Did the West Win the Cold War?

6 Nov

Did the West Win the Cold War?


 Posing the Question

 Such a question seems little more than a provocation until the effects of the interval between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the present are critically examined in relation to their principal effects. On closer inspection I am not quite prepared, although almost so, to say that the peoples of the world lost ground as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and emergence of the United States as the so-called ‘sole surviving superpower.’


Generally, it was rather automatically assumed almost never challenged, that the outcome of the Cold War was a victory for liberal values, including human rights, political democracy, economic growth, and certainly world peace. There was the added popular view that since democracies supposedly do not go to war against each other, and if Communism was discredited on both ideological and materialist grounds, then democracy would spread naturally and quickly, and the world would become in the process more peaceful and its people better off.


It was also assumed with the end of strategic conflict among the most powerful states that substantial resources would be freed to devote more generously to improving the social and economic wellbeing, end extreme poverty, protect the environment, and invest in the renewal of aging infrastructures of countries in the West long stressed by the security rigors of the Cold War.


This positive sense of the end of the Cold War was powerfully reinforced by the ideological self-confidence that produced such triumphalist expressions as ‘the end of history’ or ‘the second American century.’ The outcome was seen as a moral victory for capitalist democracies and a defeat for socialist authoritarian states. Even China seemed throw in its red towel, zestfully embracing its new role as a rising star in the capitalist world market, and many countries, especially in Asia did grow at unprecedented rates, raising living standards beyond all expectations and attaining a higher status as international actors. The legitimacy of capitalism and constitutionalism were not seriously challenged as the legitimate foundations of world order for the first time in 150 years, underscoring the demoralization of the political left, and its disappearance of the left and fascist right as political forces almost everywhere.


Without doubt, the United States could have taken advantage of this global setting to champion a post-Cold War global reform movement in ways that would in all likelihood have been benevolent, but it chose not to do so. Instead, it gave its energies to taking short-term materialist advantage of the geopolitical vacuum created by the abrupt Soviet withdrawal from the global scene. One can only wonder how the world might have evolved if a Gorbachev-like leader who espoused a global vision was running the show in Washington while Russia produced someone with the mentality of Reagan or the elder Bush, neither of whom embraced ideas any more enlightened than making the world safe for American economic, political, and cultural hegemony.



American Geopolitical Myopia


In more concrete terms this meant giving priority in American foreign policy to such retrograde global goals as ‘full-spectrum dominance’ with respect to military superiority and in solidifying its global sphere of influence, what was sometimes given historical specificity as ‘the globalization of the Monroe Doctrine.’ George H. W. Bush did use the occasion of the First Gulf War in 1991 to proclaim ‘a new world order,’ by which he meant that the UN could become the geopolitical instrument of the West that it was intended to be in 1945—a peacekeeping mechanism to promote Western interests, which in that instance meant restoring Kuwaiti sovereignty after Iraq’s aggression and annexation. Washington, soon worried by seemingly vesting authority, responsibility, and expectations in the UN, even as as a geopolitical legitimating tool, and quickly abandoned the new world order, put the idea ‘back on the shelf’ as a prominent American diplomat at the time put it. Bush’s Secretary of State told a private gathering shortly after the First Gulf War that his boss made a mistake by connecting the new world order with UN peacekeeping rather than with spread of neoliberal globalization to the four corners of the planet. American global idealism, always hedged by a realist calculus, was definitely undergoing a normative eclipse.


If the elder Bush had seen the collapse of the Soviet Union as something more than a geopolitical checkmate, we might be living in a different, more hopeful and responsible world. He had the visionary opportunity to strengthen the UN in a variety of ways, including weakening the right of veto, increasing popular participation by establishing a world parliament, proposing a global tax to achieve more independent financing, and calling for a serious world nuclear disarmament conference that might also have directed attention toward the broader horizons of global demilitarization, but it was not to be. Militarism was too entrenched in government and the private sector. More generally, capitalism was seen as having proven itself the most robust and creative means of fostering wealth and growth, and creating decent societies, that the world had ever known. Unlike World Wars I & II, the Cold War despite the language and periodic crises and dangerous confrontations, didn’t end with widespread elite or public anxieties that it was necessary to adopt important measures to avoid any repetition, which could be construed either as Cold War II or World War II. The triumphalist mood engendered an unchallenged mood geopolitical complacency toward the future, which had the ironic effect of creating a materialist obsessiveness, a kind of market-driven Marxism (that is, neoliberal globalization) that celebrated and depended upon a consumerist ethos that disregarded the damage being done to the physical, cultural, and psycho-political environments of humanity.





