The post-modernist west is unable to comprehend a self-confident modern Russia
Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program “CrossTalk.” His expressed opinions may or may not reflect those of his employer.
From the chattering classes mingling with those roaming to the corridors of power to the west’s media oligarchs, Russia is consistently portrayed as alien and a country to be wary of, even feared. The west’s 24/7 media echo chamber tells us relentlessly that something is simply not right about Russia and that somehow it is because of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is where the west simply gets Russia wrong. Putin’s popularly at home is real and not artificially constructed. Russians like and respect their president and it is because of what he believes and does.
When the west backed the illegal regime change in Ukraine last year it was in the name of a “civilizational choice.” This is a very interesting phrase. The west’s post-modern “civilizational choice” really has nothing to do with values. Actually it is a practice that demands hegemony and submission from any country that resists. Russia
resists. The west under Washington’s dictatorial leadership conceals its hegemonic mission under the guise of democracy, gender rights, gay rights, and a equivocal definition of universal applied rights. This is a post-modern approach to foreign policy – and it is intentional.
Russia strongly objects to this approach and should do so. There are many obvious reasons for this. The west’s post-modern foreign policy paradigm is overwhelmingly hypocritical and contradictory.
- Do Washington and Brussels call for sanctions against Saudi Arabia because of its barbaric practice of beheading (like Isis)? Of course not.
- Do Washington and Brussels demand gays rights should be respected in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq? Of course not.
- Does the west respect the democratic wishes expressed by the Palestinians, the Lebanese, and the people of Ukraine’s Novorossia? Of course not.
- Do Washington and Brussels do anything truly meaningful to end Israel’s occupation and theft of Arab lands? Of course not.
- Do Washington and Brussels respect the legitimacy of democratically elected governments? The list of coups backed and/or orchestrated by the west since the Second World War is too long to enumerate here. Suffice to say the west’s most recent foray in the “forced regime change game” was in Kiev in February of last year.
So much for values and calls for a “civilizational choice."
Russia’s political elite and the vast majority of Russians understand politics and foreign policy in a very different way. Viewed from the Kremlin perspective, what is missing from the west’s foreign policy approach are the terms sovereignty, self-determination, and international law. In fact, the Washington-driven post-modern agenda denies countries it does not like their sovereignty and even legal rights under international law. Needless to say, Russia is one of those countries.
What does this mean in practice? Washington and its allies declare that if opponent “A” does not behave, then “XYZ” will be done to opponent “A.” This is the post-modern approach to foreign policy and international relations. Essentially it is all about threats, intimidation, and the declaration of the use of force “if necessary.” Negotiation and compromise is not part of the equation.
But this is a big problem for some countries in the world, like Russia, that remain “modern” in outlook (as opposed to the west’s “post-modernism”). When Russia is threatened by the west, it does not declare any specific course of action. It merely states loudly there will be consequences when its sovereignty and geopolitical interests are threatened. Stating as much demonstrates that Russia is acting in a rational manner. Why should it inform a threatening force of its intentions in advance? This is how power politics has worked since time in memorial (or until the west decided its professed values of doing business are now “universal values.”)
This approach vexes the west to the point of hysteria. The same hysteria sooner or later translates into military aggression (that has a recent history of turning out very badly, by the way). The west has become addicted to hysteria and aggression. Hiding behind its claims of values, Washington and its friends in Brussels to demand complete surrender of real or imagined opponents. Diplomacy and negotiations are not part of Washington’s post-modern foreign policy agenda.
No one should be surprised that countries like Russia (Iran and Syria) prefer the old-fashion approach to foreign policy: self-reliance, sovereignty, self-determination, and international law. The west’s “post-modern” approach to foreign policy affords real threats to those wary of the west and its agenda. The west’s “values-laden approach” has proven to be a trap for the weak and naïve. It is no wonder many in Russia now distrust the west and its “kind and enlightened words.”