Russia joins the battle of the great powers. The left didn't see this coming. To win, Europe should work with the Third World.
After the Russian attack on Ukraine, I was once again ashamed of being a Slovenian citizen. The Slovenian government immediately announced that it was ready to take in thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian occupation. Okay, but when Afghanistan was conquered by the Taliban, the same government announced that Slovenia was not willing to take any refugees from there. The justification was that instead of fleeing, people should stay and fight the Taliban with arms.
A few months ago, when thousands of refugees from Asia tried to reach Poland via Belarus, the Slovenian government offered Poland military aid, claiming that Europe was under attack there. So there are obviously two types of refugees: “our” (European), ie “real refugees”, and those from the third world who do not deserve our hospitality.
The Slovenian government published a tweet on February 25, making this distinction clear: “The refugees from Ukraine come from an environment that is culturally, religiously and historically completely different from the environment from which the refugees from Afghanistan come .” After the outcry this tweet caused, it was soon retracted — but the genie of the obscene truth left the bottle for a brief moment.
China will want to solve the Taiwan issue
I mention this not for moral reasons, but because I believe that such a "defense of Europe" will be disastrous for Western Europe in the ongoing global struggle for geopolitical influence. Our media is currently focused on the conflict between the “liberal” sphere of the West and the “Eurasian” sphere of Russia, with each side accusing the other of posing a threat: the West is fomenting “color revolutions” in the East and encircling Russia with NATO -extension one; Russia is brutally trying to reestablish its control over all former Soviet territory, and no one knows where it will stop.
Russia has already made it clear that it will not stand idly by as Bosnia and Herzegovina moves closer to NATO (which likely means that it will support the secession of the Serbian part of Bosnia). All of this is part of a larger geopolitical game – just think of the Russian military presence in Syria that saved the Assad regime. What the West largely ignores is the third, much larger group of countries that are mostly just watching the conflict: the Third World, from Latin America to the Middle East, from Africa to Southeast Asia - even China is unwilling to fully support Russia, although it has its own plans. On February 25, in a message to Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping stated that China is willing to cooperate with the Korean side, to further develop China-North Korea relations in friendship and cooperation "in a new situation" - a cryptic reference to the war in Ukraine. There are fears that China will use the "new situation" to "liberate" Taiwan.
Nobody really expected a total invasion of Ukraine
Therefore it is not enough to repeat things that are obvious to us. It is true that even the language used by Putin gives it all away. On February 25, 2022, Putin called on the Ukrainian military to seize power in their country and overthrow President Zelensky, saying it was “easier for us to make a deal with the Ukrainian military” than with “this gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis” (of the Ukrainian government) who “took the entire Ukrainian people hostage”.
It is also notable how Russia immediately militarizes any countermeasure: when Western states considered the possibility of excluding Russia from the SWIFT system, Russia replied that this would be tantamount to an act of war – as if Russia had not already started a large-scale actual war . Another chilling case: "To all those considering outside interference, if you do so, you will face consequences that will be greater than any in history," Putin said on February 24, 2022, when he announced the military intervention in Ukraine.
Let's try to take this statement seriously: "Foreign interference" can mean many things, including sending defense military equipment to Ukraine; "Consequences greater than any you have faced in history"? European countries have endured two world wars with millions of dead, so a "major" consequence can only be nuclear destruction. It is this (not just rhetorical) radicalization that should concern us: most of us expected Russia to occupy only the two Russian separatist-controlled “republics” or, in the extreme case, the entire Donbass region. Nobody really expected a total invasion of Ukraine.
Putin says he had no choice
However, those who support Russia, or at least have some “understanding” of its actions, are a group of odd bedfellows. Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that quite a few on the liberal left took the crisis for a bluff, knowing both sides could not afford all-out war. The message from the liberal left was: "Keep calm, don't lose your nerve and nothing will happen."
Unfortunately, we have to admit that Biden was right when he said 10 days ago that Putin made a decision to invade. After the Russian aggression, some “leftists” (I can’t use the word without quotation marks here) blame it on the West – the story is well known: NATO slowly strangled and destabilized Russia, encircling it militarily, fomenting revolutions and ignoring them altogether legitimate fears of Russia. Just remember that Russia has been attacked twice from the West in the last century...
There is, of course, some truth to that. But using this narrative to justify the war is like justifying Hitler by blaming the unjust Treaty of Versailles, which devastated the German economy. And it also means that the great powers have the right to control their own spheres of influence and sacrifice the autonomy of small nations on the altar of global stability.
Putin has repeatedly claimed that he was forced to intervene militarily because there was no other choice. In its own way, that is true, but we must raise the key question here: military intervention only appears as Putin's only choice ("There is no alternative") if we consider his global vision of politics as a great power struggle for defense and expansion accept in advance their sphere of influence.
The question is: Who rules the world?
