Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

We need a common enemy to unite us

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU has suddenly adopted high speed decision-making and even without much fuss from its 27 members. Some are surprised about these changes. I’m not. I suppose, Condoleezza Rice (b.1954) was right when she once stated: “We need a common enemy to unite us.”

Quite often, leaders create imaginary enemies to get what they need, want or believe in. For the United Kingdom, the common enemy was – and still is – the European Union. Its anger resulted in Brexit.

For Turkey, the common enemy used to be Europe (and many others), until very recently. Turkey has invoked the 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits and must give its permission, before naval vessels can cross its territory. On March 1, Turkey refused permission to Russia (eg, Nikkei Asia).

In the absence of an enemy, Switzerland maintained its neutrality, until very recently, while Germany and other countries were reaping their peace dividends and neglecting their armies – until very recently.

The EU has 27 countries speaking 24 official languages. Until recently, uiting these countries took many meetings and lots of compromises. For decades, many predicted the EU’s demise. Today, the EU appears to be developing into a military pact (like NATO), even without triggering its military defence clause.

What is happening today, feels like Psychology 101, or a first and basic lesson in human psychology.

If so, then why are Russiaand China – so surprised about the (almost) global efforts to counteract the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

I think, feel and believe that the answer is about (their) belief systems (2015 original and 2019 update).

Russia is convinced that “the liberal idea” has “outlived its purpose” (FT-2019) and that their new world order will supercede ours. Suppose that’s true, then why did Russia not expect (major) resistance from the old world order? I suppose this is due to an observational bias: seeing what you want to see.

In monism, Knowledge is subordinated to Power. Hence, observations that contradict a belief are filtered out (eg, “noise“, outliers). It’s like a tunnel vision: when you ignore all other information, the available information will always support your beliefs. However, any attack causes sympathy for the victim and unity for the rest.

Unfinished Sympathy (1991) by Massive Attack
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Like a soul without a mind
In a body without a heart
I’m missing every part

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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