West not to blame for Ukraine war


For liberal-democratic principles to prevail over the autocratic variants, democracies must revamp their vision of a desirable international order, according to a new analysis.

By invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the clash of competing visions a brutal and deathly reality, and liberal democracies are awakening to the challenges posed by autocratic revisionists, says the latest report from the Munich Security Conference.

A re-envisioned liberal, rules-based international order is needed to strengthen democratic resilience in an era of fierce systemic competition with autocratic regimes, the authors add. But to make this vision more attractive among the wider international community and help it win the contest for the future international order, democracies must also take into account legitimate criticism and concerns among the wider international community.

John Mearsheimer’s claim that the West provoked Russia to invade Ukraine is akin to his theory of international affairs  – amoral, ahistorical and deterministic, The FT’s Gideon Rachman writes:

These arguments are made in a recent book by Jonathan Kirshner called An Unwritten Future that critiques “offensive realism”, a theory developed by Mearsheimer, which holds that all great powers seek to dominate their regions, so as to ward off threats to their own security.

Kirshner argues that by assuming that all great powers behave identically, Mearsheimer becomes incapable of distinguishing between the actions of, for example, Weimar Germany and Nazi Germany. But the character of a state, and of its leaders, do matter. A Germany run by Hitler or a Russia run by Stalin is likely to act differently from when those countries were led by Angela Merkel or Mikhail Gorbachev. 

A more accurate view of the world may be less about the cleft between democracy and autocracy than about that between the rule-makers and the rule-takers, Deutsche Welle suggests. The latter are sometimes referred to, in a broad stroke, as the “Global South” — a term the MSC’s report uses. But it takes care to offset it with quotation marks, the authors said in response to a DW query, in a nod to its nebulous meaning.


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