As the Obama Administration continues to try to insinuate itself into the Ukraine protest movement, they have felt to issue multiple statements in recent days denying that it is a “proxy war” or anything Cold War-like.
It’s not really clear who the denials are designed to convince, as whatever you want to call it, America’s policy in the Ukraine remains profoundly Russo-centric, and for years America’s relationship with Ukraine has been colored entirely by a desire to back the side that’s not pro-Russia.
Russia’s interests in the Ukraine remain relatively straightforward, supporting the politicians popular in the Russian-speaking east, and those who back Russia keeping its naval base in the Crimea, the historic home of the Russian Navy.
US policy, by contrast, is to back whoever Russia isn’t backing, pushing their membership in NATO seemingly just because Russia opposes that membership, and because it would force the nation to relocate its navy further south. In the past that’s included the color-coded revolution of early 2005, the embezzlement scandal-ridden government in 2009-10, and the current protesters.
But while nominally backing protesters for the sake of backing protesters, US officials have increasingly cozied up to the neo-Nazi elements trying to hijack those protests toward violent revolution, openly meeting with their leaders and praising them as the voice of a “free” Ukraine.
If that policy decision isn’t being done simply to spite Russia, it is a profound shift from the traditionally anti-Nazi stance of modern US foreign policy.