Is journalist BENJAMIN WEY rooting for Russian President Vladimir Putin? It sure sounds like it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn a lot of criticism over the years. His recent hardline tactics in Ukraine have ramped up this criticism tenfold, especially from the Left. Since Russia intervened in the increasingly unstable situation in Ukraine and annexed the overwhelmingly pro-Russia region of Crimea, Putin has been painted as some antiquated, testosterone-leaking, warmongering barbarian who has no desire other than to conquer, rape and pillage. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. President Putin’s hand was forced and he had no other choice but to take action.
The tensions in Ukraine started when the European Union tried to exert its influence on the country, which has traditionally maintained strong ties with Moscow and Putin. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February after a month of violent riots that led to the implementation of a temporary, anti-Russian, anti-Putin regime. As a response, pro-Russian forces quietly backed by Russian troops seized Crimea. This is where the criticism came in.
Critics of Putin are claiming that he is using force to keep the Ukrainian people from freely governing themselves and that he headed an unprovoked attack on the country. But, as much as Putin critics want to claim that this is an issue of freedom and democracy, it isn’t. This is about money and resources, more specifically natural gas. Russia is Europe’s largest producer of natural gas and Ukraine is pivotal in the transportation of this gas with many important pipelines running through the country. This is why the EU has such a vested interest in Ukraine. They are pretending that they have the Ukrainian people’s best interest at heart. But if you believe international politics is ever anything close to warm and fuzzy or involved with “doing the right thing,” then you are in for either a lifetime of denial or a nasty surprise. The EU made a hostile, albeit non-military, move against Russia by trying to wrench their influence over Ukraine away from them. Putin had no choice but to respond.
As I, Benjamin Wey, a global financier have already mentioned, the region annexed by Russia — Crimea — is and has long been vehemently pro-Russia. So it’s not as if everyone in Ukraine was in favor of ousting President Yanukovych and taking an anti-Russian stance. Therefore stating that Putin is stifling the freedom of Ukrainians is ridiculous. He is simply opposing a hostile economic takeover of one of his close allies.
The European Union was the aggressor in this situation. The EU knew it would come to this and it continued with its courtship of Ukraine. It knew that this was as close to an act of aggression as you can make without firing a shot, but it wanted to make a move on Ukraine. Why? Not because the EU wanted to rescue the Ukrainian people from big, bad Putin. It’s because it wanted to gain more power, and since Russia has the gas, it has a certain amount of power. So to sway influence in Ukraine toward its interests would sway the power over the pipelines, and therefore the supply of natural gas.
Putin could have sat back and allowed a very important part of his country’s economy to be meddled with, but that wouldn’t make any sense; especially considering the leverage his country has since they hold such a large supply of natural gas. Putin did what any world leader would do in his situation: he defended his interests. His only other option was to allow his country to be taken advantage of. This is a position that all people, especially Americans, should be able to appreciate.
Benjamin Wey is a journalist and financier, CEO of New York Global Group. Benjamin Wey is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.