Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Spengler’s ‘Decline of the West’ Possible Source of Putin’s Thinking

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 27 – Exactly 100 years ago, German philosopher Oswald Spengler published his classic work, The Decline of the West in which he suggested Europe had reached its peak and would decline relative to other parts of the world. Today, Dmitry Minin says, Spengler’s prophecy is coming true.

            Empires fall apart at various speeds, the Moscow analyst says, some over decades while others over centuries, but it is already possible to see a century after Spengler published his book that he was right, that the hegemony of the West is coming to an end, and that what the US is doing to shore it up is a sign of weakness not strength (

            Spengler postulated three things which are often forgotten in the West: first, that empires decay for internal reasons even if they are still expanding abroad; second, that cultures not economics are the moving force of history; and third, that the West will be succeeded by a “Russian-Siberian” civilization.

            Not surprisingly, Minin says, these insights have informed the thinking of many Russians, most prominently Lev Gumilyev and the Eurasians. And they are increasingly being recognized by Western analysts themselves, another sign that Spengler’s pessimistic vision of the future of the West was right.

            While Minin does not say so, it is entirely possible that that well-known “Russian German” now in power in the Kremlin has been affected by the thinking of Spengler even more than by Gumilyev directly and that much of what Vladimir Putin is doing reflects his likely conviction, the one Minin clearly shares, that Spengler is right.

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