Why the West Lost the Cold War


Why, then, even if account is taken of these emergent patterns, should we take seriously my provocation that more critically considered, the West actually lost the Cold War? I will give my responses in abbreviated form.


–the end of the Cold War created an open road for predatory capitalism: the collapse of socialism as an alternative approach to economic development and state/society relations cleared the ideological path, leading Western leaders to be comfortable about regarding capitalism as ‘the only game in town.’ Without the ideological challenge of socialism, backed by the geopolitical leverage of the Soviet Union, capitalism felt a declining need to show a human face, becoming a victim of its own success. In practice, this meant rolling back social protection, weakening regulation, and privileging the efficiency of capital over the wellbeing of people. [See my Predatory Globalization: A Critique, Polity Press, 1999] In other words, capitalism needed the challenges posed by socialism and a vibrant labor movement to realize its own humanist potentials. In its post-Cold War enactment, preoccupations with economic growth were useful political distractions from the rising inequality and the adoption of a precautionary approach to increasing ecological concerns.


–the end of the Cold War induced after twenty years a process that led to the legitimation of democratically elected autocratic leadership that manipulated public outrage over failures to raise lower and middle class living standards, while catering to the ultra-rich. In this respect, due to the disappearance of ideological cleavages, the phenomenon of ‘choiceless democracies’ discouraged political participation, making political parties unsatisfactory vehicles for divergent political views and as sources of creative solutions for societal challenges. The Democratic Party seemed pragmatically as tied to Wall Street and Goldman Sachs as were the ideologically aligned Republicans.


–the end of the Cold War led the United States to lose a sense of direction, seemingly adrift when it lost the Soviet Union as its ‘indispensable enemy,’ seeming essential for achieving social cohesion and a wider sense of purpose. This loss was most controversially, yet effectively, articulated by Samuel Huntington in his Foreign Affairs article, “The Clash of Civilizations.” His postulate of ‘the West against the rest,’ with particular attention to political Islam exerting pressures along the fault lines of Western Civilization, was given aa decisive, although misleadinng credibility by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the two symbolic embodiments of American power—trade and war-making. In some respects, the anarchic character of global terrorism was a more disruptive threat to the security of the established order than was the Cold War. Insecurity became pervasive, verging on hysteria, complicating lives and underscoring that after the Cold War the world had become a global battlefield with no place, however well protected by military means escaping the torments of vulnerability and the inconveniences of ‘watch lists,’ intrusive surveillance, security checks at airports, public buildings, and even hotels and stores. In this context Iran has become the statist embodiment of the indispensable enemy, with China and Russia as default options. When the indispensable enemy lacks deterrent capabilities, dangers of military confrontation heightened, especially as her, that the enemy is pronounced ‘evil,’ and such a tag is reciprocated by the weaker adversary.


–the end of the Cold War strengthened the political will in Washington to make the world order more congenial in light of the foregoing considerations, with particular attention to the Middle East due to a sense of dependence on access to the oil reserves of the region. What was championed as ‘democracy promotion’ was tried in the Iraq War of 2003, generating a series of disastrous reactions ranging from a costly intervention and occupation that achieved none of its strategic goals relating to democracy, containment of Iranian influence,  permanent military bases, reduced oil prices, and a victory over counterterrorism. In fact, the American occupation of Iraq was administered in a highly dysfunctional manner that not only generated national resistance, but gave rise to the most extremist non-state political formation the modern world has ever known, ISIS or Daesh, as well as to the disruptive intensification of sectarian tensions within Iraq and regionally. In effect, the end of the Cold War leading to Soviet collapse and disengagement, allowed the United States to pursue in a less restrained manner more ambitious goals, yet still leading to disastrous results. Regime-changing interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya resulted in quagmires or in political outcomes that undercut the initial goals, spread turmoil and distrust of American global leadership. Only late in 2019 does there seem to be some hope for restored regional stability due to the frustration of U.S. goals, Russian reinvolvement during the terminal stages of the Syrian ‘international civil war,’ and Saudi moving toward a possible accommodation with Iran. The unappreciated irony is that the last best hope for stability in the region is to restore a geopolitical discipline that encourages all actors to behave more cautiously.


