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‘Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.’
That’s one of many maxims from Mark Twain. Were he to be with us today, it’s safe to assume that he would be siding with the majority when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian, rush out?
Personally, having become accustomed to being against most of the legacy media in much of their reporting and their general stance as regards the coronavirus pandemic, that I find myself largely in agreement with them now in terms of the anti-Putin coverage seems rather strange.
Reading the full translated text of Vladimir Putin’s speech as he outlined his reasons for the assault, looking at things from a distance and being far from an expert on the subject, his pretext for war really does seem absurd.
For sure, as it is for most things in life and as history has repeatedly shown us, it’s not a case of one side utterly evil, the other side without any fault whatsoever.
However, while Putin speaks of neo-Nazis in Ukraine who would love nothing more than to see Russia obliterated — of which there perhaps are such types at some level — it has been his own Adolf Hitler-esque utterances and actions that lead one to the conclusion that he has lost it.
‘Decisively is the operative word here. Deranged and miscalculated as it may be, Putin has acted. He’s not a ditherer.’
Had this been a preemptive hit one could understand it more so. Strike before being struck. Yet, from the perspective of facing an actual military invasion, Moscow’s move was unprovoked.
Of course, those defending Putin’s actions say that a gradual squeeze has continuously been put on Russia from the West, in various ways. The Kremlin’s ability to push back has been getting weaker.
Also, Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, a powerful card as it is for Putin, isn’t going to stay in his hand forever. So, the thought process must have been, ‘act decisively now, or never.’
Betwixt and be Twain
Decisively is the operative word here. Deranged and miscalculated as it may be, Putin has acted. He’s not a ditherer.
OK, when one is a dictator of a relatively powerful state, one doesn’t have to worry about following everyday rules and regulations, never mind international law. The West, on the other hand, with all the caveats in viewing it as one united bloc in mind, is often hindered by its own well-meaning but at times pernicious laws.
What’s more, whilst Western leaders are quick to talk up the virtues of their democracy, freedom and pluralism, they tend to suffer from long-sightedness. That is to say, they come out fighting — in word if not in deed — where they see such values under attack afar, but do little to address falling standards at home.
Over the last few years, it’s almost as if many in the West have felt the end of history actually has been reached. The agenda-setting comfortable classes and elite in high-income nations, rather than concern themselves with deadly issues such as actual war and vast inequality, have focused on what at best can be described as fringe issues (read identity politics in its various forms here).
Instead of being liberating forces, they’ve been putting up barriers where none had really existed. (See https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2020/08/forget-novel-coronavirus-novel-first.html and https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2021/06/hold-tight-worst-is-yet-to-come.html for more context here.)
Seen in such a light, Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and his threat to those in the West who may dare to physically counterattack makes some sense.
Politically, the West has been weakened on the alter of irrational wokeness. One could go as far as to say that many of the policies that leaders from Warsaw to Washington have been implementing of late go against the very values they claim to uphold.
In this sense, whilst condemning Putin’s actions one can also take the time to, as Twain put it, ‘pause and reflect’ and ask what exactly our own “camp” is trying to achieve. Beware of that majority mob.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.