Russia requires secure buffer: Opposing view
Kiev has asked the West for arms. That would not be a wise decision.
As an American who has been doing business with Russia since it emerged as a market-driven economy, I see the following: Russia has a very real national interest in maintaining a strong, protective sphere of political and economic influence along its vast borders.
It is exactly like the USA, which over time has expanded its influence beyond its immediate borders and now maintains zones of influence in many regions of the planet.
OUR VIEW: Russian invasion marks end of era
The news media say that the Russian Federation has invaded Ukraine, that Russian soldiers and mechanized armor are crossing Ukraine's border.
Yes, many Russian citizens have crossed the Ukrainian border and joined with armed anti-Kiev rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk. Last I heard, there were 3,000. Perhaps more.
Most are trained veterans who have seen action in Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. These veterans train, strategize and directly help the rebel forces in eastern Ukraine. They are not active-duty Russian Federation troops.
In the late 1970s, when I was working in Africa, I met dozens of Americans, all ex-Vietnam War veterans, fighting for various sides — some for money and quite a few for beliefs. The same situation repeats worldwide today.
Kiev has asked the West for arms, and NATO is raising the issue. That would not be a wise decision. Russia requires an unaligned Ukraine, a secure buffer, which in this case is populated mostly by culturally aligned Russians.
[SOL: WHY HAVE THE U.S. ISOLATED CUBA FOR DECADES? THE U.S. REFUSES TO ALLOW RUSSIA TO EXPAND IN THE AMERICAN HEMISPHERE AND YET THE U.S. HAS EXPANDED GLOBALLY. WHY IS THAT??]
The track record of NATO encroachment on Russia's historically oft-challenged borders does not reflect the way "ethical partners" are supposed to behave. Supplying arms to a wobbly, high-strung Kiev seeking "democratic" entitlements from the United States and the European Union will only serve to give false hopes to that politically unstable state, which cannot be securely satisfied.
If there really is a desire to end this civil war in Ukraine, it will require Kiev to accept the de facto independence of Donetsk and Luhansk as separate republics, and get on peacefully with life and business.
Paul Goncharoff, an American businessman living in Moscow, is chairman of the ethics and membership committees, Organization of Corporate Directors and Managers, Russian Federation.