GEW Editorial

 

Why Cease-Fire? Let Israel Kill

The question of the West’s decline has resonated throughout its history. From Oswald Spengler’s “The Decline of the West” in the early 20th century to more recent works, the cyclical nature of civilisations has been underscored. Yet, answering whether the West is indeed in decline requires a holistic assessment of various factors.

When you see Western countries unwilling even to defend the ideals they profess to be at the heart of their system (values of freedom, democracy, and justice for all peoples of the world). At the same time, Israel butchers an entire population in Gaza, which has been under siege for so long. Worse, Western officials gave Israel the go-ahead before it began bombing Gaza; what ideals will the next generation stand for? What about the double standards? Ignorance of an occupied people’s plight under the bombs? What principles are left for Western generations to believe in?

Decline

The question of the West’s decline has resonated throughout its history. From Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West in the early 20th century to contemporary debates about dwindling economic power and geopolitical influence, scholars and intellectuals have consistently questioned the trajectory of Western civilisation.

One perspective argues that cultural decline can be seen as a natural part of any civilisation’s life cycle. Just as empires rise and fall, civilisations also go through cycles of birth, growth, maturity, decline, and eventually rebirth. This cyclical nature implies that no civilisation can remain at its peak indefinitely. What matters then is not whether decline occurs but how societies respond to it – whether they are able to adapt and evolve or succumb to internal strife and external pressures.

While some may argue that symptoms of decline—such as political polarisation or stagnant economic growth—are evident in current Western societies, others contend that these challenges are not unique to the West but rather reflections of broader societal shifts occurring globally. In an increasingly interconnected world where technology rapidly transforms entire industries overnight, perhaps it is time to reevaluate our understanding of what we consider as decline. Rather than viewing it solely from a Eurocentric lens, analysing Western civilisation within the context of larger global trends offers fresh insights into the West’s present conditions.

Double Standards in International Relations

Double standards have been a persistent hallmark of international relations for centuries, and it appears that they will continue to influence global dynamics in the foreseeable future. These double standards often manifest when Western nations selectively address human rights violations, readily condemning and, in some instances, pursuing legal action against war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by countries in the Global South. Meanwhile, there is often limited scrutiny of the role played by Israel—a recognised agent of colonialism in the Middle East—Western political figures, military leaders, and multinational corporations in their involvement with actions that contravene international law.

In the specific context of the Gaza bombing, there is a prevailing perception that Western powers, notably the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, offered tacit approval for Israel to continue its bombardment of Gaza, irrespective of the human toll it exacted on the Palestinian population. This perception has eroded the moral authority traditionally associated with these Western nations in the Middle East.

It is imperative to recognise that the actions and decisions of today’s leaders possess the potential to exert a profound influence on the values upheld by future generations. Rooted in an ancient Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) philosophy, the Seventh Generation Principle asserts that our choices in the present should contribute to creating a sustainable world for generations sevenfold into the future. This principle extends to international relations, emphasising that every decision should foster enduring and sustainable relationships that transcend time.

Nevertheless, an intriguing shift is emerging among younger generations, including millennials and Generation Z, who are increasingly inclined to challenge the established norms and institutions they perceive as fundamentally flawed. Look at the huge Free-Palestine demonstrations on the streets of several Western capitals, challenging the let-Israel-kill positions of the governments. This shift may suggest an evolving set of values, with younger generations demonstrating a reduced inclination to accept the longstanding double standards that have characterised the landscape of international relations.

Impact on Next Generation’s Values

The inconsistency in applying the values of freedom, democracy, and justice that Western societies profess to uphold is a signal that this civilisation may have entered its final stage before decline. If we fail to recognise that these values—freedom, democracy, and justice—should be universally accessible, if we view the Palestinian struggle for these values as mere “terrorism” rather than something worth defending, then a reevaluation of our historical perspectives is warranted. History tells us that the French people resisted Nazi occupation. However, if we examine the methods employed by the French and other formerly occupied nations, we find that they used similar means to protect their homelands. So, what distinguishes them from the Palestinians? Why is resistance to Israel labelled as “terrorism” while resistance to Nazi Germany is hailed as “heroism”?

If the same values lead to similar means of resistance, failing to apply them consistently and without double standards undermines credibility.

Furthermore, the evolving values of younger generations indicate a potential shift toward more inclusive and equitable principles. For instance, millennials and Gen Z prioritise meaningful work, foster diverse and inclusive workplace cultures, emphasise mental health, value open and honest communication, and actively seek social justice. These values could potentially shape the principles embraced by future Western generations. Would they?

We still believe in the power of conscientious self-criticism, as the entire structure of Western modernity is founded on objectivity. Therefore, while the perceived double standards in international relations present significant challenges, they also offer opportunities for introspection, dialogue, and transformation. By acknowledging these double standards and striving for greater consistency in applying principles, Western societies can endeavour to uphold the values they espouse and positively influence the values embraced by future generations. This way, they can contribute to a more just and equitable world that aligns with the universal ideals of freedom, democracy, and justice.

But if they fail, the Western civilisation will go down, while another will rise to the top… as has happened many times in history.

This time, it will be China. Or Russia. Or both, with the BRICS.

And in the manuals of history, the students will read a chapter titled:

The Downfall of the Western Civilisation.

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