Taobuk, arrogance and economic exploitation in Odifreddi’s book «There is something rotten in the West»


By John

The question of questions is: how arrogant is this West? The answers are contained in Piergiorgio Odifreddi’s latest book which, paraphrasing Shakespeare, allows no doubts right from the title: There is something rotten in the West (Raffaello Cortina Editore). A statement that contains an invitation to look beyond the surface, beyond what is said, inside what has already been acquired. The disappointment is great.

In short, the custodians of peace, the Americans, are protagonists of economic exploitation, commercial embargo, military occupation. The story of this collective disillusionment is told by Odifeddi in a work that goes against the trend of the single thought that is so fashionable, a ruthless accusation against the United States of America but also against the Eurocentric thought widespread in our continent. The supposed superiority of the West over the rest of the world is based on an analysis that includes writings by Nobel Prize winners, poets, philosophers and famous dissidents: arrogance, the will to power, but also the imposition on other states, including the European ones, of a form of political and economic vassalage arise solely from the desire to be the leading world power.

A delirium of omnipotence that Odifreddi describes using an impressive mass of documents and a series of geographical maps that show the number of US bases in 170 countries, the expansion of NATO, the loss of land by the Palestinians compared to 1948, the invasions and US military interventions since 1977. Numbers, statistical percentages displayed with unusual clarity and simplicity: «In the book I don’t talk about ideologies but about facts. Two trillion dollars a year are spent worldwide on the arms race, a figure that is difficult to imagine. The interesting fact is that of those dollars, eight hundred are spent by the Americans, four hundred by Europe: one thousand and two hundred dollars means 60% of the total by 10% of the world: but the warmongers are the others.

Putin allocates 60 million to weapons, twenty times less.” Another anomaly: «France is loud about Ukraine because Russia cannot invade a foreign country: but it has colonies all over the world. Ditto Great Britain. 85% of the emerged lands were conquered by European states. But we are all democracies.” The West is crumbling: «There are concrete, political and economic signs. Fifteen days ago, Saudi Arabia refused to renew the treaty with the USA which imposed all oil transactions in dollars with any state. And the power of Brics, the coalition of Brazil, Russia and India, is growing. China and South Africa which together have a GDP and population higher than those of the West.” But what is your definition of the West? “I identify it with Europe and the European colonies that remained white.”