The US Is Partially to Blame for the Moscow-Beijing Axis

Commentary The war in Ukraine has shocked many with a modern sensibility—and with good reason. In addition to the carnage and destruction, Russian President Vladimir Putin has single-handedly unearthed Carl Von Clausewitz’s definition of “war as the continuation of policy” from its prematurely dug grave. Western detest of “behavior that belongs in the 19th century” and “imperial revanchism” betrays the fact that our concepts of international norms and responsible statesmanship only apply if a given actor in the system willfully chooses to accept such preconditions. Accordingly, it also betrays the Hegelian epistemology through which our policymakers implicitly view the world. This philosophical school believes that civilization progresses through various stages on its path to ultimate freedom. Former President Barack Obama often exemplified this attitude when he cited one of his favorite lines, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” To the chagrin of Western leaders, …

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