Twenty years after the collapse of communism, the West should not be complacent about the inevitability of democracy, writes André Glucksmann.
The fall of the Berlin Wall did unleash a “solidarity of the shaken”— a politics of democratic solidarity practiced by those “shaken by totalitarian regimes and devoted to opposing them,” he argues.
The peoples extricating themselves from totalitarian despotism were at the same time rejoining history as freely choosing agents. And they found before them two possible futures,” he contends. “One is symbolized today by Havel and Lech Walesa, Charter 77 and Poland’s Solidarity; the other by Slobodan Miloševi? and Vladimir Putin.”
On Europe’s eastern periphery, the jury is still out over which will triumph:
Antitotalitarianism cultivates its own convictions, without sectarianism; dissidence does not attempt to replace the official dogma with another one but instead introduces an intellectual revolution that precedes—and that alone makes possible—the social and political changes that will remake the map of Europe.
This revolution has not ended, which is why the Kremlin does not appreciate insurrections in Georgia and Ukraine. Europe’s new frontier is at stake on the uncertain terrain of history, and the alternatives are still these: Havel and Miloševi?.