Timidity begets aggression.
There are two primary takeaways over this weekend.
The first takeaway is, everything you have ever been told about empathy and compassion leading to a more peaceful world is a complete crock of shit. Six years into this nonsense, if anyone following this code still believes in it, do us all a favor and off yourself.
At this stage, we aren’t even “uninvolved”; but our prior actions were so discrediting, it’s going to take a discontinuous push to shock people back into order. The cost to us, whether we embrace the challenge or give up, will be great either way.
I can appreciate the desire to keep US lives out of harms way, but on the other side, those few thousand volunteers who tragically lost their lives were keeping at bay something much worse. They were heroes and deserve the designation.
And past the immediate body count, tell me: what do you suppose the long term cost will be to having such an important piece on the board like NATO getting publicly emasculated in front of an audience of seven billion people?
What do you suppose the cost to peace will be when no one is left who trusts NATO’s guarantee of defense to allies and members? Russia is targeting this covenant on purpose.
The second takeaway is, despite the USA cutting our own balls off, people are still very afraid of us. Why else would so many plans be put into motion in the middle of a US holiday weekend, when our citizens are distracted? US public opinion can still turn the tide, but only if we can shake this internal depression that has crippled us into a state of sloth.
Watching Russia casually declare that neighboring countries were never really countries at all, as they roll back the clock manually with tanks; I can’t help but worry about where this takes us. I very much do not want the USSR reincarnating itself – the Russians are dicks and deserve to be treated as such. I’ll treat them with respect when they craft a form of government not predicated on keeping an iron toed boot on their people’s throats.
Too many hardliner nationalists in Russia seem to feel it is their God given right to create terrifying empires that lay waste to entire continents; as if this is somehow a privilege for the rest of us.
The place that should be most up in arms about this – Europe – has so far more or less lain down and is waiting to be dominated. The Europeans have spent the past fifty or so years fattening up, condemning self-defense, dismantling their armies, building a state of submissiveness. They’ve put social concerns like personal health & safety or identity politics before national security, eroding their own identities in the process. Now, no one will be safe.
Before this is over, I won’t be surprised if all of Europe is faced with a terrible choice of throwing off the safety nets, or being ensnared by them. Re-militarizing will put a strain on state programs. It will be very hard and painful; rediscovering one’s spine.
The only bright light is that much of the damage here is reversible. Not that this is any comfort to you if you’re under the curtain. But the places causing the most trouble are also the least self-sufficient and most prone to terrible accidents. I have trouble seeing Putin succeed for very long; his country’s legacy was assembled from the willing, back when the ideal of communism was embraced by millions. It collapsed in disillusionment. He’s trying to reassemble the unwilling with violence. That is a sure recipe for rot.
But why should this be happening now at all? If not for the weakness of wannabe leaders, it wouldn’t be. They threw away a century of hard fought gains, for ridiculous, self-righteous reasons.