After WWII and the emergence of the new world order of 1945, the Western Allies and NATO sought to "contain' Stalinist Russia, and have pursued this dangerous policy to the present. What they refuse to recognize is that Stalinism is in the distant past, and that "New Russia' has arisen like a phoenix.
When Hitler and Nazism were defeated, the West immediately sought to replace one enemy with another and to continue its economic and commercial expansion into Europe and East Europe under the guise of spreading democracy and free enterprise with the obvious intent that they would be the chief beneficiaries.
And, instead of embracing a post-war détente, the West lamentably squandered every opportunity for peace and gave in to hysteria, fear, and its expansionist dreams. Seeking to gain economic, political, and military advantage, the "containment' of Russia, became a preoccupation and, later, an obsession.
Although "containment' was briefly successful during the Cold War, the dissolution of the Iron Curtain, the introduction of Glasnost and Perestroika, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, made its continuation a highly, questionable and contentious policy.
Furthermore, the placing of the Aegis anti-missile shield in Romania, Poland, and former East Bloc countries is interpreted by Russia as a provocation and direct threat. This immediately brings to mind the October Crisis of 1962 when American, medium-range, nuclear-tipped missiles placed in Turkey — aimed at Russia — were matched by Soviet, medium-range, nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba aimed at the US.
America's provocations brought the world to the brink of nuclear destruction then and, today, the scenario is repeating itself. The West cannot expect Russia to stand idly by while America repeats the 1962 crisis; if it does, the West clearly doesn't understand Slavic determination — something Hitler tragically learned the hard way during WWII.
The 1990's, ABM missile treaties between Russia and America have always been tenuous, borne of a mutual lack of trust. And, although many East-West issues have since dissipated, the West's attempt to contain, isolate, cripple, and dominate Russia politically, militarily, culturally, and economically is sadly continuing.
The West's containment policy is a grievous, unwarranted and dangerous strategy. Russia has been badly underestimated in its resolve in the past, and the West appears to be falling into the same trap as other, military invaders of past centuries.
A look at European history and study of Napoleon's invasion of Russia illustrates how badly he misjudged his enemy in an effort to dominate Europe, East Europe, and Central Asia. And, in 1941, Hitler also believed that Russia was a "pushover' and that Germany's "blitzkrieg' tactic would result in its speedy capitulation. Both Napoleon and Hitler badly misconstrued Russia, and America and NATO appear to be repeating this calamitous error.
America falsely believes that it has the right to hem in Russia in the Baltic, Black Sea, Mediterranean, Arctic, and North Pacific using its naval and land forces equipped with state-of-the-art systems and weaponry. And this, together with anti-missile shields in countries bordering Russia, can only be interpreted as open, unwarranted aggression against that sovereign state, something which will undoubtedly lead to countermeasures.
It is sheer Western folly to overlook the prodigious, technological advances Russia has made in past decades and the fact that Russia is not a military pushover like Grenada or Panama, and never will be.
Also, believing that support in East Europe is "firm' is a fateful miscalculation. Support for America's self-serving, global, military actions and combative, foreign policy here is low, and connections with NATO are tentative, at best. As well, the populations of these countries are overwhelmingly anti-American and see America, not Russia or China, as the primary threat to world peace.
US actions in South China Sea, Taiwan Strait and their repeated interventions in the Middle East, and elsewhere, may simply encourage Russia and China to pursue new, regional alliances which will result in a new Cold War, and tilt the balance of regional power against America.
An aggressive, Western, military stance — under the guise of protecting democracy and America's ubiquitous "self-interests' - will simply place Russia and China in a back-to-the-wall, defensive position where they will be forced to respond militarily.
Cornering a bear, especially a Russian bear, is never wise. The West's aggressive tactics are presently proving politically and militarily unsound, contentious, provocative, and highly dangerous, and will again drive the world toward another nuclear precipice.
And, this time, the outcome may not be as favourable as in October, 1962.