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Russian Hubris, Meet Russian Nemesis

As with individual people, so with nations: Paranoiacs are indeed surrounded by enemies, because they create them with their own behavior.

When this war is over, the Russian people are going to have to look each other in the eye, in the rubble of their country, and ask themselves some hard questions. One way or another, Putin won’t be around anymore for them to blame for everything. Anyway, they themselves elected him in the first place, back in 2000, in a more or less free election.

Long ago, someone made the sobering observation that modern total wars would be far more terrible than the wars of times gone by, because entire peoples would be fighting each other. We can see the grim truth of this in the scenes of devastation and immeasurable suffering playing out in Ukraine. The Russian people, or a critical mass of them, have chosen to believe the Putin regime’s lies, to the point of dehumanizing ordinary Ukrainians as “Nazis” who must be murdered en masse. There will be terrible consequences for the perpetrator nation, just as there were for the Germans when they followed the actual Nazis.

In the run-up to both world wars, the Germans were warned incessantly that they faced the existential threat of “encirclement,” which became reality thanks to their own behavior. So it is with Russia, which is now crying victim and issuing still more threats after terrifying the Finns and the Swedes, of all people, into seeking NATO membership. No amount of “you’re another” accusations from Russia’s apologists to the effect that NATO expansion somehow forced Putin to bomb hospitals and schools, rape women and turn entire huge cities into wastelands of rubble will conceal the truth, or spare the country in whose name Putin acts from the consequences.

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