From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr
The headline to my blog page is “Wind of Change.” However, this is not how I imagined the changes – I have to say that honestly. It is a caesura in the lives of people, especially in Europe, that was considered unthinkable just a few weeks ago.
When the war in Ukraine ends one day, Putin will be sitting on a pile of rubble that he conquered, isolated from most of the world. He is already turning to China as an ally because there is nothing else left for him. Once again, humanity is facing a division into hostile power blocks: We are returning to a phase of power politics that defined the European modern era from the 15th into the 20th century and that we thought we had overcome – but that we have now fallen back into.
These are anything but good prospects for the West, because it believed – correctly – that all problems of mankind can only be solved globally, which means: with at least the largest powers of this earth on one and the same side. Because the climate crisis, the hunger crisis in the southern part of the globe, and the refugee movements, such as now from Ukraine, do not stop at national borders. Instead, achieving these goals will now be even further away.
Where Trump had failed for the time being with his “America First” policy, Putin is now much more advanced in his own, Russian sense (which is why the two got along so well). This means: Only what I want counts – and I can enforce that by any means, even by force if necessary (see storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021). Such political means fall under the category of “autocracy.” That was the concession for the stunning decision of 75 million Trump voters in the U.S. in 2020, many of whom believe to this day that this election was rigged.
From now on, globalization in its true sense will no longer be practicable, because the world community is falling back into power blocks, with all these global problems becoming a matter of negotiation that always result in mediocre compromises instead of really tackling the problems. Moreover, the world sees itself divided into two ideological, fundamentally opposed camps: Authoritarian states on the one hand, democratic ones on the other – with even the U.S. a shaky candidate, as Christian pseudo-conservatives reject progress in a fierce determination to fight anything that threatens their supposed values.
In addition, there is a threat of social unrest in countries like Germany, because the reversion to high levels of armaments means that budget funds are being reallocated to unproductive areas like the military, which are then – logically – lacking elsewhere. Unlike people in the U.S., however, Germans are not used to being abandoned by their welfare state. The German government is already talking about subsidizing gasoline and heating costs so that the burdens on citizens do not rise ad infinitum.
Putin has succeeded in destroying the global world order. The consequences will be catastrophic worldwide. This will also be felt by those who still live with their heads in the sand and believe that they alone can solve their country’s problems with feigned ostentation.
The “Me First” policy will come with a dear price.