LISBON, March 17 — Provoking Russia and neutralizing Europe are the “two pillars” of the U.S. strategy in Europe in a bid to consolidate U.S. spheres of influence, which has partly resulted in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, a Portuguese expert has said.
The United States “seeks to consolidate zones of influence at all costs, which guarantees trade facilities for its companies and access to raw materials,” sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos said in a recent article in the Portuguese newspaper Publico.
The conflict in Ukraine “was being prepared for a long time” not only by Russia but also by the United States, he said in the article titled “Towards a self-criticism of Europe”.
In the case of Europe, he argued, “the U.S. strategy has two pillars: provoking Russia and neutralizing Europe.”
The author cited a report produced by the RAND Corporation in 2019 at the request of the Pentagon, which analyzed “nonviolent measures that could stress Russia’s military or economy or the regime’s political standing at home and abroad.” These measures said the report, “would lead Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, causing Russia to overextend itself militarily or economically or causing the regime to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence.”
The expansion of NATO to Eastern Europe against what had been agreed with the Russian government in 1990 was the “initial key piece of the provocation,” the sociologist said.
As for Europe, “the principle is to consolidate the condition of a minor partner that does not venture to disturb the policy of the zones of influence. Europe must be a reliable partner, but it cannot expect reciprocity,” he said.
To resolve the Ukraine crisis, there should be talks between Russia and the United States/the NATO/the European Union, and an independent Ukraine should not join NATO, he said.
“After NATO’s military interventions in Serbia in 1999, in Afghanistan in 2001, in Iraq in 2004, in Libya in 2011,” the sociologist asked at the end of his article, “will it be possible to continue to consider NATO a defensive organization?” (Xinhua)