A Storm is Brewing over the West

logo di Ben Bestetti

The idea of a democratic West verses the despotic Oriental dates back as far as the Persian war, and it is still today used to indicate a substantial diversity, sometimes religious, sometimes social, political, cultural, and artistic. The last chapter of this centuries-old conflict was represented by the cold war: on the hand, we spoke in English about freedom, democracy, well-being and progress, on the other hand, submission, authoritarianism, insecurity, and non-development was practiced.

The “Euro-Atlantic” version of the West, absolutely unpublished until the early twentieth century, it has run it’s time and no longer serves. When the entire half of the world feels threatened by the other half, internal divergences disappeared and aimed at reconciling different interest to protect everyone’s safety from a possible attack. But what happens now if the East no longer threatens the West and, on the contrary, tries to forge ties of cooperation with a part of it (the old Europe), while not giving up its identity? What happens if suddenly we realize that those who led the front of the “good” are derailing by fundamental common principles, like the pursuit of international peace, humanitarianism, enlightenment rationality, cooperation, multilateralism?

The USA has been hit by an old-testamentary religiosity that evokes the final clash between good and evil, in a renewed atmosphere of crusade against Islam that replaces the Reagan’s ‘Soviet Evil Empire’. To avenge the four thousand lives lost in the Twin Towers, the Bush family presidencies have plunged Afghanistan and Iraq into a hell out of which they have not yet emerged. As if not enough, they have gone out of their way to devastate Syria and Libya in recent years. Needless to say, the purpose of all this is the pulverization of the unity of these countries. “Divide et impera”.

 Then came Trump, who talked much more pragmatically about business. “America first”, he said, and the rest comes after, including sustainable development, ecological problems, peace, the rights to health (which was dear to Obama), relations with allies who have become competitors, poverty in the South of the world, the UN, the arms race. The US president has imposed protective tariffs that usher in a new season of trade wars – all against all – and has recently told Europeans to block the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would bring them Moscow’s energy resources. The explanation? That the dependence on a regional power like Russia is not acceptable.

Trump also cheers on Britain’s exit from the EU. His satisfaction in seeing the setback of the European integration process was evident.Finally, as a champion of Western civilization, he tries to prevent the tentacles of the commercial octopus from multiplying, which the Chinese leadership has called the “new silk road”. Maybe because Europeans are idealists, but where did the common post-war values shared by Roosevelt, De Gasperi, De Gaulle go?