In a recent essay, Justin Logan asks the fundamental question about U.S. alliance commitments: does the existence of such commitments automatically create an interest worth going to war over for the United States?
Explaining that no one in Washington sees any interest in going to war against Russia over the current crisis in Ukraine, Logan wonders whether the United States should contemplate doing so for countries where it has even smaller interests, such as the Baltic states, only because they, unlike Ukraine, are U.S. allies under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He argues that Washington would be misguided to waste blood and treasure just to honor what he refers to as a “sheet of paper,” and warns against the danger of forging alliances in places where there is no interest that warrants war.
The propaganda war in the Ukraine crisis has spawned a renewal Russian nationalism, with members of the opposition and the intellectual class suddenly praising President Putin. Many in Russia are accepting the Kremlin’s official line uncritically.
Perhaps Alexander Byvshev was a little naïve. Maybe he thought his small village was somehow a safe haven from the world of global politics. But how wrong he was.
Byvshev, a German teacher in the district of Orlov, recently opened up his local newspaper, Sarya, or “the dawn,” only to find his name featured in a prominent slot. “In these troubled times, when enemies outside the country are showing their teeth and preparing to take the leap of death, you can find people who would like to undermine Russia from within,” the newspaper wrote. “People like A. Byvshev.”