Powerlessness of the West, the power of Ukraine
Even after the Russian Federation launched a full-scale war against Ukraine, Western democracies are still extremely hesitant, as if they are still trying not to anger Putin too much and not to harm their own economies. On the one hand, such a situation demonstrates the ethical and political insignificance of the political elites of countries that were idealized by Ukrainians. On the other hand, we see how in some “Third World” country – without a strong tradition of political institutions and with a far from perfect state apparatus – political elites and ordinary citizens act in a coordinated and decisive manner. Despite the fact that Western sanctions and aid are necessary for Ukraine and play an important role, the key elements of the Ukrainian resistance are the motivation and dedication of the troops, as well as the amazing consolidation of ordinary citizens.
On the one hand, it may seem more or less expected that Western countries are not willing to risk their own economies and well-being for the sake of some “Third World” country. However, such an opinion exists precisely in the predatory discourse of geopolitics, that is devoid of a value dimension. If the Western states claim to be more than geopolitical players, but also bearers of certain values, then the imperialist and unbalanced actions of the world’s largest state are just as much a problem for them as it is a problem for Ukraine.
And after eight years of outrageous politics, the Russian regime can no longer surprise the Ukrainians, but the sluggish help of the West is surprisingly disappointing, sometimes very ironically. It has gotten to the point that some speeches by Western leaders about their deep concerns cannot be distinguished from sarcastic parodies of the same speeches. Why do liberal-democratic states have such a disconnect between declared values and their implementation? One reason is the very phenomenon of liberal democracy. The synthesis of a market economy and representative democracy makes Western politicians primarily concerned with market stability and electoral poll numbers
What does this tell us? It tells us that after the end of the war, in addition to the fact that we will never forgive Russia, we will also not get rid of our disappointment in the political status quo of the West, which some of us idealized during the Euromaidan protests. Western politicians like to repeat “Never Again” every year in remembrance of WWII, yet now they aren’t able to decisively respond when this starts “Again”. They don’t deserve the respect of the people who are demonstrating heroism here and now. Therefore, after our victory, we need to not only destroy the remnants of Russian imperialism, but also to become the world’s vanguard in returning values to politics. Instead of a fanatical obsession with numbers and polls, politics should be based on solidarity, responsiveness, and courage. The attention of the whole world is riveted on us and our struggle shows that the world can learn from our example.