The cognitive dissonance runs strong among those who thought that the end of the Cold War marked the triumph of Western superiority. From Alasdair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
It will need a long catharsis to purge Europe of its illusions of superiority – as perceived by the non-west.
In January 2013, President Xi Jinping gave a speech to the members of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. His speech gave insight into our world as it ‘is’, and secondly, though its analysis was firmly focused on the causes to the Soviet implosion, Xi’s exposition very clearly had wider meaning. Yes, it is addressed to us – the western construct – too.
Immanuel Wallenstein had already warned, in 1991, against the western ‘false consciousness’ of Cold War triumph: For, as Wallenstein points out, the Soviet collapse was not the demise not of Leninism alone. It was rather the ‘beginning of the end’ for both poles of the great ideological antinomy: That of “the ‘American Century, with God on our side’ construct on the one hand – with the Leninist, equally universalist, eschatologies, on the other”.
Since these two were woven from the same universalist ideological cloth – that is, with each defining (and co-constituting) the ‘other’ – the loss of its Manichaean enemy led to a series of geo-political structures from the Cold War fraying – as the prevailing, lone ideology lacked any satisfactory explanation for its global rule, objectives and purposes – absent the co-constituting ‘enemy’ (i.e. Communism).
In Xi’s address, he attributed the break-up of the Soviet Union to ‘ideological nihilism’: The ruling strata, Xi asserted, had ceased to believe in the advantages and the value of their ‘system’, yet lacking any other ideological coordinates within which to situate their thinking, the élites slid unto nihilism.
“Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Communist Party of the Soviet Union fall to pieces? An important reason is that, in the ideological domain, competition is fierce [and necessary, Xi might have added]! To completely repudiate the historical experience of the Soviet Union, to repudiate the history of the CPSU, to repudiate Lenin, to repudiate Stalin – was to wreck chaos on Soviet ideology and engage in historical nihilism”, Xi said.