A bigger threat than most realise

So now a situation is being forced upon us that we thought belonged in the past. There is an aggressor who not only subliminally wants to undermine the West but is also prepared to use weapons and conquest to assert its status as a political world power. To be fair, it must be admitted that the West has also waged wars in the recent past to protect its own interests, and on specious grounds. So, is it surprising that Russia allows itself to do the same? Yes, yes, the others were always the bad guys, but the same principle applies here.

Of course, it is different when one country annexes another and basically claims ownership from its inglorious past that it is not entitled to. China is threatening its neighbours with something similar, and both countries are supporting each other in the presumption that this is legal. Yes, it may be domestic political pressure and the quest for more influence in the world that is driving these actions. However, the West does the same more subtly and usually with less obvious coercion. Competition between the blocs, which act primarily with military strength, is a threatening situation for the European Union, which seeks to maintain world peace through trade and has no defence to speak of. Basically, America, Russia and China are critical of the EU in different ways, apart from the fact that Anglo-American friends share similar values – and the EU is a welcome buffer zone to Russia.

People in the EU, though occasionally suffering from a spoiled blindness, are far better off than many people elsewhere, including America. That is a laudable achievement, even if there are still injustices and inequalities within the Union. But here, too, there is oligarchic greed and subtle autocratic factions that want to subvert and overthrow the EU. Marxism was dangerously naive, but it basically got something fundamentally right: there are powers that begrudge ordinary people the rights and benefits they have won and would rather exploit them. Revolutions are rightly abhorrent to most people, as the disastrous consequences in Russia and China, as with almost all revolutions, have warned all too clearly, that they are fought too often on a feigned hope that is not fulfilled. Nevertheless, it is fundamentally true that a liberal, free life with many rights and privileges for a majority contests profit maximization.

Therefore, EU citizens must be on their guard and know that their quality of life is currently only tolerated. The British have already been deceived and left the EU because the population was given false hopes by politicians who previously called them lazy and spoiled, and for whom the expansion of workers’ rights and the threat of taxation of large corporations was a thorn in the side. The hopes of Brexit supporters have not been realized and lies are part of everyday political life. It may seem like a big leap from Russia’s threat of war to the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU, but Russian influence is becoming more apparent there as well, and the goal of destroying the EU keeps slipping out when the Tories aren’t careful enough with what they say.

Hopefully peace will be restored, and escalation avoided, but there is a real danger that Russia and China will just see how far they can go, and if there is not enough resistance, they will march on. Russia poses the greatest threat to Europe, of that there is no doubt, and China is lurking in the Far East to see how the conflict unfolds. A war in Europe would change the present economic balance and undo the progress that Europe has made, and the human suffering would be catastrophic.

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