–the end of the Cold War has serious diminished the quality of world order in several crucial dimension, including even the likelihood of war fought with nuclear weapons. With less incentive to ensure war prevention and maintain alliance cohesion and in light of greater political independence by many states, international cooperation has declined at the very time when it is most needed in relation to ecological protection (climate change, biodiversity, acidification and rising sea levels). Combat and climate change have induced large-scale migratory movements that have pushed many more affluent countries in ultra-nationalist directions with adverse consequences for human rights, democratic forms of governance, international law, and the authority of and support for the UN System (as expressed by withheld dues and budgetary stresses). When the Cold War raged, the West used internationalism and humanitarian diplomacy not only as venues for propaganda, but to gain the higher moral, ideological, and political terrain in relations to the Soviet Union and socialist management of the economy. With the Soviet collapse, countries pursued economic gains in imprudently in ways that produced the current crises of inequality and corruption in many countries and a general situation of ecological malaise.  






A Concluding Note


This contrarian argument does not contend that the Soviet Union (or Russia) won the Cold War, although after a period of decline and austerity, the return of Russia to the ranks of geopolitical leaders with less ideological and imperial baggage (considering the independence of countries in East Europe and Central Asia), such a case could and perhaps should be made.


The main claim in this essay is that the end of the Cold War was not, as triumphalists claimed, so much of a victory for world capitalism in its neoliberal modes and of constitutional democracy as it was assumed to be in the early 1990s. It became an occasion for less regulated economic globalization and for new violent political encounters that has made the world into a global battlefield in an unresolvable struggle between non-state extremist multinational networks and various established sovereign states. In the process, due to internal and international moves away from global responsibility by the United States, a global leadership vacuum has emerged while a variety of unchecked dangerous trends imperil the human future.


The initiial, and perhaps decisive failure to assert global leadership after the end of the Cold War involved a failure at a moment of global fluidity to seek reforms to facilitate various forms of environmental protection, denuclearization and demilitarization, and the enhancement of the normative order via a stronger UN and a greater acceptance of international law as serving the national interests of geopolitical actors. The United States enjoyed the historic opportunity to lead such an effort, but other countries were remiss in not putting forward proposals and creating pressures that might have induced more constructive American behavior at such a potentially opportune time. It seems especially a lost opportunity from the perspective of the present in which cosmopolitan sentiments have been so pervasively pushed aside by nativist forms of ultra-nationalism.

13 Responses to “Did the West Win the Cold War?”

  1. Beau Oolayforos November 6, 2019 at 8:27 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    Poor Mikhail Gorbachev. He recently stated, again, his increasing fear of nuclear conflict with the West. His well-deserved Nobel Prize might be sitting on a shelf, gathering dust. Raisa is long gone. He is roundly vilified in his own country, unjust payment for his optimistic peace-making.

    His cosmopolitan vision was met with “float-all-boats” nonsense, “supply-side” ignorance, the enshrinement of capitalist greed, and MI-complex expansionism. So much for our “peace dividend”.

    Economic ‘progress’ is usually touted in aggregates and averages. They are misleading. The citizens of Delhi might have more rupees now than 30 years ago, but they’re choking and dying of smog. Jeff Bezos and the homeless people who died last night in the alleys – they all have substantial AVERAGE wealth.

    It was futile, of course, to expect anything creative or constructive from Reagan or Bush. Opportunities were missed, but we must learn from them, going forward. Are not the off-year election results encouraging? One of my kids’ favorite internet shows is “Haters Back Off !!” Amen to that.

    • Richard Falk November 6, 2019 at 8:43 pm #

      As usual, perceptive and persuasive! Thanks for your wisdom and insight. Richard

  2. Mikke 71 November 9, 2019 at 2:35 am #

    In actuality, no one won the “Cold War.” The Soviet Union collapsed as a result of its own internal corruption, despite Gorbachev’s efforts to reform it through Glasnost and Perestroika, and the incompetent, alcoholic Yeltsin seized control after the “Nomenklatura Coup” against Gorbachev failed. The nation floundered until Yeltsin, being unable to govern, appointed Putin as his assistant and ultimately, successor. Even Putin could not completely restore the worst totalitarian structures of the Soviet Union, leaving it a kleptocratic petro-state with nuclear weapons and diminished Imperial ambitions in Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. Russia”s operations in Syria might be seen as a pre-emptive actin to forestall the return of Islamo-Fascism (ISIS/Daesh) to the Caucuses, where they threaten Russian territory.

