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Munich Security Report: Here comes the apocalypse

John Wight
John Wight
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.
Munich Security Report: Here comes the apocalypse
In advance of the 2017 Munich Security Conference (MSC) the organizers have published a report with the subheading ‘Post Truth, Post West, Post Order?’ The question answers itself, though not for reasons Western liberals will likely accept.

In the interests of accuracy let us be clear: it is not the West, it is Western liberalism that is in crisis. The two entities are distinct and indeed, as events have and continue to prove, completely antithetical to one another.

The first paragraph of the MSC report reads as if the end of the world is upon us.

“The world is facing an illiberal moment. Across the West and beyond, illiberal forces are gaining ground. From within, Western societies are troubled by the emergence of populist movements that oppose critical elements of the liberal-democratic status quo. From outside, Western societies are challenged by illiberal regimes trying to cast doubt on liberal democracy and weaken the international order. And Western states themselves seem both unwilling and unable to effectively tackle the biggest security crises - with Syria as the prime example.”

Implied in this statement is the assumption that liberalism, or liberal values, should be considered sacrosanct, the sine qua non of cultural, political, economic and moral virtue, and as such the values according to which every country, society, and people must exist, regardless of cultural, regional, or historical specificities.

Therein lies the problem. Despite the carnage, chaos, instability, conflict without end, societal collapse, and economic dislocation that has been wrought in the name of those very ‘sacrosanct’ liberal values and liberal democracy in recent times, its proponents continue to live in a state of abject denial. Try telling the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Africa, Latin America, who’ve seen their countries and societies destroyed in service to liberal democracy, about this “illiberal moment” they are meant to fear. Try telling the ever and shamefully-increasing number of victims of poverty, lack of education, poor housing, bad or non-existent healthcare provision in Western countries, where liberal values predominate, about them also.

And when it comes to Syria, cited in the report as evidence of a “security crisis” which “Western states seem unwilling and unable to effectively tackle,” have these people no shame? The bestial, brutal, and near sui generis barbarism that has engulfed Syria over the past six years is the product of the destabilization of the region caused by the 9/11 wars – their series of wars and conflicts unleashed and which have erupted in the wake of the terrorist atrocity planned and carried out by Al-Qaeda against the US in 2001.

In what has to count as the irony of our time, rather than succeed in destroying the threat of terrorism and ideology of Al-Qaeda, Washington, and its allies have only succeeded in ensuring its growth and intensification. Frankly put, their determination to exploit 9/11 as a pretext for regime change in the Middle East opened the gates of hell out of which the monster of Salafi-jihadism emerged bent on genocide and death and destruction as an end in itself. The grievous consequences are there for all to see in the shape of a refugee crisis that parallels the one that followed in the wake of the Second World War, religious sectarianism and extremism, the proliferation of terrorism, both regional and international, and human suffering on a scale that makes a mockery of the term ‘Western civilization’.

Further on in the MSC report, we encounter the following:

“Donald Trump’s comments about NATO being “obsolete” have caused great uncertainty among America’s allies, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. The European Union is under pressure, too, as it has to deal with Brexit, a populist surge, the refugee crisis, a potential return of the euro crisis, jihadist attacks, and a revisionist Russia.”

Again, we are confronted with evidence of an intellectual disjuncture between the cherished beliefs of champion of liberal hegemony and reality. NATO is not the force for universal peace, security, or democracy and freedom that its adherents proclaim. It is in truth a military alliance concerned with the projection of Western imperialist power, one that carries a baneful legacy of regime change – i.e. in the former Yugoslavia and Libya. It is a relic of the Cold War that has in recent years been resurrected and elevated in importance in line with a return to a Cold War paradigm – embraced with the objective of deflecting from the political, economic and geopolitical wreckage liberal-democratic values and norms have wrought.

In other words, Russia is being held up as a convenient bogeyman around which people in the US and Western Europe are being encouraged to cohere, painted as a threat to their security and national interests. As George Orwell wrote, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

No right thinking person is opposed to the concept of a united, stable, and secure Europe. How could they when such a Europe is in everyones interest. But the main impediment to achieving this unity, stability, and security is the idea that Russia cannot and should not be part of the solution in this regard, and must be viewed as part of the problem.

What they describe as a “revisionist Russia” is really code for a Russia that refuses to bend at the knee to Western imperialism, domination, and hegemony. Replace “revisionist” with “strong,” and you arrive at the real problem that Western liberal imperialists have with Russia in 2017. They much prefer the country that was ravaged and decimated by free market fundamentalists in the early 1990s, exploiting the chaos and shock in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union to conduct a mass experiment in human despair on an entire society.

Russia’s recovery from this dark decade is one that has never been forgiven by the likes of Javier Solana, David Miliband, and George Soros, each of whom sits on the MSC advisory council.

The contents of the 2017 MSC report merely confirm that there is nothing more illiberal than a liberal for whom the world is one giant chessboard upon which states, governments, and entire peoples are mere pieces to be moved around at their behest.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.