What are the forces that are seeking to destroy or undermine democracy? To make this more relevant to the current situation, look at the situation with Vladimir Putin, what he has done to Russia and what he has attempted to do to the West.
There are many people, after the invasion happened in February, who have asked themselves: “Was the West, especially Western Europe, wrong in how they treated Putin and Russia for the past almost 20 years? Was it a giant miscalculation? Was it a failed policy?” This is a question that has no simple answer, certainly not a yes or no answer. But there is, of course, a higher awareness perspective on the situation.
The end of the Cold War
What happened during the Cold War was that we had a gradual raising of the collective consciousness in Western Europe and in the United States. There was also a raising of the awareness in Russia, but it was much slower. Of course, it started at a lower level to begin with because, even before the creation of the Soviet Union, the collective consciousness was lower in Russia than it was in the United States and in the western European nations.
As a result of this growth in awareness and the raising of consciousness in the western nations, there was an increased awareness of the absurdity of the situation during the Cold War. There was an increased awareness of how absurd it was that you had these two military blocks pitted against each other, both of which had nuclear weapons. And therefore, any military confrontation between the two had the potential to escalate into a nuclear exchange which could obliterate all life on earth. This is not saying there was no awareness of this in the Soviet Union, but there was very little awareness of it in the general population. And there were only some of the leaders that were aware of this—and by far, not all of them. In the West, there was a much more widespread awareness both among the population and among the leaders of how absurd this situation really was. As a result of this, there was a growing awareness in the democratic West and a growing desire to end this situation, to get the world to a place where the threat of nuclear annihilation had become insignificant, even if the nuclear weapons were still there.
What happened when the Soviet Union was dissolved was that many in the West breathed a sigh of relief and said, or thought: “Hopefully, we will never have to again worry about the specter of nuclear war.” This was, of course, before North Korea developed nuclear weapons. There were only a few states, and except for Russia, they did not really have enough nuclear weapons to form a worldwide threat. It was very understandable that many people believed that the era of the fear of nuclear war was something that the planet had moved beyond. As a result of this collective sigh of relief, the western nations went into a state of mind where they, in a sense, gave Russia a free pass. They decided, not necessarily openly or publicly, but in their minds, that they would be very tolerant of whatever the Russians did, as long as they kept it inside the borders of Russia.
The expansion of NATO
Some, both in the West and certainly in Russia, will say: “Well, why did they then allow an expansion of NATO?” Well, first of all, because there was not really any opposition to the expansion of NATO from the Russian leadership at the time. There may have been an opposition in the mind of Vladimir Putin, but he was not in any position to voice this. That is one side of the coin.
But the other side of the coin is, of course, that there were a number of Eastern European nations who had either been part of the Soviet Union or who had been part of the Warsaw Pact. And they knew from experience how easily things can change in Russia. They knew how aggressive Russia can be. And they knew how brutal Russia can be as an occupying force. There is really no nice way to put this. They had experienced this. You look at the Baltic countries where tens of thousands of people were abducted, kidnapped, taken away from their families and lives, put into cattle cars and herded off to labor camps in Siberia. There is no way of denying this unless you deny Russian history, which of course you can do. But there is no way of denying it in the real world. This happened, it was brutal, it was against international law, it was against humanity, but it was done.
Naturally, these countries had a desire to say: “Never again. We do not want to ever again be dominated or occupied by Russia, period.” That is why some of them made sincere and dramatic efforts to qualify for NATO membership and EU membership. And this was, of course, partly driven by a desire to increase the standard of living of their population. But in terms of NATO especially, it was clearly so that they would not again be occupied by Russia or forced by Russia into a so-called defensive alliance. That is why this was allowed.
There was also a certain consciousness that the Russian leadership (at least some among the Russian leadership) had expressed that they wanted the world to feel safe so that they never again needed to feel threatened by Russia. There was a certain movement in Russia among some of the leaders, many of the intellectuals and even some among the people that wanted a new era, where Russia would find its place as an equal among nations. There was a sincere effort and desire to make this a reality.
Therefore, the western nations did not feel that it would be a problem for Russia with the expansion of NATO because the western nations always saw NATO as a purely defensive alliance. And if you are not attacked, well, what is the risk of having a defensive alliance? Of course, the new members of NATO also saw it as a defensive alliance. It was an insurance policy in case things will change in Russia, so the Russians again started becoming aggressive towards their neighbors. There was no desire whatsoever in the Baltic states to ever attack and conquer Russia. And there was no desire ever in the western nations or in the United States to conquer Russia.
Many in Russia will doubt this, many will deny it. But the reality is that no nation outside of Russia has ever seriously considered conquering Russia, since Hitler. The German nation did not even consider it, but Hitler did. But since then, nobody has seriously considered conquering Russia for a variety of reasons, mainly the size of Russia. NATO is, always has been, a defensive alliance.
