Russia continues to play the victim card

James Kirchick:
The Roots of Russian Aggression
These critics of Western “triumphalism” are right that the root of our current problems with Russia can be traced back to the 1990s. But they have drawn the wrong lessons from that crucial period. No proper understanding of contemporary U.S.–Russian relations can escape the fact that the West won — and the Soviet Union lost — the Cold War. By “win,” one does not mean only that the free world achieved its geopolitical objectives, liberating Eastern Europe and orchestrating the downfall of a superpower rival. For the Cold War was more than a mere struggle over territory and global influence. It was also a moral struggle between two fundamentally different systems. And it wasn’t just liberal-democratic market capitalism that prevailed over totalitarian command-economy socialism. What also won was a version of state sovereignty whereby small nations have as much right to determine their destiny as large ones do, free from external domination. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, there triumphed a particular vision of ordering not just a society but the world.
To some extent, Russian leaders like Putin feel betrayed by those it holds responsible for losing the Cold Ear in much the same way Hitler and his followers felt betrayed by those it held responsible for losing World War I.  While Russians like Putin see a free and independent Ukraine as a threat, it is an absurd thought.  Ukraine struggles to handle things in Ukraine and has no possible threat to Russia even if Ukraine joined NATO.  There was zero military threat to Russia by Crimea.

It should also be noted that the US is no serious threat to Russia as long as Russia does not engage in aggression against its neighbors.  The US has zero interest in controlling any Russian territory.

This is a long piece that explores the psyche of Russians coping with losing the Cold War.  It is a country with a shrinking population and not one refugees are fleeing to.


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