Ukraine war has exposed West and its true imperialist nature
Western liberal democracy, held up by NATO member States as the pinnacle of all that is good and civil, has shown itself during the past month to be all the things it claims to fight against. The advocacy for Ukraine has revealed the pernicious bigotry which Western empire was built on.
So-Called Western Superiority
We have become all too familiarized with the terminologies used to describe all that is Western, such as the “free-world” and phrases like “the leaders of the free world”. These are the locations that have become synonymous with Western nations; such as the United States, France, or Britain for example. Although it has been well established at this point that calling these countries “the civilized nations” is wrong and discriminatory in nature, the terminology used currently by Western leaders, including describing themselves as part of the “free world”, is all part of the same line of thinking.
In an age of “cancel culture” in the West, it says something when mainstream media pundits and news anchors will use such terminology, like “the civilized” world, to describe European and Western nations. This is not by accident, they felt comfortable expressing themselves in this way because they themselves see the terms “free world” and “civilized world” as all but interchangeable. What do these terms mean? They mean that the West is better, it is superior and the rest of the world that does not capitulate or follow their lead are essentially no more than barbarians.
The Western world, led by the United States, is now in a stage that it calls “democracy promotion”. The American government used this excuse as a means of backing the European superpowers, France and Britain, during the era of the World Wars. Following the Second World War, the US then emerged as the successor of France and Britain as the West’s dominant power and for long focused its efforts on fighting the Soviet Union during the Cold War. During this time, lip service to Liberal Democracy was of course promoted, but the primary focus was overthrowing leaderships in countries that were non-aligned or allied to the USSR. From this period, we saw the real hatred of foreigners permeate its way through the airwaves and much of this anti “third world” ideology has now resurfaced.
The West's new enemy, following the Cold War, emerged as Islamism and the revolutionary Islamist movements which had become all but merged - in the West's psyche’ - to mean Arabs and Middle Easterners. This meant that Saddam Hussein and later Bashar al-Assad were to be framed as religious fanatics to Western audiences, many of which could not distinguish between the ideologies rooted in Arab Nationalism and/or Islamism.
The West has never properly come to terms with its colonialist past, nor the mess which emerged from its actions during the cold war era and so its continued denigration of the non-Western world continues unabated. Although most Westerners would disagree with the concept of isolating someone due to the color of his skin, isolating someone due to a cultural, philosophical, or religious ideology that challenges Western norms is completely acceptable. This comes from a place of trained and deeply embedded White Supremacy, for the malleable white-skinned majority, and more broadly Western ideological supremacy.
Ignorance of history is what results in broad Western support for aggressive, orientalist, and racist discourse. Most French have no concept of what their empire did to the people of Algeria for instance, they don’t read and study Franz Fanon, taking a lesson from the bloody era of French colonialist expansionism. Similarly, Brits have no understanding of the impact the United Kingdom had on Egypt, an epicenter of influence on the Arabic-speaking world, they were never taught to study the differences between the ideologies that emerged from former Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Seyyid Qutb. This information is never taught or discussed in the West, because delving into the region, Western influence through colonialism, and the dominant figures and ideologies would create an educated Western public who would think twice about their government's current foreign policy.
It is the ignorance of the Western masses that emit an emotion-based and impassioned response to an evidently biased presentation of current world events. This is why for instance, bringing up Western support for al-Qaeda in Syria, or neo-Nazis in Ukraine will result in either denialism or cognitive dissonance due to the complexity their shallow worldview is suddenly challenged with. If Nazis equal bad and Al-Qaeda equals bad, how can the West, which equals good, be at one with all that is evil? A question that will either result in your average Westerner refusing to believe the point is true or experiencing a complete breakdown of their worldview.
Most Westerners see things in good and bad, black and white. This is evidently not always the case, but to make a generalization, this is on average the truth. Therefore, based upon the good guys versus the bad guys' line of thinking, they are taught that the West is in the right. This is why people will not be able to point to most countries at war on a map, yet will have very strong-held beliefs about who is correct and who is wrong. From here they will only seek confirmation bias and the way the internet has allowed for closed social bubbles only feeds a larger community, led by pseudo-intellectual justifications which affirm the people's beliefs.
