Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Has Russia Emerged as an International Conservative Leader?

From Sputnik News:
Sputnik reached out to Glenn Diesen, a professor at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow), and author of "The Decay of Western Civilisation and Resurgence of Russia: Between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft," asking him to comment on the role of the rising Right, Russia and Donald Trump's US on Europe's future.

Sputnik: The recent elections in Bavaria, Germany, have indicated that the country's major parties are giving way to the right-wing opposition and the Greens. Likewise, in Italy, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands and elsewhere, conservative opposition is gaining ground. What's behind the recent trend? Is it in any way connected to Brussels' migration policy, which envisages spending millions on refugees amid a looming economic crisis?

Glenn Diesen: These new right-wing opposition figures can be referred to as populists or classical conservatives, and they represent a reaction to the excessive political and economic liberalism since the 1980s and 1990s. The rapid demographic changes caused by refugees and migrants have created concerns about societal security, which is the ability of societies to reproduce their culture, traditions, and distinctiveness. Brussels and Berlin were already promoting the EU federalism as an effort to transcend and deconstruct the nation-state, and their open-border policies amplified existing discontent by classical conservatives. However, the radical economic liberalism of globalism is also a source of anger. Europe and the US have traditionally balanced free-market capitalism with state intervention to support strategic industries and protect communities vulnerable to overwhelming market forces.

Sputnik: Is Russia a natural ally of European conservatives? What's your take on Donald Trump's fight against the globalist establishment? What do you think about the possibility of some sort of "alliance" between European right-wing forces, Russia and Trump's America? Why has Trump found himself in opposition to both Europe and Moscow?

Glenn Diesen: The European conservatives are not identical, and they present both challenges and opportunities. A commonality is that most of them reject the artificial redrawing of ideological borders after the Cold War. Trump and the rest do not divide the world into liberal democracies versus authoritarian states; rather, they see the fight for civilization to be between globalists and nationalists or cosmopolitans versus patriots.

Russia, therefore, switches from being an adversary to an ally, as Russia has emerged as an international conservative leader that stands up for traditional European culture, Christianity, traditional values, and the family unit. Russia has returned to its pre-communist role as the go-to country for Western classical conservatives. The opportunity for Russia is obviously that the new Right are prepared to stop NATO/EU expansionism towards Russian borders and finally reach a post-Cold War settlement.

At the moment, the West is fighting itself to correct its liberal delusion, and any efforts to establish an "alliance" will be counter-productive, as it would augment the perception of Russian being behind every populist movement. Moscow should also be aware that Trump's "America First" doctrine does not entail withdrawing from the world. He is pragmatic and wants to make America's global influence more durable by converting vassals into allies and the end of ideological and expensive military adventurism. Relations between the US and Russia will, however, not improve under Trump as the establishment seeks to balance his rapprochement efforts. Trump is a transitional figure, and opportunities for US-Russian relations may emerge after Trump. (Read more.)

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