    The Soviet Union’s Imperial Adventure in Afghanistan, “The “Graveyard of Empires,” is often compared to the U.S. Imperial Adventure in Vietnam, both extremely costly in terms of public support of their respective governments, leading many to denounce those governments, and some instances to emigrate elsewhere. The Soviet Union could no longer afford to maintain its “buffer zone” of client states in Eastern Europe, leading to the independence of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Ukraine and the re-unification of Germany.

    Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union/Russia lost direction, seeking only short term advantages; the U.S. is still engaged in Afghanistan after 18 years and recently re-engaged in Iraq, after leaving in. 2011; Russia is trying to re-impose rule on its former client state Ukraine, facing an army being trained and equipped by the U.S. The forces of nationalism are sweeping the former “captive nations” of Eastern Europe, resulting in the expansion of NATO eastward.

    If there is any ultimate winner, it is China, which despite being a totalitarian nation with a market economy, and Xi-Jinping as President for Life, has expanded influence through China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” which creates new highways, rail lines and ports throughout Asia and Africa. Influence comes with trade, and despite President Trump’s trade sanctions, continues to expand into new markets and increasing improvement in China’s quality of life.

  3. Ceylan Orhun November 9, 2019 at 9:00 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    It seems as if the cold war was a mirror where each side could look at its reflection to re-adjust, make up…

    Maybe the times are more “provocative” & asking “do we need a world leader?”

    Once again you are missing the best of the season while I am wishing you were here,

  4. Kata Fisher November 10, 2019 at 1:26 am #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    It has gotten a very hot with the Cold War.

    Putting the one of the most revered name of God – on a Blasphemous Nuclear bomb has had put under perpetual curse all who were involved, and their territories and grounds are tested out in hell, just as well. All champions involved can only congratulate themselves on short-lived fun-time.

    Any world-leader would have incredible difficulty to bring about any further progress – to the territories that are doomed to be in a backwards progress.

    Its like the question of the Peace in the Middle East – which will never take place without state of Israel completely be withdrawn from all occupied territories in Holy Land. This has noting to do with the people in holy land.

    Military leaders are extremely dumb, and minded that is worth to die for any cause for their counties (or another purpose) is one bunch of cult.

    John of Ark was one narcistic psychopath – had she stay put where she was – the world history would not be as wicked as we have it now.

    Albert Einstein was a psychotic, among many – just another in satanic seals moran.

    I hope you are doing well, and still getting around without much difficulties. This world is much accursed cage in hell.

    Now they should look really hard for Albert Einstein’s reversal of Nuclear warming theory – I am sure that only hell could not give them one.

    They should rally, really look really hard to understand what wicked and their in satanic seals wickedness has done in the past.


  5. Ozman Dias November 10, 2019 at 6:46 am #

    A few points that may be pertinent to this otherwise excellent essay:

    I am particularly concerned by the growing embrace of concepts like exceptionalism and the rejection of any notion of reciprocity in international affairs by average American viewers of mainstream media. These relatively recent changes in mindset have made it easier for the US government to launch military aggression around the world for even the flimsiest of pretexts. The next generations has decided to embrace subjective perceptions of the world, where they see themselves as heroic and justified in all circumstances, and lost their ability to understand the impact of their choices on the recipients of the consequences. For e.g., what does the average American understand about the scope of tragedy that the average Iraqi has suffered since 1991, or what an entire generation of Iraqi children grew up with as they near the age of 28? Do Americans understand that millions were killed due to the lack of medicine by the inhumane sanctions between 1991 and 2003, or the psychological impact of the “shock and awe” campaign that followed? Or the growth of Al Qaeda and ISIS that followed the closure of Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, and so forth? Is there any awareness of what the average Iraqi experiences, thinks, feels or perceives about the world?

