To the so called third world, the periphery of the “civilized world”, the regions and countries that did not have the historical experience of capitalism and liberalism, the West offers a universal model of development and progress. This model of course cannot be implemented without the necessary financial means, and so the “civilized world” inevitably cannot but start working on the local elites.
When other countries want to live like the West, but still for some reason they reject the idea of individualism, they are led to a contradiction. The Western way of life requires a model of “antisocial” behavior that must be imposed for decades on every individual through its distribution in the media, in films, music, clothing, food and various youth movements. Ordinary people who have ordinary human weaknesses for perversity, which the new ideology encourages, sincerely desire the same lifestyle as in American or British films.
After all, is it better to go in a convertible, a Cadillac brand, along the San Francisco promenade to a fancy restaurant than in a Lada, or even worse a minibus, to an anonymous factory? It’s clear even to a fool what is better! And here the seed of liberal enslavement is planted, not only in the minds of individuals, but in the collective mind of entire countries.
After all, it is logical that everyone cannot roam around in Rio in white pants in search of a Cadillac, because this option, although popularized, is provided only for some very special and unique individuals. For capitalists, and for a very insignificant part of the middle class, in those countries that have a large capital reserve, that is, in which galleons loaded with colonial gold came for about 300 years.
But now the demand has been created in the less regions of the world too, every day, fueled by the Western ideas of the good life. And in this situation, the local elites, which are naturally human being with all the weakness that this condition implies, understand that it is impossible to not respond to such challenges, because this could end in a social explosion.
What follows is a colonization through the cultivation of ultra-consumer consciousness and this energy, if the population at large has no money to satisfy its natural thirst for new goods, can be easily consolidated and canalized to achieve “liberal” goals.
So, given these options, if the local elites do not respond to such sentiments, this may end fatally for the same elites. Therefore, the local ruling class has a need, at least partially, to satisfy the demand for a corrupted idea introduced from outside.
And here, as in folk tales, in the second act, Western saviors appear on the horizon. They say that in order to satisfy the demand that was created, you need to have a certain amount of money that we the West can provide to you, of course, in exchange for resources and the ability to influence the economy and politics of the region, in other words, they propose to surrender national interests without war.
If the local elites disagree with their selfish, or perhaps patriotic interests, then the methods of soft power quickly turn into an attempt to overthrow the anti-liberal, dictatorial regime, which oppresses the right of individuals.
In this case, the population’s high expectations of a quick improvement and increase in the material quality of life up to the level of Western countries, and “genuine popular protests” can turn into the violent overthrow of the local ruling class, guilty of presiding over a regime that denied people the opportunity of Cadillac convertibles and lace underwear for everyone, regardless of gender.
The most recent example of this kind of “genuine popular revolt” is the Ukrainian Maidan revolution. The trigger, the refusal of the then government to accept European integration, was turned into a denial of the bright European life for the Ukrainian citizens. During the Maidan protests people were told that all Ukrainians would receive a salary of 1000Є, without a lot of worries about where this money would come from.
As a result of liberal expansionism, or in other words “soft power”, the West is seeking control over resources and territories, and often the beneficiaries of these liberal “improvements” begin to live, in real terms, much worse. How many times entire countries have been robbed this way. After all, why wage a war and besiege a fortress, if you can lure naive residents, and the fortress will fall on its own?
Alexandr Lazarev is a Ukrainian political scientist.