Vice President Kamala Harris spoke in Munich regarding the Ukraine crisis days before the invasion began.
‘Through those 70 years [post the second world war]… there has been peace and security. We are talking about the real possibility of war in Europe.’
Except there has not been peace and security throughout those 70 years in Europe. Harris forgot about, for instance, the Greek Civil War (1945-49), the Hungarian Revolution (1956), Operation Danube that saw the Warsaw Pact countries invade Czechoslovakia (1968), Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus (1974), and the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s.
Even if memory escaped her regarding last century’s conflicts, she should have at least remembered those of this century, especially the Russo-Georgian war in 2008 and the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.
But Harris’s insouciance on the intermediary wars since the second world war is typical of the attitude of the Western elite, who seem to think that all problems have been settled in Europe after 1945 and that ‘hot wars’ are so last century. Attention, therefore, should be reserved inwards for issues such as micro-aggressions, pronouns, and Critical Race Theory for children.
The lesson forgotten by a large section of the West is that beyond the edges of the city lights there will always be wolves lurking. And wolves are kept at bay through vigilance, strength, and resolution. When all you display are endless naval-gazing and empty prattling, they will encroach.
The current Russian invasion of Ukraine is surely precipitated to a large degree by the ineptitude and resignation of Western leaderships. America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan – leaving behind hundreds of her own citizens and thousands of her allies, allowing the cave-dwelling Taliban to claim victory while gifting them advanced weaponry – was assuredly a sign of American leaders’ acquiescence and incompetence.
Chasing after the Utopia of green energy, Europe has found itself in a position where the majority of its energy is dependent on imports, with Russia its largest source. Germany, the dominant European country, relies on Putin for more than half of its natural gas and a third of its crude oil. Biden has also added to the West’s dependence by shutting down American production and impeding alternative sources for Europe, such as the East Mediterranean Gas Pipeline which would carry Israeli, Greek, and Cypriot natural gas.
One notices, when reviewing recent history, that Putin was quiet when Trump was in power. Like him or loathe him, Trump was not afraid to be assertive. He ordered the killing of hundreds of Russian military contractors in Syria, dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in the American arsenal to effectively kill ISIS terrorists, and helped make the first peace treaties in the Middle East in 25 years.
Trump also forced Nato, especially Germany, to pay their fair share of defense budget per alliance commitment. He also warned Nato in 2018 not to become a ‘captive of Russia’ by relying on Russian energy. Laughed at by the so-called political elites, his instinctive wisdom now makes them look like the fools they are. Putin’s push west occurred in Obama’s and now Biden’s tenures, two Democratic presidents, lifelong political animals, who think they can bluff the former head of the KGB.
What perhaps most acutely illustrates the difference between the West and her competitors in terms of psyche is a video showing Chinese, Russian, and American army recruitment ads one after another. The Chinese and Russian videos display discipline, vigour, fortitude, and the resolve for a higher calling. The American ads were the exact opposite, focusing on a recruit named ‘Emma’ while showcasing her psyche and feelings.
One commentator hit the nail on the head: ‘Emma has two mothers, Ivan has one, Mother Russia.’
This is why although six of the Nato member states have larger GDPs than Russia (whose economy is only about as large as Italy’s) they remain completely impotent as Putin ordered his troops into a neighbouring sovereign nation. The weakness is in their minds. Western leaders do not believe in anything higher than merely administrating their wealthy countries to manage a comfortable decline, while ditching things like patriotism, innovation, civic responsibility, national pride, and even national identity – forgetting that they are prosperous countries because of these values. They are lambs leading lions.
Others have not forgotten these higher things. Putin always wanted to recrudesce, not the USSR, but the Tsarist Russian Empire, as he made clear in his speech. Whether he believes his distorted version of history or not, Putin merely needs some excuses to paint his actions as palatable to his Russian base and inflame their desire for Russian greatness. Though these values are hijacked in this case (even if you weigh up Nato’s eastward expansion, Ukraine’s corruption and other factors), the fire of zealotry cannot be doused without any resolve in these same values on the parts of those supposed to be on the side of liberal principles.
The sad reality is that world alliances will shift after this. The illusions of the UN, Nato, and the EU are to be shattered. Small nations will not be able to count on the West for support, let alone protection, and many will undoubtedly bow to the hegemony of dictatorships who will be emboldened to act. The West should have serious considerations about what their values are and whether they are willing to defend them. Perhaps they can recall the words of Thucydides, who said that: ‘The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom, courage.’
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