G7 members want the rest of the world to join their crusade against Russia and China. They won’t succeed — RT World News
In the West, the Turkish elections this weekend have been presented as “good versus evil”. It is rather more complex.
By Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, chairman of the Presidium of the Foreign and Defense Policy Council and research director of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
On the eve of the last round of the Turkish presidential election, the suspense is dissipated.
After the candidate ranked third a fortnight ago, Sinan Ogan, announced his support for the incumbent president, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chances of getting the extra 1.5% he needed for victory increased.
However, the reality is that the contest would never have garnered so much attention had it not been for the efforts of commentators – particularly in Western Europe and the United States – to present it as an almost civilizational choice.
In this version, Erdogan’s opponent – the old and well-mannered Kemal Kilicdaroglu – was positioned as the symbol of Western-style democratic development. Meanwhile, the current president is the embodiment of a return to the past.
This account is illustrative and typical. The more complex the world around us, and the more often it rejects previous patterns, the greater the desire to integrate it into a simple and understandable format. Ideally, this format would be one of contrasts. In this case, a modern democrat, fighting for good, is supposed to confront a vicious and backward authoritarian. The desire for simplification is not only humanly understandable, but also has its uses. Decision makers need some sort of digestible image. In a way, it’s better for them to have it than not to have it, even if it’s wrong.
We remember American journalist Thomas Friedman’s international bestseller from the end of the 1990s, “The world is flat”. At the time, it referred to the meeting of everything and everyone in the context of globalization. But today, the metaphor must be modified. Today, the message should be somehow simpler and even flatter, because otherwise there is no way for people to grasp the frightening multidimensionality that abounds.
Such an approach is characteristic of contemporary international relations and, from there, it affects the domestic politics of each country. That said, within the states themselves, everything is better understood, so real-world factors still matter. On a global scale, however, the situation is more ambiguous.
The recent G7 summit in Hiroshima was a powerful illustration of efforts to fix, if not cement, this very two-dimensional pattern at the global level. This may be the first time that Russia and China have been accorded essentially equal status – as major adversaries and threats to the world that the US-led bloc poses. The organizers were very serious about widening their circle of supporters – with many major states in the non-Western world receiving invitations: India, Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia. They are joined by the heads of major international organizations.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was the main guest, and that was remarkable. The question of one’s country becomes, as the saying goes, a “rallying point” for a community that considers itself “on the right side of history”.
Indeed, here is a curious detail: the Japanese press wrote that after the summit, their Prime Minister Fumio Kishida planned to call early elections because the success of the event, in particular the arrival of the Ukrainian leader, had boosted the rating of his side. In other words, Zelensky managed to become a factor in the internal politics of a country far removed from Ukraine.
The need for a strong, personal and unifying motif is clear. In the absence of such elements, these communities tend to disintegrate because the world is not truly two-dimensional. It is not only diverse, it is in fact fragmented by interests, perceptions and agendas, and it needs maximum flexibility to respond to increasingly diverse challenges. It is very difficult to maintain cohesion without heavy artillery, both figuratively and, unfortunately, literally.
What should those against whom this consolidation is targeted do? Probably the opposite, that is, they should aim to maximize the diversity of their relationships and development options, and insist on the right not to make final and irrevocable choices of membership in the one or the other block.
The dichotomy between good and evil is understandable and morally appealing, but in most cases irrelevant to the real international process. And attempts by the G7 to lure India, Brazil and others into its orbit on this basis will not be effective.