When it comes to Ukraine, this is what the overwhelming majority of Westerners see; a white European country striving to align themselves with the model of liberal democracy and take the fight to the enemy of their own ideology. If we take a look at the war on terror, it’s not even comparable for Westerners that was about the West taking on the enemy of liberal democracy. In the midst of spreading liberal democracy, those non-white non-Europeans, who think differently to the superior, “civilized”, “free world” were victims that we can sometimes empathize with, but never allow to be held as the same as Westerners in terms of their level of humanity.
The “war on terror” has, according to popular estimates, caused the deaths of around 6 million people and has displaced tens of millions, but those responsible for these crimes are not to be punished because they “made a mistake” or they are “our leaders”. International Law does not matter here in the Western mindset, for International Law only applies to the bad guys, not us, not the good guys because the good guys have a reason.
Even the anti-war peace advocates in the West, as well-meaning as they generally are, will almost never support the right of Iraqis, Palestinians, Lebanese, or Yemenis to fight their oppressors when their back is against the wall. Arabs, Iranians, Africans, all can be victims, but they cannot be freedom fighters, they cannot pick up arms to violently repel an attack on their people, they are only allowed to hold up signs and a flag, chanting for the West to save them. Ukrainians on the other hand, have a right to defend themselves, they can throw Molotov cocktails at the Russians, and Western media like the BBC, Sky News, CNN, and the Telegraph will glorify this. If you were to suggest to most anti-war activists that Ukrainians not use weapons and instead peacefully protest, you’d be laughed out of the room, yet they will demand that Palestinians do just that.
All people support some form of violence, that’s why we have police. If you ask the anti-War Westerner whether it’s justified for a police officer to shoot dead a Daesh member that is ready to blow himself up in the middle of a packed civilian area, the answer would be yes, to save others. They have presented the Ukrainian resistance to Russia as the same story, a means of violence used in self-defense. However, an Iraqi resisting US troops does not have that same right.
The wars waged by the West involve propagandizing a public - uneducated to the areas of the world their governments choose to invade - and painting a brush over the entire populations of those nations. What makes us the free world in the West? Simply fill in the blank with anything you choose, because the average Westerner does understand what the rest of them are, so they cannot possibly compare themselves with others, they just know that they are better. Why are they better? Depending upon where they are on the ideological spectrum they may answer differently, some may not even admit they feel that way, however, this is clearly what they feel.
So when NATO member States ban media outlets, censor, arrest and torment journalists, when they apply double-standards when it comes to which refugees are welcome or who has the right to fight an occupier, none of this feels out of place. Westerners can forget 1 million dead Iraqis, they can pretend like 400,000 Yemenis dying in an ongoing war, which has been directly caused and continued due to the West, are not important. They aren’t told to care and those people don’t look like them, they aren’t on the side of the liberal democracies. The suffering only matters when it is pushed to align with their nationalist, racial, or liberalist ideology because identity is everything to these people, it determines their hierarchy and who deserves what treatment.
Nothing has been learned from the history of these Western empires, amongst the general public of their countries. Perhaps the Germans understand the crimes of the Nazis because they were defeated and the other Europeans forced them to see what they caused, but for the others in the West, they have not yet come to terms with the reality which put them where they are today. It will take their collapse for them to see, for the arrogance of their leaderships, passed onto their peoples, is far too great to overcome completely without the defeat of the US empire, which has turned into one of the most genocidal experiments in human history. This is not to say that people in the West are all bad, most of them are good people, but unfortunately, they have been sold on so many lies that it is, unfortunately, true that it will take the fall of the regimes they live under for the masses to see. As is always the case, it is a select few who see through the lies of their governments, but they have not become organized enough to overthrow their oppressors. This is not a reality that is explained with glee, but without us looking at ourselves in the mirror here in the West, the misery our governments' cause will never be changed. The root of that change has to come from within the people.