Ukraine shows we live in a nationalist world

Ukraine shows we live in a nationalist world. By Michael Barone.

It turns out that we live in a nationalist world. That’s one of the lessons people are learning from the surprise early results of the Russo-Ukrainian war.

This is certainly not a welcome development for Davos Man — for the leaders of great international agencies, financial institutions, and corporations that gather in Switzerland in January or at Bilderberg conferences in May. They’ve been hailing the erosion of national barriers and the benefits of crossnational decision-making for years. …

Nationalism is back:

Since Feb. 24, Ukrainians’ resistance to the Russian invasion has shown that Ukrainian nationalism is strong even if, as Putin claims, it has shallow historical roots. Election results show that although eastern and southern Ukraine strongly supported pro-Russia candidates for president from 2004 to 2014, that support had largely dissipated by 2019.

Putin’s annexation of Crimea and Donetsk seizures seemed to have strengthened Ukrainians’ nationalism, whereas the desultory performance so far of the Russian military suggests that Russian nationalism is not as strong as Putin would like. …

Conflict is back:

Another lesson is that the age of armed conflict is not over. German diplomats at the United Nations laughed when President Donald Trump chided their country for spending less than the promised 2% of GDP on defense.

But no one was laughing when new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, shocked by Putin’s aggression, told the Bundestag Feb. 26 that Germany must spend 110 billion euros more this year.

Germans are, admirably, wary of bad nationalism. But they have just learned that sometimes there is no substitute for the good variety. …

Autocracy and tyranny is back:

Another lesson: Nationalisms have historical roots, with consequences. Davos Man in the 1990s hoped that elections and privatizations in Russia and trade and technology in China would make those nations liberal societies. Unhappily, they haven’t.

Russia’s history of suppressing personal and property rights … and China’s history of obedience to central authority persisted. The sweeping aside of term limits by Putin and Xi Jinping were warning signs that American leaders, beneficiaries of George Washington’s precedent, unwisely ignored.

Now Americans and Europeans have no difficulty in identifying Putin’s nationalism as malign, with some people going to childish extremes and boycotting Russian composers and Russian-cuisine restaurants.

The ignorant woke have no idea. Get them away from the levers of power, asap.