The fatal conceit of the west is discerned when academics affiliated to the intellectual mores of German idealism begin to conceive of power relations outside of history. Think Kissenger, Hegel or worse yet, Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ charade.
Let’s face it, the west’s pool of idealist alternatives has grown to the detriment of our international standing.
How does this affect Russia or Putin?
We fail to acknowledge that the seizure of Crimea or eastern Ukraine is really not ideological nor purely historical, its national.
It means that the focus or foci to study is the four decades prior to 1947. Think Barbara Tuchman.
Instead, what the west seeks to transcend are the very social, political and national vortices of expressed power that continue to dominate autocracies. And land based regimes, especially those deep in the ‘Heartland’ or Spyke’s ‘Rimland’ always shape their forward moving policies from within interior lines of engagement.
Why does this hurt the west?
Because we’re foolish enough to believe that disarmament, the sanctity of international law, coalitions and nuclear deterrents don’t matter.
Remember the ‘Carthaginian Peace’ or how about Japan’s pincer movement south along China’s littoral region from Manchuria toward Nanking. The examples are legion. Liberal democracies cannot envision a repeat of history because philosophically we’re tied to the lie of an every forward moving positivism, especially one that continually divorces the demands of ethics from value.
Let me spell it out, for only one taught to comprehend synoptically can discern the movement of power outside the positivist lie; the connection between U.S. capitulation in Syria and Crimea isn’t casual. Its organic.
Don’t worry though, the west is invested in the moral opprobrium of idealized winners only.