Russia announced earlier it would establish a 400,000-strong National Guard under the leadership of its president Vladimir Putin. The Western media saw the move as signaling grave political challenges faced by Russia.
Beside being described by the West as a “dictator,” now Putin is also said to be the real owner of illicit overseas fortunes taken care of by his friends.
In Russia, Putin enjoys an 80 percent approval rate. But in the Western media, he is as “evil” as former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi or Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The Soviet Union collapsed a long time ago. Russia has introduced an election system from the West. But Russia’s reputation is still bad in the West. The hatred toward the Soviet Union seemed to have transferred to Russia.
The West shows tolerance toward other former Soviet members like Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, but Russia is always an exception.
Moscow sacrificed a lot in order to ease its tensions with the West. It first let go of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Then the entire Soviet Union disintegrated. The Communist Party was dissolved. But Russia still sees hostility from the NATO countries.
Basically, it is because Russia is still a big power. Its land crosses Europe and Asia. It inherited nuclear power from the Soviet Union and could still produce mutually assured destruction with the US.
The military power of Russia makes the West anxious. They cannot tenderly look at Russia as they do the other Soviet Union fragments, which they have been helping introduce into the West-dominated world.
Since Peter the Great, Russians have been dreaming of integrating with the West. But they suffered numerous setbacks. Putin’s hard line could be a rebound after former leader Boris Yeltsin’s failed attempt to embrace the West. This reaction is partially emotional, and partially an urge to reestablish a defensive line.
The Western system is not as open as people have expected. The core interests form a fixed circle, which are hard to enter. Even Japan has not completely joined the circle; it is more like a sub-Western country under US occupation.
Russia is a painful lesson of a major power that tried to follow the West, but only woke up after gaining nothing.
Big countries will certainly face geopolitical competition. And the US will spontaneously try to weaken the contestants.
China has become the world’ second largest economy. We cannot expect our future path to become smoother. On the contrary, the country is likely to become the focus of the Western power’s exclusive reactions.
We have to be well prepared.
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