The fight over Ukraine isn't about Ukraine.
As World War II ended The United States invited victorious allies to the Bretton Woods Conference to decide what to do after Germany and Japan were defeated. As leaders of the Conference, and free world, we proposed rebuilding defeated nations, world-wide democracy and United States Navy policed freedom of the seas and free trade.
Nations that adopted our program prospered; Nations that reverted to pre-World War II autocracy stagnated. England and France bankrupted themselves trying to maintain control of recalcitrant colonies that eventually freed themselves from colonization. Extreme repression kept citizens in China under control until 1949 and in The Soviet Union until the Berlin Wall collapsed. College students and middle-class citizens led Arab Spring revolts a few decades later.
Television, movies and the Internet make it possible for members of a suppressed nation to see how prosperous free nation citizens have become and this eventually incites unrest and revolt. Unfortunately almost all such revolutions fail because repressive regimes don't create a public service culture or the quality of leaders it takes to govern a modern democracy.
Autocrats are trying to take us back to the bad old days. Anyone with common sense sees that make no sense given the economically poor and repressed lives citizens of autocratically led nations live.
Putin invaded Crimea and eastern Ukraine and now wants it all. On the Asian side of the world Xi Jinping now controls Hong Kong and wants Taiwan where most of the computer chips we depend on are made. Neither autocrat will stop if they can pick off smaller nations one at a time. They don't like organized resistance. Putin hates us for supporting NATO and Xi hates us for resurrecting an opposing alliance with England, Australia, Japan, India and other threatened nations.
Democratically led public health and scientific progress has made it possible for population of the world to double since 1950 and fewer people live in extreme poverty than before.
In reality we Americans especially have it pretty darned good. Our world isn't perfect but unlike eighty years ago most of us are now able to pursue our personal, spiritual and vocational dreams and most Americans now have a place to live with efficient heating and cooling systems, more than enough to eat, and safe to drink hot and cold water.
The good old days autocrats are striving to revive weren't that good. The current fight is about saving the way of life our version of post-World War II democracy created.
That's why what Putin and Xi are trying to do does concern us here.