The Putin Doctrine
(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 17, 2016)
Eight years ago, Georgia’s government apparently started a war with Russia — even though Georgian troops never left Georgian territory.
Two and a half years ago, the Ukrainian people apparently started a war with Russia — by overthrowing a corrupt and autocratic ruler in a popular uprising.
You really gotta wonder how it is that Russia’s neighbors keep starting all these wars without ever sending a single soldier across the border.
They must be so powerful!
It just doesn’t make any sense. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the Putin Doctrine.
Because according to the Putin Doctrine, Russia’s former Soviet neighbors aren’t really countries at all. Their sovereignty is conditional. They’re de facto Russian colonies.
Russia is free to meddle in their affairs and any resistance is an act of war.
According to the Putin Doctrine, Russia’s proxies are allowed to relentlessly shell Georgian villages in South Ossetia — as they did in the summer of 2008 — but Georgia isn’t allowed to try to stop them.
That is an act of war. And according to this creative logic, Russia’s invasion of Georgia is just an act of self defense.
According to the Putin Doctrine, Russia is allowed to choose Ukraine’s president and dictate its foreign policy.
And if the Ukrainian people have other ideas, well that too, is an act of war.
According to the Putin Doctrine, Russia is free to invade its neighbors, annex their territory, and kidnap their citizens.
According to the Putin Doctrine, Russia has the right to do this because it is strong.
But when you think about it, a regime that needs to equate its own security with the insecurity of its neighbors is actually quite weak.
Article from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – ©2016 RFE/RL, Inc. Article also appeared at rferl.org/content/daily-vertical-putin-doctrine-whitmore/27928128.html
[featured image is file photo]