Others have said it better than me, but it bears repeating. The US had a narrow window of opportunity to shape the world at the turn of the millennium, before Russia reasserted itself and before China emerged on the global stage. That window is closing, and Washington’s panic is manifesting itself in ill-conceived proxy conflicts from Ukraine to Taiwan.
Many are still on the ideological bandwagon where the Russians are the vile orcs who attacked for no reason whatsoever. Of course, if you really want to know, you can research it and soon realise that the Ukrainians are not good guys, but have been treating Russian and other minorities very badly, and have been bombing the breakaway province of Donbass for eight years. And they have done it with American help. The bombs have not directly weakened the Russians, but have killed civilians, women and children.
The Ukrainian conflict could have been stopped before it even started. It begun with protests against the elected president 2014, encouraged by the West. Then ethnic tensions between Ukrainians and Russians. And finally, attempts to secede, encouraged by Russia. Peace agreements were signed, two of them even, but here too the West failed, with Merkel and others admitting that they were only buying time and that the agreements were never meant to be honoured. Buying time for what, one might ask?
And why is the US encouraging all this, far away from its own country?
It is no secret that American think tanks and geopolitical institutes have long wanted to weaken Russia, preferably dividing the country into smaller, more manageable regions where American interests can take over natural resources and other things.
Sure, we know that the US has shady motives, they have started pointless wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. Who knows how many 100,000s of people have died in all these conflicts, started for no greater reason than that the US wants to project world domination, or imperialism.
But it is different with Russia; Putin is a dictator, and he has lots of nuclear bombs at his disposal, he is dangerous. He has to be neutralised somehow.
I can follow that line of thought, especially if we in the West have the moral high ground. But do we really have it? Can we point the finger and shout: dictator! when we ourselves have an EU with a gaping democratic deficit? Or the US, whose last presidential election left a lot to be desired. The country where you don’t need an ID card to vote.
And sure, we can side with the US and the West despite all its faults and shortcomings. This is natural. We are part of the West, and we share its culture and understanding. We support the West just as older historical populations supported their specific empires. But we can no longer support the West for its goodness or ethics. It is not black against white, good against evil. We take sides because of conventions and citizenship. We can also admit that President Biden is not up to the task, but that things will get better after the next presidential elections. We are biding our time, the West will finally get it right. Hopefully.
If we look at Putin, regardless of how he was elected, he appears to be very popular at home. He is also popular in the so-called “global south”, which is a kind of collective name for countries that are slowly slipping away from the US sphere of influence, India, China, South Africa, Brazil, Iran and others. These countries have apparently overtaken us in the West, both in terms of population and economically.
This brings us back to the narrow window mentioned in the introduction. That the US had a few decades to shape the world before the global south grew too strong. That they would catch up was not a given either. We have read many articles saying that Chinese development is stalling. That they have enormous challenges in terms of pollution, energy consumption, legal systems, healthcare, housing, etc. etc. But often these are empty predictions, the Chinese locomotive is almost unstoppable. At the time of writing, they are not only taking over the electronics market, but also car manufacturing and much more.
Add to this Russian defence technology, where they have built up a sophisticated air defence system, perhaps the best in the world, but also supersonic missiles, which have suddenly made large parts of the American defence system redundant, including the huge aircraft carriers. Defending against a projectile that reaches over 10 times the speed of sound will not be easy. You won’t even hear it coming before it’s over.
And it is over. American dominance is coming to an end. For better or worse. The worry is that the degenerate leadership will panic and start an unconventional war. Because, unfortunately, it seems to be in the interest of the ageing superpower to destroy rather than condescend to become equal to other nations. Better to drag everyone else down than to be dragged down itself. Examples of this are the Nord Stream bombing, where the energy supply of an allied friendly country is being destroyed, or the wars in the Middle East that have totally destabilised the region, which also threatens allied countries such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc. and which have contributed to enormous flows of refugees to their friends in Europe, with all the social and cultural rifts that this has caused. The US is unfortunately a bad friend, and right now there is no light at the end of the tunnel.