How many of us have been appalled by the aggressive Russian attack on Ukraine?
It’s another small death by a thousand cuts for democracy in Europe. Vladimir Putin is a monster. He will stop at nothing until he is seen as the new Stalin, dictator-for-life in a new upgraded version of the Soviet Union, which is – of course – a larger version of the current Russian motherland. By engulfing Ukraine, Russia beefs up by fifty million people and some excellent farming country.
The action polarises the West, but not one national entity is prepared to engage in any kind of military response. The rhetoric is fruity; action is dry. Extra nations join NATO. All kinds of embargoes are placed on Russian products. Russians themselves are personae non gratae. Media oligarchies condemn Russia. The spectre of the bad old days and Cold War revisits us.
But what of that other invasion, the one on September 10, 2020, in which Azerbaijani troops, backed by Turkey and with state-of-art Israeli weaponry, invaded the independent Armenian enclave of Artsakh, drove Armenian troops back and forced the nation of Armenia into a humiliating defeat, whereby they had to hand back ancestral Armenian lands taken in 1994. This was an assault on a smaller neighbour by a bigger one that did not attract mainstream attention at all.
No one had anything to gain by telling the story, or backing the underdog. Armenia was forced into backing down, and the opportunistic Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev got what he wanted. It should be noted that Russia played umpire on this one, with Putin getting Russian boots on the ground in the Southern Caucasus, in the guise of ‘peacekeepers’. Given that they have kept very little peace and Azeris have continued to shoot at Armenian farmers, one cannot hope for much in the way of help from Russia.
And did the rest of the world care? Artsakh? What’s that…?