Come Home, America

Washington and Brussels were surprised by the Kremlin’s strong reaction to the ousting of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February of last year.  They shouldn’t have been.  Yanukovych was forced out of office after he backed away from signing a Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, an agreement Moscow viewed as a threat to its economic well being.  The Kremlin had been sending clear signals that it was alarmed by events in Ukraine, signals ignored by the West.  The anti-Russian nature of last year’s “Euromaidan” rebellion was evident from the start, as the extreme nationalists of “Right Sector” provided much of the muscle for the Ukrainian street.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeing an apparently hostile West egging on a Ukrainian street revolt for the second time in ten years (Ukraine’s 2004 “Orange Revolution” forced a revote of that year’s presidential election), moved to protect Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Crimea.  Russia eventually annexed the peninsula following the appearance there of “green men” (Russian troops in unmarked uniforms) and a referendum that showed mass support for Crimea’s joining the Russian Federation.  The Kremlin’s next move was to establish a foothold in Eastern Ukraine.  Moscow helped foment an insurrection against Kiev in two of Ukraine’s...

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