WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Destiny’s man-child

It feels like we’re living through an historic pivot point, doesn’t it? When Russia invaded Ukraine on tissue-thin false pretenses (the Jewish president is a Nazi?), Vladimir Putin knocked down a house of cards that’s been teetering in faint breezes for years.

This could change everything.

Living through historic pivot points makes you look hard at life, civilization, society, human relations, and what we’re here for. It makes you understand that nothing in the course of a life is assured, though most of the time it seems like we can count on at least a few fundamentals. But no. A dictator invading a country thousands of miles away can alter the direction of human progress and destroy the lives of millions.

Vladimir Putin, I’ve heard, feels that it is his personal destiny to restore the Russian empire to its old breadth. When a dangerous man thinks he has a destiny anything can happen, because he can’t fulfill that destiny unless he does so in the relatively few years he has remaining. Putin is 70. If he’s going to regain all the eastern European countries that used to be under the hammer of the Soviet Union, he has to get cracking, and taking Ukraine is the next move.

And this is the thing about the feeling of a personal destiny. It forces moves in a short period. That’s why, I believe, the Republican party is acting these days like it wants to achieve total permanent power by any means necessary because it sees its own destiny not through the lens of democracy but through the lens of minority rule. That is, white rule. It sees the opportunity to get there now, while democracy-protecting institutions are weakened, thanks to Trump and his movement, and the left appears too extreme for most Americans. (Ironically, most left-leaning policy ideas are popular, according to polls.)

Putin has made his move. The GOP could make its move in 2024.

If Putin is successful in absorbing Ukraine into Mother Russia, his troops and tanks and missile launchers will be able to park themselves right up against Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania—all NATO members—and he might even feel powerful enough to threaten the Baltic states, whose independence has stuck in his craw a long time. If he did that, NATO’s Article 5 would kick in. Putin’s already threatening to use nukes (in barely concealed terms), so you can imagine a horrifying escalation if NATO is forced to defend member nations abutting Russia.

Chasing destiny can cause apocalyptic consequences in our era. It would be better if the Russian people could persuade Putin that they prefer peace and prosperity to his mad fantasies.

[Photo by Ignat Kushanrev on Unsplash.]

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2022 by in politics and tagged , , , , , .
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