Europe reverts to darkness 1

It is reported that Renaud Camus, a French intellectual, has been given a 2-month suspended prison sentence for saying that mass immigration into Europe is akin to an “invasion”. The author of Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement)  was charged with the “thought crime of public incitement to hate or violence on the basis of origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.”

Origin, ethnicity, nationality, and race are not matters of choice. One is born into them. But a religion is a set of ideas. You can believe the ideas or not, propound them or not. It is entirely a matter of choice. And they must be critically examined as necessarily as any other ideas – or, considering how lethal they have been throughout recorded history, even more so.

Belief in any one religion is in itself a tacit criticism of all other religions. They all contradict each other. No two are compatible. (If anyone says they are all true, ask him why in that case he believes the one he does.)

Religions are dogmatic untruths. All of them. They cannot be anything else. “A set of dogmatic untruths” is a precise and accurate definition of a religion. It is vital that their untruths be exposed as such. They absolutely must be criticized.

The French authorities and all the others that do the same thing are acting like the Inquisition. They and all the feminists and other Leftists who now run Europe are undoing the Enlightenment. They have reverted to mental darkness. The revival of critical examination was not just an aspect of the Enlightenment, it was the sun itself.

“Religion” has been officially exempted from criticism all over western Europe because, and only because, Islam has invaded Europe.

Islam has not just invaded Europe – Islam has conquered Europe. 

Posted under Europe, France, Islam, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tagged with ,

This post has 1 comment.

Permalink

Retreat from the Enlightenment 8

France is submitting to Islam.

“Voltaire fades before Muhammad, the Enlightenment before Submission.”

 – Giulio Meotti quotes and comments in his article at Gatestone:

“Five years after the killings at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher, France has learned to live with the Islamist threat,” wrote Yves Thréard, deputy editor at the daily newspaper Le Figaro.

Not a month goes by… without a murderous attack with the cry of “Allahu Akbar” taking place on our soil…. But what is the point of fighting the effects of Islamism if we do not tackle the origins of this ideology of death? On that front, however, denial continues to compete with naiveté. Nothing has changed in the last five years. On the contrary.

In the name of diversity, non-discrimination and human rights, France has accepted a number of blows to its culture and history… Islamists are a hot-button issue. They continue the fight which, even without weapons, has all the allure of a war of civilizations. Is the famous “Charlie spirit”, which some people thought was blowing after the January 2015 attacks, just an illusion?

France has been marking the fifth anniversary of the deadly jihadist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which took place on January 7, 2015. Last month, French Senator Nathalie Goulet warned that more attacks were likely. “In France we have a serious problem and we need to do more to prevent extremists from acting. As it stands, there will be more attacks,” Goulet said. There are believed to be 12,000 radical Islamists on France’s terror watch-list, “however only a dozen are thought to be under 24-hour surveillance”.

This week was marked by yet a new string of Islamist terror attacks: police injured a knife-wielding man on a street in the northeastern city of Metz, two days after a suspected Islamist radical in the Paris suburb of Villejuif stabbed a man to death, an act that prosecutors are treating as a terror attack. In both incidents, the assailants shouted “Allahu Akbar.” This type of attack was dubbed “ordinary jihad” in a Le Figaro editorial this week.

On January 7, 2015, the cartoonists and journalists Cabu, Charb, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski, the psychoanalyst Elsa Cayat, the economist Bernard Maris and the policeman Franck Brinsolaro fell under the bullets of the jihadist brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi. Charlie Hebdo‘s 2020 anniversary issue commemorated the massacre and slammed the “new gurus of monolithic thinking” who are trying to impose politically correct censorship.

The outburst of indignation of the French people, gathered in Paris for a massive demonstration on January 11, 2015, was not enough to awaken the spirit of resistance of the French leaders and elites against Islamism and its collaborators. “The seriousness of the Islamist political fact in France is strongly underestimated,” says the lawyer Thibault de Montbrial, president France’s Center for Internal Security Studies.

In a country that used to stand for freedom of expression, self-censorship is soaring. “For the humorists in France, it’s always easy to make fun of the Pope and the Catholics, it’s always easy to make fun of Jews, it’s always easy to make fun of Protestants,” confesses a long-time Charlie Hebdo columnist, Patrick Pelloux. For Islam, it is not easy. “We feel that this religion is scary. The word Islam is scary, and on that, the terrorists have won.”

While French prisons have become a breeding ground for jihadists, the Islamization of the cities’ suburbs, the banlieues, is proceeding full tilt. The weekly Le Point recently devoted a cover story to the “territories conquered by the Islamists”. In many of these areas, violence rages; 1,500 cars were torched there on New Year’s Eve. In recently published book, “Les territoires conquis de l’islamisme” (“The Territories Conquered by Islamism”), by Bernard Rougier, a professor at the University Sorbonne-Nouvelle and director of the Center for Arab and Oriental Studies, he explains that Islamism is an “hegemonic project”, splintering working-class neighborhoods. These “ecosystems”, he states, work on a “logic of rupture” of the French society, its values and institutions, and are built on mosques, bookstores, sport clubs and halal restaurants. …

“Today,” said the president of the Ministry of Education’s Conseil supérieur des programmes, Souâd Ayada, “the visibility of Islam in France is saturated by the veil and the jihad.”

Souad Ayada is a Muslim, a spécialiste de la spiritualité et de philosophie islamiques, so it’s doubtful that she was complaining. (If those in charge of education in France all think so badly, no wonder the nation is fading away. “Visibility” cannot be”saturated”. Veils cannot saturate anything. Nor can “the jihad”. )

While Islamist preachers and recruiters are out on the streets, seeking out the weak minds that will form the first line of their holy war, political Islam also forms electoral lists in France’s suburbs.

