2 Dividing Lines

Internal cultural conflicts are not real wars. Wars take place on a different level.

When Joe Biden’s speech in the courtyard of Warsaw’s Royal Castle came to a resounding conclusion on March 26, some were unable to hide their disappointment. The president did not make any declaration about new American divisions or permanent military bases. And yet his speech has been recorded as historic.

In the face of Russian aggression, Biden’s remarks fundamentally changed the language used to define the basic threat to the West. In solemn tones characteristic of American liberals, Biden defined where the decisive line of confrontation for the future of the West and the world runs today. It is a divide between democracy and autocracy, freedom and repression, principled order and brute force. After Feb. 24, the divide became primarily the front line between Ukraine and Russia, but Biden’s pronouncement also has global significance and will redefine where the West stands in the world.

Over the last dozen years or so, however, the dividing line defining the West has been completely different. It was a division between liberal democracy and illiberal populism, which came to be called a new kind of fascism. Leaving aside the question of what the real meaning of this division was, one can certainly say that it split Europe and America into two hostile camps and internally weakened the West. From the perspective of current events, it is clear how beneficial this internal Western conflict was for its enemies, Russia and China. One can also assume with a high degree of certainty that both Moscow and Beijing fueled this conflict with every available means.

Biden’s speech in Warsaw was therefore historic not only because he tried to redefine the West, but because it represented the West’s real assessment of existential threats. Internal cultural conflicts are not real wars, they are natural disputes that any democracy faces within its political institutions. This dispute may be heated and passionate. However, those who until recently so eagerly chanted, “This is a war!”* should now honestly reexamine their conscience. The real war is taking place on another level, and it is this war for which the West must now prepare.

*Translator’s note: The author is referring to claims made at pro-abortion demonstrations that swept Poland.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply