Vladimir Putin had reasonable issues regarding Russia’s security – the same America had at the time of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. John Mearsheimer, to whom I referred in previous comments, outlined a background – NATO’s eastward movement – for Putin’s concerns about security in his video, Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault? I found his case compelling.
A second reason I had sympathy for Putin’s position was his projection of a Burkean conservatism in speeches that invoked Russia’s rich history, traditions and culture. But the idea that Putin espoused a Burkean conservatism was a chimera – a chimera destroyed by a brutal invasion that has since degenerated into barbarism and vandalism.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine shows he cannot be trusted and that his nationalism is similar to that of Hitler’s or Mussolini’s, both driven by a warped vision of their history. Their form of nationalism must destroy the sympathy of those who think history, tradition, and custom, circumscribed by the natural law, are of fundamental importance to a healthy nation. Nothing can excuse the indiscriminate pulverising of Ukraine’s cities.
The best outcome now for Putin is a Pyrrhic victory, the worst, total defeat. One must have not only sympathy for the people of Ukraine, but also for the Russian people, most of whom clearly did not want a war with the people of Ukraine and who regard the Ukrainians as brothers and sisters.