The hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who turned out to fight for freedom in the streets of Kiev have prevailed. The corrupt Yanukovych dictatorship has fallen, and imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed. Yet the forces of tyranny have not yet played all their cards, so it is essential that Americans know what the stakes in this battle really are.

We need to wake up. The events unfolding in Ukraine right now are of global historic importance. The issues are not just whether Ukraine will have a free trade agreement with the European Union. That is a substantial matter — Ukraine would do well to have free trade with Europe (as would Russia!) –  but, as was the case with tea taxes in our own revolution, only a trigger. Nor is it merely a matter of which party gets to rule in Kiev. The real issues are whether Ukraine will be dragged into Kremlin-ruled captivity, what it would do to Russia itself to become once again both the warden and inhabitant of the necessary continental-scale prison, and what it would mean to America and the world at large to have to deal yet again with such an evil empire.

The Yanukovych regime was a mafia, which regularly threatened, imprisoned, murdered, or disappeared political opponents as well as those whose possessions it wanted. That was bad enough. But the final straw was his attempt to drag Ukraine into the “Eurasian Union.” This project is the brainchild of Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical guru, Aleksandr Dugin, who has proposed the creation of a Eurasian bloc, including not only the republics of the former Soviet Union, but Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Iran, which would be united under the iron heel of a new totalitarian “fourth political theory” to oppose the West.

According to Dugin, who bases most of his allegedly novel synthesis of communism and fascism on the geopolitical, legal, philosophical, and occult ideas of Nazi theorists Karl Haushofer, Rudolf Hess, Carl Schmitt, and Arthur Moeller van der Bruck, such a “Eurasist” continental block is needed to defeat the nefarious influence of the secret “Atlantic Order,” or “Atlantis” — the global mercantile maritime-cosmopolitan conspiracy whose liberal ideas have supposedly subverted traditional hierarchy-based landed societies since ancient times.

“Liberalism,” says Dugin, meaning the whole western consensus, “is an absolute evil. … Only a global crusade against the U.S., the West, globalization, and their political-ideological expression, liberalism, is capable of becoming an adequate response. … The American empire should be destroyed.”

It is to this dark program, which not only threatens the prospects for freedom in Ukraine and Russia, but the peace of the world, that Yanukovych tried to sell “his” country. It is against this program that the courageous protestors in the Maidan took their stand and, for the moment at least, miraculously prevailed.

But now the Ukrainians need to stabilize their country to secure their victory. They deserve our full support — and not just for reasons of sympathy for those resisting tyranny or respect for the brave. It is in the vital interest of America that the freedom triumphs in Ukraine. Without Ukraine, Dugin’s fascist Eurasian Union project is impossible, and sooner or later Russia itself will have to join the west and become free, leaving only a few despised and doomed islands of tyranny around the globe.

But with Ukraine underfoot, the Eurasianist’s program can and will proceed, and a new iron curtain will fall into place imprisoning a large fraction of humanity in the grip of a monstrous totalitarian power that will become the arsenal of evil around the world for decades to come. That means another cold war, trillions of dollars wasted on arms, repeated proxy conflicts costing millions of lives, and civilization itself placed at risk should a single misstep in the endless, insane great-power game precipitate the locked and loaded confrontation into a thermonuclear exchange.

The 20th century saw three great-power confrontations. Two of them turned into total war. We lucked out on the third. Do we really want to roll those dice again? We will have to, unless the Eurasianist program is stopped.

The stakes in Ukraine could not be higher.