The crisis in the Western world is the fault of “values” that have become “interests”

It didn’t need a massive staff; In some ways a good friend was enough to prevent Joe Biden from such a dramatic defeat not only at the strategic level but also at the communication level. The complete absence of self-criticism, the blame-breaking of the Afghan military and the Trump administration, the troubling lack of preparedness to manage the withdrawal, which unfortunately became an escape, and a complete absence of sensitivity to Allied forces. Everything indicates that the heroes of a certain democratic intellectual avant-garde (even from our own country) revealed themselves in a few weeks as nothing more than a great hoax. On the list, we also include Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, who was abruptly decimated, as well as Kamala Harris, who hid with MeeToo activists, while Afghan women asked for a sign of hope.

But perhaps the most confusing statement of the US president, one that really opens up a new era full of doubts, is that “Afghanistan is no longer in the interest of the United States.” We are no longer talking about principles, freedom and values, but about interests. The tragedy is that he’s right, every country really does serve its interests: but what is remarkable is the bluntness that Biden has consciously embraced somewhat. To explicitly communicate such a concept to the world is an appalling gesture. As Domenico Quirico wrote, “By giving a name to things you risk hurting them in the heart with an irreparable blow.” What hurts is the very idea of ​​democracy.

We certainly do not discover today that power consists of somewhat ambiguous interests. But we have always wanted to believe that the priority of democracies over authoritarian regimes is to reconcile these “pragmatic” interests with higher values: freedom, equality, and progress for all. Values ​​that are sometimes rhetorical, sometimes treasonous, but remain the basis of democratic constitutions. Some call it hypocrisy, but it’s actually a very delicate balance between idealistic tension and realpolitik. A continuous effort to consolidate the superiority of values ​​over authoritarian and obscurantist governments.

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Here, if the President of the United States frankly says that the leadership of the West is reduced to a simple “action”, the crisis, even before it is political or military, will be a crisis of confidence. Trust in Western institutions, in their history and in their mission of modernity: in civil rights, women’s rights, and fundamental freedoms. And if we lose confidence, it will obviously benefit the two new powers, China and Russia, who have made pragmatism their distinguishing feature for decades.

(This is evidenced by the speed with which Beijing and Moscow strengthened ties with the resurgent Taliban.) A sign that, if this is the playing field, maybe some Asian powers know how to play it better than us. Certainly better than Europe, which, rather than having a common defence, preferred to break its head for years over budgetary rules, offering itself to be appointed with the Afghan crisis, as always, in any particular order. If the American shield really failed, it would be better for Europeans to fasten their seat belts.

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