If Europe endures more days on the razor’s edge amid phone calls between leaders, such as the Putin-Biden one on Friday, it also has itself to blame. In the phone call with the Kremlin leader, Biden seemed to almost be pushing Putin to enter Ukraine: he threatened, but did not propose anything.
This situation is in some ways inevitable, given what has happened in the last 20 years since Russia voluntarily let itself be painted into the corner prepared by the Americans, with military interventions that ended with devastating results (which in common language are called defeats), both political and military.
In Italian newspapers, commenting on the Ukrainian events, those who sing the praises of Atlanticism stand out with phrases like “every state has the right to choose the allies it wants,” or “maximum solidarity with the United States to maintain the liberal order.”
Just like American president Joe Biden, who is collapsing in the polls—having fallen below 40% in support, a clamorous result—and in lucidity (on TV, he confused Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine), they must have missed a number of recent events and massacres where the Western principles, touted so heavily by propaganda, have been blatantly flouted by the Americans and the Atlantic Alliance.
Which liberal “order” do the United States and NATO advocate? The one that led Washington to use jihadists against the USSR in the ‘80s? That of Afghanistan in 2021? The “order” of the made-up grounds for the intervention in Iraq in 2003? That of the war in Libya in 2011, whose disasters are still unfolding before our eyes?
The American “order” that brought us attacks in Europe and millions of migrants treated as objects and driven back into despair, even depriving us of the energy resources of our neighbors? The “order” of Turkey, a NATO country led by Sultan Erdogan which made itself useful by massacring the Kurds? The “order” that silences and erases the Palestinians?
Americans and Atlanticists arrogate to themselves the right to decide what is good and what is bad, clinging to principles of peoples’ self-determination that they are the first to violate.
Let’s take Syria: for years, Washington and Brussels have said that “Assad had to go,” but to destabilize him they encouraged Erdogan to send thousands of jihadist cutthroats across the border. They asked Syria to break its ties with Iran, and then Russia, a historical ally of Damascus, intervened.
What did the West want — perhaps the good of the Syrians, who are still subjected to a devastating embargo?
What did the Americans want from Afghanistan? To take revenge for September 11, 2001, as Biden himself admitted? If so, after the killing of Bin Laden, they could have left, but they stayed and killed more civilians than the Taliban, to whom they gave the country back on a silver platter, and now they are taking their revenge against the population by freezing Afghan funds and hindering the sending of humanitarian aid.
Not to mention Iraq, attacked in 2003 for allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, and then leaving the country to one of the greatest massacres in history.
And what are those rights? Ukrainians have the right to their national identity, but so do the Russians who live in that country. The Palestinians have the right to a national identity too, and while sanctions are being imposed on Moscow, Tehran and Damascus, no sanctions can be imposed on Israel for illegal settlements according to the international community and the United Nations. Are these Western principles? This is a double standard.
And if we talk about the Kurds, we reach sheer paradox. Used by the Americans as infantry against jihadists, they were left by Washington in 2019 to be massacred by Erdogan and “his” jihadists, which the Turkish “reiss” also used in Tripolitania and Azerbaijan. But isn’t Turkey a NATO country and its bulwark in the south? And what principles does that country stand for if not the massacre of its opponents? Those who praise Atlanticism are very ill-informed.
The Ukrainians have now relied on Erdogan’s Turkey for rearmament; the president was welcomed in Kiev as a savior. Frankly, it is difficult to say whether this is a positive development or not. On the other side, Putin will now encounter an enemy of his—in Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan—but also an autocrat with whom he agrees and to whom he’s selling anti-missile systems. Putin has even recognized Erdogan as a possible mediator in the Ukrainian crisis. Turkey is still a NATO country, with jails full of political opponents: what more can one ask for? Perhaps for Kiev it is a step forward, to feel like a part of the Alliance and in a better world. Good luck with that, as they say.
Even there, however, among those who sing the praises of Atlanticism, there are some signs of second thoughts. And this time it comes, incredibly, from Italy
Foreign Minister Di Maio, in a joint session of the foreign and defense commissions of Parliament, has raised Article 10 of NATO, according to which any enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance must meet a requirement that it should “contribute to the security of the North Atlantic era.” In a nutshell, you don’t let a country in if it’s an element of destabilization. Someone please clarify whether or not NATO’s eastward enlargement has led to an increase in our security.
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