wat0n wrote:Indeed, but the perception of US/NATO weakness probably mattered too.
His mistake is interpreting restraint as weakness.
The reality that anti-west, anti-US people don't understand is that the US and the west in general has a history of showing a tremendous amount of restraint around the world. Interventions of the last 70 years, be it Korea, Vietnam, Latin America, Africa, Iraq/Afghanistan, were minimal compared to the level of imperialism/meddling/dominance the US could have actually unleash on the world if it wanted to. Let's not forget, there was even a time where the US had a monopoly on nuclear weapons after WWII. The US had the opportunity to put more of the world, including the soviet union under its thumb if it wanted to. Instead, it showed restraint.
Don't get me wrong, we can rightfully complain, condemn, and denounce the US hegemony/meddling around the world in the last several decades. This cannot be excuse, but the fact remains, the US has shown an incredible amount of restraint in the decades after WWII.
So, when you have up and coming autocratic dick faces like Putin and Xi, they misinterpret this history of relative restraint (compared to empires of the past who showed no restraint when they are in a position of power) as "weakness", because they themselves are imperialists and subscribe to antiquated views of historical empires. Hence, they falsely believe that the reason the US hasn't subjugated more of the world is not because of levels of restraint we've never seen in history, but because of weakness. Again, these guys have antiquated views of the world.