The same mistake that allowed Hitler and Stalin to take over much of Europe

Isolationism, the great hobbit mistake of believing that what happens in the world does not affect you

After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a discourse has been growing that is nothing new and that we could describe as isolationist.

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Isolationism and interventionism

Isolationist discourse could be summarized as a propensity to isolate oneself from the problems of other nations, particularly wars, putting one's own desire for peace above any other consideration. Isolationists often justify their desire to stay completely out of a war on the idea that this conflict does not affect and does not concern their country.

Basically, the isolationist becomes a passive observer of what is happening in the world, an attitude that is often justified by the belief that all wars respond to economic interests and that they are caused by arms industries.

The position diametrically opposed to isolationism is interventionism, which would consist of a constant tendency to interfere in the affairs of other countries. Isolationism often uses interventionism as an excuse. For example, many isolationists accuse those who propose sending aid to Ukraine by stating that, in reality, what they want is to push us into a war that could lead to a nuclear conflict.

The Shire and its false illusion of security

The fact is that between extreme isolationism and interventionism there are many intermediate positions. Obviously, it is not advisable to interfere in all the affairs of other countries, and in the same way it can have dangerous effects to believe that what happens in the world does not affect you and isolate yourself from it, an attitude that we could identify with the false sense of security that the hobbits had in The Shire in Tolkien's work, and I say false because they enjoyed tranquility thanks to the constant and silent surveillance and sacrifices of the rangers of the North.

Isolationism and the great favor it did to totalitarians

Isolationism is a predictable attitude in societies that have experienced great horrors and that, after that tragedy, have achieved a certain level of prosperity. In fact, in the West there was very strong isolationism in the era after the First World War, due to the great mortality suffered by some countries. Curiously, those who claimed that wars were caused by the arms industries were wrong: many wars are caused by nationalist fanaticism and isolationism ended up favoring it.

In fact, to a large extent it was this isolationist attitude that led the United Kingdom and France to hand over Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Many British and French thought that it was not worth starting a war to prevent the invasion of a country like that. Others thought the same when Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland. Isolationism continued to insist on looking the other way when the invasions of the totalitarian dictatorships of Germany and the USSR led to new invasions in Finland, Lithuania , Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and finally France

Isolationism continued strongly in the US while the United Kingdom ended up fighting alone against the German air attacks, becoming the only democratic country that still opposed Hitler's advance. Isolationism insisted on not wanting to see what was coming when Germany, Italy and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact on September 27, 1940. Finally, isolationism suddenly vanished in the US when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

The next step of isolationism: betray the allies?

Nowadays it is easy to be an isolationist when you live in a NATO member country, because that offers you security guarantees that neutral countries like Georgia, Ukraine or Moldova did not have, three countries that currently endure the presence of Russian troops in their territories.

The point is: what will the isolationists say if one day Russia attacks the Baltic republics or Poland? Will they tell us that this war does not concern us either, despite being allied countries? It is no coincidence that Poland, during the conservative government of Mateusz Morawiecki, began a process of rearmament of the country. The Poles still remember that when they were invaded by Germans and Soviets, although the United Kingdom and France declared the Germany war, no ally came to Poland to defend the attacked country.

Surely there were still many people at that time who believed that there was no rush to stop Hitler, that it did not matter to give him more time and allow him to strengthen himself with the resources of the invaded country, as he had done with Czechoslovakia . When some decided that it was time to stop Hitler, much of Europe was already in the hands of the Nazis. Unfortunately, there are people who have not learned anything from history or who believe that that cannot be repeated. How many Ukrainians would think like this three or four years ago?

The blindness of isolationism and the case of mass immigration

Curiously, many isolationists believe that we have to limit ourselves to defending our borders, specifically from the avalanche of illegal immigrants who are arriving in Spain. Apparently they are unaware that this avalanche will increase with the instability that Russia is generating in the Sahel. Poland and Lithuania could already see before the invasion of Ukraine, Putin uses illegal immigration as an asset to generate instability in the West. In fact, already caused a wave of migration to Europe from Syria in the last decade, but some insist on believing that what passes beyond their borders does not affect them. A big mistake that they will end up paying for sooner or later.


Imagen: "Bolsón Cerrado", por John Howe.

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