February 17, 2015
Reflections on Hill's and Gaddy's "The American Education of Vladimir Putin" (The Atlantic, 16 February 2015)
Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy have provided a superb analysis of Russian President Vladimir Putin's alienation from America and its foreign policy. In most accounts nowadays Russia's actions are interpreted shorn of context. "Russia invaded Georgia." "Russia invaded Ukraine." "Putin criticized America." "Russians see the U.S. as an Enemy." Routinely, almost unanimously, Russia is portrayed as acting spontaneously in a vacuum with reference to the world around it. Its policies and actions are not responses to Western policies and actions. They are carefully thought out plans designed to defeat the West, regardless of what the West may or may not do.
For example, in the 2008 Ossetian war, Russia is said to have begun the war. What preceded Russia's invasion - Georgia's massive bombing of South Ossetia's capitol of Tskhinval(i) with inaccurate GRAD missiles, the killing of one hundred civilians and 19 Russia peacekeepers in the GRAD bombings, and Georgian troops' invasion of South Ossetia and crazed rampage through Tskhinval(i) - is left out of the picture. Similarly now, accounts of "Russia's war in Ukraine" and "Russia's invasion of Ukraine" leave out prior events: . Moreover, the nature of Russia's intervention in the Donbass is overstated and 'evidence' is often shoddy and even falsified by Kiev and taken as gospel truth without question by US government and media.