Opinions, Column

Why We Should Understand the Enemies of the Western World

As the dust settled on the aftermath of the Second World War, the rising action of the Soviet Union’s new campaign forced the Western world into a new, international order of conflicting interests.

That stage set the precedent for the dismissal of the Warsaw Pact and the inevitable spread of the communist’s infectious diseases. The Western world began to narrow its lens on Prague, viewing it as an outpost of liberal and democratic ideals. 

As the strength and caution around the Soviet’s alliance with the West waned in the turnover of existing foreign policy objectives, free Europe was threatened again. 1968 marked the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the end to liberalism’s dominance throughout Eurasia. This small nation gained the spotlight because the Soviet Union proved that evil will always exist. 

Foreign policy intentions of powerful countries come at the cost of those that cannot defend themselves. When it comes to an unfair confrontation between two parties, that is the definition of evil.

Today, Ukraine finds itself in the same role as Czechoslovakia did in the 1960’s. Putin’s new invasion of Ukraine shocked the world, but it probably should not have. This is not the first time a leader in an undemocratic society forced the hand of a weaker nation-state to assert dominance and expand its empire.

Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party under Stalin, analyzed the Soviet Union’s position and maximized his advantage to reorganize his pieces on the grand strategy chessboard. Putin, much like his predecessor, is attempting to do the same. 

Parallels like this across history consistently show us one thing—allies only exist when interests align. After completing those objectives, the positive relationship diverges into personal campaigns that could force those same allies into enemies. 

Another realization that must be accepted throughout the Western world is that tyrants and dictators will always exist. There is no scenario where the world is completely rid of evil. 

One of the defining points of realism is that it requires foreign policy strategists to actively and intentionally open opportunities to engage with world leaders who pose a threat to the U.S.’s ideals. 

The United Nations International Court ruled that Putin has committed over 70,000 war crimes against the Ukrainian people since the start of their invasion campaign beginning last year. Since then, stagnation of the conflict has only solidified—the trench warfare fighting does not seem to be wrapping up anytime soon. 

With the normalization of this new war, Tucker Carlson mobilized his resources to maximize the potential of his new show on X, formerly known as Twitter. Viewing the perspective of an undemocratic leader in a liberal society should fascinate the citizens of the United States.

Because everyone in North America is so accustomed to the negative rhetoric of authoritarian leaders, witnessing a conversation with one is a rare event people don’t want to miss. Carlson is already a polarizing figure in the United States because of his support for former president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump.

To that end, he has amassed a massive following—somewhere between four to six million viewers every night for the Tucker Carlson Show on Fox News. Now, on X, his traction has dramatically increased, with an interview of Trump in 2023 garnering over 14 million views. His interview with Putin has over 250 million impressions on X already.

The numbers prove that the people in the United States want to know more about the Kremlin—and that’s not a bad thing. As the war of attrition continues to gain exposure on a global scale, people should understand both sides of the battlefield to create a more informed and detailed analysis of the situation. 

Moreover, Putin doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Any claims of his power dwindling were swiftly dismissed by the unsuccessful coup attempt by the Wagner leader.

The grand strategy of the world chessboard shifts and changes every day with the development of new interests and political campaigns. It’s foolish to dismiss attempts to understand fellow players because of a supposed moral high ground.

The difference between the novice and grand master is not only experience but the ability to learn from your enemies and your allies alike. That strategic mindset will educate the advisors who operate the functions of the United States defense budget as well as the average citizen. 

Keep your enemies closer than your friends, and the chessboard of international politics will become clear, giving the realistic player an advantage over the rest.

February 28, 2024