Courage as a Fundamental Virtue in the Transition to Multipolarity
If we place our feet on the Hellenic tradition, which has relevance for European civilization, but also for other nearby or related civilizations, such as Ibero-America, we will see the emphasis given by philosophers like Aristotle to the virtue of courage (ἀνδρεία). Considered the Spartans' highest virtue, as we can deduce from Plutarch's Sayings of the Spartans, according to Aristotle, the virtue of courage involved a willingness to face a serious but not hopeless existential risk for the sake of a worthy end.
Aristotle therefore denies that we are dealing with the virtue of courage when the danger is not existential, when there is no chance of triumph, or when there is no worthy end. Courage, therefore, like all Aristotelian virtues, involves a right object, a right way, and a right time, in a kind and trust.
We might here, too, evoke the concept of yong ( 勇 ), the virtue of courage as it is presented in Chinese civilization by the writings of Confucius. Here, courage appears as one of the three virtues of the noble man, but courage also involves a question of measurement for Confucius. It must be framed by a sense of propriety or rite, in other words there is a right way to be courageous, and it is also preceded by knowledge. It is, in short, the willingness to risk oneself to prevent evil in obedience to ethical norms.
Well, one might question the reason for this short speech on virtue in a lecture on multipolarity. But it is possible to justify this discourse by appealing to a rather traditional notion: according to the Ancients, there is a homology between man and the city (in other words, the State, in modern terms), so that it is possible to transplant human virtues to the political dimension, the communal and institutional dimension of the public thing.
We need, therefore, to think about the multipolar transition and the attitude of countries in the face of this transition in the light of traditional courage as a public virtue.
It is something perceived by everyone that we are at a historical crossroads, facing epochal circumstances that can change the course of the historical unfolding of the peoples. We must see the present moment as as astonishing as the period of the Fall of Constantinople. These possibilities were inaugurated by the deflagration of the Russian special military operation on its southwestern border. The Russian decision to launch this operation, at just the right kairos, has opened up a myriad of possibilities for the other peoples of the world. They, too, find themselves in the kairos of making some kind of decision.
The myriad of possibilities opened up by the Russian decision can be condensed into the overcoming of the unipolar Atlantic moment by the establishment of a multipolar global order. We would now be in the transition, in the interval, on the threshold between these two directions, and if the final outcome depends on the result of the Russian military operation, the materialization, stabilization and ordering of the multipolar order depends on a decision made by each people in this kairos that is unique and therefore requires a decision. The consequences of not making a decision or making the wrong decision and the doors of this kairos closing can be drastic.
It is in this context that we can introduce courage as a public virtue and, more, as the fundamental public virtue in this international kairos.
Here with us, at our Conference, we have with us representatives from over 64 countries. In the audience we have representatives from even more countries, perhaps all the countries of the world. So it will not be alien to say that at this time of multipolar transition there are several countries, among the small and the large, that are recalcitrant about the possibility of drastic changes in the international order.
Beyond the bourgeois fear of the unknown, these countries fear: a) sanctions; b) military interventions; c) color revolutions, or a combination of these tools, should their States take steps aimed at breaking with the status quo.
According to Aristotelian criteria, all these fears fit the type of object apt to be addressed by the virtue of courage. These are existential risks, which can lead to the destruction of a country, the goal is noble, since multipolarity is the international condition that allows the sovereign self-fulfilling of each people in its civilization, and the, most important here, this danger can be overcome. There’s hope.
Because many countries, remembering situations in the past when countries were attacked with sanctions, interventions and color revolutions, have an exaggerated fear precisely at the moment of weakness of the hegemon and the hegemonic structures, and therefore these countries hesitate to actively position themselves in the transition to multipolarity, insisting on trying to postpone this transition.
This is not to say that all countries in the world must assume the same position as Russia and other countries that openly and actively challenge the old unipolar structure. It is a characteristic of courage to be aimed at the right object, in the right way and at the right time, and the time is the same for everyone, but the way varies according to the objective conditions (of power, geography, etc.) of each country.
Nevertheless, even if the method differs, even the smallest country in the world, if it has the courage, can take a risk, show its worthinness, and help accelerate and consolidate the multipolar transition.
For some, this will simply mean refusing to support sanctions against Western cancellation targets, or voting, in the UN, according to multipolarist principles. Perhaps even something as simple as promoting dialogue on an official or cultural level with the countries "cancelled" by the globalists.
What is fundamental, however, is to understand the moment, the kairos, and to act accordingly, so that each of our peoples and civilizations participates in the construction of multipolarity.
Friends of all the peoples of the world, let us be bold.