    Or the average Afghan? Or the average Libyan? Or the average Somali? Or the average Yemeni? Or the average Syrian? Or numerous other victims of American global aggression (e.g. Pakistan) whose numbers grew exponentially since 9/11? Ironically enough, Obama’s terms saw American military incursions into Libya, Syria and Yemen but the average American seems to regard him as a peace-lover and deserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Recent generations have embraced and integrated their perceptions of reality with the way it is presented in video games and social media. The latter have focused on glorifying the violence of battlefield violence by rewarding players for inhumane brutality, thus divorcing emotions from the trauma of warfare. The cool and detached remoteness of murder by drones has further de-sensitized a generation of youth through advances in computer graphics that facilitate and glorify military violence and killing. For e.g., recall how impressed Prince Harry was when he operated a drone in a conflict zone, and likened it to playing a video game. There was a time when the horror of watching footage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the napalm used in Vietnam, caused audiences to recoil in horror and vow to avoid such terrifying acts on other human beings. Today, such scenes are applauded and cheered as demonstrations of might and ‘defence’ of freedoms with no expected consequences or repercussions on the aggressors. In short, the empathy for victims of war has been replaced by the entitlement to resort to war as a first recourse to implement economic and geopolitical national interests. (Witness how Trump is keeping troops in Syria to ‘guard the oil’ (for whom?) which has no justification in international law whatsoever but has hardly been challenged by US media or official authorities.)

    When the US President gives himself the right to prepare ‘Kill Lists’ of names of persons slated for murder by drone as a routine task performed every Tuesday, then the US’s moral direction is lost and irrelevant. I’m not sure which article of the US Constitution grants such power to the US president but that raises the question why the Supreme Leader of Iran is not entitled to prepare a similar list for his own enemies on a weekly basis?

    Reciprocity in international law was a pillar of Westphalia, along with respect of sovereignty and for the rule of law. Somehow, it got dropped in modern iterations of interpreting international law, which begs the question as to how a new global order can be developed when the laws cannot apply equally to all participants, and some players are ‘more equal’ than others?

    I am a great admirer of your erudition and fearlessly consistent ethics, Prof Falk but there is no point trying to list the violations of international law and lost opportunities when we elect people who believe that the only ethical way to act is the one that benefits them the most. And the Harry Potter Generation that follows them only knows how to blame its predecessors without learning how to challenge them or to use critical thinking to question its own assumptions. Outrage is all they know how to express, as if an emotion is a valid substitute for knowledge or self-awareness or resolve to make hard decisions.

    Hemingway was wrong. The true Lost Generation is the one that calls itself the ‘Woke’ Generation.

    • Richard Falk November 11, 2019 at 5:08 am #

      Thanks for this thoughtful and penetrating assessment, especially as it relates to the
      decline of empathy and the erosion of reciprocity with respect to international law.

      I agree completely with your comment, including the pernicious effects of video games on
      our ethical perceptions. My only difference with your phrasing would be to put slightly less
      stress on the assertion of decline. The American and European past as you are surely aware
      was also on many occasions not only insensitive to the violence used against others, but glorified
      that violence. This may have been disguised until 1928 when for the first time legal restraints on
      recourse to aggressive force were first widely endorsed as part of international law. The ‘victors’
      justice’ aspects of the war crimes trials at the end of World War II were prime instances of double
      standard, treating equals unequally, punishing the losers but granting impunity to the winners. And
      there is the non-reciprocal dimensions of the UN Charter, especially the veto power given the five
      leading countries.

      Maybe just maybe it is not the ‘generation’ that is lost, but the species, what I call a bio-ethical

    • Beau Oolayforos November 11, 2019 at 4:12 pm #

      It seems that extra-judicial kill lists are an unfortunate feature of Nobel Laureate Obama’s resume. Perhaps not an entire GENERATION of chicken-hawks like Prince Harry, with their video games and social media – let’s maybe say a large cohort.

      It’s also unsettling how certain idioms, tropes, have crept into the (American, at least) English language, e.g., the laudatory adjective or adverb “Take-no-prisoners”, as in “He’s a hard-nosed, TNP guy”. meaning, “He’s no Geneva-Conventions wimp – he kills ’em all”.

