Consequences are what humble us, what give us pause when we are about to make a rash mistake. Our losses teach us about the limits of humanity, and those who do not learn from the wisdom they impart are usually setting themselves up for an even bigger disaster. The liberal world order that rules the West has been so dominant for so long that our elites cannot imagine a scenario where there are serious and lasting consequences to the decisions they make. Cultural and economic hegemony have allowed Western leaders to impose incoherent policies of global governance while insulating themselves from any costs those policies might exact. This has granted our elites an illusion of inevitable victory which makes it impossible for them to change course, even when the disastrous results of those policies come crashing through the walls of their ivory tower.
This is why Western nations have been willing to outsource energy production to hostile nations like Russia, and then turn around and fight a proxy war with that provider over a client state like Ukraine. Western powers have been seeking to isolate and antagonize a weakened Russia for decades through economic sanctions and NATO expansion, yet they did not hesitate to make that nation key to their energy supply. Our leaders assumed it was safe to push forward with their own domestic green energy agendas because they would always be able to draw more reliable fossil fuels from foreign sources. The ambitions of nations like Russia could always be contained by the “international community” and so even as Putin made it clear he intended to defy the West and send troops into Ukraine, European and American leaders continued their march towards green energy without hesitation.
The liberal world order felt confident that its economic superiority would break Putin’s resolve and quickly moved to expand sanctions, boycott Russian energy exports, and isolate the rogue nation from international financial services. Again, Western countries had actively chosen to make themselves dependent on foreign energy, but this did not cause them to hesitate for a moment when it came to playing chicken with a nuclear armed nation in Eastern Europe who was providing a large amount of their fossil fuel. The West was confident that Russia would blink, everyone always blinks eventually under the social and financial pressure. But Russia called the bluff, sold its energy to nations like India who had no interest in joining the international boycott, and the ruble has rebounded in value above its pre-war levels.