Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

Europe’s Future is Our Present

Europe’s Future is Our Present

Thursday, 10 March, 2022 - 12:00

The Europeans are terrified by the prospect of Ukraine’s flames reaching their countries. They are afraid that their safe countries, thriving economies, and free societies will be Russia’s next target. The specter of losing today’s privileges is a major motive for their cautious and confused support for Ukraine. Memories of the 1938 Munich Agreement with Hitler and the 1945 Yalta Conference with Stalin invoke deep apprehension of repeating the mistakes of “deescalation” and agreeing to share spheres of influence with hardened authoritarian rulers.


Europeans and the West more generally want to stay true to the values of democracy without undermining their standard of living. Their governments have denounced the Russian invasion and sent weapons and money. However, they are also extremely hesitant about halting imports of oil and gas from Russia. However, it seems that nothing comes free. Those seeking to save face politically should expect a spike in fuel costs in their country and the electoral losses that this spike could cause in the French Presidential elections and the congressional midterms in the United States.


And the Europeans do not have to dig deep in the history books. The prospective future they tremble at the thought of unfolding is being experienced today by the peoples of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries that have fallen into the hands of despotic and oppressive regimes, slogans, and infallible leaders. The “Aleppo strategy,” which Putin is said to be implementing today against Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, encompasses a political track as well as the destruction of cities. Rather, political objectives are the primary mover of this strategy, which some Lebanese newspapers cheered on when it began, calling it the “Sukhoi storm.”


This storm that led to the destruction of entire cities and the deaths of children and entire families was particularly successful in its bid to rescue a shaky regime from collapse. It left the worst aspects of this regime, its prisons, political nihilism, moral bankruptcy, and an economy that has left more than half of the Syrian population hungry. The political objective that justified the use of barrel bombs was the need for the armed junta to stand “steadfast” and maintain their power and privileges.


It is the “future of the past” in which, like zombies, regimes and governments rise from the dead. Their only concern is roaming the destroyed streets of Aleppo, Beirut and Baghdad and eliminating all apparent signs of life. A song from here and a book fair from there…


Each of these regimes has its own pretext to justify taking human life. Not the least of which is resistance, the fight against terrorism, and preparations to march on “occupied Jerusalem.” As for the argument that ends all discussion and boggles the mind, is that “Russia cannot allow Ukraine to join NATO.” Russia is so worried for its national security that it has forgotten that the small countries neighboring it would not have thought of joining NATO if they had not been scared of Russia, whose leadership is obsessed with a false narrative of history and avenging the humiliation- as they see it- of their country.


All the post-war national frameworks for this country being discussed agree that it will lose some of its territory and sovereignty and that it will be subjected to being ruled by a regime loyal to Moscow, even if it pretends neutrality. Experiences like those of Finland and Austria will be brought up to tempt the Ukrainians with opportunities for the prosperity that reconstruction offers if the war effort is abandoned.


Ukraine has already lost the war. That is what they are saying. Russia will come out on the other side weak and on the brink of collapse. The ramifications that will ensue from this war will be felt for many years… Something resembling the situation in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, where Iran, which is bankrupt and extremely drained, runs things. Nonetheless, all of them lead proud, dignified lives, their stupid, meaningless propaganda claims.


The debris of states and rubble of peoples and societies fighting for scarce resources amid an exacerbating climate crisis and threat of another pandemic and new diseases more dangerous than COVID-19. All the talk about alternative energy and abandoning fossil fuels did not stand up against suggestions of stopping gas exports to Europe by the man in the Kremlin.


It will be a multipolar world, scream the supporters of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The unipolar world that the West failed to lead has been brought down. It has become necessary, they claim, for countries like Russia and China to occupy positions among nations worthy of their stature. Moscow and Beijing have no alternative to the model of autocratic personalistic rule to offer the world. People like Eric Zemmour in France, Viktor Urban in Hungary, and Matteo Salvini in Italy will pluck its fruits. Countries like Ukraine, with their “Nazis,” should disappear from the face of the earth.


As for the question of who gave Russia the right to safeguard its security and deprive Ukraine of security, there is no answer right now, as the world is currently preoccupied assessing the implications of a potential nuclear attack by Putin, who is deeply concerned for the “single nation” in Ukraine and Russia.


Perhaps the poet Said Akl had been mistaken when he said, “The most beautiful history happens tomorrow.”


Other opinion articles

Editor Picks

Multimedia