Ordinary citizens remain calm because of the simple fact that they typically do not know the full picture -- nor do they try to know it. It is easier to live that way. Just the same, it is time to wake up and recognize what is happening. This is no Hollywood blockbuster unfolding outside our windows, but a force majeure of international proportions. True, it is not the first that the world has experienced, but knowing what hardships previous conflicts have brought to mankind should motivate us to try to prevent any more from occurring.
The U.S. government believes that, as the inheritor of tsarist Russia and Soviet Union, Russia has expansionist and hegemonic traditions that China doesn't have. It believes Russia always has policies that challenge and attempt to supplant the existing international order while China doesn't. In many circumstances, China sees itself as a beneficiary of the current international order.
The leadership in Beijing must be secretly delighted watching the struggle between Russia and the West. The Ukraine mess can seriously poison Moscow's relations with Washington and Brussels for a long time to come, thus reducing their mutual ability to coordinate policies on the major issues in world politics. One such issue, perhaps the most important, concerns geopolitical risks associated with China's rise and its impact on the global economic and military balance. The Western push to "isolate" Russia may prove self-defeating. Rather than forcing Moscow to withdraw from Ukraine, it will draw it closer to Beijing.