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Putin and Biden meet around the globe

The Ukraine war is a historic event. From the perspective of democratic states, its immediate and short-term physical and human phenomena are shocking and infuriating, but in the long term, its consequences for our consciousness promise improved chances for a better future for those who chose a life of freedom and are willing to defend it. This is a wake-up call for those who have grown addicted to illusions of a world of peace that absolves democracies of the need to fight and deter their enemies through forceful means.

Putin and his apologists in the West argue his determination to bend Ukraine to his will stems from his concerns over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s eastward expansion. There is a kernel of truth to this argument: Russia has authentic concerns anchored in historic traumas from French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. The West did indeed take advantage of its weakness following the Soviet Union’s collapse to bring former Warsaw Pact signatories into its strategic alliance. Putin in 2008 invaded Georgia, thwarting attempts to bring that country into NATO. The nature and timing of Russia’s Ukraine invasion reveal the principal motivation to be far different this time around and anchored in the nature of the Moscow regime and assumptions concerning American and European weakness.

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Putin’s regime reflects the willingness of broad circles in Russian society to accept a backward quality of life, deep corruption in the political and economic mechanisms, and a questionable future for the next generation to restore Russia’s imperial greatness. They are repeating the combination of a large and powerful military and a backward economy and societal neglect that ate away at Soviet soil. Putin was horrified when millions of Slavs with deep, historical ties to Russia preferred a president who promised them a better life and Western-style freedoms to a Russian puppet in 2014. The election of political novice Volodymyr Zelensyy to the role of president served as proof of the stability of this shift.

Putin understood the subversive message to his regime as soon as it appeared: If the quasi-Russians in Kyiv succeeded, their brethren in Moscow could also prefer freedom and quality of life to questionable grandiose visions. It is not by chance then that Putin acted to stop this trend in the years 2014 and 2022. Immediately following Kyiv’s shift toward the West, the Russian president set out to conquer the Crimean Peninsula and spark a civil war in Ukraine through the use of militias in Russian-populated districts. By that time, he was aware of the depth of then-US President Barack Obama’s strategic flaccidity after the American leader, a few months prior, avoided following through with his warnings to act should Syria cross a “red line” and use chemical weapons, leaving Russia as the determining power.

In 2022, there once again resides in the White House a president – and a former vice president to Obama – who has proven his weakness in capitulating to Iran’s dictates. In Europe, Putin observed a spiritual weakening that bordered on the suicidal in Germany, Europe’s strongest country, under former Chancellor Angela Merkel. Berlin had acquired a reputation for right-wing attacks and made disastrous decisions identified with the far-Left: opening its gates to mass immigration from a population with very low chances of integration and increasing its reckless dependence on Russian gas at the expense of Ukraine and Poland’s vital interests.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine stems more from concerns it would approach an EU-level quality of life than of it joining NATO. He did this under the justified assumption that the Americans were weak and the Europeans were addicted to Russian gas. His historic mistake lies in the blatant and failing nature of his actions. Thus the debate between the naïve majority in the West that wanted to believe such a war was impossible and the small minority that reasoned only genuine deterrence would prevent a repeat of past wars has been settled at this stage.

The trauma of Nazism was necessary for proponents of the perfect realization of individual liberties to adopt a “defensive democracy.” The trauma of Putin in Ukraine has turned out to be the necessary condition for establishing “defensive peace” in Europe. The more Russia achieves in Kyiv, the more Berlin and Washington lose. At NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels, a large statue of Putin should be erected.

 

{Written by Dan Schueftan and reposted from the IsraelHayom site}

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