Unlike many, I don’t see the Russo-Ukrainian war as being primarily about NATO’s posture in Eastern Europe. I think the main reason is the very understandable Russian saltiness over Communists having spun off a regional variant of East Slavs (Rus) into non-Russians and ultimately anti-Russians. The Soviet Union cut off the project of Russian national construction from the Ukraine, giving the competing Ukrainian nation-building project monopoly access. Then massively backed that Ukrainianism with state resources and compulsion. (Considerably beyond what the tsars had done for Russianism in Ukraine.) Without this abrubt state intervention the Ukraine would have probably developed into a part of Russia with a strong regional identity, but one without a strong secessionist movement. Similar to Valencia in Spain, Wales in Britain, Brittany in France, or Texas in the US.
It was precisely this insight that allowed me to correctly conclude over the winter of 21/22 that the threat of war in Ukraine was real. While the rest of the alt-media that knows nothing about Russia aside from its standoff with NATO remained supremely confident that war in Ukraine would not take place. (One wonders if NATO-Russia relations alone had made a Russo-Ukrainian war inevitable why weren’t they able to divine it would happen.)
However, I do see NATO as one of many contributing factors to the war. In fact, in my voice-in-the-wilderness pieces warning about the war I spent about 1/3rd of the space writing about NATO. So while the American Empire this one time isn’t the main cause of the war (that distinction goes to Lenin), NATO can be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
As such it was within Washington’s power to prevent the war if it wanted to. What is more, DC could do this while maintaining that Ukraine remains free to “chose its allies” and that its door to NATO is open.
On the eve of the war in February Joe Biden suddenly discovered that Russians and Ukrainians shared “deep ties” and made the following appeal:
“To the citizens of Russia: You are not our enemy. And I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture.”
All of a sudden as war seemed imminent and DC expected a quick Russian victory talk of “deep” Russo-Ukrainian ties became legitimate. If these ties could be mobilized to forestall the imminent Russian takeover then all of a sudden the US would remember them.
Well what if the US had paid homage to these alleged “deep ties” between the two a lot sooner? What if at any time between 2008 and 2020 the Imperial Capital formulated its NATO Ukraine policy thus:
“Ukraine interest in greater military ties with NATO and membership flatter us. Door for Ukraine membership is open and we are committed to accepting it as a member.“
“At the same time we are aware that while NATO is not an ant-Russian alliance, it is sadly sometimes percieved as one.
“Thus keeping in mind the deep ties of family, history, and culture as exist between Ukraine and Russia we do not wish to be a bone of discontent between the two or for NATO to harm these ties.
“Thus we will accept Ukraine into NATO when Russia is also ready to make this step.
“Until then we will not seek military ties with Ukraine or have forces there.”
Very simple. US wants Ukraine but in a package with its partner Russia with whom it shares “such deep ties of family, history, and culture”.
Had this been US policy I don’t think there would have been a war. With such a US stance Kiev would have to act differently, with more realism, creating space for normal Russo-Ukrainian relations. And if these existed Putin would have something to lose by going to war. — A situation that in 2021 no longer existed.
But of course why would that be US policy? Trying to raise tension between Kiev and Moscow and hurt the “deep ties” between Ukraine and Russia had been Washington’s policy precisely.
This war is a godsend for the Empire, especially since it didn’t result in the abrupt Russian takeover.