Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The annual Munich Security Conference that began on Friday [February 15th – ed] didn’t become an outstanding event. Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump didn’t go there, and at the last minute, for known reasons, Emmanuel Macron, who was scheduled to be one of the main speakers, refused to go. So the level of the event wasn’t as high as it sometimes is it has been in the history of this forum.
But the Munich conference is remarkable not only because of the speeches of politicians (which are sometimes momentous and iconic – like Putin’s speech in 2007), but also because of the publication of the results of a number of global studies of world trends and public opinion in various countries. And also now, in the run-up to the forum, curious polls were made public, some of the results of which became a revelation for western media and analysts.
For example, the British press, which played a significant role over the past year in kindling anti-Russian moods in the world, is frankly shocked by the fact that the population of Earth considers America to be a bigger threat to the peace than Russia or China. The shock is clear — after all, it turns out that the efforts aimed a demonising Russia were mostly in vain.
A poll conducted by the known sociological company “Pew Research Centre” revealed that in the world America, with its unpredictable foreign policy, is much more feared. Moreover, this would be fine in countries traditionally dissatisfied with Washington and gravitating towards Russia (for example, in Serbia the results of polls surprised nobody). But unexpectedly for many, the residents of the countries – allies of the US and even their neighbours – showed their fear. For example, 46% of the residents of Canada consider that the United States is a threat to their country (Russia and China are considered to be 32% and 31%, respectively). And in Mexico 64% of the population is afraid of their big neighbours, Russia and China are seen as a threat by less than a third. It turned out that Americans are more feared than Russians in Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, i.e., in those countries that traditionally are considered to be close allies of the US.
The correctness of this global poll was confirmed also by another study, which was also prepared for the Munich Conference. The German Friedrich Ebert Foundation analysed public opinion in seven European countries, having revealed, for example, that in Germany 50% of the population consider the US as the main threat to peace, while Russia is viewed in this way by only 33%. In France, 24% of the population fear America, and 12% fear Russia.
These sentiments also quite logically explain the rejection of sanctions against Russia by the residents of these Western countries. For example, in France the regime of sanctions was supported by 33% (against – 43%), in Germany – only 17% (against – 75%). Even in Latvia, where the local press has been trying for a long time to blacken Russia’s foreign policy, 59% of inhabitants spoke against the regime of sanctions.
This indeed means that the efforts of western propagandists in the absolute demonisation of Russia turned out to be if not in vain, then, in any case, not as effective as it seemed to many. And judging by the analytical reports that accompany this research, this fact causes serious alarm among western experts. They really don’t know what to do, which some of them directly admit.
No matter how the elites of the Western world tried to intimidate their own population with the “Russian and Chinese threat”, they were faced with the fact that this population is much more concerned by other problems. The organisers of the Munich Conference, who traditionally prepare an annual extensive report about the main challenges of global security, even though they named climate change, worsening cyberattacks, terrorism, and so on as being among the main threats, they, seemingly, see the sharp change of the role of America in the world as the main problem. At least, such a conclusion can be drawn from the volume of materials that they devoted to this topic.
According to the authors of the main report, the US is now losing the role of the only world hegemon, and the “era of competition between great powers” begins, which the European Union isn’t ready for at all. It should be noted that it is a symbolic recognition, indicating that the EU itself is excluded from the competition of world leaders, to which only the US, Russia, and China are attributed.
Analysing the last attempts of the European leaders in creation of uniform army, authors of the Munich report write about need of “a strategic autonomy” of Europe and its foreign policy. One more sign recognition testifying that Europeans perfectly realize the dependent role in “big game”, and many of them are still terribly frightened of receiving prospect though some signs of independence or same autonomy.
The Munich report once again clearly testifies that the people of the majority of countries are cleverer and more perspicacious than their elites and analysts serving these elites. Public opinion is orientated towards friendship and cooperation with Russia, which most Europeans, Asians, and Africans don’t think is a threat to themselves either now or in the future. But the experts in Munich continue to lament over the fact that Europe doesn’t have a plan B in the event of the deconstruction of the system of transatlantic security that was developed in the years of the cold war, expressing panicky thoughts about how Europe will protect itself if the sovereign leaves it to the mercy of fate.
Protect against who? Of course, against Russia – European experts answer in chorus. It would be good for them if they took an interest in the opinion of their own people, who will correctly point out where and who poses the real threat to peace and security. It definitely isn’t Russia.
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