Western officials have claimed in unison that they oppose the recent burning of a Quran by an extremist in Sweden, yet none of them are doing anything to prevent this from happening again such as banning the burning of any religious texts. They argue that while this is morally wrong, it’s still a legally protected form of speech in their societies, yet at the same time, the EU restricts its residents’ access to publicly financed Russian media.
In other words, their elite feels more threatened by their people reading alternative views than they fear the consequences of letting extremists burn religious texts. The first could gradually reshape popular perceptions in ways that eventually manifest themselves by people voting for multipolar political forces while the second regularly runs the risks of provoking riots that endanger average people. Quite clearly, the Western elites’ own interests take precedence over those in whose name they claim to govern.
Read more: Religious Texts Under Threat in Sweden
Understanding the matter better
These double standards expose the hypocrisy inherent in the West’s so-called “rules-based order”, which is inextricable from their liberal–globalist ideology that’s described in detail in the preceding two hyperlinks. By contrast, Russia’s conservative-sovereignist worldview that’s shared by most of the Global South strictly prohibits religious hate speech, which President Putin reminded everyone in the aftermath of this latest incident.
So long as burning religious texts remains a legally protected form of speech in their societies while reading alternative views from Russia is strictly prohibited in Europe, the West will never succeed in regaining the hearts and minds that it’s lost across the world in recent years. The soft power competition that its elites imagine that they’re in with the Sino-Russo Entente is over before it ever truly began because the vast majority of the world is opposed to these double standards.
Whatever appeal the West’s form of democracy might have to some non-Westerners is less important than respecting their religious sensitivities and preemptively averting the danger that they’re exposed to regarding the riots that regularly break out in response to letting extremists burn the Quran. Most people across the world care more about those issues that directly concern them on a daily basis such as protecting their religious principles and ensuring their safety than the way they vote every few years.
The West’s liberal-globalist elite are basically asking non-Westerners to sacrifice the aforesaid on the false pretense that their socio-political system is “exceptional”, “superior”, and therefore supposedly “universal”, with the innuendo being that everyone else will thus “inevitably” embrace it with time. Francis Fukuyama’s infamous “End of History” thesis serves as the ideological basis behind this form of civilizational aggression waged by the West against the non-West in its crusade to restore unipolarity.
The reality is that the global systemic transition to multipolarity, which was accelerated by the special operation that Russia was forced to commence in defense of its objective national security interests but predates that development, has made it impossible for unipolarity to ever return. Power and influence have become much too diffused within the international system in the sixteen months since then, not to mention the Global South’s much greater political awareness during that time too.
Non-Western states and their societies therefore have no interest in going back to the prior world order that worked against their interests, which means that the West must recalibrate its policies in response to this newfound state of affairs if it wants to retain some presence in those countries. Whatever political appeal it may have had there is long gone, hence why the only recourse is to focus on more equal economic and financial engagement with them so as to more robustly compete with China and others.
After all, it’s unlikely that the West’s ruling liberal globalists will be replaced by a more pragmatic and de-ideologized elite due to how firmly embedded the incumbents are in both the public and “deep” forms of their state, so this dimension of competition isn’t realistic. Those of their proxies who they finance in non-Western societies under the cover of being “NGOs” are also discredited by their association with the West’s Quran burnings and other unattractive forms of liberal globalism like the radical LGBT agenda.
Read more: Urgent UN meeting on Quran burning in Sweden
Returning to the lede, no honest observer is convinced that Western officials are sincerely against burning the Quran so long as they refuse to ban this and other forms of religious hate speech. These double standards draw attention to the reason why the West is losing hearts and minds across the world since its elites’ liberal globalism is genuinely unpopular. Unless their ideology changes, then the West’s soft power competition with China and Russia is already over before it ever truly began.