[video] Former US president Richard Nixon knew Russia could start a new war

He warned of reviving Russian imperialism in his final book “Beyond Peace”.

In a 1992 interview that echoed his perceptions in his final book “Beyond Peace”, former US president Richard Nixon drew out two scenarios of Russia’s future and the evolution of Europe during the next decades, accurately predicting the ongoing war in Ukraine and other events. 

Nixon believed that “…Russia remained vulnerable to extreme nationalists and reactionaries intent on reversing free-market and democratic reforms. The European Community has stalled in its effort to achieve economic and political integration, and Europe is falling victim again to parochialism.”

After observing Russia's new leader Vladimir Putin for a while, the ex-president stressed the importance of freedom in the former Soviet countries and especially in the Russian Federation, whose people never lived free throughout its history.

The failure of freedom [in Russia] would also have a profoundly negative global impact. The reestablishment of a dictatorship and a command economy in Russia would give encouragement to every dictator and would-be dictator in the world. Since an authoritarian Russia would be far more likely to adopt an aggressive foreign policy than a democratic Russia, freedom’s failure would threaten peace and stability in Europe and around the world, the thought goes on.

“If Russia turns away from democracy and economic freedom and we have not done everything possible to prevent it, we [Americans] will bear a large measure of responsibility for the ominous consequences,” reads the book, which was published in 1994 – the year of Nixon’s death.

Also, “Until this transition culminates in irreversible political and economic freedom and nonaggressive foreign policies, there is the danger that the remnants of the shattered Soviet empire will strike back at the world, with devastating consequences.”

In Nixon’s opinion, communism as state religion was no longer capable to mobilize Russian aggression and Moscow’s military power was no match to the U.S., but Russian leaders could find comfort in despotism while Russia’s capacity to recover from crises is virtually unlimited.

“The West must take note of warning signs on the horizon. Russian military thinking is becoming more nationalistic and more assertive in defense of Russia’s interests in the other former Soviet states bordering on Russia, and more supportive of the use of military force as an instrument of foreign policy. Russian policy toward other post-Soviet nations represents the greatest dilemma for the United States. A new attempt by Moscow to rebuild its empire would be a tragedy for Russia and its neighbors alike,” Nixon was quoted as saying by the foundation in his name.

He also stated in the interview, “Russia at present time is at a crossroads. It is often said that the Cold War is over and that the West has won. But this is only half true, because what is happened is that the communists have been defeated. But the ideas of freedom now are on trial. If they don’t work, there will be a reversion to not communism – which has failed – but what I call a new despotism, which will pose a mortal danger to the rest of the world. Because it would have been infected with the virus of Russian imperialism, which of course has been a characteristic of Russian foreign policy for centuries.”

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The West, and the United States primarily, as the bearer of freedom, has a great stake in freedom succeeding in Russia, the former US president stressed. If it succeeds, it will be an example for others to follow – for China, for instance – but if it fails, the hardlines in China will get a new life, finding no reason to turn to democracy.

He also advised the developing collaborative relationships between Washington and Beijing both for the sake of global security and for Taiwan's own security. 

Richard Nixon’s reflections fit accurately the reality 20 years after his passing.

Watch a glimpse into the interview here:

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