I’ve been brushing up on my Ukrainian history.
In doing so, I have been reminded why I care so little about the current imperial war between the United States and Russia over Ukraine. The war is currently being fought over the Eurasian steppe which has been like the interstate of Eurasia for thousands of years. This region of Ukraine has a history that is separate and distinct from other regions of Ukraine and has been dominated by nomadic cultures.
At various times, the Pontic-Caspian steppe has been dominated by the Yamnaya, or the ancient Aryans who spread out across Europe during the Bronze Age and brought their Indo-European languages with them. Then it was the Iranian-speaking Scythians and Sarmatians along with Greeks and Romans during Antiquity. Then it was the Huns and Germanic-speaking Goths who roared through there. Then it was the Byzantines again along with Slavs from the north and Turkic-speaking Avars, Bulgars, Pechenegs and Khazars in the Early Middle Ages who moved west through the Eurasian steppe. Then it was the Cumans, Circassians, Mongols and the Tatars in the High and Late Middle Ages and the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern Era. The Cossacks and finally the Russians eventually moved in and took over the area.
Why on earth should Americans be so invested in who controls the western Eurasian steppe? In light of history, this is a matter of great importance to the security of Russians and Europeans, but what does this have to do with us on the other side of the world in the Western hemisphere?
Note: It has nothing to do with us. It simply ensnares us in an endless conflict with Russia over the European Union’s eastern border which it is more than capable of defending by itself. It is a mistake on the same level as guaranteeing the territorial integrity of the Baltic states.