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Zelenskyy’s Example Has Revitalized Conservatism and Nationalism in the West

Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2022
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by AMAC Newsline
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Zelenskyy

AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Roman

When informed that the Pope was upset by some of his actions, the Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin once famously asked, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” That question was partially answered when the election of the Polish bishop Karol Józef Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II helped pave the way for the Solidarity Protests in Poland in 1980, which in turn helped bring down the Eastern bloc a decade later. More than 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in the space of less than a week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, previously Ukraine’s most famous actor, has performed the role of a lifetime. To hundreds of millions, especially in the West, his quotes and videos have turned him into a hero and a cultural icon. He has upstaged Vladimir Putin in his own show. While it is too soon to say how many divisions this performance will prove to be worth, the answer right now is “enough to keep Ukraine in the fight.”

The effect of Zelenskyy’s heroics has been far-reaching and perhaps necessary for Ukrainian survival. For one thing, Ukraine’s victory in the battle for public opinion has forced genuine policy changes in the U.S., and, more importantly, in Europe. The idea that fear of Russia alone would motivate leaders is belied by their behavior in the lead-up to Russia’s invasion. The Europeans initially seemed willing to do little. Biden, for his part, consistently stressed what he would not do. He would not send in American troops. He would not even use the most extreme sanctions if Russia made only a “minor incursion.” Germany said that they would not commit to ending Nord Stream 2.

Today, Germany has not just killed that project, but announced the largest rearmament program in 60 years. European politicians are falling over themselves to come up with ways of offering military support to Ukraine. Even the Swiss are freezing Russian assets, something they refused to do against the Nazis. This is not the result of strategic imperatives, or some sort of quiet diplomacy by Joe Biden. It is the result of overwhelming public pressure, generated by the images being broadcast from Ukraine. Not just of Russian actions but of the Ukrainian response.

On a wider level, the Ukrainians have done what Western elites on both the left and right, as well as dissident political populists, failed to do: Create a genuine nationalism which embraced both the democratic social values of the West and traditional masculinity, nationalism, and concepts of self-sacrifice.

One of the most spectacular phenomena to witness has been liberal and left-leaning social media accounts, which demonized the NRA as a Russian front and blame the Second Amendment for gun deaths, celebrating images of ordinary people in Ukraine carrying AK-47s. The decision of the Ukrainian government to distribute tens of thousands of assault rifles to ordinary people was not greeted with horror by those who have for decades seen bans on private ownership of “assault weapons” as intrinsic to any sort of “civilized” society. Rather, it was suddenly seen as something to be proud of, to be emulated.

When it comes to energy and defense, meanwhile, Green parties in Europe have raced to embrace nuclear energy and increased defense spending.

There is a tendency among some on the Right to try and take a victory lap, seeing this as a vindication of their own positions by their ideological opponents. This is no more mature than the tone-deaf efforts of those on the left to try and refight battles over Donald Trump and Brexit by smearing their opponents for being pro-Russian. Instead, conservatives, especially those who termed themselves “national conservatives,” should take a long hard look at why Zelenskyy and his team succeeded so quickly.

For one thing, the Ukrainian propaganda extols conservative concepts – masculinity in the form of Zelenskyy, self-defense, self-reliance, self-sacrifice, nationalism – through an inclusive and even progressive lens. The Ukrainians contrast their self-defense with the staid conservatism of the Russians. Putin’s distant, clearly staged, manicured, and stern paterfamilias image is contrasted with the younger, disheveled image presented by Zelenskyy and his team on the battlefield carrying weapons. Putin’s efforts to pander to a caricature of traditionalism contrasts with the Ukrainians showing women driving tanks and carrying weapons.

Most dramatically, the greatest propaganda weapon the Russians have used to offset Western influence, one America in some sense handed to them, the defense of traditional gender roles and sexuality, has been turned around. Russian media flooded the West and Ukraine with mocking references to the U.S. and its allies as having They/Them militaries. Yet rather than associating the West with sexual liberalism and thereby undermining it, it backfired by associating the Russians with insecurity. Ukrainians decided that nothing could be more humiliating than Chechens being killed by female soldiers or the tanks and weapons (which are colored pink in Russian propaganda) blasting Russians.

Putin, by declaring war on a European nation, seems to have reminded the disillusioned and lost young Westerners of Generation Z, of a purpose other than self-obsession. This may not be the nationalism American conservatives wanted, but if it transforms Gen Z into supporters of a strong military, secure borders, gun rights, and converts them to the belief that self-sacrifice for one’s nation, family, and home is a higher virtue than individual gratification, Putin will have done a lot to course correct a generation.

