Staunton, September 5 – Far too many in the West today forget that the first cold war was a battle of ideas, assuming instead that it was all about economics, Igor Eidman says. And because they do, they do not see that the new cold war is also a war of ideas that will be won and lost on that basis rather than as a result of differing production figures.
“The first Cold War was above all a war of ideas,” the Russian sociologist and commentator says. “Soviet barracks collectivism was opposed by the Western cult of individual rights and freedoms. The struggle ‘for hearts and minds’ occurred in both the West and in the East” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5D70B9C7A68BF).
“The new Cold War,” Eidman continues, “is fated to become an ideological war as well. On the side of the West are the entire range of European humanistic values. The Kremlin, however, has changed its weapon: Now it is not communism but division, chaos and hatred, spready with the help of various ultra-right, ultra-let, xenophobic, and conspiratorial messages.”
But up to now, he says, “unlike in the past, the West is not ready to actively oppose the ideological attack from the East or even more to conduct an aggressive policy in the information and ideological sphere. If Western politicians openly called the USSR an evil empire, now they are afraid to offend Putin’s Russia.”
“That is now considered politically incorrect, although I think that the explanation lies elsewhere,” Eidman argues. “The Russian oligarchate is closely integrated into the world business elite: these are not communist leaders but profitable and socially close partners.” And that is leading to “capitulationist” attitudes and moves by Western leaders who justify this by pointing to the rise of China.
According to Eidman, “European leaders have somehow forgotten that the West’s strength is not only in economics but above all in ideas – freedom, human rights, and humanism.” Europe and the West aren’t perfect, but they have long been the basic disseminator of freedom and democracy.”
In addition to invoking China t justify their “collaborationism,” Western elites hypocritically invoke “concern about the residents of Russia,” but they seem oblivious to the fact that “the interests of the population and those of the authoritarian powers that be often are in contradiction with each other.”
“The present Russian rulers are enemies f the West,” Eidman pints out. “They do not conceal this and even declare it openly. But there are in Russia, as in the majority of other authoritarian countries, a strengthening movement for freedom” and those who are struggling for their rights are “the natural allies of European civilization in opposition to authoritarianism.”
Eidman argues that “there are only two possible outcomes of the end of the new Cold War: either the Putin regime will fall and Russia will return to the path of Westernization or the Kremlin will be able to destabilize and weaken to the maximum extent possible democratic states and reform their institutions in correspondence to its needs and interests.”
“Only the cooperation of people in the entire world who are oriented toward European values will be able to defend democracy.”