Lost opportunity to set post-Soviet Russia on an steady upward course
If this situation had continued, if the development in Russia had continued, then Russia would today had been a modern democratic nation where the standard of living of the general population would be the same as in some of the Eastern European nations that were part of the Warsaw Pact. There would have been freedom of speech and freedom of the press. There would have been a thriving business climate that had not relied exclusively on natural resources to make a quick profit. There would not have been the oligarchs because in a more democratic Russia, it would not have been allowed that a small elite could plunder the wealth of the natural resources without it benefiting the general population.
In the real world, there was no hostility from the West towards Russia. There was a sigh of relief: “Maybe we do not have to worry about Russia as a threat of war, including nuclear war.” There was a desire to see Russia thrive and become an affluent nation where the population had a good standard of living. Of course, you can find a few exceptions, but this was the general consciousness of the West. This led the West to develop the attitude that they would be very tolerant of Russia and Russian policy.
The (new) old guard and Vladimir Putin rise to power
Now, then comes this dramatic change where Vladimir Putin rises to power. And it was not, of course, just Putin. There was also an old guard of those from the Soviet Union who were not at the time of the Soviet Union in high leadership positions. They were, so to speak, the next generation that were on their way up in the Soviet hierarchy and who had ambition of working their way all the way to the top so that they could control the Soviet Union. Putin was just one of these. These old guard were not in high leadership positions during the Soviet Union. This is important because they did not know and they did not understand the situation faced by the top leadership. This is in a sense understandable since the Soviet Union was a highly hierarchical society where there was not that much information sharing from the top and downwards. They could not really have known.
The problem with this was that whereas Gorbachev and the people around him at least had some understanding of the economic realities facing the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, Putin and his generation had virtually no understanding of this. They did not understand that the Soviet Union had simply reached its expiration date. The Soviet Union was unsustainable, not just because of the way the Soviet Union was organized, but also because of the development in the rest of the world, including the raising of the collective consciousness. The reality is that Gorbachev, Yeltsin and many of the other top leaders, they understood that this was the end of the line for the Soviet Union and they understood at least some of the reasons why. They, therefore, decided, some reluctantly, but they decided, that it was time to take Russia into a new phase for the betterment of Russian society. They realized that if they did not do something, the Russian economy – the Soviet economy – would collapse and Russia would collapse. They understood the reality but Putin and his generation did not understand this reality.
They, therefore, decided that the old guard had made a mistake in dissolving the Soviet Union. They were still in a naive, dreamlike state of thinking that the Soviet Union could have been sustained indefinitely, if the old leaders had not taken it down. They thought this was a mistake. And some thought it was partly because of western pressure. But it was not primarily because of any pressure from the West, it was primarily because the Soviet system simply could no longer be patched up. It was a systemic problem that could not be fixed. It simply could not be fixed.
The Age of the Oligarchs
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, you have a group of people who have slowly been manipulating themselves into higher positions in Russian society. When Putin is put into power, they see their chance to gain more control. They started reversing the democratization process. More importantly, they started reversing the freeing of the Russian economy, the liberalization of the Russian economy where everybody could start a business, where the wealth would be shared somewhat equally with the general population. They started reversing this process and therefore they created the Age of the Oligarchs.
This means, basically, that you now had in Russia the kind of society that the monopoly capitalists in the West could only dare to dream about—a society where a small group of capitalists, because that is what they are, had almost total control of the economy. They had control over the natural resources, but also over the big companies, the state-owned companies that they were allowed to privatize. They could generate tremendous wealth which was concentrated in their hands.
Putin, of course, was the one who allowed and enabled this in exchange, for what? Their political loyalty, their support, so they gained money, Putin gained power and the people around him gained power, and it was certainly not a match made in heaven. The process whereby Russia could have become a modern affluent nation was reversed. Of course, it was not that the Russian people did not notice this. But they were not aware enough nor strong enough to object to it. In order to justify it, in order to beat down the opposition to it, Putin started his scheme of repressing freedom of speech, repressing the people who protested, and basically destroying any opposition to his rule. Now, you can say: “Why was this allowed, given that the rest of the world had moved higher?”
Trading freedom for security
It was allowed because, just as there was this second generation, Putin’s generation, that thought it was a mistake to dissolve the Soviet Union, there was also a large part of the Russian people who thought it was a mistake. They also did not understand the economic realities. They had lived their whole lives in the Soviet Union. And they had become so used to, so addicted to the meager standard of living they had, which they were used to thinking could never be taken away from them. They realized they did not have a very high material standard of living, but they thought it could never get worse.
