Is Russia really the greatest threat to the world? The answer lies somewhere between how you define a threat and what you're actually afraid of. At that starting point what the western world screams is scaring them isn't a Russian bogeyman or specter of Russian world domination. It's entirely different. It's very weird. Ukraine was right. Russia in this context is the biggest threat to Ukraine and possibly the world.
To make the point many of the citations used in this article will come from Ukrainian nationalist scholarship. There was a brief golden age in Ukrainian nationalist scholarship when the academics actually tried to make sense of things going on in the world. They tried to stay with the facts. After a short time, the 15-year run-up to Euro-Maidan happened. They learned to lie , an d afterward to spout off like th ey were put on what really powerful narcotics to try to r omanticize and justify the atrocities committed in Donbass.
In a word, they joined their Ukrainian nationalist alumni in what US Secretary of Defense Aston Carter characterizes as the intellectually decapitated, which in a much kinder fashion I'll describe as magically lobotomized.
"It (Ukrainian nationalism) was intellectually decapitated as a matter of deliberate policy during the Stalin years and beyond so that the most able and energetic Ukrainians were either killed or magnetically attracted to Moscow and Russified. " Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Ukraine and Europe," Fulfilling the Promise: Building an Enduring Security Partnership Between Ukraine and NATO , Ashton B. Carter, Steven E. Miller, and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, eds., The Stanford-Harvard Preventive Defense Project, 1999, pp. 33-34. "
But you see, this time, they don't have Stalin to blame. It's a matter of their own policy. This time in a like-minded fashion with their predecessors, they gave up the right to think. Ukrainian nationalism and nationalism in general frowns on real intellectual thought.
" The nationalists insisted on the primacy of will over reason, action over thought, and practice over theory. Their doctrine of nationalism was[is] infused with aspects of the irrational, voluntaristic, and vitalistic theories"In the place of objective scientific discovery the nationalists propagated myths and favored an ideologically 'correct' image of the Ukrainian past. They promoted a cult of the struggle and reverence for national martyrs""-Ukrainian Encyclopedia
Why does Ukraine claim to be at war with Russia?
What they are at war with in their own minds and the minds of their handlers is something completely different and alien to most people's conception. Ukraine is at war with the idea of a democratic Russia being more successful than they are and shining a light on the disaster of their imported Ukrainian Nationalist form of government.
For them, the Ukrainian civil war is a godsend to cover up the fact that they don't have the first inkling about how to govern a country. If you look at the above core ideological statements, admitting loss to normal people and not a great power is something they literally can't do on their own. That would negate the superiority of the Ukrainian nationalist spirit and drive. The west can't go back and undo what's been done. The West is stuck with the fact they were sold a stallion and the trailer delivered a gelded pony.
Of course saying they are at war with Russia has made them feel good about themselves. But how many imaginary invasions are they willing to own up to? The real benefit has been appeasing the Diaspora and keeping the money coming in. Having reported on the war for the past 2 years, including doing invasive passport checks on soldiers across Lugansk Peoples Republic (LNR) in 2014, it's simply not the case.
For Kiev, legitimacy is wrapped around it's founding social contract with the Ukrainian people. When that was broken, its legitimacy was lost. What do I mean?
In 1991 Gorbachev called for a referendum to decide the fate of the Soviet Union which was:
1.('Do you consider it necessary to preserve the USSR as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics, in which human rights and the freedoms of all nationalities will be fully guaranteed?'). Kravchuk, the highest political leader in Ukraine added two other questions to the referendum.
2.('Do you agree that Ukraine should be part of a Union of Soviet Sovereign States on the basis of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine?')
3.('Do you want Ukraine to become an independent state which independently decides its domestic and foreign policies, and which guarantees equal rights to all of its citizens, regardless of their national or religious allegiance?')