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West’s quest for a kumbaya moment will not avert a global ...

World

West’s quest for a kumbaya moment will not avert a global catastrophe

Western nations have two options — throw their full support behind Ukraine or offer incentives for a peace treaty

Pankaj Mishra

More than 100 days of war in Ukraine have not only unleashed multiple political, economic and environmental crises; Vladimir Putin’s invasion has also revived dangerous delusions in the West.

A few months ago acute divisions plagued the US, EU and ties between them. Germany, Europe’s leading nation, had developed a mutually profitable relationship with Russia. Poland, a front-line state now aligned against Russia, was descending deeper into autocracy, inviting punitive measures from its EU partners. A mendacious Tory prime minister led the UK. The US, damaged by Trumpism, a mismanaged pandemic and a military debacle in Afghanistan, was debating the likelihood of civil war. French President Emmanuel Macron had declared Nato was experiencing “brain death”.

As soon as Putin launched his assault, Western politicians and journalists raced to announce that such fissures had miraculously dissolved. Lauding “Western unity” and the rejuvenation of “the free world”, they seemed to spend as much time trying to refurbish the West’s self-image as coming up with an effective rejoinder to Putin’s invasion...

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