What Gorbachev and Yeltsin and the other leaders saw very clearly, at the end of the 1980s, was that it could get worse, it could get to the point where the state would not have money to pay people’s pensions. They would not have money to pay the army, the public workers and so forth, and so on. Literally, they saw that it could get worse. But there were people who thought that they were entitled to live the rest of their lives with the standard of living they had in the Soviet Union, and also with the kind of work situation they had in the Soviet Union, where many of them really did not have to work hard, did not have to take any responsibility. They thought that this could continue for the rest of their lives.
All of a sudden, the economy changed. They thought it got worse. Now they had to actually work in order to get paid. And many people resented this. If the upward movement had been allowed to continue, many would gradually have gotten over this, because they would have seen that we can actually have a better life than we had during the Soviet Union. But as it happened that was prevented from happening by the tightening of the economy. And therefore many of the elderly people, especially, accepted what Putin basically said that it was a mistake to dissolve the Soviet Union, that things were better during Soviet times, and that Russia should move back towards it. They did not have the strong freedom flame, so they just accepted this.
In return for the sense that things were back to the good old ways there was security. And they knew what they had, even if what they had was not very much. You see here, a population, a majority of them, who basically traded freedom for security, responsibility, for the freedom from responsibility. Freedom from responsibility is, of course, not freedom but that was what the Russians could not see, many of them. You have a situation here where Russia started going backwards. And this, of course, requires a little bit of qualification because of the tremendous wealth that was generated from the natural resources, oil and gas, and this being exported to the West, there was a raising of the general economy.
There were people that were becoming more wealthy. And there was the emergence of a small middle class who also, through their jobs and education became more wealthy, because an oligarch might sit there and skim the profit off of oil exploration in Siberia, but he is not going to go out there and start drilling in the ground, and building pipelines. He needed people to do the work for him. They also increased their standard of living somewhat, not as much as it could have been, but they increased it somewhat. But despite the increase in wealth among some people, the economy actually did not really improve for the largest part of the population. The standard of living did not improve, the living conditions of many people did not improve. Many people are still living in old houses without electricity, running water, toilets. They live in the Soviet era apartment buildings, and so forth.
Western attitudes to Putin’s Russia
There is a tremendous wasted potential. When you consider where Russia is at today, compared to where Russia could have been if the upward movement had continued, there is a tremendous difference. A difference that most Russians could not even fathom, because most Russians have not been outside of Russia, they have not seen how people live in Europe. This, of course, was all internal to Russia. And the western nations, then decided that they would allow this to be internal to Russia. They would basically allow Putin to do what he was doing, because they thought, well, we are buying oil and gas, so the economy must somehow be improving. And it must be spreading so that more and more people get a higher standard of living, and when enough people can see what they can have, they will not want to go back. There is a limit to what the Russian people will allow Putin to do, in terms of tightening down society, because they want to continue to increase their standard of living. That was what many in the West thought.
There was also a decision made that despite what Putin was doing, and despite what Putin was saying, they would attempt to cooperate with Putin’s Russia, this was especially prominent with the Obama administration, and a so-called reset button, that wanted to reset the relationship.
The fundamental shift in awareness of the democratic nations
You can look back and say: “Was this a mistake?” And again, you cannot answer it with a yes or a no. What you can say is that this is one of the dangers of democracy. And the whole situation, including of course, the present situation, highlights one of the dangers of democracy. And it is simply this. You take what Jesus said: “Do unto others as you want them to do unto you.” This is a fundamental shift in awareness. It is almost comparable to what Jesus said about: “Let the dead bury their dead. Unless you are willing to lose your life for my sake you cannot find eternal life.”
What he pointed out was that there is a certain state of consciousness, the Peter consciousness, the consciousness of antichrist, the prince of this world, that cannot get you into higher awareness. It never will get you into higher awareness when you are in this lower state of consciousness. He called it a state of spiritual death, and it is because you have no life of higher awareness in you.
What do you have to do to step onto the path towards higher awareness, that can lead you into heaven, salvation, whatever you call it? What do you have to do? Well, you have to let the old self die and be reborn into a new self. There are many, many people, since Jesus walked the earth until today, who have gone through a transformation in consciousness, where they have let that old self, that consciousness of death die, and been reborn into this state where they would never dream of hurting other people.
What happens is that when you then make it into this state of consciousness, you go into a phase that is a sort of euphoric or naive phase, where you forget what it was like to be in the old state of consciousness. You forget how you used to feel threatened by other people, how you might have had certain anger, resentment against other people. You tend to forget, or at least you want to forget that there are people out there, who were actually always more aggressive than you ever were, even before you went through this transition.
It is clear that anyone has the potential to go through this transformation. But for many people, it is not something they can do in the short term. Let’s go back to 2000 years ago, there were many people on earth at the time, who were so anchored in the duality consciousness, the consciousness of separation, that they did not think twice about doing evil to other people. They were not as evil as the manipulators but they had no problem following them and going out killing people from another nation, raping their women, killing their children, burning their cities, plundering their cities. They had no compunctions about doing this.
