Okay, thanks for your time. This was actually much better than I thought a debate on this with people with a differing view would be. Just a few points to make my position clear to my readers:
- When I use qualifiers, it's because reality is nuanced and complicated, not black and white. Everything is about definitions, all of philosophy certainly, about what exactly you mean, your selection of facts or views that count and those that do not. And not to be vague or evasive, but to say precisely what you mean.
- I think the main issue with the view that you selected is that it ignores the differences in what life is like in Russia and outside of Russia, and what it had been like in my part of the world when Russia was ruling things. What life is like now in Serbia is the most important aspect of the situation in my opinion, or at least it matters if you want to judge what NATO is, or the quality of its intentions.
- When I say that Russians are there to take over Ukraine, it is because there were plans to assassinate Zelensky, who himself definitely isn't a Nazi, but also, people here would say they know that because in a bunch of countries, Russia, both now and as USSR, did it a number of times. Including in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Nothing is certain in this world, but some things are highly likely, which is as much as anyone can "know" anything.
- Regarding the history of Ukraine and its level of democraticness, my actual opinion as a political scientist and a person who lives kinda near enough is that it was a less democratic state than my state and a more democratic state than Russia. It was fairly corrupt, maybe about as much as Russia. The way they handled Donbas certainly wasn't perfect, from a humanistic and pacifistic point of view. Like I said in the original article, Americans did meddle in the coup situation, but Russia also meddled the whole time with the opposite goal, while the important fact in my opinion is what the people of the country wanted the whole time - to be more pro-western.
- As for continued existence of NATO, the countries in the region who joined it certainly didn't see it as a boondogle, and certainly didn't want to attack Russia. They wanted to be safe from any invader, strength in numbers type thing. I'm sure some American elites have all kinds of crazy goals, but they can't make the local countries agree with them. Partially because USA appears clearly decided not to invade European sovereign states to change their mind. Try to bribe them, sure. But that's part of the appeal - this kind of geopolitics is more civilized than the whole taking over stuff with tanks thing.
- I'm not saying that Putin or Russia can't choose to feel threatened by the expansion of NATO, but my bet (as far as anyone can know anything in geopolitics) is that there was never a NATO plan to attack it. On a cynical political level, my analysis is that more countries joining NATO was meant as a symbolic victory - a sign of wanting to belong in the western club, to annoy Russia.
- Finally, I may be wrong about anything or everything, political science isn't an exact science, but I do take a little bit of offense when people throw around terms like "clear bullshit" in my direction. I'm honestly trying and I welcome counterarguments that can make me reconsider. My arguments now aren't necessarily my position forever, or some kind of propaganda to help my team win. Personal judgments and attacks are never going to make anyone reconsider anything, they're unproductive.