What is unfolding right now on in Ukraine and actions taken by Russia are very astounding in a bad way. Definitely, what Russia is doing is definitely against its own interest in long-term. While immediate causes for current crisis in Ukraine are lamentable on both sides, in overall Russian excessive response fits into the overview picture of Russia trying to remerge or reclaim itself as a world power once again.
What happened or events occurred in past few years in geopolitical vicinity of Russia seems to make President Putin and old hard-core Cold War vintage group feel the heat of encroachment by expansion of NATO and Western influence on its neighbors. Thus, stroking the fear or reemergence of Cold War mentality on Russian side. This is partly has to be discussed and let NATO and Russian negotiate and engage to address each other concerns. Mainly, Western nations need to tell Russia NATO is on peaceful mission, not like what Russian think and even want to help Russia to reach its security concern. However, as such necessity to take place though important but it pales in comparison to overall picture of what is happening or where Russia is leading to.
From the beginning, Mr Putin’s career rising from former KGB agent to President of Russia Federation is remarkable career growth. However, such rise is also dragged down by President Putin’s his own past experience or grievance as a former KGB officer or Russian patriot grown up in once “golden era” of Russia as a global superpower in parallel to American superpower. He or liked-minded Russian hard core yearn for those old golden days in their perception though they may not explicitly expressed in words. I might be wrong but in my perception, Russia or at least President Putin seems to think fall of Soviet Union due to a single or few critical mistakes in course of its history. He seems determined to learn from those mistakes and re-erect Russia itself as once again the world’s super power. After all, the rise of Soviet Union or those golden days as believed by Mr. Putin or alike is not because of some few mistakes but because of bad foundation built on top of false hope and ideology.
By saying such that above, do not take me wrong Russia is still relevant and it is still a big regional power, still can contribute a lot to world peace and order. Russia is the largest country on earth by area and its houses one of the largest military and nuclear arsenals. Be respectful, very respectful to them, I would say instead of be afraid, very be afraid. Mr. Putin is also incredibly a smart guy seasoned in world politic and a lot of experience in understanding of the world affairs very well. But there is only one thing wrong, which is Russia’s twisted understanding or learning from its own history and ultimately the wrong vision of resurrecting Russia’s world superpower from old days.
What I mean by false hope and ideology that led to fall of Soviet Union instead of some few critical tactical mistakes is as follow. For example, by now the world knows capitalism is probably the most efficient and innovative economic growth engine of the world so far although it also its own few issues. By comparison to any ideology the world has know so far, it is the best in its class. And rule of law, being free from corruption and good governance may have started in the West but those ideas or values are universal and relevant to any nations inspiring for prosperity and peacefulness. Creativity, technology innovation in conjunction with academic freedom not influenced by authoritarian state are still crucial and universally applicable. These ideas may sound like Western thing or Western ideas but in fact it does not matter where they originated as long as it is applicable to you and when you can make it better by improving those ideas or foundations. A patient in other side of the world will need to take a medicine if that works to alleviate or cure his disease even if it was invented by country or region of bloc that he/she regards as hostile. Good ideas are neither copyrighted nor bear significance of where originated or who coined in long-term. But the history is remembered by who use them and make them better.
Russia needs a new vision i.e instead of resurrecting old Soviet power, it should instead be inspired to lead the world or at least its region by setting example, leadership, economic growth and generosity towards its neighbors and friends. Russia can learn a lot from its peer China as well how it still remain focused on economic prosperity instead of confrontation with the West while downloading the ideas from the West that work and are applicable. It can also learn a lot from Germany as well on how Germany rose up from ashes of World War II defeat and leading the Europe again by inspiration and setting examples to other European countries starting with foundation of EU, instead refusing to be led again by false hope and narrow-minded nationalism as guided once under Nazi Hitler.
Russia has a great potential to lead the world again in a peaceful and prosperous way. Many of Russian innovations and contribution to science and technology are remarkable and sometimes coming out of the box thinking unlike any other. For example, Russian solution of simple and effective approach in designing Soyuz space shuttle or creation of a simple and blazing fast webserver Nginx in the field of software technology are quite remarkable to show sometimes how Russian can think well outsmarting others. It only needs to download and implement universal good ideas such as rule of law, anti-corruption, freedom of its citizens to information to resurrect itself as regional or world power again by leading others by inspiration and examples but not by coercion.
When I was a kid before barely knowledgable about the world politic, I wondered why there is a Cold War and there is animosity between the West or United States in particular and Russia or Soviet Union at the time. Then, I asked myself “let’s me take a look what Russians look like or American look like” from photo. From a child’s perceptive, I didn’t see the difference, you both visually look the same. Unless somebody say or put a label underneath their photo. I wonder still now if some aliens from outside worlds and planets look at us and they may be wondering why these guys are fighting and to us they look very similar to each other.
Yes, anyway Russia needs a new vision that is bold and heralding to a new future of peacefulness and prosperity for their country. Russian people deserve such better new vision and ultimately the world deserves positive contributions and leadership by Russia once again toward global peace and prosperity.