There were people at the time, who had an aggressive intent and then there were people who were still in the death consciousness, but they had overcome the aggressive intent. Those were the people who could go through the transformation, and be reborn in Christ into a higher sense of identity, where they did not have even the desire or the thought of hurting other people.
The end of the euphoric phase
This is a phase. If you look back at the present time, the 1990s and the 2000s, you will see that most people in the West were in this phase. They felt that now, we do not need to worry about Russia as an aggressor against us. Therefore, we do not need to worry about Russia at all. We have no aggressive feelings towards Russia, we can just give them time to develop at their own pace, and buy from them and hopefully help them improve their economy and so forth.
This state of innocence, was, of course, severely challenged on September 11, 2001, with the attacks on the Twin Towers in the US. Suddenly, the innocence of the West that the Cold War is over, and we are going towards a time of peace and prosperity was shattered. But who shattered it? Well, it was the Muslim terrorists. Suddenly, the intention of the West was directed towards dealing with this, what they saw as an evil. And there was a desire to say, well, let’s forget about Russia as a problem. We have enough problems on our hands. Let’s focus on Muslim terrorism. Russia is basically doing okay, they are moving forward, and we do not need to worry about them.
Then there came a point where, after the Bush administration ended in the US, both people in the US and in Europe were tired of the warfare. They were tired of Iraq and Afghanistan, they had had enough of the tremendous expense. And they were hoping that they could move into a new era, there was tremendous hope associated with Barack Obama becoming president. There was hope that this would be a new era, both for the United States and Europe. There was this desire to say: “Well, we have experienced that Putin has become more aggressive, his rhetoric is aggressive. But maybe we could appeal to his better side. And we could restart our relationship.” There were a few voices that spoke against this. But by and large, there was the sense that, let’s move forward, let’s try to move forward.
The benefit of the doubt
Again, Russia was given almost a free pass with a large tolerance from the West. And this was because the West still was in this hope, that the Cold War was over, that Russia would not be a danger, and that a new kind of relationship could be built. This, of course, was severely challenged in 2014, when Putin invaded Crimea. But still, Crimea was not a big enough shock to break the stalemate. We might say that, up until 2014, the West had given Russia the benefit of the doubt, they had given Putin the benefit of the doubt.
Putin complained in one of his speeches before the invasion of Ukraine that the West was not hearing him. And that is in a sense perfectly correct. The West was not wanting to hear his aggressive rhetoric, which he started at a very early time. They wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt that he could not possibly mean this, that he could not really want to turn the clock back and recreate the Soviet Union. But he wanted to continue having the affluence that was being enjoyed, at least by a small elite in Russia. Even after Crimea, the West did not really want to change policy towards Russia, they were still hoping that Russia would gradually move towards becoming a modern nation. And this could have continued almost indefinitely.
Putin was in a sense, in a very good position in these last few years. He had near absolute control of Russian society. He had gathered around him people who were loyal to him, even if they did not like him, even if they did not agree with him. But they were ambitious enough to want the power he could give them. And they were loyal to him, as long as they kept that power. He also had the oligarchs who were loyal to him as long as he kept allowing them to have that privileged position so they could make more and more money, even though most of them had made more money than they could possibly spend for the rest of this lifetime, and 10 other lifetimes.
There was a certain status quo. It is like when you take a water glass, and you pour in water very slowly, until the water actually bulges above the edge of the glass because of surface tension. There is nothing that breaks it so the water that is actually above the edge of the glass does not run out. And Putin could have kept that state, which was for him, what more did he want? What more did he want? He could have kept that state indefinitely. Still enjoying the power he had, the prestige he had. And the oligarchs could have kept their money, and so forth. He thought, of course, that this would continue indefinitely, because he thought that, first of all, the West is weak. The West does not want to upset the applecart, change status quo. And Ukraine is weak, they will just roll over, we can just roll in the tanks and take over the whole country. And they will greet us with flowers. Because surely Ukrainian people are not really Ukrainian people. They want to be Russians.
The change in Putin’s mind
He did what he did. There is no need to comment on exactly what went on inside his head. The point is that what happened here was inevitable. It was not a question of if it would happen, it was only a question of when? Well, Putin could have died before he gathered himself together to do this. But other than that, it was a matter of time.
And why is that? What was said about Hitler? The reason why Hitler started his conquest of Europe was because of his mindset. It was this mindset that made him bite off more than he could chew so his defeat was guaranteed from the beginning. But what was it about Hitler that made him do this? It was a very simple mechanism. For Hitler, nothing would ever be enough. And this is exactly the change that happened in Putin. It was not that he always had it, for that matter, Hitler did not always have it. But there came a point within the last two to three years in Putin’s mind, where he went through a shift in his mind, partly because he realized his time in embodiment is limited. But also because he came to the point that all dictators come to, where they feel that although they have all this power, it is not enough. They are not being respected, they are not being feared, they are not being listened to. For Putin, there came this point where, even though he had a very good situation, it just was not enough. It was not enough for him.
