On Sunday, July 10, 2022, which by happenstance is my 79th birthday, Canadian psychology professor Dr. Jordan B. Peterson orally delivered a long essay in a 51 minute video “Russia Vs. Ukraine Or Civil War In The West?”.
Peterson drives home the idea that Putin doesn’t want his country to have any border contact with the “West’ because (supposedly) the West’s hedonistic personal morality, as expressed often with the Russian Orthodox Church. He would rather scorch the entire country to rubble than tolerate its supposedly democratic and westernizing presence.
All of this lies on top of Russia’s irredentism, and desire to reconquer what the Soviet Union lost in 1991 (and the idea that modern Russia was born in the Ukraine).
While Putin speaks tactically about neo-Nazi’s, what really affronts him is the way self-indulgence in the West connects up with Marxism and communism. A recent Eudaimonia piece on Medium by Umair Haque had warned that 'Putin wants to go to war with you' even if you don't want war and expect to be left alone. Reminds me of conscription and the domino theory of the 60s.
But it’s a stretch. Putin’s actions are obviously a replay of colonialism and imperialism, which was acceptable behavior by countries until World War’s I and II. The assault on civilians was not seen as a moral issue then (any more than capturing 'negroes' for slavery from Africa).
Putin could well believe that the inevitable threat of global warming makes the future a zero-sum game, He could imagine that Russia must outcompete all other cultures to survive, and that any personal disloyalty to Motherland Russia is a mortal sin (pretty much fascist thinking, although Soviet communism turned into the same thing -- look at the Holomodor.) Conceivably he could destroy most of the west with EMP's and survive with Russia and China occupying the whole world with its communo-fascist collectivism that denies personal agency and sees fitting in as a moral requirement of everyone.
He even characterizes Russia as technically part of the West (up to the Ural Mountains, like in Dr. Zhivago- at the intermission of this 1965 David Lean film based on Boris Pasternak's novel) and maintains that the war is a proxy war between the self-contradictory extreme Marxist Left and reason with classic liberalism demanding individual responsibility (which leaves a lot of people behind). The missing piece in the whole panorama of individualism is being willing to reach down and lift others up. Without that, it molds toward fascism, as too many people just become expendable.
At the very end, he does attribute some of Putin's behavior to the isolation of COVID.
Dr. Zhivago trailer: The film (after the framing scene of telling the story in a nuclear power plant) opens with a scene in Ukraine, still connected to Russia. I saw the film on a bitter cold night in Kansas City MO, the Capri Theater, in December 1966 when I was a grad student at KU.
Dr. Zhivago book discussion (Pasternak novel)
Dr. Zhivago End
(Posted: Monday, July 11, 2022 at 11 PM EDT)