To be very clear; there is no chance (as in zero, nada, ganz sicher nicht, rien, none) that NATO will invade Russia. Never was. There is no chance that the United States would ever invade Russia (everyone knows we only invade much smaller countries). No one knows the both better than Vladimir Putin. The fear of invasion by NATO, the EU, or the United States was not why he invaded Chechnya, Georgia, and now Ukraine.
Putin invaded Ukraine because, to him, the possibility of having a successful western-style democracy next door was the scariest thing imaginable. The idea of Russians, his people, being able to look over the border and seeing anything other than the Russian ‘Culture’, the Mother Russia of the tsardom he so wanted to restore; kept him awake all his nights. Alternatives can do that to some people.
How could he ever return Russia to the 19th Century if the Russian people wanted so much to be in the 21st? History doesn’t (can’t) repeat itself, but humans can and often do repeat the mistakes of the past. Tsar, Tzar, Csar, Czar Vladimir would be Nicholas I and restore Russia to her former greatness. The rest is history, or will be after the requisite butchery.
Xi, to Putin’s east, is a like-minded man in that he wants to restore China to the China of old, or, at least the emperor and the dynasty parts, which means the China of before the revolution. No mind. Like Putin, he is losing sleep, but this is due to an all too western Hong Kong and Taiwan all too visible to the Chinese people. Xi knows that Taiwan will never invade China, that it would be ridiculous to think that Hong Kong might; but the presence anywhere of an alternative to his autocracy is a threat to his legitimacy and these two are a way too close.
The thing both these two autocrats fear most is any alternative to authoritarianism. Any attractive alternative must be discredited or destroyed. For mere chump change, using software and Facebook, Putin helped put Trump in office, affected BREXIT, and weakened both NATO and the EU. Ukraine is at a $Trillion and climbing with the bodies piling up. Ukraine is a calamitous catastrophe with no end in sight. Biden’s reaction to Putin has Xi’s full attention.
That is some about the east and west of it in Asia. Here, in America, it is more about the north and south of it, with some blue and red for effect. As we just witnessed in the Judge Jackson Senate Confirmation Hearings, we have folks who too want to regress. Back to the days before the Civil Rights Era for starters; to the days when the states got to decide who had what rights; before food stamps, etc. On from there to address the egregious progressive social programs of the 20th century like Social Security. There is no end to what they would undo to get us back to as far as their eye can see.
Like Putin and Xi, the things Senator McConnell fears most are those that offer an alternative to his beloved neofeudalism. He isn’t afraid of liberals per se; he’s afraid his constituency might see the alternative and abandon him, ‘regressivism’, and the republican party. Trump built a wall to keep out Latin Americans, Mitch built a Supreme Court to stop the progressive liberals and to regain/retain control of who gets to vote and which votes count. Not barefoot and pregnant, but a close rhyme. Most of the more vicious attacks on Judge Jackson were carried out by highly educated elites like Senators Cruz, Cotton, Hawley, and Kennedy pandering to ignorance, the lowest common denominator — the Fox News audience. Senators Cruz, Hawley, Cotton, and Kennedy are just pretending to be ignorant. Senator Marsha Blackburn isn’t. But, Senator Blackburn would have her day. And, she did. Speaking with venom from ignorance, she spoke to turning back the clock and the calendar; to being sure that kids were never exposed to anything other than what she and their parents wanted them to be lest they become intelligent and educated; choose an alternative, choose to progress.
Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a neofeudalist like the mere mention of labor unions and to a lesser extent taxes on property and wealth. Senator McConnell shudders at the very thought of any of these things that would disrupt the natural order. Better to pull down those who are succeeding. Pull them down to where they too are working for sub-subsistence wages. Like Putin, get rid of the alternative before your constituents figure things out.
Putin, Xi, and the Marsha Blackburns of the world want to go backward (Cruz, Cotton, Kennedy, and Hawley are just pandering to regressives, ignorance and denominators; Mitch is just a sorry piece of work.) All things being possible, it may be possible to revert. Why would anyone willingly do so?