The dictatorship of “The Free World” and the corruption of the ideolexicon “freedom”
Aside from his reasons for intervening in Ukraine, Putin is an ideological challenge for the 20th-century standards. Conservative, but anti-Nazi, and Capitalist in his own way.
The fact that the global left supports him lies in his perceptive and powerful response to the economic and military hegemony of the military West. Standing up to centuries-old arrogance in the name of democracy and freedom is no mean feat. Democracy and freedom that countries invaded by Western superpowers never saw. Quite the contrary. As in the days of slavery, when the Southern Democrats in the United States systematically stole land from Mexico to expand this dehumanizing system, it was always done in the name of civilization and freedom. The same thing happened after its legal abolition: throughout the 20th century, in the name of freedom and democracy, invasions, coups, and friendly dictatorships spread across all continents. More recently, the fight for Human Rights was added to the brief menu of positive and, at the same time, criminal ideolexics.
If in Europe and the United States there is some freedom, democracy, and human rights (much more than in the friendly colonies and neo-colonies and functional to their economic interests) it is not because of any of the brutal and arrogant military interventions and economic blockades against non-aligned countries. It would suffice to consider that the Vietnam War, “to protect our freedoms” as many in the United States repeat, was a costly but scandalous defeat. Except in the movies and in social discourse. Apart from another fiasco of the greatest military power and the millions of Vietnamese massacred under 7.5 million tons of bombs and many tons of Agent Orange, no American lost any “freedom”. On the contrary, they won a few. The only concrete freedoms that were conquered were the result of the struggle of the demonized, anti-patriotic Civil Rights activists, such as the socialist (shhh, don’t say it) Martin Luther King or the rebel boxer and anti-war Mohammed Ali (“My enemy is the white people, not the Viet Cong or Chinese or Japanese. You’re my opposer when I want freedom. You’re my opposer when I want justice. You’re my opposer when I want equality.”).
In each and every one of the cases in which the West won some new freedom (equal-freedom, not the freedom of the enslaver to enslave the rest) it was by the demonized movements of the left, the heroic mobilizations of those below, whose achievements were systematically kidnapped by the conservatives, when there was no going back or the demand to go back, to the “good old days” of the conservatives had to wait for the propaganda from those above, from those in the center, to have some effect in those below, in those on the periphery.
I believe that this historical logic explains the apparent ideological contradictions in an event that now shocks the world, such as Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. The beginning: apart from Putin’s reasons for intervening (the expansion of NATO, the massacres in Donbas) the meaning of the intervention has deep historical roots at the global level and a sign that we are approaching the Thucydides Trap–but we have been writing on this for a couple of decades…
JM, February 25, 2002