Western intrusion into traditional Russian spheres of influence “represents a highly provocative and destabilizing policy,” Robert Merry writes this for the National Interest, in an article headlined, “Stop Poking the Russian Bear.”

Beside Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus, the author includes Serbia into one of these “spheres of influence.”

“All have been subject to Western designs to one degree or another, including serious US initiatives to dismember Serbia and get Georgia and Ukraine into NATO,” Merry writes.

According to him, war between Russia and the West “seems nearly inevitable” because “no self-respecting nation facing inexorable encirclement by an alliance of hostile neighbors can allow such pressures and forces to continue indefinitely.”

“Eventually it must protect its interests through military action,” the article argues, adds that Russia has already done this “in Georgia, and in Eastern Ukraine.”

The West has offered no expressions indicating what might be the limitations of its encirclement plans, Merry continues, while “the demonization of Putin by America’s intelligentsia has been nearly unprecedented in peacetime.”

Trump’s initiative to improve relations with Russia now “appears dead,” the author said.
“The anti-Russian elites have won the day, whatever the merits of the case or wherever the facts now lead. The president looks hapless on the issue. New sanctions are coming, whether he wants them or not. NATO expansion and the West’s Ukraine meddling will continue. Encirclement is firmly in place.”

“It’s difficult to envision where this could lead, short of actual hostilities. Russia’s fundamental national interests, the ones Trump was prepared to accept, will almost certainly render such hostilities inevitable,” Merry concluded.