The West and the Permanent Enemy: Elena Basile’s Book is in Tune with the Pope’s Stance

Elena Basile's book critiques Western handling of global conflicts, urging peace and insight into the dynamics of a multipolar world.
The West and the Permanent Enemy: Elena Basile's Book


L’occidente e il nemico permanente
Elena Basile

The media and establishment reactions to the Pope’s appeal to the Ukrainian government to surrender to end what is an insane slaughter are emblematic of the madness characterizing the Western world.

On one hand, the “watchdogs” with helmets, in full harmony with the Ukrainian government, consider the Pope a traitor, a friend of Putin, and so on. On the other, the “reformist” trend, which attempts to cage what Francis said to bring it back to business as usual, to ineffectiveness. Cardinal Parolin is the spearhead of this trend, conditioning the opening of negotiations on the Russian ceasefire. Summarizing these two approaches, the bulk of the media emphasized that the Pope is a man of faith and not a diplomat or politician, but above all practiced a third approach: to stop talking about it as quickly as possible. Indeed, the Pope vanished from the screens in a flash.

In this framework, where every proposal aimed at ending the horrible massacre underway in Donbass, even the most sensible and authoritative, is hidden and downplayed in no time, it’s heartening to see the release of a great book by Elena Basile that reflects on the major conflicts of today: the war in Ukraine between Russia and NATO, and the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people.

Unlike the Pope, Basile cannot be said to lack expertise on the subject, speaking on how to address these conflicts with knowledge of the facts: she has been a diplomat her entire life. Yet, Basile’s arguments and the paths through which she seeks solutions are completely in tune with those of the Pope and are directed at the same people: the ordinary people, those who are the target of media communication strategies and form public opinion.

Indeed, with her book L’occidente e il nemico permanente [The West and the Permanent Enemy], Basile accomplishes a not-so-simple task of scientific seriousness and ease of reading: hers is a popular science book that not only reconstructs the genesis of the two major conflicts of today but also places them in the context of the broader geopolitical landscape. In just over 150 pages, we thus have the presentation of the fundamental traits that led to the war in Donbass and the genocide in Gaza, but also a series of in-depth reflections on the manipulative character that the media and political universe has taken on in the face of the emergence of that multipolar world which is decidedly opposed by the West.

Basile’s book, not for specialists but for those who are not satisfied with being led by the hand like children by mainstream news and who want to try to understand with their own minds what is actually happening in the world.

The underlying thesis of Basile, which finds and highlights the connections between the different conflicts, is fundamentally simple: the development of globalization has produced, on an economic, technological, cultural, and now also financial level, a multipolar world. The United States, not wanting to lose the privileged position they had built in the unipolar world of the last thirty years, seeks to prevent this transition by leveraging the military supremacy they still believe they have over their main competitors. Thus, the USA, with 800 military bases around the world – compared to China’s only foreign military base – and spending three times as much on armaments as China and Russia combined, think they can use this military superiority to reorder the world, to rebuild a unipolar order that no longer exists.

The tendency towards war that characterizes the current phase is all here, in this delirious calculation where war – even nuclear war – is thought, planned, and provoked in order to reestablish a hierarchy that is no longer founded on economic, technological, or financial data. To use the language of Canfora and Bradanini – who enrich the essay with an introduction and a conclusion – the United States, in the face of a real loss of hegemony, react by leveraging strength, on their destructive capacity. The United States, in order to rebuild their position of power, do not hesitate to sacrifice their main ally, implementing measures that not only significantly damage the European economy and its productive capacity but pave the way for Europe, for the third time in just over a century, to turn into a gigantic battlefield.

Reading Basile’s book is therefore useful not only to better understand what is happening and to comprehend the strategies of the Western elites but also to reflect more deeply on the words of the Pope. Because the risk that the fire in Donbass, if not extinguished, will progressively move west is anything but remote. Quickly stopping the war responds not only to our positive humanitarian impulse but is a precise interest of us all living in Europe.

(Elena Basile, L’occidente e il nemico permanente [The West and the Permanent Enemy], Paper First).

Paolo Ferrero

Il Fatto Quotidiano, March 14, 2024


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