Many older Americans, especially conservatives and those worried about the potential of a wider war, likely find much of the Ukrainian enthusiasm slightly worrisome. But Churchill was corny and over-the-top for decades before he hit upon the time and place where it was needed. Zelenskyy, the former actor, is suddenly delivering the performance of a lifetime. It’s not only the one his nation needed, but one the West badly needed as well.

Daniel Roman is the pen name of a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.   

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ops
ops
2 years ago

A true leader. Leads by example!

Scott
Scott
2 years ago

Awesome leader

Joan Bloomberg
Joan Bloomberg
2 years ago

Just concerned with the bio labs and child trafficking from Ukraine. What is the answer to that portion of their government/society? And jailing a former opponent? Do you have knowledge of this aspect?

Barton Judd
Barton Judd
2 years ago

STOP referring to “PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY” as “ zelenskyy , the former actor”.

Sid
Sid
2 years ago

We have no business in Ukraine.

David
David
2 years ago

I firmly believe that this is a case of bad and worse. The Ukrainian government is corrupt and vicious. On the other hand, Putin made a horrible mistake by invading a sovereign country, something Europe hasn’t seen since WWII. He has compounded that error by bringing the threat of nuclear weapons to the table. He has left the West with no choice but to back Ukraine. He is a stupid bully with a two million man army and nuclear warheads. He has to be reigned in.

Marjorie Duey
Marjorie Duey
2 years ago

Very, very well said. Thank you!

PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

Western leaders have learned nothing. Don’t be fooled by the leaders of Germany and a few other European countries suddenly deciding to do something constructive at this late stage of the game. They were all literally shamed into getting off their fat, incompetent butts by massive protests in their countries to act like the leaders they all claim to be. Most European leaders, especially the new German leader, were previously perfectly content to sit by, having endless video meetings about how to avoid doing anything for the last couple of months regarding Ukraine, as Russia built up more and more military forces against the Ukrainian border. These Johnny come lately type leaders in Europe will only do the minimum absolutely necessary to keep their own citizens from calling for a series of referendums to remove them all from office. As soon as the issue of Ukraine is settled one way or another, it will be back to business as usual for the vast majority of these European leaders. Just wait and see. This has been the reliable pattern western Europe has operated on for over 50 years now.

As for our own illustrious leader, his chief concern is what flavor of ice cream he’ll have for dessert before going to bed by 6 p.m. No doubt he is still recovering from being up so late last night. Someone on his staff has to repeatedly show him where Ukraine and Russia is on a world map and then prevent him from using the map to color with his crayon set.

Sandy
Sandy
2 years ago

Great article.

Claudia
Claudia
2 years ago

Zelensky and his country’s bravery cannot be questioned! Continuing to pray for Ukraine!

Kim
Kim
2 years ago

“Many older Americans, especially conservatives and those worried about the potential of a wider war, likely find much of the Ukrainian enthusiasm slightly worrisome.” This conservative old lady loves seeing what has happened in Ukraine—not that Russia has invaded a sovereign nation, but that the Ukrainians have valiantly risen to the challenge and shown the world what love of country means. President Zelensky is doing exactly what an intelligent and passionate leader would do. If he didn’t stand up to Putin, and if the rest of the free world remained complacent and voiceless, more countries would soon be speaking Russian. He’s doing us a favor, and, therefore, deserves generous support.

If the reports are true–that morale is low among the Russian forces, their machinery is often faulty, and thousands of Russians are protesting the invasion and being arrested for it–this is the time to kick the dog. Kick him while he’s down. With all of Putin’s supposed military might, I don’t understand why Ukraine didn’t fall on Day 1 or Day 2. Maybe it’s partly because the close historical and social ties between Russia and Ukraine would call for a less than all-out assault of Russian forces against their Ukrainian cousins and friends. Certainly, the will of the people and their taking up arms against the invaders have delayed the Russian advance with impressive effectiveness and resolve. But how long can they persist?