He wanted to do something historic, something epically important for Russia, as he saw it, of taking Russia back to this prominent position that in his mind Russia had during the Soviet Union, where it was feared, it was respected, and so forth. This is of course based on a misunderstanding. Russia, during Soviet times, was never respected in the free democratic world. It was not even really feared. But Putin thought it was and he wanted that respect for himself. Because it was not enough what he had.
Going back to the question: Did the West make a colossal mistake, a miscalculation, a misjudgment? Did they completely get Putin wrong? Again, the answer must be yes and no. Up until Putin went through this change, the West had not really gotten him completely wrong. You can go back to some of his speeches and see that the tendencies were there. But many in the West thought that he was not willing to risk it all. He was not willing to put himself or Russia in a situation where it was all or nothing, where there was no way back, where it was win-or-lose. That was not the case until these last few years.
Was the West wrong about Russia?
Did they get Putin wrong? Well, again, what has been said about democratic nations, about the change that happens when you are going to the mindset that you are not wanting to hurt other people? You go into this slightly naive stage, where you cannot quite imagine that other people want to hurt you. Therefore, you fail to see that there are still many people on this planet who want to hurt others, who are willing to hurt others, who see it to their advantage to hurt others. There are even those who want to hurt others to gain power. There are even those who want to hurt others just to create chaos.
Again, this is where, at the lower stages of awareness, you cannot really deal with evil, you cannot really imagine what evil is. You think that because you have changed, other people have changed too. Or at least they want to, if you just give them a chance. Therefore the democratic nations felt obligated—by their Christian beliefs, their humanitarian beliefs, by their political beliefs—they felt obligated to give Russia a chance. Give Russia a chance to grow, to normalize, so to speak. You can look back at this and say it was naive, it was a miscalculation. But, on the other hand, you can look at it from a purely pragmatic viewpoint, and say: What else could the Western nations have done? What else could a democratic world do? Well, yes, they could have done something. But given the state of consciousness they were in at the time, what else could they have done?
The higher awareness perspective on changes on earth
Of course we can say, well, the West could have been in a higher state of consciousness and have developed more discernment. Perfectly true, but they did not. From a long-term perspective, planet earth is a schoolroom for the raising of consciousness, and it happens very gradually. It goes in ups, it goes in downs, sometimes there is progress, sometimes it goes the other way. We have seen a general upward progression.
When you have this long perspective, you do not fixate your mind that a specific result has to be achieved at a specific time. And when a specific result is not achieved, then you do not go into disappointment, you do not blame people. You just accept that this is the situation as it is. Then you say: How do we move forward from here? What is the next step? What can we do to people? What are they open to?
Bursting the bubble of miscalculations and illusions
Truly, the situation here is that the West gave Putin and Russia an opportunity, a chance. They gave them the benefit of the doubt, but this is over. This consciousness, the water in the glass bulging above the edge, is shattered. Putin invading Ukraine was not just the last drop. It was the last bucket load that made the water overflow. There is no longer any doubt about what Putin is, what Putin stands for, and what Russia represents as a nation, where it has gone to, where it is at today. Putin, you could argue, if he had been able to foresee what has happened now, he would not have invaded. There is enough logic, risk calculation, in his mind that if he had foreseen what had actually happened, he would not have invaded.
But he did not, and why didn’t he? Because he was in as naive of a state of mind as the Western leaders. He was also in this cloud of his own making, just as the Western leaders were in a cloud of their making, where he thought the situation was entirely different than it was. He never thought the Ukrainians would put up the resistance they have put up, he never thought the West would impose the sanctions they have imposed.
You can see this by a simple fact. About two weeks after the invasion had started, Putin said publicly that he thought that sanctions had gone too far and it was time to return to a normal relationship. Even two weeks after the invasion, he still thought that it would be possible for him and Russia to go back to a normal relationship with the West. This, of course, is a complete miscalculation, because Putin’s Russia will never go back to the relationship with the West they had before the invasion. This is, again, because the shock in the Western mind has been so distinct that the benefit of the doubt is gone. They realize now that if Putin had gotten away with taking Ukraine without much loss, he would not have stopped there. They realize now what they only realized about Hitler after the war, that nothing is enough. Nothing is enough. Therefore, you cannot do business as usual with Putin’s Russia.
