2016: The Victory of Victimhood
In 2016 claims of victimhood became for the first time ubiquitous amongst the Great Powers, China, Russia and the United States. Dissatisfied leaders from the Nazis onwards have used such claims to justify their plans to change the status quo. Russia’s government argues that NATO and EU interference in its vital interests justify its seizure of Crimea and interventions in Georgia and Ukraine. Russian people support President Putin’s policies partly because they feel humiliated by historic events and most recently by the collapse of the Soviet Union. China’s government continues to make capital out of Japanese repression in the Second World War to justify its assertive foreign policy and hide its own crimes. The current US administration argues that Washington’s past generosity has led it into unfair trade treaties and to ‘free-riding’ by its NATO allies. Resentment about past events may be justified in some cases but deployed as a weapon by powerful states it is a threat to international stability.