Between 1989 and 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev let the Berlin Wall be pulled down, Germany be reunited and all the “captive nations” of Eastern Europe go free.
Having collapsed the Soviet empire, Gorbachev allowed the Soviet Union to dissolve itself into 15 independent nations. Communism was allowed to expire as the ruling ideology of Russia, the land where Leninism and Bolshevism first took root in 1917.
Gorbachev called off the Cold War in Europe by removing all of the causes on Moscow’s side of the historic divide.
Putin, a former KGB colonel, came to power in 1999 after the disastrous decade long rule of Boris Yeltsin, who ran Russia into the ground.
In that year, 1999, Putin watched as America conducted a 78-day bombing campaign on Serbia, the Balkan nation that had historically been a protectorate of Mother Russia.
That year, also, three former Warsaw Pact nations, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, were brought into NATO.
Against whom were these countries to be protected by U.S. arms and the NATO alliance, the question was fairly asked.
The question seemed to be answered fully in 2004, when Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria were admitted into NATO, a grouping that included three former republics of the USSR itself, as well as three more former Warsaw Pact nations.
Then, in 2008, came the Bucharest declaration that put Georgia and Ukraine, both bordering on Russia, on a path to NATO membership. Continue reading