Be ye wise as serpents, but harmless as doves
This means that the West has stepped up to a higher level of discernment than they had before the invasion. This is the discernment that can be represented by Jesus’ statement, “Be ye wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.” The West still has this desire to be harmless as doves, but they realize that they have to be wise to the serpents who are aggressively seeking to undermine democracy, not only militarily, but in many other ways, through trolling, cybersecurity, interference with elections, propaganda, all kinds of things. The West has now reacted by stepping up to this higher level.
There is a distinct reaction in the West, especially in Europe, because many Americans still feel like: “Ahh, Ukraine is so far away, Russia is so far away. Is it really a threat to us? We just want lower gas prices.” But there are, of course, many people in America who have also woken up, and who have seen that the time of giving Putin a free pass is over. That is why they have responded by sending the tremendous military help that they have sent, and so forth. It is positive that there has been this unification of the West. Of course, the exact opposite that Putin wanted to achieve, for there has been a strengthening of the West and a resolve that: “We are not going back to the Cold War, we are not going back to this stalemate, this mindset. We simply will not accept this”.
This is not saying that the West is starting to have an aggressive intent of conquering Russia, but there is a decision, a collective decision in many democratic nations: “We are not going back to the Cold War. We are not going back to the Cold War mindset, the consciousness, in this way. We will stop Russian aggression, but not the same way we did 30 years ago, and we will not go back to this mindset.” This of course, requires a new challenge where the Western nations need to step up and walk this very, very delicate balance where you are, on the one side, harmless as a dove, but you are definitely wise to the serpents. So far, they have walked it fairly well.
Drawing the line at Russia’s aggression
You can always criticize, you can always find things that could be different, you can always wish there was more unity in the EU and in NATO, but the response has been decisive. And why is this important? Well, it is important because when you are dealing with a person for whom nothing is ever enough, you are the one who has to draw the line—he cannot do so. You are the one who has to draw the line of saying what you will accept of Russian aggression. No matter what the outcome is in Ukraine, there will still be Russian aggression. This is not saying it will be there forever or indefinitely but for some time, there will still be Russian aggression. Even if Putin went out of embodiment or was overthrown in some kind of coup, there would still be Russian aggression.
In order to deal with this without ending up in an all-out war between NATO and Russia, the Western nations need to be undivided. They need to be clear and decide on what they will allow and what they will not allow. Unity is all important here. Putin has systematically tried to undermine Western unity for decades, or at least more than a decade, and he has had some success. Now, it has reversed and it is extremely important that the Western nations keep this up. Why is this important? Well, because the confrontation between Russia and the West is not a confrontation between nations.
Defending democracy against the anti-democratic aggression
Putin likes to portray it as if it is a confrontation between Russia and NATO, or Russia and the West who wants to overthrow Russia and overturn Russia, and want to do what is bad for the Russian people. The West might want to overthrow Putin, but they want to do good for the Russian people. It is not a confrontation there. What is it a confrontation between? Two movements: the pro-democracy movement and the anti-democracy movement. That is what this confrontation is about at the basic level. It is a confrontation between the movement towards more and more democracy and freedom, which of course is part of the Age of Higher Awareness, and the movement that moves against democracy and freedom, which of course is opposing the Age of Higher Awareness.
Democracy needs to step up to this level where it says: “We cannot assume that all people on earth want freedom and democracy and prosperity. We cannot assume that all Russians, all Chinese people want this. Yes, in a certain sense, they want it, but they do not want to pay the price for it, in terms of changing their nations and their leadership. They are still following the leadership in their nations. We also cannot allow ourselves to assume that just because we are not aggressive towards China and Russia, they are not aggressive towards us.” This has now been exposed for anyone to see. They need to say: “Well, what can we then do? How can we counteract this? We need to recognize that Muslim terrorism has somewhat faded in the background, but what has come up instead is this anti-democratic push from primarily China and Russia.” This is the next phase where democracies need to step up and recognize this.
You also need to recognize that it is necessary to take measures to defend yourself against this anti-democratic aggression, but it is also necessary to remain harmless as a dove. You do not allow yourself to be pulled into a reaction like what we saw after 9/11, where the United States went on this crusade to bring freedom and democracy and Christianity to the rest of the world. It is a delicate balance to walk. But of course, it can be walked and it can be walked only through the discernment that comes from higher awareness. That is why the next step for democracy is a higher level of discernment.
What kind of leadership do we want?
It is also necessary to defend democracy so that democracy can not only survive, but continue to expand and can continue to thrive in the nations that have it and have had it for a long time. Some nations that have had democracy for a long time are starting to take it for granted and allowing certain people to take over governments that actually have an anti-democratic attitude. You see it in some nations in Europe, you see it in the United States. The democratic nations need to ask themselves a simple question: “What kind of leadership do we want?” Not only in democratic nations, but also in the world.