If the cost of oil and natural gas continues to rise or to stay at current prices, Putin will be able to upgrade and expand his military. And, because biden refuses to do the right thing, the one thing that makes sense–to cripple this Russian bas—-‘s economic foundation (oil and gas exports)–the entire world will be subjected to Putin’s (or Putin’s and Xi’s) desires for global domination. I think what gives us pause is the potential use of nuclear weapons. But compared to the alternative, maybe many are thinking it’s worth that risk. We Americans might not think so as we sit watching our big screen TV’s in warm winter comfort, but many Ukrainians deprived of their homes, their belongings, and their free way of life would disagree. For them, it’s a fight to the death, and their president is standing right there with them.

Karyn
Karyn
2 years ago

It’s all about the money. Day one ‘OleJoe started the ball rolling when he stopped the Keystone pipeline

E L
E L
2 years ago

KEEP IN MIND – We don’t know the full story, or the inside story. Our MSM news cannot be trusted. The internet cannot be trusted. Even pictures and videos of burning buildings do not prove who set the fires. We are easily fooled, and often knee-jerk react. Keep an open mind, read, think, PRAY for truth to prevail.

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

Once again, under a pen name, I’m reading what amounts to mostly propaganda…Two nations battling it out over a border & to a certain extent ideologies… MSM, along with Mr. Roman himself are on what appears to be the same band wagon, please, spare me the bulls**t already…
As history clearly bares this out, both the Ukraine & Russia are masters in the art of PROPAGANDA…Both of these nations continuously prod one another at will & both are equally corrupt, as history has documented this over & over again & who knows this better than anyone?, Biden himself, along with his wonderful & now acclaimed artist, crackhead son, Hunter…
I for one don’t buy for a second the numerous explosions around the Ukraine as purely Russian aggression as I will go so far as to say many of these so-called explosions & fires come from within, not from the Russian forces…
Here in the states we have a weak, abysmal potus that has publicaly stated the US will NOT intervene in the Russian/Ukraine conflict, i.e. Biden has given Putin the OK to do whatever he pleases as he is doing just that, all the while the CCP is watching this pitiful play, play itself out as they can pretty much be rest assured, there will NO actions from this potus whilst they overrun Taiwan in the not to distant future now that the Genocide Olympics have concluded… So what is really going on in the Ukraine? ENERGY & who controls that energy. He who controls the oil & gas & minerals, rakes in the money, enter Vladimir Putin for he has customers waiting for product, i.e. America, Europe & China, i.e. ( coal ) are salivating for oil & gas. Mr. Roman is dancing around this subject as well as the elitists owned & operated MSM, all in the name of propaganda so everyone is looking elsewhere…Putin & Xi are laser pointed on their objectives, whilst the world is looking elsewhere.
Bill… :~)

ops
ops
2 years ago

A true leader. Leads by example!

Scott
Scott
2 years ago

Awesome leader

Joan Bloomberg
Joan Bloomberg
2 years ago

Just concerned with the bio labs and child trafficking from Ukraine. What is the answer to that portion of their government/society? And jailing a former opponent? Do you have knowledge of this aspect?

Barton Judd
Barton Judd
2 years ago

STOP referring to “PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY” as “ zelenskyy , the former actor”.

Sid
Sid
2 years ago

We have no business in Ukraine.

David
David
2 years ago

I firmly believe that this is a case of bad and worse. The Ukrainian government is corrupt and vicious. On the other hand, Putin made a horrible mistake by invading a sovereign country, something Europe hasn’t seen since WWII. He has compounded that error by bringing the threat of nuclear weapons to the table. He has left the West with no choice but to back Ukraine. He is a stupid bully with a two million man army and nuclear warheads. He has to be reigned in.

Marjorie Duey
Marjorie Duey
2 years ago

Very, very well said. Thank you!

PaulE
PaulE
2 years ago

Western leaders have learned nothing. Don’t be fooled by the leaders of Germany and a few other European countries suddenly deciding to do something constructive at this late stage of the game. They were all literally shamed into getting off their fat, incompetent butts by massive protests in their countries to act like the leaders they all claim to be. Most European leaders, especially the new German leader, were previously perfectly content to sit by, having endless video meetings about how to avoid doing anything for the last couple of months regarding Ukraine, as Russia built up more and more military forces against the Ukrainian border. These Johnny come lately type leaders in Europe will only do the minimum absolutely necessary to keep their own citizens from calling for a series of referendums to remove them all from office. As soon as the issue of Ukraine is settled one way or another, it will be back to business as usual for the vast majority of these European leaders. Just wait and see. This has been the reliable pattern western Europe has operated on for over 50 years now.

