Going to just answer this question, because this is the fundamental issue. If you believe the NATO encirclement of Russia is not real, then I suggest you look up the history of NATO for a bit. Just what is NATO protecting its member's from if it isn't Russia? Ukraine is the next step of NATO expansion. Now you ask what interest does the US have in Ukraine in particular. I think that Crimea is definitely one of them. That's where the Black Sea Fleet is based upon, and it is very strategically important for Russia.
It depends what you mean by "encirclement." In this situation, I do understand Putin may have felt
a little threatened. But I don't know of any evidence that Nato has unreasonably manipulated Ukraine to kick Russia out of those bases. I have heard that the opposition in Kiev was not very happy that Russia was given a lease extension of what was it, something like 40 years? I forget the exact number. Some very long time to hold onto them. I'm not clear about whether they wanted to make the lease shorter, raise the fees, or do away with it entirely -- or what. But in a just world, that would be up to Ukraine to decide for themselves. Do you imagine that because Russia feels threatened by Nato, it would have a natural right to invade Crimea? If that is true, then maybe China has a right to invade Siberia and take whatever it needs too. On and on.
I don't know of any serious Nato goal to base troops in Ukraine. (We could probably find "plans" somewhere, but then everyone has plans. We used to all plan for nuclear war, but we don't do
it.) In fact, I don't believe Nato has even based a whole lot in the Baltics which have been admitted to the alliance. I'm not even sure there is all that much in Poland. (I might say this could be partly because they're all difficult to actually defend
, but anyway.) It seems like Russia is upset even at the very idea that the West might not allow it -- Russia -- to be the big threatening power in the region and tell all the smaller countries what to do. That doesn't mean the US is perfect or always just. But that seems to be part of the underlying logic, too.
The truth is Russia doesn't act out in the US interest and that means the US will antagonize Russia. Look, the US is not a peaceful country, it's an aggressive and exceptional country in that it can invade other countries and still label itself as doing good. The US spends the most on its military more than the next ten countries combined, it's invaded the most countries after World War 2, the only country to have used nuclear weapons out of any country in the world. If you're still siding with the US knowing all this, I guess that's just a case of American exceptionism.
I don't dispute a lot of that actually. It's not so much that I'm trying to side with the US on everything it does everywhere. I'm just not siding with Russia invading/ annexing Crimea and destabilizing Eastern Ukraine
in this particular case. They went and invaded the place. That wasn't necessary in my view. And it makes people uncomfortable. We may start to ask, "Hmm, what else will they decide is in their interest? Just how much does Russia
need to feel safe, now? Who do they
have to take over on any given day, exactly?" If the US bombing and invading isn't good, why do you expect others to accept Russia doing the same?
For that matter, why is it okay for Russia to manipulate the Ukrainian government by insisting that Yanukovich and his hated police are the only acceptable rulers, in the face of a massive popular revolt? Funny how they just happen to want only the foreign policy (and police state powers) that Putin thinks Ukraine should use. Or is it, in fact, Putin's policy to keep Ukraine weak, corrupt and divided one way or another? Where did all these "oligarchs" people are worried about come from anyway? A political system that Putin supported for managing Ukraine. No? Whether the IMF and the Western system are ideal, or even just -- that is a fair question too. But it should be a separate question.
Supporting Assad in Syria for so long hasn't helped either. Nor did snipping off parts of Georgia to hold onto indefinitely. I do understand that the Russian leadership may do hard-nosed things to try to improve its position. I even understand that they're partly defensive moves. Still, it isn't fair to Ukraine. As some Ukrainians wrote in editorial pages, it was a "particularly low blow" just when a popular revolt has said they don't want Russia's proxy making a mess of their government and they were trying to get back on their feet. That is their choice. (Nor I would say, is how Russia has played fair to those people who ended up bombed and gassed by Assad in Syria. But anyway.)
As for evidence of US involvement, I suggest you do a bit of a search outside of the US propaganda circles because the major US sources for news on this is on the same level as Russia.
That isn't quite grammatically clear to me, but... Tell me who you trust that seems to have more objective reporting.
In Georgia, I could actually catch Russia Today on cable TV and some of their reporting was interesting... Now, sometimes they would rant on in ways that I could just logically, or on general principle, say were leading to silly conclusions. But they did also have some serious concern for human rights and an interest in issues the US press has stopped covering in recent years. I appreciated them trying, just for that part. I would listen to someone like Abby Martin, just to wait for the few parts that she got partly or almost right, a little burst of insight you wouldn't hear somewhere else. And I wish maybe a few more people would or could have. But in this case
, you can see even some of RT's English-speaking staff have outright quit in protest at Russia's actions and Putin's media manipulations. That kind of suggests to me, there is probably a whole lot
of manipulation across the Russian press and maybe its sympathizers elsewhere. I think to myself: If even these people
are giving up, who is honest and reasonably thorough over there?
I like the Guardian to some extent, because among the Western press that actually goes and gathers some facts I can consider, they tend to have relatively
balanced reporting (heck, they even gave Lavrov a space to talk, among certain editorials I found a bit silly myself -- but it was there to read). But that thing about worrying about fabrications? It swings both ways. When I see pro-Putin people in the Guardian comments often saying there are no Russian troops operating aggressively in Crimea in the face of what seem like reports with a bit more detail in the West that there are
-- and by now, when everyone thinks he's won that, even Putin
is saying there have been -- then I tend to suspect some Russian news sources are not so reliable.