Monday 6 May 2024

Values are not a reason to go to war

Two very good articles, worth your time.

This from the wonderful Arnaud Betrand, whom God preserve:

'I won’t retell the history of the Ukraine conflict with NATO expansion, the Maidan coup, the non-respect of Minsk, etc. The fact is that history will be extremely clear: the Ukraine war was anything but “unprovoked”, as you always hear. Same thing with Oct 7th: you have 70+ years of history leading up to it, and first and foremost a dereliction of duty by the West with its largely unconditional backing of Israel against the Palestinians. And guess what: when you back one actor vs another in a confrontation, both wrt Ukraine and Gaza, it obviously heightens tensions and ultimately leads to hot conflict where the party whose adversary you support sees you as an adversary too… It’s basic common sense. As such this “ring of fire” Europe is surrounded by is of its own making to an immense extent.

'And “values” is a key culprit in this. Because when you start thinking of “diplomacy” in terms of values, when you start using vocabulary like “there are those who are like-minded partners, those who share our values, and those who don’t”, then you automatically start seeing the world in a way where you put values above a very pragmatic assessment of where your interests lie, you become ideological instead of rational.

'That’s a key reason why both Ukraine and Gaza happened. Ukraine was an attempt to transform the country into a Western bulwark against a Russia that was seen as “not like-minded” and whose protestations where largely ignored because of that. Had the EU been pragmatic, it would have understood its interests lied in not playing with fire and focus on establishing a security architecture that prevented war instead, no matter what form of government Russia had. The EU will say “but the Ukrainians had a right to prefer aligning with us than Russia, our values call for the promotion of democracy everywhere.” And that’s the crux of the issue: this is values superseding interests and in the end everyone is worse off.


'Same with Gaza: why the support for Israel? You hear it all the time, it’s “the only democracy in the Middle-East”. Who the hell cares? It was always obvious that the Palestinians would never give up and that you either found a sustainable solution for the conflict, which inevitably meant putting a lot of pressure on Israel, or something like Oct 7th would happen. Again: values superseding interests and in the end everyone is worse off.'
Young men (and nowadays women, alas) should never be sent to fight for values, only for their countries. Countries are not about values. Values are irrelevant to patriotism.

'In modern America, then, even polarisation is beginning to collapse: and as a result, both parties are now bogged down in their respective civil wars that they have little vitriol to spare.'Meanwhile, as this circus reaches its denouement, news from afar hints at a deeper malaise. The USS Eisenhower has already left the Red Sea in disgrace — confirming that the mission to unblock the Suez was a failure, and Western states have more or less given up on it. The trade routes are no longer ours, and there seems to be little anyone can do about it. In a similar vein, towards the end of last week, it was revealed that American troops still stuck in Niger are now sharing their military base with the Russian military. The base itself was built only recently, intended to serve the central node in America’s power projection for the region. Soon, it will be handed over to the Russians, who will no doubt use it to fulfill their own growing ambitions in Africa. It wasn’t all that long ago that we were all busy laughing about Vladimir Putin’s “gas station masquerading as a country”. These days, there’s not much laughter left anymore.

'In other words, as American unity at home collapses, the little soft power it still has left is draining away, and even its hard power is no longer what it was. The sharks have noticed the blood in the water, and they are moving in from all sides. More than half a year since October 7, as the roiling crisis of the American political system keeps going from bad to worse, one question emerges: was it really the Gaza security fence that Hamas drove through with their bulldozers, or was it the entire West’s own version of the Berlin Wall that they punched a hole in?'


  1. Fascism became a swear word in the US and UK during the Second World War. It has been ever since, to the point that the content of the term has been drained away completely. It is not a system of political economy but an insult.

    If we go back a decade before the war, you find a completely different situation. Read any writings from polite society from 1932 to 1940 or so, and you find a consensus that freedom and democracy, along with Enlightenment-style liberalism of the 18th century, were completely doomed. They should be replaced by some version of what was called the planned society, of which fascism was one option.

    All of this became rather embarrassing after the war so it was largely forgotten. But the affection on the part of many sectors of the US ruling class had for fascism was still in place. It merely took on new names.

    The Machinery of Fascism Revisited
    Jeffrey A. Tucker
    MAY 5, 2024

  2. "Everything for the state. Nothing outside the state." Musso

    1. I'm afraid that has become nowadays 'everything for those who run the State...'