Recently “westplaining” has become a very fashionable term. It concerns the problem of patronizing the Eastern European states by Western politicians. Anne Applebaum stated that “American and European leaders’ profound lack of imagination has brought the world to the brink of war”. Will the Russian invasion of Ukraine change the attitude of looking at Eastern policy through the Western prism?
For me, westplaining is mostly germansplaining and the shock of the February 24th invasion was enough to lead chancellor Scholz to revise 50 years of Ostpolitik. We could also see that the German president Steinmeier has announced his regrets on his position. I think that, until now, there has been a general inclination to always believe the Russians and to look down on and disregard the views of the countries who have experience in dealing with Russia.
I was saying for years that there is an anti-empirical bias among West Europeans and Americans. You have experience with Russia and instead of listening to your experience, they write you off as being biased. That willingness to believe a Russian narrative always before an Eastern European narrative is something that we have had to deal with for a long time.