The reality is that, the defense of Ukraine is both the most genuinely liberal cause (in the classic sense of the word) and the most genuinely moral cause that exists in our public and political space right now. This is mater of defending of Western civilization and upholding strict moral standards of good and evil. Putin is a prototypical authoritarian”—or even a thug in the Hitlerian mold—and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the result of Putin’s personal desire for empire and power as well as “an expression of the imperial expansionism that typified the Soviet Union.”
Putin’s potential motivation that russia would rather see Ukraine destroyed, razed to the ground, than comfortably ensconced in the Western sphere of influence. Take putin’s actions as authoritarian with a bent for imperial expansionism” or even “thug in the Hitlerian mold”.
Putin has a tiger by the tail with Ukraine. Putin has proven highly inept at diplomacy, which was masked by the lack of intervention in Crimea and prior russian aggression. Now, putin likely prefers to keep the conflict going for the longterm as he realizes the unexpectedly potent sanctions will not end as long as he sits on his imperial conquests. Putin greatly fears facing his people in a permanently diminished economy without his war being active and providing him with the traditional Russian ‘rally round the flag’ and ‘conflict means I can suppress the people without consequences’ effects. He may well also be ill as he can bask in the glory of even his limited conquests.
Sometimes we can face the argument, that russia sees Ukraine as a threat to its “primarily petro-funded economy, particularly in relation to the European market.” Sorry, but if you invade another country and slaughter people to protect your oil and gas trade, it might not make you “Hitlerian,” but it definitely makes you the baddies. Putin’s propaganda presents the current West as decadent to the point of absolute trustworthiness, particularly on the cultural and religious front and willing to use this story to make his people wary of the West, integrated in Europe Ukraine and to convince them of the necessity of his leadership and to unite them in supporting his actions in Ukraine.
Putin has also invoked the history of racial injustice in the United States as proof of American hypocrisy on human rights, continuing the Soviet-era tradition of such whataboutism. Authoritarians will weaponize whatever they can!
Now putin is a cornered rat. Some result of his aggression – any election in Ukraine today would hand a resounding victory to pro-NATO, anti-russia candidates, even in those parts of the country where pro-Russia sentiment and skepticism toward NATO were widespread before the war.
So, defense of Ukraine is both the mater of defending of Western civilization and upholding strict moral standards of good and evil. Russia has to be faced imminent, ignominious defeat and desperately needed a deal to save face at least.