The founding fathers of the Munich Security Conference, said John McCain, would be “be alarmed by the turning away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.”
McCain was followed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who called for a “post-West world order.” Russia has “immense potential” for that said Lavrov, “we’re open for that inasmuch as the U.S. is open.”
Now McCain is not wrong. Nationalism is an idea whose time has come again. Those “old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism” do seem everywhere ascendant. But that is a reality we must recognize and deal with. Deploring it will not make it go away.
But what are these “universal values” McCain is talking about?
Democracy? The free elections in India gave power to Hindu nationalists. In Palestine, Hamas. In Lebanon, Hezbollah. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, then overthrown in a military coup welcomed by the world’s oldest and greatest democracy. Have we forgotten it was a democratically elected government we helped to overthrow in Kiev?
Democracy is a bus you get off when it reaches your stop, says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, autocrat of Ankara, a NATO ally.