As for our own illustrious leader, his chief concern is what flavor of ice cream he’ll have for dessert before going to bed by 6 p.m. No doubt he is still recovering from being up so late last night. Someone on his staff has to repeatedly show him where Ukraine and Russia is on a world map and then prevent him from using the map to color with his crayon set.

Sandy
Sandy
2 years ago

Great article.

Claudia
Claudia
2 years ago

Zelensky and his country’s bravery cannot be questioned! Continuing to pray for Ukraine!

Kim
Kim
2 years ago

“Many older Americans, especially conservatives and those worried about the potential of a wider war, likely find much of the Ukrainian enthusiasm slightly worrisome.” This conservative old lady loves seeing what has happened in Ukraine—not that Russia has invaded a sovereign nation, but that the Ukrainians have valiantly risen to the challenge and shown the world what love of country means. President Zelensky is doing exactly what an intelligent and passionate leader would do. If he didn’t stand up to Putin, and if the rest of the free world remained complacent and voiceless, more countries would soon be speaking Russian. He’s doing us a favor, and, therefore, deserves generous support.

If the reports are true–that morale is low among the Russian forces, their machinery is often faulty, and thousands of Russians are protesting the invasion and being arrested for it–this is the time to kick the dog. Kick him while he’s down. With all of Putin’s supposed military might, I don’t understand why Ukraine didn’t fall on Day 1 or Day 2. Maybe it’s partly because the close historical and social ties between Russia and Ukraine would call for a less than all-out assault of Russian forces against their Ukrainian cousins and friends. Certainly, the will of the people and their taking up arms against the invaders have delayed the Russian advance with impressive effectiveness and resolve. But how long can they persist?

If the cost of oil and natural gas continues to rise or to stay at current prices, Putin will be able to upgrade and expand his military. And, because biden refuses to do the right thing, the one thing that makes sense–to cripple this Russian bas—-‘s economic foundation (oil and gas exports)–the entire world will be subjected to Putin’s (or Putin’s and Xi’s) desires for global domination. I think what gives us pause is the potential use of nuclear weapons. But compared to the alternative, maybe many are thinking it’s worth that risk. We Americans might not think so as we sit watching our big screen TV’s in warm winter comfort, but many Ukrainians deprived of their homes, their belongings, and their free way of life would disagree. For them, it’s a fight to the death, and their president is standing right there with them.

Karyn
Karyn
2 years ago

It’s all about the money. Day one ‘OleJoe started the ball rolling when he stopped the Keystone pipeline

E L
E L
2 years ago

KEEP IN MIND – We don’t know the full story, or the inside story. Our MSM news cannot be trusted. The internet cannot be trusted. Even pictures and videos of burning buildings do not prove who set the fires. We are easily fooled, and often knee-jerk react. Keep an open mind, read, think, PRAY for truth to prevail.

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

Once again, under a pen name, I’m reading what amounts to mostly propaganda…Two nations battling it out over a border & to a certain extent ideologies… MSM, along with Mr. Roman himself are on what appears to be the same band wagon, please, spare me the bulls**t already…
As history clearly bares this out, both the Ukraine & Russia are masters in the art of PROPAGANDA…Both of these nations continuously prod one another at will & both are equally corrupt, as history has documented this over & over again & who knows this better than anyone?, Biden himself, along with his wonderful & now acclaimed artist, crackhead son, Hunter…
I for one don’t buy for a second the numerous explosions around the Ukraine as purely Russian aggression as I will go so far as to say many of these so-called explosions & fires come from within, not from the Russian forces…
Here in the states we have a weak, abysmal potus that has publicaly stated the US will NOT intervene in the Russian/Ukraine conflict, i.e. Biden has given Putin the OK to do whatever he pleases as he is doing just that, all the while the CCP is watching this pitiful play, play itself out as they can pretty much be rest assured, there will NO actions from this potus whilst they overrun Taiwan in the not to distant future now that the Genocide Olympics have concluded… So what is really going on in the Ukraine? ENERGY & who controls that energy. He who controls the oil & gas & minerals, rakes in the money, enter Vladimir Putin for he has customers waiting for product, i.e. America, Europe & China, i.e. ( coal ) are salivating for oil & gas. Mr. Roman is dancing around this subject as well as the elitists owned & operated MSM, all in the name of propaganda so everyone is looking elsewhere…Putin & Xi are laser pointed on their objectives, whilst the world is looking elsewhere.
Bill… :~)

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