And what about Putin's accusations that Ukraine is fascist? (It's a bit odd to call Zelensky, a Jew who lost many of his family ancestors in the Holocaust, a neo-Nazi...) We'd better turn the question around and put it to Putin himself: everyone who has illusions about Putin , should note that he promoted to the rank of official philosopher Ivan Ilyin, a Russian political theologian who, after being expelled from the Soviet Union on the famous “Philosopher's Ship” in the early 1920s, opposed Bolshevism and Western liberalism espoused its own version of Russian fascism: the state as an organic community ruled by a paternal monarch.
For Ilyin, the social system is like a body in which each of us has our place, and freedom means knowing our place. Accordingly, for Ilyin, democracy is a ritual: “We vote only to affirm our collective support for our leader. The leader is not legitimized by our votes or elected by our votes.” Isn't that the way Russian elections have actually been conducted over the past few decades? No wonder Ilyin's works are now being reprinted en masse in Russia and distributed free of charge to state apparatchiks and conscripts.
Aleksander Dugin, Putin's court philosopher, follows in Ilyin's footsteps and adds only a postmodern variant of historicist relativism: “Postmodernism shows that any so-called truth is a matter of belief. So we believe in what we do, we believe in what we say. And that is the only way to define the truth. So we have our special Russian truth that you have to accept. If the United States does not want to start a war, you should realize that the United States is no longer the sole ruler. And [with] the situation in Syria and Ukraine, Russia is saying, 'No, you're not the boss anymore.' That is the question of who rules the world. Only a war can really decide that.”
Putin acts as a copy of Western imperialist expansionism
The question that immediately arises here is: What about the people of Syria and Ukraine? Can they also choose their truth/beliefs or are they just a playground for the big "bosses" and their struggle? The notion that every “life form” has its own truth is what endears Putin to the new populist right. No wonder his military intervention in ... So when Putin speaks of “denazification,” we should remember that it is the same Putin who is Marine le Pen in France , which supported Lega in Italy and other neo-fascist movements.
But all this is not surprising: forget about the “Russian truth”, this is just a convenient myth to justify one's power. Putin is now acting as a belated copy of Western imperialist expansionism. So, to really counter it, we should build bridges to third world countries, many of which have long lists of perfectly legitimate grievances against Western colonization and exploitation. It is not enough to “defend Europe”: our real task is to convince third world countries that we can offer them a better choice than Russia or China in the face of our global problems. And the only way to achieve this is to transforming ourselves far beyond politically correct post-colonialism and ruthlessly eradicating forms of neo-colonialism, even when masquerading as humanitarian aid. If we don't, we will only wonder why people in the third world don't see that while defending Europe we are also fighting for their freedom. They don't see it because we don't actually do it. Are we ready to do it? I doubt it.
Peter Jungblut, "Author Slavoj Žižek: "Forget the Russian truth"" (Translated)
The Slovenian thinker and essayist points to Putin's enthusiasm for far-right philosophers, for whom "truths" are only a "matter of faith." The West must do much more to support the poorer countries.Do Russian Putin supporters now have their "own" truth, which they manipulate at will? In a longer article for the "Berliner Zeitung", Slavoj Žižek (72), who teaches German studies and philosophy in Ljubljana, London and New York, refers to the Kremlin's "court philosopher", the influential political scientist and right-wing extremist thinker Alexander Geljewitsch Dugin (60). He is convinced that the truth is only a "question of faith". Dugin said, "So we believe in what we do, we believe in what we say. And that's the only way to define the truth. So we have our particular Russian truth that you have to accept."
"Right-wing monarchist" is popular in the Kremlin
According to Žižek, it is fitting that Putin elevated the monarchist thinker Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin (1883 - 1954) to the rank of an "official philosopher", i.e. a man who "represented his own version of Russian fascism: the state as an organic community led by a paternal monarch". In this respect, Putin's accusation that "fascists" are at the helm in Ukraine is directed against himself, especially since he has supported Marine le Pen in France, the Lega in Italy and other neo-fascist movements: "The idea that every 'form of life' has its own truth is what makes Putin so popular with the new populist right."
In any case, it is noteworthy that Russia immediately "militarizes" any countermeasure and described the exclusion from the SWIFT system as an "act of war": "Forget the 'Russian truth', this is only a convenient myth to justify one's own power."
"We should build bridges to the Third World"
At the same time, Žižek appealed to the West to rely much more on the support of the poorer countries in the South in order to win the struggle against Russian neo-imperialism. So far, these nations have only been "observers" in the current Ukraine conflict: "So in order to really oppose it, we should build bridges to the countries of the Third World, many of which have a long list of completely justified complaints against Western colonization and exploitation."
The "only way to achieve this" is to "change ourselves far beyond politically correct postcolonialism and ruthlessly eradicate forms of neocolonialism."
Incidentally, as a Slovenian, Žižek was ashamed that his country was prepared to "take in thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian occupation" but was much more reluctant to host refugees from Afghanistan: "The justification was that instead of fleeing, people should stay there and fight the Taliban with weapons."