It has been three weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Three whole weeks!
What have we learned during this time? What are the conclusions we have drawn?
First: The world has changed in this brief time period in a violent and rapid way, as is the case in every such occurrence.
The balance of power system, as it was formed after World War II and was modified after the fall of the Soviet Union, collapsed before our eyes. With it crumbled the system of Principles and Values that had developed over the past century, as well as the belief in lasting peace, prosperity, and democracy in Europe and in the world as a whole.
Second: This war came at the worst time for America. It distracts Washington from China, America’s real and ever-rising adversary, and gives Russia and China the opportunity to unite against her.
In other words, the real winner is China.
Third: It is now becoming clear in practice that while America remains the dominant power in the world, and at least militarily it will maintain its supremacy for many more decades, nevertheless powers such as China, Russia and Germany have emerged with which America now shares the influence it once exercised on its own.
Fourth: While many believed that NATO had become an anachronistic alliance without a mission, and that the EU’s countries could not unite in the face of an adversary, Russia managed to bring NATO back to life, and unite the countries of the European Union as never before.
Fifth: For the first time, the taboo on the use of nuclear weapons has been essentially broken. The fact that Putin has put them on alert is an extremely dangerous precedent for humanity.
Sixth: This war has obliterated many of the elements that comprised the world that generations were familiar with. Our illusions about the ‘end of history’ have collapsed; that is to say, the idea that history has been fulfilled with the triumph of liberal democracy in the Cold War is dead, and our illusions of a permanent break with humanity’s brutal past are buried.
Seventh: People have now tasted something they knew only from history books and stories of their grandfathers: That peace – and democracy – are not the balance point of humanity. Their preservation demands a daily struggle. And even then, their survival is not certain.
Generally speaking, the war will end at some point. A devastated Ukraine will succumb. It will be controlled by Russia. And the ‘Putin Paradigm’ will have been established: That power, nothing else, raw power, is the supreme law. And this will be an example and temptation for others as well.