No natural barriers divide Russia from the rest of Europe. Its defence against all four invasions from the West over four centuries was, therefore, vitally dependent on its ability to trade space for time and to exploit enormous distances—as well as brutal climate—to wear down attackers. Having a solid buffer zone along the country’s western frontiers is still perceived by Russian leaders as strategically imperative.
This is the context in which the latest crisis over Ukraine must be seen.
Russians’ understanding of the concept of strategic depth is thus rooted in bitter experience. Foreign invasions have been existential threats to them; WWII losses were hideous. Americans’ experience of foreign military invasion is virtually nil. Even our WWII losses were far, far fewer than Soviet losses.
Our elites’ fanatical desire to expand “NATO” to the very borders of Russia is thus arrogant and reckless. They ignore the Russian experience and the bedrock realities of their survival. America’s political elites play at war with our asinine female Rangers and affirmative action hires on the bridges of naval vessels.
By way of contrast, the Defense Minister of Russia, Gen. Shoigu, who is fluent in nine languages and a student of the French invasion of Russia, does not look like he is a great kidder.
 “The Madness of Russophobia.” By Srdja Trifkovic, Chronicles, 2/22.