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Sep 3, 2021
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"This is the suicide of the West": why do Americans think it’s over

© AP Photo / US Marine Corps / Sergeant. Isaiah Campbell

It has been said a thousand times that the Afghan failure means the death of NATO – either temporarily or permanently. But in the endless stream of American and European sobbing about this, a much more radical thought flashed, and more than once: we are facing the end of the West.

Here, literally: “The West is failing. This is suicide. And the hands of America direct the dagger into the soft stomach of the West.” The quote is from another column by Rod Dreyer, a very respected Christian publicist in the United States, author of books and others.

Even if he exaggerates, this is such an exaggeration that is worth paying attention to. Because, just think, the failure of NATO, that is, only the military structure of what we call the West. After all, this failure can be corrected for the next military adventure. That is, we are talking about an instrument that does not exist by itself, but in the hands of this entity – the civilization called the West.

And there are as many conversations as you want on this topic, all very reasonable. You can change the commanders, you can rework the procedure for selecting those who formulate NATO’s military policy, including long-term planning and the purchase of weapons. Actually, such purely professional assessments are now teeming with publications citing veterans of the war in Indochina, as well as other wars. And they all say that the situation is grim, but fixable, because it has already been corrected.

So, NATO is a military vehicle, the repair of which is theoretically possible. But what is suicide in the West in general? Let’s see what Dreyer has to say about this, as well as other smart people. They also refresh our understanding of what the West is as a system.

Thought one: the West, if not always, then for more than a century was built around the Anglo-Saxon core. Others acted as invited and relatively secondary persons. Now it is being analyzed to the smallest detail how British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to call President Joe Biden for 36 hours, he did not respond, and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan had already been launched. Result: “America and Britain together defeated Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolf Hitler, the successors of Joseph Stalin and Al-Qaeda * with company”, this couple has always “stood shoulder to shoulder around the world and proudly put forward common ideas.” But no longer worth it.

And then a long dispute begins – who and why broke this alliance.

Trump? But he had rather bad relations with the European Social Democrats, and it was with Johnson that everything was fine. Biden? But he just announced to all Europeans that “America is back”, will command everyone. However, even in this dispute there are rational voices saying that repairs are possible here too, good ideologists and diplomats are able to revive the Anglo-Saxon axis, it would be why.

And in order to understand this “why”, one must remember when and from what this very West was born. There are two ideas here. The first is that the whole thing is in the Roman Empire, that’s where it all started. Really. Although then what about several “dark ages”, when Europe was a multitude of scattered and weak states that hated the proud heir of Roman civilization – Constantinople? The second idea is that the West was born – well, let it be “reborn” – from the aggression called the Crusades, and this is the eleventh and a couple of subsequent centuries. Moreover, this aggression began with a moderately peaceful idea – that only a single Christian world can reclaim the territories from which Christianity originated. The first campaigns, we recall, even took place in the cooperation of two Christian systems – Western and Eastern, Constantinople.

The most interesting thing in the history of the West is how this civilization has shown its ability to change and survive in the face of a monstrous crisis. The crisis that, by the sixteenth century, turned Europe into a disaster zone (for centuries everyone killed everyone), to the split of the Western Christian Church, which had so vainly tried to destroy heresy with fires.

Strictly speaking, now it is generally not clear how then the complete collapse of civilization did not occur. Instead, Europe, over the course of a couple of centuries, built on, updated its value system, adding there the ideas of the Enlightenment – the ideas of the kingdom of beauty and science, bringing a wonderful future to Westerners.

At the same time, in the era of colonial conquests, she began to bring the same future to the whole world in general – this is the sad end of this story we are now witnessing. But let us note: for the internal existence of the West, this renewed idea turned out to be so attractive that it united it even despite the strange desire of the Westerners from time to time to destroy their own, starting another war within the system.

And today, Dreyer and others say, the main supporting structure of the West, which was originally built entirely on the Christian value system, is being destroyed. For example, the first European settlers on the American continent were very worried that their preachers would be illiterate. And they created Harvard, which later became a world famous university. But these days, the Harvard Chaplains Council (which includes ministers of different religions) unanimously elected Greg Epstein, an atheist, the author of the book “It’s Good Without God” as its head. Comments are superfluous.

The West has always been at the same time one – and yet divided into separate ancient cultures, appreciated them and protected this particularity of the state. And now, in another example from life, a teacher at a school in California, named Christine Pitzen, decided to change the ceremony before class. (If you didn’t know, in such cases the United States raises the flag and reads the oath of allegiance to the country.) So, she personally decided to replace the stars and stripes with the “flag of pride,” that is, LGBT. And this is one of a million examples of the collapse of both the general ideology of the West and individual national cultures and ideologies.

It can be seen that the West has overstrained itself when faced with globalization. I found out, to my amazement, that for some reason his collapsed ideology is not perceived in Afghanistan and not only there. The former provoked resistance, but sometimes also respect. And now, observing this story from the outside, a Chinese man who professionally studies Europe at an appropriate institute, notices that the West inside itself cannot agree, not only on the withdrawal of troops, but even on issues of a seemingly common worldview. But this lack of understanding of the meaning of events and efforts concerns not only Afghanistan.

* Terrorist organization banned in Russia.

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