      • Richard Falk November 12, 2019 at 12:22 am #

        Such language tropes are part of the nihilistic landscape that both gives rise
        to Global Trumpism and follows from it. You are right, of course, to be sensitive
        to these subliminal signals of approval for unrestrained violence. Thanks for the
        comment, Richard

  6. Aloysius McPoigan November 12, 2019 at 7:55 am #

    She Junk Pig is now in Athens as we speak. Pireus is the biggest Belt & Road anchor in Europe, which is why we need a third Prometheus plan. Arne Westad said the Cold War started in 1853 when Louis Napoleon avenged his uncle against the Romanovs. That was we neutralized Greece witht he first Prometheus plan, the second being 1967. We need to neutralize Greece again. Leonidas and his 300 Spartans begat the agrarian warrior glory of western civilization while Huntington’s Clash put Athens in the Islamo-Soviet zone. Sparta colonized Sicily hence begat Rome, while Athens colonized Scythia hence begat Russia. Alexander’s dad choked Athens by grabbing Besant to choke Scythian wheat. Athenians are the source of all leftist ideas like globalist commerce, Delian central banking, cowardly philosophers and socialist taxation.

  7. Ozman Dias November 12, 2019 at 8:35 am #

    Of course, you’re absolutely correct, Professor. I think I’m tainting my memory with my personal expectations (or hopes?) of what international law was intended to achieve. For e.g., the Nicaragua Case was a stunning accomplishment of clarity and guidance on defining self-defence and its ambit, and yet, it has been ignored with impunity by NATO, ISAF and the ‘Coalition of the Willing’, et al. No repercussions ever followed, even after the Chilcot Inquiry Report was finally allowed to be released. And the Libya invasion was as pernicious as the justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion but Hillary Clinton was the victim because her role in perpetrating that tragedy was exposed against her wishes.

    A few years ago, I asked a law professor why none of the war crimes in Iraq or Libya or Syria were ever investigated at the ICC? The professor opined that it was better to have some injustices punished than to have none at all. I responded that members of South Africa’s apartheid regimes probably used the same justification for their criminal system, and the temperature in the room dropped precipitously. Law students started talking about ‘overall’ virtue and good intentions, and ignored facts that didn’t suit their preferences. It was disheartening.

    A decade ago, I posed that same question to Sir Kenneth Keith of the ICJ at a lecture, and he responded that Iraq was not a member of the ICC. And yet, Omar al Bashir was judged by the ICC even though Sudan is not a member of that court. But somehow, members of the Permanent Five of the UNSC can refuse to join the Court but can refer cases to it while simultaneously vetoing any attempt to force its jurisdiction upon them. But to give him credit, Sir Kenneth appeared to struggle with his own reasoning and rationalization.

    I have very limited participation in the IHL field and found the practitioners to be incredibly cynical and politicized, with no real investment in the principles or goals. When the same president who demands Geneva Convention protections for his captured servicemen, then secretly opens Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca and Guantanamo, one has to wonder about the point of creating ‘universal declarations’ and charters, etc. When the men who promise to end global wars end up starting more than existed when they came to power, and still get lauded as ‘peacemakers’, then I have to wonder if the general public really wants international human rights or humanitarian law? Witness the venal Tony Blair who helped to shatter the Middle East being anointed as the UN’s Special Envoy to the Middle East. Was this the worst joke ever committed by that forum?

    I am reminded of Tony Blair’s speech in Chicago in 1999 where he explained that the relatively new doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’ was determined by the ‘national interest’ of the intervenors. Similar remarks by Canada’s Defence Minister stressed that NATO had given itself the authority to use aggression to prevent human rights violations but was not obligated to act in every case (see C.M. Chinkin’s excellent paper: “Kosovo: A ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ War?” (1999) 93 Am. J. Int’l. Law, 841). And yet, Iran was not given this right to intervene in Bosnia, nor was Russia entitled to claim this ‘right’ in Syria (as evidenced by Samantha Power’s hysterical and shameless accusations of barbarism at the Security Council). So, as you so rightly point out, the victors never intended to be subject to the rules they devised for everyone else.

    And yet, as an Asian who was raised in a former colony of a European power, I wanted to believe that I can be as relevant as any of the descendants of the privileged powers. As I progress beyond middle age, I still believe that people value these ideals on some basic level. But practitioners either deny reality or distort it to suit their own purposes. Can people be convinced to stop holding on to their preferred versions of ‘alternative’ reality in order to recognize the fraud of the so-called ‘Clash of Civlizations’?


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