Since Putin’s war, the enemy has moved back into politics

Russia’s war shattered the worldview
Friend and foe in politics

Putin’s war against Ukraine has also caused an optimistic view of the world to collapse. What it means politically to talk about enemies again.

The peaceful end of the Cold War also ended the simple division of the political world into friends and foes. In the new worldview, black and white thinking was no longer required, but shades of gray were in demand, which became increasingly rosy. Shortly before the turn of the millennium it looked as if the world would become more and more democratic and peaceful through dialogue and global trade alone. If states are so intertwined through trade that they harm themselves if they start wars, they won’t either – that sounds only logical. And if they do, then someone must have made a mistake. And this misconception can be cleared up by entering into a dialogue, can’t you?

The historian Elazar Barkan proclaimed a new epoch in history: international law and international morality had replaced the old power politics, for which the law of the strongest applied. Armed forces and NATO seemed to have become superfluous, relics of antiquated thinking.

With the Russian invasion of the Ukraine An entire world view has therefore also been shattered: the misconception that the world has become a place of peace, international law and moral dialogue Wladimir Putin refuted. Even the false idea that political errors can be eliminated through dialogue. Ukraine shows us every day that self-determination is only possible where people clearly distinguish between friend and foe and are willing to risk their lives in the fight against the enemy.

This description of things resists us. Who would want to trade the belief in a reasonable dialogue in the common interest for something as antiquated as the distinction between friend and foe made by the controversial constitutional lawyer Carl Schmitt? Who is psychologically capable of overturning their entire worldview in such a short time? And yet everything depends on not confusing domestic opponents with enemies and being able to recognize real enemies.

Our author is a philosophy professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum. She alternates here with the infection biologist Gabriele Pradel.

Here is the photo gallery: Six months of war in the Ukraine – a picture chronicle

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