American statists cannot understand why the Russian people continue to support their president Vladimir Putin and their government’s invasion of Ukraine. For American statists, the issue is very simple: Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia bad. Russians should oppose Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime. End of story.
Fair enough. But let’s engage in a hypothetical.
Let’s assume that Russia establishes military bases and installs nuclear weapons in Cuba. The U.S. government declares, “No way, bud! We are just not going to permit you to do that. Remove them or experience the wrath of our all-powerful military machine.”
Suppose Russia takes the same position as Ukraine and says, “We are not budging. We have the right to enter into an alliance with Cuba, just as Ukraine has the right to join NATO. Moreover, Russia has the same right to establish military bases and install nuclear missiles in Cuba that NATO has to establish military bases and install nuclear missiles in Ukraine.”
A far-fetched hypothetical?
Well, not exactly.
In January 2022, Putin stated that he was thinking of sending Russian troops to Cuba. The U.S. reaction was immediate. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan exclaimed, “If Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively.”
What Sullivan meant by that statement was that the U.S. would issue an immediate demand that Russia cease and desist. If it refused to do so, a U.S. invasion of Cuba would follow.
In other words, the U.S. government was threatening to do to Cuba what Russia has done to Ukraine.
In fact, if we go back to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, that is what happened then. The Soviets had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba. The U.S. government demanded that they be removed. If they refused to remove them, the U.S. government declared that it would do exactly what the Russian government has done to Ukraine. It would bomb and invade Cuba.
So, my hypothetical clearly falls within the realm of reasonable possibility.
Given such, the question naturally arises: What would American statists who are exclaiming against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine do if that were to happen? Would they oppose the U.S. invasion of Cuba and come to the support of Cuba and Russia?
I think not. I think they would immediately come to the support of the U.S. government and its invasion of Cuba, just as most Russians have come to the support of their government and its invasion of Ukraine.