US claims about Russian "aggression" are a hypocritical farce
If you read almost any of the western mainstream media you would have basically no idea that there is a lot more to the ongoing situation on the Russian border with Ukraine than American claims of "Russian aggression".
In fact, the issues involved go back to the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.
As Gary Leupp noted in a January Counterpunch article, during the Bill Clinton administration the US president:
reneged on the U.S. promise to Moscow in 1989 that NATO would not advance “one inch” east after the Soviets accepted German reunification. Instead he drew Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, long members of the dissolved Warsaw Pact, into the anti-Russian military alliance in 1999. It was an extraordinary repudiation of the Bush-Gorbachev agreement, an egregious provocation of a now-friendly country (then headed by the buffoonish Boris Yeltsin), unremarked on by the U.S. press at the time as anything controversial. Since then the expansion of NATO has been treated as no more remarkable than the expansion of UNESCO.
This ongoing encirclement of Russia was made worse with western backing of the coup against the democratically elected Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
Since that coup the country has seen an exceptionally disturbing rise of the far right which has not prevented the west (including Canada) to send many millions in military aid to it.
In 2018, for example, the Ukrainian army adopted the slogan "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!", which originated with nationalist groups who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII. That same year, as Newsweek reported "Ukraine’s parliament...officially designated the birthday of a prominent Nazi collaborator as a national holiday, while also banning a book that criticized another anti-Semitic national leader." That collaborator was Stepan Bandera who the post-Maidan regime has celebrated by naming streets after him and erecting a variety of statues in his honour, all while tearing down those dedicated to people who died fighting Hitler.
Bandera statue in Lviv
Neo-Nazi units have even been affiliated with the Ukrainian military and, shamefully, Canadian officials met with them as was outlined in this recent National Post expose: Canadian officials who met with Ukrainian unit linked to Nazis feared exposure by news media: documents
We could go on, but as Leupp put it:
Moscow feels a mounting resentment over the expansion of a hostile military alliance, formed during the Cold War under conditions no longer pertinent, to surround it. Is this hard to fathom? How would Congress view a gradual expansion of a Russian-led military alliance committed to spending 2% of its members’ GDPs on military spending to embrace Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Panama and maybe Canada next year?
Of course, the US and its allies clothe themselves in the deep hypocrisy that western imperialism always engages in and the compliant western media simply trumpets the US line as truth.
No mention of this NATO encirclement or its transparently aggressive nature is given serious space.
If you look at the Russian perspective and position on these matters fairly, however, it seems eminently reasonable.
As reported in Russia Today:
Moscow is “seriously interested” in obtaining “reliable and firm legal guarantees” excluding NATO’s further expansion eastward and deployment of “offensive strike weapons systems in countries adjacent to Russia,” the Kremlin said in a readout of Tuesday’s call between the two leaders.
Putin’s proposal came in response to Biden’s “concerns” about Russian troops allegedly threatening Ukraine and threats of US and allied sanctions against Russia, a subject that arose during the two-hour call. The Russian leader responded that it was NATO “making dangerous attempts to conquer Ukrainian territory” and “building up its military potential at our borders.”
It is worth noting that all of Russia's military actions so far are occurring within its own borders while the United States and NATO project western military power all around Russia.
As Russia Today also reported "Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted the day before that “significant units and armaments from NATO countries, including American and British, are being moved closer to our borders.”"
Placed in the context of 30 years of aggressive NATO expansion to the east despite all promises, the coup in Ukraine, the disturbing far-right nationalism of the Ukrainian government and military, and NATO forces, advisors and military exercises in Russian border states it is really not so clear cut who the "aggressor" is at all, is it?