We Westerners, defenders of democracy but not at home
by Roberto Iannuzzi *
A strange phenomenon of cognitive dissonance is gripping the West. We are the defenders of democracy against the authoritarian return of “authoritarian regimes” such as Russia And Chinabut our governments do nothing to defend democratic values at home.
last december Joe Bidenpresident of the first country in the “free world”, convened a “Democracy Summit” which brought together heads of government, members of civil society, and the inevitable private sector, to “define an agenda for democratic renewal and confront, through collective action, the greatest threats to today’s democracies”. The impression that the event has created, however, is that of a clumsy attempt to form a patchwork front of countries to oppose Moscow and Beijing in a kind of ideological crusade led by Washington. The one between the United States and the Russian-Chinese front, progressively more compact also thanks to the improvised American actions, it is a geopolitical opposition which has nothing to do with democracy.
Meanwhile, the data indicates that it is the United States and its allies who bear the greatest responsibility for the global crisis of democracies of the past decade. The urgency comes from within. The recent protest movement originated in Canada (and elsewhere) is only the latest example of a malaise that has broken out several times in almost all Western countries, which precedes the current crisis triggered by Covid-19, and which in no way has an exclusively sanitary.
The crisis of 2008 it was a turning point. Austerity measures (of which the most disadvantaged and those least responsible for the collapse have borne the heaviest burden), growing inequalities, increasing corruption, the increasingly unchecked power of multinationals and large corporations economic, the spectacularization of the electoral process, they emptied democracy from within. Faced with the irresistible deterioration of the economic and social climate, the ruling elites reacted by resorting to a single scheme: the logic of urgency and the demonization of dissent. In the face of the economic emergency, those who disagreed with the official austerity narrative were branded as ‘populists’. Faced with the health emergency, the “need for austerity” has melted like snow in the sun, but this time those who disagree with the official narrative are branded as “No Vax”.
The protests taking place in Canada are emblematic of this process. fate as a movement of truckers against the vaccination obligation imposed on them to cross the border, they have swelled, involving farmers, workers and ordinary people, to the point that about a third of Canadians now support the protest, according to a recent poll. Among those who do not support it, many still consider it legitimate.
Note that the discontent is directed against the draconian health measures imposed by the government, but it is not a priori against vaccines, arguing rather freedom of choice (many truckers are vaccinated). Multiethnic and multicultural in composition (organizers include a Jew and a mixed-race woman), the protest includes many of those “Essential workers” who remained exposed on the front line during the most acute epidemic phase, and who suffer from the growing inequalities caused by the political choices aimed at countering the pandemic. Apart from a few sporadic excesses, dissent was expressed in an orderly and civilized manner.
This did not prevent the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to demonize the movement by defining it as a “marginal minority”, moreover anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and sometimes violent, which “it blocks our economy and our democracy“.
For his part, the former Governor of the Canadian Central Bank Marc Carney writes that it is time to restore the law by ending the “sedition in Ottawa”. Among other things, Carney is a leading representative of the World Economic Forum, whose director and founder Klaus Schwab boasted in 2017 that, thanks to young leaders like Trudeau trained by his organization, “we penetrate governments“.
Now, one may disagree with the protest of Canadian truckers, but statements like those of Trudeau and Carney do not seem worthy of Democratic leaders. If such protests pose a threat to democracy, one wonders why Canada, like all Western democracies, has argued in 2014 the much more violent demonstration in Piazza Maidan Kyiv, effectively infiltrated by neo-Nazi extremists, whom he openly aimed to overthrow a corrupt but still democratically elected government. But this is just one example. One may also wonder how Biden, the organizer of the recent Democracy Summit, supports the absolute monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in their bloody military campaign in Yemen which, in the total silence of the media, exacerbates the most serious crisis. international humanitarian aid in recent years.
Before looking spasmodically around us in search of alleged external threats to our democracies, this would therefore be the case with tidy up our houseamong other things also to have greater credibility on the international scene.
* Author of the book “If Washington Loses Control. Crisis of American Unipolarity in the Middle East and the World” (2017).