That's why I hesitate to quote two of them in the same blog post, for fear of being avalanched by Anglo negativity. But two journalists, one named Peter Millar, the other Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, both of whom no doubt have loyal readers and mortal enemies, have chosen to view the EU-Russia conflict through the civilizational, rather than values lens.
In yesterday's Daily Telegraph, Evans-Pritchard writes:
The credible Nato line in Eastern Europe runs along the borders of the European Union, from the Baltics to Romania. This pits Russia against a unified bloc of 505m people. Any attempt by Moscow to peel off Estonia or Latvia by stirring up Sudeten-style irredentism among their Russian minorities would be deemed a mortal challenge by the EU's elites.
This is not to criticise David Miliband's impassioned plea in Kiev ... But Nato membership for Ukraine is playing with fire. Some 30pc of the population are native-Russian speakers. The Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are uprisings-in-waiting along Russia's border.
In the Times, Peter Millar makes an even more overt civilizational argument:
For [David] Cameron to equate Estonia and Ukraine, as he did last week, is stupidity. Estonia’s history, language and culture are markedly separate. Forced into the Soviet Union in the second world war, it has also over the centuries been part of Sweden, and ruled by the Teutonic knights. Its language is related to Finnish.
Ukraine is another matter. Its name comes from Old Slavonicu kraju, meaning “on the edge” – in other words, borderlands. We stopped saying “the Ukraine” to make it sound more like any other country. To Russians it doesn’t.
It's kind of interesting to know what our British friends are reading.
By posting these snippets from these no doubt controversial authors, I do not necessarily endorse them. However, I find it interesting that both employ civilizational rhetoric to support Estonia's membership in the West, rather than values language. There's no reference to democracy or rule of law. Instead, NATO and the EU are conceptualized as civilizational projects.