What To Do About That Russian Ultimatum, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Negotiation might be a good idea. It beats the alternatives. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Get off our front porch. Get out of our front yard. And stay out of our backyard.”

This might stand as a crude summary of two draft security pacts Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov delivered last week as Russia’s price for resolving the crisis created by those 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders.

Ryabkov’s demands appear to be a virtual ultimatum, designed to be rejected by the U.S. and NATO and provide Moscow with a pretext for an invasion and occupation of part or all of Ukraine.

Among the maximalist Russian demands:

Written guarantees from NATO that it will not admit into the 70-year-old Cold War alliance any more ex-Soviet republics, specifically, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Offensive weapons are to be kept out of nations that border Russia.

The U.S. and Russia should keep their warships and strategic bombers away from each other’s territory. The U.S. should forgo planting military bases in any of the five “stans,” the Central Asian nations that once were part of the USSR.

NATO should withdraw military infrastructure it has placed in Eastern European states after 1997.

That date is significant. For not until 1999 did Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic join NATO. And the accession of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Slovenia came only in 2004.

Russia is calling for the creation of a security zone around its borders to include all of the former Soviet Union and beyond, where U.S. and NATO military bases would be prohibited.

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