Many have been said, in more than three months, on the war in Ukraine. Affirmations often intended only to feed the ego of some aspiring neo-influencer, more or less actually rose to the limelight. It happened with virologists during the Covid emergency, and it happens now with geopolitics analysts. Due to this mechanism – which highlights the state of poor health of the information system – both on Covid and on the war we have heard of all colors.
But the interesting thing is that, on the war, only one affirmation sees Putin and the NATO countries in agreement, as well as the supporters of one or the other side. This statement on which everyone agrees is that it would be a war between the liberal West on the one hand and the East with an alternative socio-cultural model on the other.
Following this vision, one of the strongest arguments used by supporters of Ukraine (and NATO) is precisely that it is a question of defend western democracy against Eastern authoritarianism.
Yet, we are faced with one of the few things that have not really been said about this war. That is what the only vision that everyone agrees no longer corresponds to the truth.
Certainly, Putin’s Russia (as well as Xi Jinping’s China) is a country governed in an authoritarian and illiberal manner, but with the same degree of certainty we can say that the West is no longer what one reads in the history books. and political philosophy. The features that this civilization has lost it are precisely those that push not a small part of Western public opinion to argue that there is not much more to defend. To the point of pushing the most extremists even to side with Putin or, in any case, to hope for a collapse of the Atlanticist Alliance.
This is the point: many Western citizens no longer feel part of a community that must be defended by authoritarian and illiberal regimes.
But then we need to understand why or, better, the why. I try to summarize the ones that seem to me the most stringent.
First of all because – wanting to take up the expression used by the American essayist Thomas Friedman in 2005 – the world has become mostly “flat”. That is, the most advanced portion of the world has culturally homologated to the values imposed by the market and to the existential dynamics established by the Internet.
This produced epochal changes: the end of the Western model of “Welfare state”, that it had guaranteed reasonable social justice and rights to protect workers and the weaker social classes throughout the twentieth century; the return of the privileges reserved for the very rich few, who among other things hold ever more exorbitant wealth while the overwhelming majority of the population sees even the hope of stable and equitably paid work dissolve. School, health care (we have seen it with Covid) and social assistance in general are reduced to the limitwith a public opinion that on average is more obtuse and ignorant (therefore manipulable) and, in general, with a population in great suffering due to the cost of living which has risen to intolerable levels.
All this, in fact, with the approval of a political class mostly reduced to figures of the lowest level, unable to rise above the theater of controversy as an end in itself or of group interest. So totally incompetent with respect to the measures with which to react to the dominance of financial powers. A largely exhausted public opinionexasperated, but also ignorant and obtuse is the most suitable for thinking – rightly or wrongly it doesn’t matter – that we have nothing to defend against authoritarian and undemocratic regimes.
The West, which has lost the ability to make the large portion of its population feel good, is the one that is most exposed to its own sunset. It is not a more or less just war (the West can boast a long string of unjust wars) that is undermining its fate. It’s not Putin, China, ISIS or who knows who else. That of our civilization has all the appearance of a suicide on the part of has lost the ability to generate widespread culture, well-being, justice and education. It is the failure of these foundations that is seriously threatening to collapse our house. The one that many no longer feel as their own.