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How many alliances against Russia do we need?

Due to the Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine, it is not surprising that NATO has taken a hard stance against Russia. But additional alliances “ganging up on” Russia threaten to escalate rather than deter international tensions.

In 1949, there were 12 Western members of NATO. During the next decades, European and eventually most Eastern European nations would join. With the current NATO membership, the western-eastern balance of power – NATO vs. Soviet – has shifted power to the West.

NATO is not the only membership organization in the role of protecting member nations from Russian strategies and power. The Group of Eight (G8), an alliance of eight highly industrialized nations which formerly included Russia, suspended Russia’s participation due to the annexation of the Crimea, turning the G8 into the G7. A Western “alliance with” Russia turned into an “alliance against” Russia.

The Bucharest Nine Initiative, which had its first meeting in 2014, is aimed at coordinating the security positions of countries in the old Eastern Bloc of the Soviet Union. Much of this protection relates to Russia’s power.

Founded in 2020, the Lublin Triangle is a regional-cooperative including Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine designed to strengthen military, economic, and cultural ties between these countries. The triangle’s support of Ukraine positions the cooperative against Russia.

In addition to all of these collective organizations, there is also the long-standing, adversarial relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

There are many reasons to fear and oppose Russia’s actions in Ukraine. It is nearly certain that Russia tampered with recent elections and “deserve” the resulting sanctions. But it is naive to think that Russia will simply take the claims of these numerous alliances with no counter-claims, the actions of these alliances with no counter-actions.

The current situation brings me to an unexpected comparison. In the U.S., we are struggling to understand the perpetrators of our recent mass shootings. These shooters seem to feel cornered in a world that they see as negative and violent, as excluding them and putting them down. And some lash out against others with extreme consequences. Will Russia eventually lash out, too? Hopefully not, but we must come to a more nuanced understanding of that nation. Respect for Russia will play a role in making peace in Ukraine. We absolutely must leave the black-and-white Cold War view of Russia in the past.

DARCY ETKIN

Gloversville

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