Just having a military force on your border doesn't mean you have to treat that country as an enemy; ask Mexico.
But there is quite a difference in the level of trust between US-Mexico vs US-Russia. What sort of trust building measures do you think could have worked or would work in the future in the latter case?
Russia could have used diplomacy to neutralize their neighbors, regardless of alliances they belong to.
I'd guess they simply chose the most effective tool they had. Assuming they are rational actors, the cost benefit analysis must have made sense to them.
Russia chose to invade Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine. They chose to conduct cyber attacks and to undercut democratic elections. They chose the path of fierce opposition, and leaned into the vicious cycle.
Yes and so they will have to bear the consequences. I personally don't understand why they are either sabotaging their own long term interests or, alternately, why they'd think they had no choice but to act in this way.
In the 90s, the Eastern European countries that had just been freed from Soviet occupation feared this would happen, and which is why those countries lobbied Pres Clinton to let them into NATO.
Do you think the Clinton (and W) admin was expanding NATO in this way solely/mainly/mostly in reaction to these "requests"? To what degree do you think any strategic thinking affected the decision to expand? Do you think any effort was made to understand/foresee/prevent any possible Russian blowback to this expansion?
I think I know the answers but I want to know what you think. Personally, I'm a big believer in US power and responsibility -- i.e. I think it should never have come to this.
Russia had benefited from Soviet mismanagement of that region, and Putin acted like he should still have a say in what happens in the region.
I sympathize -- I too find it a bit disconcerting when large nations think they should have a say in what happens in smaller nations. Do you think what the major conflict here is between Russia having a say in what happens vs self determination, or Russia having a say vs others having a say what happens in the region (e.g. the US, NATO, European powers etc)?
Those countries should have a say in their alignment, and the fact that Russian leaders get mad about them trying to have a say in their own national protection shows that, without NATO protection, Russia wouldn't respect their right to self-determination.
I'm conflicted about this. On the one hand, I'm all for self-determination (except in extreme cases) so I agree with what you're saying. On the other hand, how do you think the US would react if Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico etc joined the SCO? Would respect for self-determination supersede any potential security threats? If your answer to these questions are badly and of course it would (which I think is very reasonable), then isn't much of the rhetoric about Russian aggression more advocacy for certain interests rather than neutral geopolitical analysis?