Wednesday, April 6, 2022


Globalization, yesterday's Grande Illusion, is a bygone. The lure of "soft power" feels like a fad that is losing its allure.

All the heirs of this past great design are running into problems. NATO is too shy, the EU is too full and the UN is becoming a show, too embarassing to endure. Everything is in reverse mode.

Russia, applauded by its flock of a few misrable minions, looks like Godzilla among the ruins and the death. It heralds an Eurasia, stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok, with not a hint of shame. Ukraine, where the Russians act like Neanderthals on steroids, is the perfect example of how the invaders become the undertakers.  In Putin's world there is no longer room for Anton Chekhov.

One is entitled to ask the question if the rule of law, reserved composure or obedience to commitment are still valid currecies in the Kremlin's eyes. On the other hand, are NATO's caution, the EU's "tolerance" (versus Hungary) or the UN's ineffectual parody still worth a penny? 

Sometimes the life of the patient requires transgression, risk. Today the West is blackmailed into doing little out of fear that a third rank, evil regime in Moscow might resort to the unthinkable. Meanwhile the march into Moldova, Georgia and the Baltics might as well be mapped out.

The support Ukraine is getting is "measured".  Can one afford other unplesant developments to play out in a similar vein? NATO "might" react indeed if one or more of the Baltic states were to be agressed, but one shouldn't bet on it.  The age of certainties is over.

Given what might probably happen in eastern Ukraine, active consideration should be given to what to do. Can democracies tolerate further how war criminals "steal the show"?  Sometimes hard decisions have to be considered, be it on the back of the letter of the rules.  After all there is an idea behind the letter. The rescue of the underlying spirit might indeed come at a price.

At the end of the day, Russia must suffer more than just the abstraction of sanctions. It should endure the pain it claims as its sole deliverer. NATO'S timid, preachery doesn't do. The time has come for Hineininterpretierung of rules of engagement, for the sake of their survival.

Moscow had better go for a cease-fire and talks now, since it is so fond of its grotesque immense white negociation hearse. There is no need for extending time, there is urgency for proecting lives. While Mr. Putin can play the game of darkness, President Zelensky might finally come into the light he deserves.

If this moment of reckoning doesn't work out, restraint no longer has moral standing. NATO would be foolish not to punish the perpetrator before Putin makes an other loathsome move. Europe's ambition must be saved from the Russian plague.

Tchaikovski would be thankful.  His letters still show, fortunately, that there is more to Russia than Russia today.

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