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Another's game

Another's game

14 2018 June
Tags: Analytics, Politics, West, Europe, USA

The overwhelming majority of those who observe foreign policy (with the exception of the most mature category 80 +) are accustomed to having an unchanged point of reference - a single political West.

This concept was born during the Second World War, when the heads of the United States and Great Britain signed the Atlantic Charter. Churchill's Fulton speech in 1946 year noted the dropping of the "iron curtain" between the "free world" (the West) and its opponents, whom the USSR personified. For the next 45 years, the West was an ideological and political community, welded together by the Soviet threat. And after the Cold War, a community led by the United States began to perceive itself as the vanguard of global progress, a model for the rest.

The model of the West quickly became contested - the spread of his ideas and approaches beyond the cultural and historical range ran into obstacles and often gave strange results. However, the stability and viability of the western bloc did not cause doubts. Common core values, conflicting interests, closest economic interdependence and political interrelations ...

Hence the shock, which caused the outcome of the summit of the G-7 in Quebec. The intransigence of Donald Trump, and then the demarche with the withdrawal of the United States signature under the final communique and abuse against the host of the event, Justin Trudeau, compelled commentators in Europe and the US to talk about the disintegration of the "greatest in history" partnership.

Symptoms of the divergence between the Old and New Worlds appeared long ago, soon after the Cold War. The first legislative act on the non-recognition of US sanctions the European Union took even under Bill Clinton (occasion then - Cuba). The sharp disagreements were manifested under Bush (a split in the ranks of NATO and the EU in connection with the Iraq war and politics in the Middle East). The reluctance of Europeans to spend money on defense America sharply criticized under Obama, and attempts to agree on a transatlantic trade and investment partnership revealed a clear divergence of interests. Trump, with his manner of acting, acted as a catalyst for the process, which began almost a quarter of a century ago.

To shocked observers it seems that the world is collapsing. But the West as a political unity is a phenomenon by the standards of the chronicle of mankind recently. Until the middle of the last century it was never. Common cultural, religious, historical roots did not prevent the Western powers from selflessly fighting each other up to the attempts of total destruction. The culture of war and expansion was an inalienable element of Western civilization, relations between its parts.

Those who are frightened by the present crisis of the West are right that the union brought unprecedented peace and prosperity to the people entering into it, deliverance from the endless disagreement. This never happened before. At the heart of the successful experiment were two fears. Fear of civil strife, rolling to rivalry, which twice destroyed Europe in the twentieth century. And the fear of an external enemy who wanted to change the Western way of life - the Soviet Union.

The end of the last century brought deliverance from both. The USSR withdrew from the battlefield and self-destructed. The specter of war in Europe has dissipated as far as the unparalleled success of integration. Truly grandiose achievements. But what's left of the clip?

At the meeting of the G-7 that took place at random, it was possible to adopt, in fact, only one general document - on joint opposition to propaganda and disinformation. In other words, about countering Russia. It is logical - to try to use one of the original fears in the former unifying function. It turned out blurryly - the unexpected diversion of Trump about the need to return to the Group of Eight with the participation of Russia confused all and generated another squabble. Nevertheless, one can be sure that the Russian factor will be in motion, there is no other familiar threat under the hands.

Certainly, the second fear will also revive - internecine strife. Ungrounded it can not be called. A question fundamental to many in the world: is a unified Europe possible without a single West? Experience such is not present, only arrival of the USA in the Old World in the second half of the last century became the guarantor of the consent between the largest European people. Of course, a long way has been passed. But there is no certainty that without the United States there will be a solid foundation of European unity. Partly also because in the case of weakening of Atlantic ties, the very fact of the attitude to America will work for a split, and not for the unification of Europe.

The world of the twentieth century is leaving irrevocably, it can be seen in all spheres. There is not a single institution that appeared at that time, which would not be in crisis now. The political West from Washington to Tokyo and from Oslo to Ankara is also a product of that era.

So the transformation is inevitable. Russia can afford the luxury of watching it from the side, although attempts to drag us into it and somehow use are inevitable. Do not give in, it's someone else's game.

Fedor Lukyanov
Comte
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