People have asked me for my take on the situation unfolding in Ukraine. I maintain my position from the beginning that it is still not our fight, and still none of our business. From there, it gets more nuanced.
Ukraine itself is largely an invention of Lenin and the Soviets. At best, they have always been a vassal state of Russia. The reality is that Ukraine belongs to Russia, ethnically and geographically.
Ukraine has also been used since the end of the Cold War as a staging ground by NATO and the West to stir up trouble and psy-ops on Russia's doorstep. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, many of the former Soviet republics and territories have been made members of NATO and/or the EU, despite the US and the West promising Russia that they would not expand NATO after the Cold War. If you're Russia, you rightfully see this as a broken promise, as well as a threat - that the West will not stop until they have taken over Russia, bled it dry of everything it has, stripped it for parts, destroyed everything they love and cherish, until Russia stops being Russia as they know it.
From this position, combined with the total lack of respect, as well as the constant hectoring, lecturing, and posturing of the West, this means that the Russian military entering Donbass and Ukraine became an inevitability.
From Peter Hitchens, writing in the Daily Mail: Why I blame the arrogant, foolish West: Our response to this crisis in Ukraine has been to react with mistrust and abuse, and with blatant attempts to worsen the situation:
We have been utter fools.
We have treated Russia with amazing stupidity. Now we pay the price for that. We had the chance to make her an ally, friend and partner.
Instead we turned her into an enemy by insulting a great and proud country with greed, unearned superiority, cynicism, contempt and mistrust…
It is my unflinching view, amid all the current anti-Putin hysteria, that the leaders of the West have made the crisis we now face today out of thin air.
I also happen to think that many of them, for varying reasons, are such lightweights that they enjoy the chance to posture and threaten – and do not realize this is deadly serious.
In hints, in pleas, in public speeches and private approaches, Russia has begged us for years to show it the most basic respect.
Our response has been to react with mistrust and abuse, and with blatant attempts to worsen the situation in Ukraine and Georgia, two incredibly dangerous flashpoints where real war might all too easily begin.
Having been there when everything was possible, on that Moscow summer's day in 1991, I cannot forgive or forget this great missed opportunity to bring Russia into the free and lawful world.
And I think the peoples of the West should think very carefully before they follow the path to a new and bitter division of Europe.
It is wholly avoidable. It gains us nothing. And it might lose us everything.
And for all the virtue signalers on both the left and right posting Ukraine flags, who probably couldn't find Ukraine on map, and didn't give a damn about Ukraine a week ago, whining about "muh unprovoked invasion"... both they and their neo-con/neoliberal fellow travelers opened the door to this with the invasion of Iraq. You don't get to cry foul when someone else uses your own tactics. That's why you have to play the long game of détente - you don't want to have or do something that you don't want the other side doing or having.
One really has to wonder about those posting the Ukrainian flag on their social media pages. Could they even find Ukraine on a map a week ago? Did they truly have any idea what has been going on there for the past 30-100+ years? Did they even care a few weeks before this all started? Do they actually care now? Or, like the black squares of two years ago, are they just jumping on the bandwagon to virtue signal and score a little short-term internet clout that won't even matter in 3-6 months, let alone a year from now?
Oh, and let's not forget the saber-rattling chickenhawks who love playing right into the hands and the fantasies of the Military-Industrial Complex: They do realize Russia has nuclear weapons, don't they? They do realize that Russia's military can, at worst, go toe-to-toe with anything NATO countries have to offer on the battlefield, and at best, outrun *and* outgun them? Yeah, might want to think about that very carefully, as well as picture in your mind every major Western capitol being vaporized before you start poking that bear.
In addition, there is the "our values" angle to all of this. The US and the West largely represent what has been called in some circles "globohomo" - state-mandated diversity, anti-white hatred, rainbow flags, transsexuals, crony capitalism, and so-called "democracy" soft power (which is a total sham when the chips are down).
Supposed inter-ethnic conflicts in the US could force millions of white Americans to request that Russia resettle them across the vast and snowy expanses of Siberia, one of the country's most notorious nationalists has claimed.
Taking to his Telegram channel on Tuesday, the leader of the ultra-nationalist LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, well-known for his populist views and confrontational political style, alleged that America is in dire straits.
According to him, the US has already taken a series of steps along the path of self-decay, similar to what happened in the former USSR – a super-state that comprised 15 republics and was home to an array of ethnic groups.
“We in the Soviet Union for 70 years fed the national fringes of the country at the expense of the Russians,” he said in a fierce diatribe against multiculturalism. “And in 1991, when they made a fuss and started shouting that they were leaving the USSR, the Russians didn't come out to defend the country, simply because they didn't understand that it was their land.”
