The WEST should become the North, with RUSSIA as an essential part
The “West,” as we have known it, is dying before our eyes. The liberal institutional, economic and intellectual carapace which (under both “right-wing” and “left-wing” governments) has enclosed and restricted Western thought since the end of the Cold War is now disintegrating. It has been corroded by a combination of the sins of the liberal establishment itself and aspects of globalisation that Western liberalism helped to foster.
Conservatives are becoming more conservative in the old sense, not just liberals in conservative fancy dress. If they wish to compete, left-wing parties will have to become a good deal more socialist—as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have both demonstrated. National identity and national solidarity are once again core issues. And, on both left and right, voters have demonstrated their opposition to the expansionism that has characterised much of US and European foreign and security policy over the past generation. Not only is the idea of further NATO and EU expansion dead, but it seems now almost certain that the EU itself will become a very different and much looser grouping, closer to de Gaulle’s idea of a “Europe des Patries” than the grandiose federalist plans of the past generation.
The crumbling of the previous Western order has many frightening implications, including for civic peace in Western Europe and North America and for international action against climate change. As far as Russia is concerned, the new cultural, intellectual and political plurality of views opens a range of opportunities. The most obvious of these is the prospect of geopolitical reconciliation between the US, the EU and Russia, overcoming the totally unnecessary hostility created by the expansion of NATO and Russia’s reaction to that expansion, and by the adventurism of the US and its allies in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. One of the worst aspects of the liberal order in the West over the past generation was its incessant attempts to turn Russia into a hostile “Other” against which the liberal West could define itself and celebrate itself.
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