When the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States were the only superpower left, people thought world peace was finally achieved. Of course, there were still bloody conflicts going on, not to speak of poverty and starvation all over the world, but the USA and the old European countries were safe at last. If a conflict arose at its borders or in an area of interest, the West could easily intervene without fearing opposition from anyone who matched their strength.
But before long, people became uneasy. Not having to fear the Soviet invasion let them take a breath and see the social problems in their own backyards. In the late Nineties, Islamist terrorism first became an issue that worried people. In 2001, we had a new enemy. Unfortunately, this enemy is somewhat hard to box in. Yes, it lends itself to inspiring fear in our hearts and giving up our rights, but since everybody and anybody could be or become a Muslim at any time, our leaders are unable to make us feel safe in their arms. We see that they are incompetent and mistrust them deeply, whenever they make a grab for another dose of our liberties.
In this sense, Vladimir Putin is a god-sent. Vladimir Putin, the old KGB agent, the homophobe, the manipulator of the Russian people, he is the enemy we so dearly missed. We can look upon the Russia of Putin and feel so much better, because we:
Have democratic elections!
Are so much more tolerant!
Do not associate ourselves with dictators like Syria’s Assad or the Ayatollah of Iran!
Are the good guys!
And Russia is an enemy, we can reel in. Someone we know is strong, but we are stronger. We are fighting the good fight once again!
No matter, that less and less people go to our elections (and more and more people are hindered in trying to)! Yes, people are loosing faith in our system. But look, the Russians are so much worse!
No matter, that we don’t treat gays and lesbians as full citizens! (‘Trans’? What’s that?) Yes, we don’t want them to live together or have families! We are barely a few decades ahead of the current Russian view on this matter and some still think that’s too much! But look, the Russians are so backwards!
No matter that we deal with our own dictators and sell them weapons to slaughter their citizens! Yes, we support the Saudis and Qatar, amongst others! We intervene militarily in nations that cannot hope to defend themselves against us and shy away from those that could! But we do it for the best of reasons! The Russians don’t, they do it for ulterior motives!
No matter that we do things only for our own good! No matter that we could help feed and heal the world, but chose to eat the food off of the plates of the poor and make them pay high prices for medicines! No matter that we wreak their economies, ignore their rights, exploit their resources! At least we are not the Russians! The Russians are evil! And that makes us good!