According to the 75-year-old political veteran, an almost identical scenario is now unfolding in the US. “There are no national fringes there, but there are African Americans, Mexicans, non-whites in general, who are already dictating their will, and whites are increasingly forbidden to talk about their rights, their culture, their history.”
Zhirinovsky went on to declare that in ten years, white people will become the minority and will be evacuated to nearby Canada, as well as Australia and other parts of the world. “They might even ask us to settle a few million people somewhere in Siberia,” he speculated.
Polls shows that the LDPR party leader is by some distance the most popular political figure in Russia, outside of the government.
The politician predicted that America will fall because the “new majority … will not be able to maintain the same high level of technological development, economy, life, democracy, and so on.” However, many scholars have pointed out that the US has always been a multicultural nation from the point of its inception, while civil rights activists argue that the country has a duty to the descendents of those kidnapped from Africa and forced into slavery across the ocean.
Siberia covers almost 10 million square kilometers of the territory belonging to the world’s largest country, but is sparsely populated. While most of its residents are Russians, followed by Ukrainians, Tatars, and other nationalities from the former Soviet Union, there are 40 or so indigenous ethnic groups in Siberia, the Far East and Arctic.
Meanwhile, Russia and the East largely stand for tradition, Christianity, authoritarianism, hard power, and some semblance of free market capitalism (albeit still controlled).
…according to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, liberalism has failed and the new progressive liberal ideas pushed forward by the West show only a loss of values and identity. Hence, to counter the liberal elite in the West, Putin suggests for Russia to become the beacon of conservatism and traditionalism. "The conservative views we hold are an optimistic conservatism," Putin affirmed at the Valdai Forum.
Putin further states that values are a "a unique product of cultural and historical development of any nation." For this reason, the West should not promote in other countries values and ideas that stand in contrast with the local culture and tradition. "The social and cultural shocks that are taking place in the United States and Western Europe are none of our business; we are keeping out of this," Putin said.
In his speech-manifesto, Putin listed point by point the ideas in the West that he challenges. In a way, in his speech, Putin tries to outline what Russian anti-liberal philosopher Alexander Dugin calls the "Fourth Political Theory." Dugin classifies three political theories in order of appearance that characterized the 20th century: liberalism (the first theory), communism (the second theory), and fascism (the third theory). Fascism emerged later than the other major political theories and disappeared before them. The alliance between liberalism and communism, in combination with Adolf Hitler's geopolitical miscalculations, were responsible for the demise of fascism. Fascism's disappearance cleared the battlefield for the first and the second political theories, whose Cold War duel created a bipolar world that lasted nearly half-a-century. The 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union signaled the victory of liberalism over communism. Thus, by the end of the 20th century, liberalism remained the only theory standing.
However, liberalism itself has become increasingly decadent. "Today's liberalism is so rotten within that it's easy enough to throw out now, because it itself has recognized progress, freedom, and development to be absolute fictions. Liberalism has recognized that it is a kind of particular totalitarian approach. Behind all these ideas of liberation, freedom, equality, individualism, etc., stands none other than the will to power," Dugin explains. Therefore, to avoid backsliding into communism and fascism, Dugin suggests that a Fourth Political Theory is needed, based on the rejection of post-modernism, the post-industrial society, liberal thought realized in practice, and globalism. Hence, one of the first steps towards a Fourth Political Theory is the "global rehabilitation of tradition."
In his speech, Putin, who considers history as a key element for shaping Russia's new ideology, actually states:
"Where are the humanitarian fundamentals of Western political thought? … What are the general ethical limits in the world where the potential of science and machines are becoming almost boundless? … Some people in the West believe that an aggressive elimination of entire pages from their own history, 'reverse discrimination' against the majority in the interests of a minority, and the demand to give up the traditional notions of mother, father, family and even gender, they believe that all of these are the mileposts on the path towards social renewal.
"Listen, I would like to point out once again that they have a right to do this, we are keeping out of this. But we would like to ask them to keep out of our business as well. We have a different viewpoint, at least the overwhelming majority of Russian society – it would be more correct to put it this way – has a different opinion on this matter. We believe that we must rely on our own spiritual values, our historical tradition, and the culture of our multiethnic nation.
"The advocates of so-called 'social progress' believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness. Godspeed, hoist the flags, as we say, go right ahead. The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already. After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs, and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society. The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones – all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today. By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs.
