Peter Pry – Washington Times
In 1914, a single bullet fired into the chest of Archduke Ferdinand by a Serbian terrorist quickly and unexpectedly exploded into World War I. The Austro-Hungarians mobilized their armies to punish Serbia. Russia mobilized armies to defend their Serb “little Slavic brother.” Germany mobilized, then France, then Britain, and by 1918 there were 40 million casualties, 15-22 million dead. Now President Biden’s ill-conceived efforts to save Ukraine from Russian invasion could spark a much larger conflict, perhaps even nuclear World War III. After years of denial, Washington seems to finally understand that as a result of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, Russia and China really are allies, prepared to coordinate aggression against Europe, Asia, and America. Russia’s strategic interests in Ukraine in 2022 are far greater than were Russian strategic interests in Serbia in 1914:
• Ukrainian entry into NATO, official or de facto, Russia perceives as an existential threat, as NATO missiles, air forces and armies advanced to eastern Ukraine would be only 300 miles from Moscow, within easy striking distance for surprise attack;
• Ukrainian territory is traversed by Russian petroleum pipelines that are a major source of Moscow’s revenue;
• Ukraine, according to Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin, is Russia’s “Slavic brother” and, as part of the former Soviet Union, belongs in a New Russian Empire.
• Ukraine, if annexed by Russia, will enable Moscow to move its missiles, air forces and armies into western Ukraine and Belarus, along the entire eastern border of NATO member Poland, posing a steel spearhead that could knife through NATO to the English Channel, as the USSR threatened to do during the Cold War.
Russia’s strategic interests in Ukraine, a combination of legitimate defensive concerns and illegitimate aggressive designs, far outweigh NATO’s political will or military capability to defend Ukraine.