There is an Alpha and an Omega. The Alpha is: What kind of leadership do we want in the world? The Omega: What kind of leadership do we want in our own nations? You have in the last couple of years seen this very clear demonstration of a type of leadership that you do not want in a democracy. When you look at the world scale, well, Putin is the most obvious example of the kind of leadership that you do not want. And if you do not want this, as a democratic nation, you need to say: “Well, what can we then do to avoid enabling these kinds of leaders when we see them?” First of all, we need to become better at spotting them, seeing them when they come up, seeing them before they come to power. Then we need to not enable them to consolidate their power and to start some kind of aggression towards other nations.
In terms of Putin, what could have been done is that, especially after 2014, the Western nations could have said: “It is time to gradually wean ourselves off of buying Russian oil and gas.” If this had been done in 2014, it could have been accomplished by now, so that no country in the EU would be buying Russian oil and gas. That would have put a tremendous damper on the oligarch’s wealth and rule in Russia, and also put a tremendous damper on Putin’s ambitions. It would not necessarily have prevented Putin’s aggression. But certainly the European nations would have been much stronger in terms of imposing sanctions, and not been in a situation where they are opposing a war, they are imposing sanctions against Russia, but at the same time, they are sending billions of euros to pay for Russia’s war effort.
The next step: China
What is the next thing that the democratic nations need to look at? It is of course, China and Xi Jinping, who clearly has the same tendencies as Putin wanting to set himself up as the undisputed dictatorial leader with more personal power than any Chinese leader has had since Mao. And that actually the Chinese society vowed that no single person would ever have again, but here it is.
That is why he of course called Putin his bosom buddy and said there was no limit to their friendship. Well, let’s see what limits there are. Because Russia might say: “Well, besides oil and gas, we do not really sell much to the Western democracies.” But China certainly cannot say the same. If the modern democracies, wherever they are on the globe, stopped buying Chinese-made goods tomorrow, well, certainly the Chinese economy would not survive it.
What you need to recognize in a democratic nation is that you have an enormously strong card to play here. And you need to have the courage to play it. And it is not just the leaders, the elected leaders, it is also the leaders of businesses. Now, just imagine what would happen if China attacked Taiwan. You saw what happened a few hours after Russia went into Ukraine. At the level of the collective consciousness, it was like the situation in a gas, where all the molecules are oriented in various directions. They are chaotic. But there can be a certain phase transition where suddenly all of the molecules are oriented in the same direction. This is what happened in the collective consciousness of the modern democracies. There was an almost unanimous decision: “I am not buying anything coming from Russia anymore.”
Just imagine that China invaded Taiwan. You would see the exact same thing happen: “I am not buying anything made in China anymore.” Well, Apple Computer was one of the first companies to pull out of Russia. What would happen if people said: “I am not buying anything made in China anymore? Therefore, I cannot buy any iPhones or iPads, or Apple computers, because they all made in China.” What would happen to Apple’s profits? It would take an enormous plunge, and the same, of course, with many other Western companies. Therefore, if you are a responsible CEO, of a large Western company, or even a multinational corporation, you need to look at this and say: “We have to protect our business against China doing something that would cause consumers to refuse to buy anything made in China. We simply cannot afford to have 90% of our products made in China and becoming unsellable overnight. We must diversify, we must find other countries where we can exploit the workers and create a manufacturing economy.”
The same goes for the political leaders. They need to be willing to state this because you cannot assume that the Chinese leadership is smart enough to see it on their own. Look at what happened with many Western experts. When the US started providing intelligence showing the concentration of Russian troops and saying they thought it was a preparation for an invasion, many Western experts said: “Oh no, Putin is not going to invade. He would not do that.” Because they assumed that Putin could see the negative consequences of it as clearly as they could see them. But history proves that he could not. And therefore, you cannot assume that Xi Jinping, and those who support him in the Chinese leadership can see beyond their own bubble. They too have drunk their own Kool Aid. And they think that even though this happened to Russia, they could do it differently, they could get away with it, because the West could not stop manufacturing products in China. But you see, the West would have to stop manufacturing products if those products could not be sold. And if consumers say: “We are not buying anything from China.” Well, then the Western companies would stop producing, because what is the point in producing if you cannot sell it?
Is this the kind of leader we want in the democratic nation?
These are the kinds of things that need to be stated on an international level. The Omega aspect is looking at democratic nations and saying: “What kind of leadership do we want? And what kind of leadership do we not want?” This has been paraded before the eyes of the world, certainly the United States, with the Trump presidency, and especially the aftermath of the Trump presidency. What does Trump represent? He represents a leader who took advantage of the democratic process, a democratic society, and got elected president. Then he did many things that were not in accordance with the democratic process—that sought to undermine the democratic process, because he did not respect and he still does not respect democracy. He sincerely, in his mind believes that the United States should be run like his own company. Which basically means he wants to be the undisputed leader that nobody can object to. Whatever he says, that is what goes, otherwise, “you’re fired.”