"This, I believe, should call to mind some of what we are witnessing now. Looking at what is happening in a number of Western countries, we are amazed to see the domestic practices - which we, fortunately, have left, I hope - in the distant past. The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past – such as Shakespeare – are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race. In Hollywood, memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what color or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
"Countering acts of racism is a necessary and noble cause, but the new 'cancel culture' has turned it into 'reverse discrimination' – that is, reverse racism. The obsessive emphasis on race is further dividing people, when the real fighters for civil rights dreamed precisely about erasing differences and refusing to divide people by skin color. I specifically asked my colleagues to find the following quote from Martin Luther King: 'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by their character.' This is the true value. However, things are turning out differently there. By the way, the absolute majority of Russian people do not think that the color of a person's skin or their gender is an important matter. Each of us is a human being. This is what matters.
"In a number of Western countries, the debate over men’s and women’s rights has turned into a perfect phantasmagoria. Look, beware of going where the Bolsheviks once planned to go – not only communalizing chickens, but also communalizing women. One more step and you will be there."
Putin then adds:
"Zealots of these new approaches even go so far as to want to abolish these concepts altogether. Anyone who dares mention that men and women actually exist, which is a biological fact, risks being ostracized. 'Parent number one' and 'parent number two,' 'birthing parent' instead of 'mother,' and 'human milk' replacing 'breastmilk' because it might upset the people who are unsure about their own gender. I repeat, this is nothing new; in the 1920s, the so-called Soviet Kulturtraegers also invented some newspeak believing they were creating a new consciousness and changing values that way. And, as I have already said, they made such a mess it still makes one shudder at times.
"Not to mention some truly monstrous things when children are taught from an early age that a boy can easily become a girl and vice versa. That is, the teachers actually impose on them a choice we all supposedly have. They do so while shutting the parents out of the process and forcing the child to make decisions that can upend their entire life. They do not even bother to consult with child psychologists – is a child at this age even capable of making a decision of this kind? Calling a spade a spade, this verges on a crime against humanity, and it is being done in the name and under the banner of progress.
"Well, if someone likes this, let them do it. I have already mentioned that, in shaping our approaches, we will be guided by a healthy conservatism. That was a few years ago, when passions on the international arena were not yet running as high as they are now, although, of course, we can say that clouds were gathering even then. Now, when the world is going through a structural disruption, the importance of reasonable conservatism as the foundation for a political course has skyrocketed – precisely because of the multiplying risks and dangers, and the fragility of the reality around us."
Putin has smartly introduced himself into the debate that already exists in the Western world about liberalism, and more specifically progressive liberalism. If Putin manages to outline a new conservative ideology, then Russia would become a political and ideological pole for conservatives also in the U.S. and Europe. This is already partly happening in some European countries. Ironically, we could witness a new Cold War, but with reversed roles: the West would be a pole for progressive-liberal-communist ideology while Russia would represent the conservative pole. Even more ironically, Eastern European countries that rebelled against the Soviet Union, mainly Hungary and Poland, now have conservative elected governments that in the future may look at Moscow as an ideological point of reference.
Whatever we may think of Putin, he is no Stalin. He has not murdered millions or created a gulag archipelago. Nor is he “irrational,” as some pundits rail. He does not want a war with us, which would be worse than ruinous to us both. Putin is a Russian nationalist, patriot, traditionalist and a cold and ruthless realist looking out to preserve Russia as the great and respected power it once was and he believes it can be again.
As a Christian, as a traditionalist, and as someone who came to realize a few years ago that things like democracy and rule of law are meaningless rhetoric that the powers-that-be will happily discard when it suits their interests, I have more in common with a Russian Orthodox Christian than I do with many of my supposed "neighbors" in my own country. At least the Russian Orthodox Christian's leadership doesn't lie to him about alleged "freedoms and liberties" he has in "muh democracy."
Wars and rumors of wars aside, if I was forced to pick a side, either the US/West or Russia, I would provisionally side with Russia. But that is the beauty of what we do here at Escape From The West, and that is that the only side we have to take is our own. If a life in Russia (or anywhere, for that matter), surrounded by like-minded and peaceful people who may or may not look like you (depending on your preference), building a lifestyle and an investment/business portfolio that works for you, while being in a place whose rulers and population don’t hate you and want you dead sounds appealing to you, then now is the time to begin making your own escape plan.
For some or many, this may mean building businesses, buying real estate, getting second passports and citizenships, acquiring permanent residencies, tactically planting flags in different parts of the world, and setting yourself up outside the corrupt and declining Western system.
TL;DR, the West brought this situation on themselves, it's still not their fight and none of our business, but I am not entirely unsympathetic to either the Russians or Ukrainians. They are my fellow Europeans, and I don't want to see another brother-war.