Since its inception more than a millennium ago, Russia has been expansionist and predatory. By 1776, its conquests had reached the point that the Empire of Spain was moved to build the Presidio of San Francisco as a strong point against Russian southern expansion into North America. Russia, this prison-house of nations, this vast chamber of infinite horrors, did not spare even its highest ranks. One Tsar invited his leading Boyars to a great feast and killed two of them to show who was boss. Invasions, insurrection and purges have raged through this land of 11 time zones.

Putin’s Russia retains the hallmarks of its history. It cannot provide for its people. Poverty is rampant. Its population is declining. It squeezes foreign partners and its own citizens out of petroleum production and wages economic warfare with it.

Russian creeping aggression along its western frontier is pervasive and widespread. Russia gouges Ukraine for supplies of natural gas, doubling the price and demanding billions of dollars in alleged past-due claims. It threatens the European Union with gas supply disruption elsewhere in Europe if Ukraine does not pay.

In the past Russia used Marxist-Leninist doctrine as a handmaiden to its historic imperialist imperative. Now that the workers’ paradise has gone a-glimmering, it uses other excuses for aggression and extortion. It is party to tacit alliances of varying intimacy with various centers of Islamic terror, on the assumption it can handle the Muslims. Russians and militant Islam come into conflict from time to time but currently the main focus of both is the destruction of Western civilization.

The West must develop ways to resist Russia’s creeping aggression. Among the more obvious means of resistance are the development of alternative sources of energy and a credible counter to the current enormous Russian military mobilization. Case in point: When the Soviets seemed intent on seizing West Berlin, President Kennedy pointed out to the world that America was in West Berlin by right of conquest, threw a column of tanks down Highway 9W through East Germany to West Berlin and faced off against Russian armor in East Berlin. After shining bright lights at one another for some time, the forces withdrew.

Western civilization can survive, but only if its peoples defend it.

Albert W.L. Moore lives in Independence.