On Wednesday, March 16th, BISR Faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary, K. Soraya Batmanghelichi, Asma Abbas, and Rafael Khachaturian gathered to take the wide view on the constellation of “perpetual crises” currently afflicting the international landscape, from war to famine to Cold War-style standoff, asking: Can we move past moralistic and unicausal frameworks to understand the multicausal dynamics underlying recent and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, East Asia, and elsewhere around the world? Their discussion delves deep into the histories of the so-called semi-periphery, touching on the roots, co-determining factors and interests, and potential trajectories of the contemporary geopolitical situation—with the caveat that an apparent repetition of the past is never a simple return of (or to) it. Rather, these phenomena provoke a necessary revision of the categories we use to think through them—from state power to the friend/enemy distinction to forms of identity, caste, and class. Diagnosing a not-unfamiliar glibness in the Western media response to recent crises, they ask: How can we move beyond a performative solidarity toward a vital and efficacious Left internationalism?
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