The opposite of Prague Spring
History is running in reverse, with the opposite outcomes, says Balaji Srinivasan. Prague Spring in 1968 was the beginning of the end for the old Left in the West, right when it was the strongest - because it lost legitimacy after Czechoslovakia was attacked by the Warsaw Pact, after Dubcek wanted to do "socialism with a human face".
Bratislava Winter means the opposite - all the trite woke nonsense of the new Left will become the most popular on the periphery, right when the US empire faceplants.
The censorship industrial complex is much stronger on the periphery (the EU, Slovakia) and the Overton window much narrower than in the US.
Hungary might feel like an exception, but they are technologically-conservative and they have banned Uber long time ago, sealing their fate. Meaning, they have no chance to withstand or reform Blue America.
The recent sanctioning of the International Investment Bank, the old Comecon bank from the USSR times, that was until 2023 based in Budapest is a case in point.
But El Salvador with Nayib Bukele adopting bitcoin, or Argentina with Javier Milei trying to abolish their central bank, can reform the old establishment by providing fresh alternatives.
If you imagine how in 1989 people protest massively because they want to stay in socialism, forever with the USSR, then you have a pretty good picture of Bratislava winter as the opposite of Prague Spring.
Back then, people all over the world wanted blue jeans and rock and roll. Symbols of freedom. Today they want bitcoin. The opposite of what Progressive Slovakia, an opposition party organizing current winter protests, and mandarins from the EU want.
But since the history repeats, with opposite outcomes, now people in the periphery like Slovakia protest, because they want to stay with the USSA, right at the time when it may facepalm.
The periphery of Europe takes the worst aspects of the recent illiberal turn of the West, not just excesses in wokeism but also state authoritarianism. Czech president, a student of military intelligence from the socialist times, now firmly stands with the USA. Even very pro-Ukraine and liberal observers, like Bruno Maçães, note:
“Pavel takes the US as such an unconditional model than even the darkest pages of American history serve as guidance.”
Referring to the international incident, when Pavel in an interview with RFE/RL suggested Czechia should take inspiration from Japanese internment camps in the US during WWII, when dealing with hybrid threads from Russian immigrants today.
Slovakia let the EU sanction and unbank a Slovak, Jozef Hambálek, who represents Night Wolves, a pro-Kremlin biker group. Resembling the recent unbanking of Canadian truckers after their protests during Covid pandemics.
The West loses the soft power to convince, so it tries aggression - hard power. Canadian truckers have their accounts frozen, Conor McGregor is being investigated by police for tweets during the recent Irish riots.
Interestingly enough, recent strange events in Poland, where police raided their presidential palce in search for a fugitive minister from a previous government, have vibes of a coup attempt against Yeltsin in 1991.
Sanctions, previously used on foreigners and foreign adversaries, are becoming much less effective in the world where BRICS+ “flipped” the G7 in terms of world’s GDP share. At the same time we see a proliferation of sanctions against domestic dissidents.
Without admitting it, Blue America and its satellites, in the increasingly illiberal West, are copying China in online censorship and industrial policy, and Russia in propaganda, hyper-normalisation and managed democracy.
The opposite of Blue America isn’t China or Russia. It is the internet plus India, thinks Balaji. The internet is to the US, what America was to Europe, a new frontier and a torchbearer of Western values.
For a European periphery, like Slovakia, it would be wise to attract the grey tribe of global technological progressives and form closer ties with India.
Because India is the largest democracy in the world that is on an upward arc and can build infrastructure and send a probe to the dark side of the moon for a fraction of the cost of a bus lane in San Francisco.
In the case the West faceplants and China will be much more dominant globally, India’s brand of democracy will prevail, thinks Balaji. In the same way as the Chinese communism today is the dominant form of communism after the USSR faceplanted in 1990s.