My comment: it’s not enough; soft social democracy cannot deal with tyrants and its own populist politicians, there is a need for a much stronger version. After Iraq but really since Vietnam the US has no moral standing; the European Union doesn’t present a unified and strong front, with many suddenly waking up realizing it’s the germans, of all people, who are in the strongest position to say and do something; the rest of the world watches from afar at it’s own peril.
The costs are real in death, persecution, the daily grind of living from personal relationships, lack of opportunities.
The possible response is three fold:
- A staunch defense of social democracy, not as a grey middle ground between so called capitalism and socialism, but as a fair society which controls its government, whose opposite is crony capitalism and crony socialism, as well as autocracy like Putin’s. You cannot beat propaganda and misinformation only with reason, you need to show it for what it is and respond appropriately.
- Showing how ridiculous Putin and company are: they cannot wield authority if they are not respected. This should start at home, showing how ridiculous all those small p politicians à la Tea Party, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Chávez are. It also means showing how small the UK looks when its government will not stop russian oligarch money from flowing to London.
- Showing the way, following the Economist’s suggestion, but more clearly: no, your job does not have to depend on your personal relationship with the “great leader”, boss or comrade, but on your effort and the quality of your work; no, it’s not normal to have infrastructure which looks old from new, because it was done by “a friend of a friend”; no, you cannot call yourself a great nation when any economic activity implies paying for protection or bribing someone. In the current Ukraine crisis, this would imply closing all economic ties with Russia, forbidding all russians to travel to the US or the EU, so there is a real, tangible cost to having a small minded tyrant in charge. Fat chance of that given the pettiness of politicians in “The West”- and the no show from the rest of the world.