A Tale of Two Blocs: How Ukrainian Resistance Unified and Reinspired the Global West
Updated: Feb 21
Zelenskyy visits liberated Kherson, Wall Street Journal, 2022 ©
When Russia announced on January 31st, 2023, that Xi Jinping was going to pay Moscow a visit around the time of the Anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine (Law, 2023), it may have been a shock to some US Foreign Policy analysts or advisors who saw Russia and China as divergent in their aims, and therefore as bendable. But to anyone paying attention, it was a predictable step in China being a far superior power and yet a willing partner in a “Russian World”.
Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian thinker whose primary influences include Martin Heidegger, Julius Evola, and other traditionalists, is sometimes described as “Putin’s brain”. He has been an object of discussion where anti-Western/pro-Russian analysts will brush off or dismiss as unimportant subject of Western paranoia, and who some pro-Western/anti-Russian analysts will give more credit than he is due. What is important, is that as in political parties and organisations within democracies, directions of autocracies are also driven by political thinkers within party or military establishments. What Wang Huning is to the Communist Party of China and what Steve Bannon is to the Trump Organization or Jake Sullivan is to the Biden Foreign Policy team, Aleksandr Dugin would be considered for the Russian Federation and their armed forces. Normally, one would be right to ask why Dugin, a philosopher, even matters. This perspective would be fair, had his thoughts and ambitions not come to fruition since within not only national, but regional Russian policy, including Dugin’s calling for a genocide in Ukraine (Heiser, 2014), (Ragozin, 2014).
Aleksandr Dugin, as he described in interviews with Benjamin Teitelbaum in his work War for Eternity as well as in his own platforms describing the “Fourth Political Theory”, has stated that he is not anti-right, or anti-left, but anti-West (Dunlop, 2004). For Dugin, the moment everything went wrong in history was when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was broken, in his view not tragic because of Hitler’s war of aggression, but rather because it stopped Stalin and the Axis powers from joining together against the West (Dugin, Date Unknown). Now as off-putting as it may be to some, as it is to me, my purpose is not to express our opinion. Rather, it is today that who Dugin is against and what he is for, is clear. He is for a world order before the French Revolution and the Enlightenment, where conceptions of human rights don’t exist, and therefore is against the seemingly omnipresent “liberal west”.
For leaders in liberal Western societies to have a shot at defeating such a violent idea, they must know what they are for, and be able to defend not only the ideas, but the institutions that enable them. This thinking of “not anti-right, not anti-left, but against the Liberal west” extends to Russian policy in Putin’s idea of a “Russian world” including China and India, as Xi’s China being Stalinist and Modi’s India being fascist may be resolutely against each other, but Russia is willing to see them both as trojan horses against the “West” (Reuters, 2022). Their strategy is clear. However, until the conflict in Ukraine, it seems that the West did not have the same clarity of who they were, and therefore what they were for and what they were against.