That is what he wants to turn America into. Why does he want this? Because he has the same mentality as Putin—nothing is ever enough. Now, Trump is different from Putin in many ways. Trump does not actually want power. He does not actually want money. He wants attention, recognition. He wants to be admired. He wants to be looked at as the greatest president ever, because he thinks that he was the greatest, (and still is) the greatest businessman ever. Nothing will ever be enough for Trump, just as nothing will ever be enough for Putin.
Is this the kind of leader you want in democratic nations or in the world? This is the question that democratic nations need to ask themselves in these coming years. What kind of leaders do we actually want? Do we want someone who respects the democratic process and respects the people? Or do we want someone who is basically elitist because they think that they can make better decisions than the people? There is an elite who thinks that they are better suited to making decisions than the population. Well, this goes for Putin, this goes for Trump. Both of them have that tendency. They think they know best.
There was a Danish king, over 100 years ago, who made the statement: “We (always referring to himself as ‘we’) alone know what serves Denmark best.” He thought that he was the only person in the country who could know what is best for the country. Many other leaders throughout history have thought the same. Is it not time to end the era of ‘know-it-alls’, those who think that they know best? And even those who support them, who still think that one person can know better than the general population.
This is the next step in the democratization process, the evolution of democracy, where you realize that no single person can know it all. Therefore, you need to broaden the decision-making body. You need to have more people who are involved in making decisions. Ultimately, you need to involve the people as much as possible, through referendums, eventually leading to direct democracy. And eventually leading beyond it to a form of consensus democracy, where a vote becomes unnecessary, because everybody knows what everybody wants.
This has now been demonstrated. The West and modern democracies have been awakened to what can happen when you allow such a leader. You can see in the United States how the population is still divided. But you can see beginning signs that even in the Republican Party, they are those who are distancing themselves from Trump and certainly his election lies. There are many Republicans who would say: “If only Trump would stop talking about what happened in the last election and start talking about what he wants to happen in the next election.” They would breathe a sigh of relief. But it is not enough to wait for this to happen. It is time to make a decision and say: “Is this the kind of leader we want in the Republican Party? Is this what the Republican Party has traditionally stood for, and should stand for in the present and in the future?” There are some courageous Republicans who have said this. Many of them have been frozen out, many of them do not even want to run again. Are there enough of them, that they can change the course of the Republican Party so it can again be somewhat aligned with a higher vision?
The room for growth without forcing others
What kind of leaders do you want? In a sense, a democratic form of government, a democratic nation, the democratic mindset says that there are certain things that are enough. “We are enough to be this small nation of Denmark. We do not need to conquer territory and expand our country as we had a king 500 years ago, who attempted to do. We do not need to take over Norway, and half of Sweden, and a lot of Germany and maybe even England and Ireland. We do not need to conquer this territory. We are enough in our borders as we are, we are now focusing on improving the lifestyle in our country.” Most democratic nations are the same. They do not have an ambition of starting some military conquest, because you realize that it is enough.
Now, there is another aspect where democracy also is not enough. Because there is always room for growth. There is always room for evolution. And democracy is open to this. But democracy is open by improving itself, not by forcing others. If you look at Putin, what has he been saying? He has essentially been saying, not consciously, not with those words, but he has essentially been saying: “Russia is not enough.” Just take a look at the map and how huge Russia is. Then consider how much wealth they have from oil and gas. How could this not be enough? Well, it is not enough because Putin is the undisputed leader of Russia, but he has not solved Russia’s problems. And therefore, he needs a scapegoat. He needs something to divert attention from his own deficiency, so he can blame it on somebody. “No, the reason why I can’t solve Russia’s problems is that Russia is not big enough. We should go back to historical Russia, where it had the greatest extension and had all of Finland, the Baltic nations, half of Poland, Moldova, all of Ukraine, and all of these underlying republics. Then I could solve all of Russia’s problems, if only Russia had the right historical extension that it should have.”
Then imagine that Russia did conquer all of these nations. Would Putin be able to solve Russia’s problems? Of course not. So what is the next step? “Well, if we only had this territory and that territory and all of the Arctic, then we could solve Russia’s problems.” And it will never be enough. Trump, in a way is the same thing: “If only I had absolute power in America and nobody could object to me, like Putin in Russia, then I could solve all of America’s problems. But these Democrats, these liberals, they will not allow me to have it. They are the problem. You should be angry at them.” You see this for these leaders, which of course goes back to the manipulators, it can never be enough.
Democratic nations are done with outward expansion and forcing other people. What they are not done with is with improvement from within by improving yourself. That is where growth lies in a democratic nation, not in any outward expansion. This, of course, applies to the multinational corporations, spawned by America.
NEXT: The democratic nations need to confront the problem of evil