Striding masterfully through St. George’s Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, Vlad the Conqueror pondered his role as a Man of Destiny.
Although supporters of the Russian invasion, occupation, and annexation of Ukraine blame “U.S. imperialism” for the Ukraine War, the U.S. role has been relatively minor. The major actors have been Ukrainians, striving for independence, and Russians, striving to end it.
For centuries, a great many Ukrainians, chafing under Czarist and, later, Soviet rule, longed for national independence. This rejection of Russian domination―based in part on Stalin’s extermination of four
Although all wars are not imperialist wars, it is remarkable how many imperial conquests have occurred over past centuries.
Mobilizing their military forces, powerful states and, later, nations carved out vast empires at the expense of weaker or less warlike societies. Some of the largest and best-known empires to emerge over the millennia were the Persian, the Chinese, the Mongol, the Ottoman, the Russian, the Spanish, and the British.
The Russian government’s justifications for its war in Ukraine―the largest, most destructive military operation in Europe since World War II―are not persuasive.
Although, in defending the Russian invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary emphasis has been on the threat of Ukraine joining NATO, that action, had it occurred, would have been perfectly legitimate under international law. The UN Charter, which is an instrument of international law, does not
A key factor that explains Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine is traditional Russian imperialism.
Throughout the world’s long and bloody history, other powerful territories (and, later, nations) expanded their lands through imperial conquest, including Rome, China, Spain, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, and the United States.
Russia was no exception. Beginning with the small principality of Moscow in 1300, Russia employed