I have to admit that the sheer magnitude of the military actions taken by Russia against Ukraine immediately after the Peking Winter Olympics caught me by surprise.
The very strong Western reaction to Vladimir Putin´s (born 1952) strike against a neighboring country which long has been built up by foreign powers to become a deep thorn in the flesh of post-Soviet Russia didn’t.
Especially, as I keep in mind the violent events during the mostly externally controlled Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in February 2014, which removed a more compromising, EU-skeptical and Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych (born 1950).
Russia retook control of Crimea in March 2014, almost exactly 60 years after the Soviet Union under leader Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) for no plausible reasons had transferred control of that strategically located peninsula to the Ukrainian SSR in February of 1954.
This happened 171 years after Czar Alexander I (1777-1825) had taken it over from the declining Ottoman Empire under Sultan Abdul Hamid I Mustafa III (1725-1789).
Afterwards, the West has basically designated Putin as a new supervillain, surpassed only by its open contempt for Chinese President Xi Jinping (born 1953), as despite his nuclear weapons nobody takes North Korea’s Kim Jong-un (born 1983) really seriously.
Just like in World War II and in the Cold War, there seems to be only black and white. So basically, we are getting old wine in new bottles: now it’s the evil Russians against the angelic Ukrainians, a striving democracy against an increasingly tyrannical regime.
Does anybody believe that the US would have tolerated Russian missiles in Canada or Mexico? Or that these two countries joined an openly anti-American military alliance, holding regular exercises at its borders and completely ignoring appeals for some basic respect by the other side?
Is the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis forgotten, when US President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was ready to risk a nuclear strike that would have started World War III to get those nuclear arms out of his Caribbean backyard?
It’s astonishing that Putin, who in 2001 as first foreign head of state spoke in German in front of the German parliament, and reached out to the European Union, appealing to our common cultural heritage, waited so long to make it clear once and for all that NATO membership for Ukraine wouldn’t be tolerated.
It’s obvious that Putin overstepped the mark by far, though NATO has kept ignoring Russia’s security concerns for the last 30 years and took advantage of the country’s weakness after the dissolution of the once mighty Soviet Empire under Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007) in late 1991.
Unfortunately, US President Joe Biden’s (born 1942) mental and physical condition is deteriorating even faster than it could be expected since he spent most of the latest US election campaign in a basement and then obtained a more than dubious victory against incumbent Donald Trump (born 1946).
US Vice President Kamala Harris (born 1964), who holds her current position exclusively because of her sex and skin color, disliked even in her own party, has made both condescending and inflammatory comments about the crisis, proving her utter incompetence once more.
I have been a staunch anti-Communist all of my life, particularly because my own family suffered tremendously under the Bolsheviks in 1945 and afterwards.
Both of my grandfathers, which had fought in World War I, were in life threatening situations after World War II, and a granduncle gave his life to protect his three daughters from being raped by Red Army soldiers.
I was very happy to see them leave what was left of Germany in 1994 and attended the ceremony to make sure they really did, trading my wrist watch with a young Russian soldier for his.
This strong feeling was the main reason why I rejected taking a job in China in the 1990s, missing out on a professional career worth the name, an immature decision taken in my youth which sometimes I do regret.
Though the West’s antipathy against Putin in particular in not only based on the current rather unfortunate events, but also on a general disdain for traditional values still upheld in Eastern Europe, including Russia.
It has become the ultimate confrontation between political correctness, woke culture and climate cult on one side and realpolitik, nationalism and common sense on the other.
The open decay, total decadence and accelerated self-destruction in most of the Western world remains one of the motives for my immigration to Asia.
Also, because of its amazing hypocrisy considering the totally unjustified US invasion of Iraq and its disastrous interventions in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, to only name the most obvious ones, it’s difficult for me to join in the demonization of Putin.
His move was certainly wrong and he obviously has underestimated the will to resist of the Ukrainian people and overestimated the effectiveness of his own troops.
That doesn’t mean that his foreign enemies aren’t to blame at least in part for the situation going out of control and resulting in yet another bloodshed among Slavic brothers.
The outcome is still uncertain. On the other hand, it has already become clear that the quite tough economic sanctions against Russia are quickly backfiring.
This afternoon I talked to a friend in Germany, where fuel prices have increased dramatically, even before Putin yesterday threatened to cut natural gas supplies via Nord Stream 1 pipeline completely, as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (born 1958) permanently halted the certification of Nord Stream 2.
So let’s see who at the very end has the upper hand in this clash of civilizations. You don’t have to be a Putin supporter to realize that the West will also not come out of this disaster unscathed.