October 25, 2016

St Basil's Cathedral

St Basil's Cathedral

Source: Bigstock

This is the real danger of our everlasting campaign to destroy Moscow’s hegemon: It’s really quite popular. Those living in the Russosphere are either happy with their lot, or don”€™t want to gamble with the alternatives. Which means that we”€™re directly contravening the popular will of the very people we seek to liberate. I know it’s confounding to our liberal sensibilities, but it’s true. The rest of the world doesn”€™t hate Putin as much as we do.

So we have two choices. On the one hand, we drop all this piffle about “€œdemocracy”€ and admit we just want to knock Russia down a peg. We admit that we know what’s best for Syrians and Crimeans better than they do, and install pro-Western regimes in their countries. This would invite conflict, not only with the people of Syria and Crimea but also with Russia itself. Which seems somewhat less than desirable, if only because it will be a gigantic boon to Putin’s self-image as champion of the downtrodden and foe of Western imperialism. Because, erm…it would be true.

On the other hand, we just mind our own business for once. We let those regional disputes play themselves out, as they have done for thousands of years without our meddling. Hell, we might even work out some lucrative trade relationships with Russia and her allies. Certainly we”€™d find a few indispensable partners in the War on Terror. And best of all, those relationships would be built on a mutual respect for national sovereignty, not regime change.

If there’s a half-sensible reason to keep baiting the Russian bear, I just don”€™t see it.


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