On December 7, 2021, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with the Wall Street Journal about Ukraine, underlining that today there is something more at stake than Ukraine itself.
“… we’ve made very clear that one country trying to tell another what its choices should be, including with whom it associates, that’s not an acceptable proposition. Changing the borders of another country by force, that’s not an acceptable proposition, because what that does is it undermines the entire international system, the rules-based order that we have invested in, we’ve been living by, and we think has done much to promote peace and security. And so if those basic principles go challenged and are allowed to happen with impunity, that’s going to undermine the entire system. That’s why this is bigger than – bigger even than Ukraine.”
I have purposefully quoted this passage from the interview because it demonstrates the essence of the conflict between the civilized world and Russia – without the usual Kremlin demagoguery.
President Joseph Biden and European allies want to live in a civilized world. This is what Ukraine wants, too. Putin wants to live in the world of Hitler and Stalin. In fact, he wants to become both a Hitler and Stalin. But, Putin is politically dead. Apart from ruling with an obviously dysfunctional political system, Putin is dragging Russia into the past, and he wants Ukraine to remain by his side. Actually, he wants the whole world to return to the past.
“…And in a way, this gets at the point that there’s something bigger even than Ukraine that’s at stake here, and it really goes to some basic principles of the way the international system functions or should function.” added Blinken
If the West fails to respond, to reason with Putin, if the Kremlin dictator achieves his goal and limits Ukraine’s sovereignty, then it won’t be long before similar conflicts erupt around the world.
Authoritarian regimes will threaten democracies; strong rulers will oppress the weak.
The world will return to the post-WWII years, just after the Allied victory over Hitler’s Reich in 1945 and also, to the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disappearance of the “evil empire” from the political global map.
We will all be forced to once again live in the terrible past.