Russian wooden dolls of Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin on display in St. Petersburg, Russia. (AP/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Let’s face it, the West has been sold to the highest bidder and Russian President Vladimir Putin has no reason to fear us. A Politico piece explains that the Kremlin knows the truth about Europe, and its actions in the Ukraine are evidence of this shift in attitude. “Brussels today, Russia believes, talks about human rights but no longer believes in it,” Ben Judah writes. “Europe is really run by an elite with the morality of the hedge fund: Make money at all costs and move it offshore.”
And as Judah puts it, Putin knows America is vulnerable and overextended with its pointless wars abroad while Europe is too busy making money to stand up to him. And the sad thing is, he’s right.
The West is blinking in disbelief—Vladimir Putin just invaded Ukraine. German diplomats, French Eurocrats and American pundits are all stunned. Why has Russia chosen to gamble its trillion-dollar ties with the West?
Western leaders are stunned because they haven’t realized Russia’s owners no longer respect Europeans the way they once did after the Cold War. Russia thinks the West is no longer a crusading alliance. Russia thinks the West is now all about the money.
Putin’s henchmen know this personally. Russia’s rulers have been buying up Europe for years. They have mansions and luxury flats from London’s West End to France’s Cote d’Azure. Their children are safe at British boarding and Swiss finishing schools. And their money is squirrelled away in Austrian banks and British tax havens.
Putin’s inner circle no longer fear the European establishment. They once imagined them all in MI6. Now they know better. They have seen firsthand how obsequious Western aristocrats and corporate tycoons suddenly turn when their billions come into play. They now view them as hypocrites—the same European elites who help them hide their fortunes.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata