My 11-year-old stepdaughter turned to me yesterday and asked me: ‘Did you know that there is only one country between North Korea and Norway?’ I had to think for a couple of seconds before answering: ‘Shit, you’re right. It’s Russia.’ She went on: ‘It helps when you have a surface larger than Pluto’s.’ ‘You’re kidding.’ I said. ‘Nope.’ She said.
It’s not only my stepdaughter that impresses me, these days. I learned that a sixth high-ranking officer in the Russian military was killed in Ukraine yesterday, and I also heard an old man fleeing from the battered city of Mariupol saying that he remembered when the Germans had invaded back in the day, and they hadn’t been as ruthless as the Russians were today.
It seems Putin has a Ukrainian Problem to solve, just as Hitler had a Jewish Problem. They both helped inflate their egos and excuse incomprehensible atrocities. Both ‘problems’ are pure lies.
Putin’s justifications for the invasion of Ukraine are completely bogus. First, Russia has already more than 1000-miles of borders with NATO. That hasn’t seemed to have hurt Russia in any way so far. Besides, Russia has borders with 14 countries – only 5 of which belong to NATO. It has also thousands of miles of border with the EU. Why would the integration of Ukraine be a red line?
Second, NATO never promised not to accept Ukraine’s application. Actually, NATO’s Founding Treaty, in its article 10, makes it an open organization for any country to apply. Records show that no promise whatsoever was made to Russia that Ukraine would never be a part of NATO – this false claim was denied repeatedly over the years.
Third, Russia did agree in 1994’s Budapest Agreement not to invade Ukraine, promising to respect its borders and sovereignty. In return, Ukraine gave Russia its nuclear weapons. If Ukraine would have kept them, Putin would certainly not be invading right now.
Fourth, NATO is a defensive alliance and has not intervened to change other countries’ borders, attacked Russia in any way, nor even intervened with military force in other countries except with the backing of the UN, of which Russia is a part.
There is one reason why Putin is raging war on Ukraine right now: Putin has been attacking the West and he’s been losing. Incited by the likes of Aleksander Dugin and their mad theories about national-traditionalism and the condemnation of liberalism, modernity, and progress, Putin has been supporting far-right and neo-Nazi groups in Europe and in the US. He helped Nigel Farage procure the Brexit debacle and befriended rebel governments inside the EU. He also infiltrated the American National Rifle Association to manipulate the Republican party and elect his asset to the White House – as shown in many Federal indictments, Intelligence Agencies reports, the US Congress proceedings, and the Mueller Report.
But Putin has been losing his fight. No doubt Donald Trump indulged him as much as he could – he tried to get Russia back to the G7 and end sanctions, he defended Putin’s views over the CIA’s, he got out of Syria and negotiated with the Taliban the surrender of Afghanistan. But Putin’s American Operation stumbled on an obstacle that only surprised a few: the Will of the People. Trump was defeated in the polls and Putin’s wet dream was over.
On the other hand, Brexit did not destabilize the European Union, and the Liberal Agenda remains strong in the West and the world. It seems people still value Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Association, Democracy, the Right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Years ago, I listened to an inspired speech of Vice-President Joe Biden debunking Russia’s idea of ‘sphere of influence’ – this idea that a country does not rule solely over its borders but also over other countries that it can ‘influence’ either by an alliance, fear or economic dependence. It is also the idea that Putin and others argue as central to their Foreign Policy. Biden put it very simply: this idea is not only obsolete but also contrary to another important idea – the one of auto-determination of peoples. If a country with a democratically elected government, like Ukraine, wishes to embrace freedom and join organizations such as the EU or NATO, it should be able to do so without being intimidated by others.
And so, Putin’s problem is a problem of the Will of the People. Not only the Will of the European People, not only the Will of the American People but the Will of the Georgian People and the Moldovan People, which he tried to stifle but which chose to apply to the European Union anyway. And the Finnish and Swedish and Irish Peoples who are considering joining NATO. And of course, of the Ukrainian People, who chose to expel Putin’s puppet from government and inscribe in their Constitution their aspiration to join NATO as well.
But most of all, Putin’s problem is one of the Will of the Russian People, who seem more and more disenchanted with him. It seems only Vladimir Putin himself and a handful of cronies he’s been bribing for years actually believe in his lies.
I’ve warned years ago that the political plight of our lives was one of the Liberal Agenda of progress against the National-Traditionalist Agenda of destruction and regression. Dugin wrote: «If we reject the laws of modernity such as progress, development, equality, justice, freedom, nationalism, and all of this legacy of the three centuries of philosophy and political history, then there is a choice.» This confrontation is culminating in the Ukrainian War.
Ukrainians happened to be harder to chew than Putin thought, but Ukraine is also our problem. It’s also our responsibility. Ukrainians have been dying for our values and our security as well. To the untrained eye, Democracies seem weak and slow and vulnerable. Let’s prove we’re not.