assault. (Some of its own citizens are assisting in the assault). The next five to ten years will be the crucible years.