French President Emmanuel Macron opposed banning these political groups.

“France is a budding Islamic republic,” noted the Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal. In those “territories”, he said, live many of the terrorists who attack France, from the Kouachi brothers of Charlie Hebdo to the jihadists who murdered [and tortured – ed] scores of people at the Bataclan Theater.

Islamists have, in addition, recruited dozens of French soldiers and ex-servicemen who have converted to Islam. Many have come from commando units with expertise in handling weapons and explosives.

France is turning into a “society of vigilance” in its fight against the “Hydra” of Islamist militancy, as Macron said. …

He said that? But will do nothing to stop the influx of Muslims whose holy duty it is to wage jihad? Or even ban known “political groups”? “Vigilance” may not be quite enough.

Last October, an Islamist struck in one of France’s most secure buildings: the monumental Paris Police headquarters near Notre Dame cathedral, where he murdered four of his colleagues. … “It is hard to believe that the police on which we rely to protect us and which is supposed to be our last rampart against terrorism, can itself be the victim of terrorism, with throats slit in the holy of holies of the Police Prefecture.” 

In the wake of the attack, seven police officers, “suspected of radicalization”, had their guns confiscated.

And without their guns they can do no harm? Their brother jihadists in London could teach them how to use knives and mechetes to inflict death and injury. But come to think of it, they know how. They used knives in the Bataclan Theater. “The French Parliamentary report contains details of how victims’ bodies had been mutilated, such as by eye-gouging, disemboweling, castration, and beheading,” Wikipedia reports.

“I have the impression that our immune defenses have collapsed and that Islamism is winning,” says the French writer Pascal Bruckner.

There’s an observant citizen!

He is quoted further:

[Islam’s] main demands have been met: nobody dares to publish caricatures of Mohammed anymore. Self-censorship prevails…. Hate is directed against those who resist obscuring information rather than against those who obscure it. Not to mention the psychiatrization of terrorism, in order better to exonerate Islam. If we had been told in the early 2000s that in 2020, around 20 French cartoonists and intellectuals would be under police protection, no one would have believed it. The threshold of servitude has increased.

“Sunk” is what he means: the threshold has been lowered, made easier to get over. To enter into servitude. The easy choice for the French now is to submit to Islam.

Five years after the terrorist murders at Charlie Hebdo, free speech is less free [read “gone” – ed] in France. “No one today would publish the cartoons of Muhammad,” said Philippe Val, the former editor of Charlie Hebdo, recently.

“For the past five years, I’ve been going to the police station every month or so to file a complaint about death threats, not insults, death threats,” says Marika Bret, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo today.

In Paris, five years after the murders at Charlie Hebdo, there was a big march to protest not terrorism, but “Islamophobia”.

“Voltaire fades before Muhammad, and the Enlightenment before the Submission,” wrote the author Éric Zemmour.

In 2017 … a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, was tortured and murdered in her Paris apartment by her neighbor, Kobili Traoré, who was yelling “Allahu Akbar”.  A court of appeals recently ruled that Traoré, because he had smoked cannabis, was “not criminally responsible” for his actions.

And so he was acquitted.

Which means that anti-Semitism, even when it results in murder, is licensed in France.

Actually, anti-Semitism is a grand old French tradition. But now it is not merely tolerated and quietly practiced in the land of “liberty, equality and fraternity”, it is an aim, a cause, a duty. Because it was commanded – and an example of the mass murder of Jews set – by Muhammad himself.

France has capitulated to Islam. The EU has capitulated to Islam. In all the countries of western Europe, the peoples are condemning themselves to live in fear. In subjection. And in  sorrow. For in Islam there is no laughter, and no singing and dancing. And no wine, mon frère, no wine. No beer, mein Bruder, no beer.

Standing almost alone in the Western World against this retreat from the Enlightenment is America. At least for as long as Donald Trump is president.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the FAIREST of us all? 5

The defeat suffered by the far-left Labour Party in a recent general election in Britain was so decisive, it forces left-wing parties on both sides of the Atlantic to reconsider their policies, and encourages conservatives to hope it is symptomatic of a decline and fall of the Left everywhere.

When we were in the grip of that wild hope, an article in Areo by Helen Pluckrose and James A. Lindsay titled The Left is Having an Identity Crisis drew our close attention.

The title is ironic, intentionally or not, because the Left has been primarily concerned with “identity” ever since Karl Marx drew rigid lines between the classes of the Western world. Your identity in the Marxian view was defined by your class. You were either bourgeois which was bad because you supported the status quo, or you were proletarian which was good because you were destined to make violent revolution. (In his personal life Marx was a social snob, always putting his wife’s aristocratic name and title on his visiting card.) When the proletariats of Europe disappointed the Left after the Second World War, becoming well-off, indistinguishable in their outlook from the bourgeoisie and plainly uninterested in making revolution, a New Left arose with a revised ethic of identity. Henceforth it was the Lumpenproletariat, a vagabond underclass that Marx had despised, that must play the revolutionary role. Their class, the “unemployed and unemployable” (as Herbert Marcuse wrote) was augmented by les misérables of the Third World (Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”) and others who were powerless and exploited by the bourgeois patriarchy; notably women and the sexually deviant, and even (sotto voce why not?) felons. These “sections” of society would unite under the red banner of socialist revolution, which no longer had to be violent. Instead the Left would advance to power by taking control over the institutions of the Western democracies – or where that proved impossible, by discrediting them. The author of the plan, Antonio Gramsci, described it as “the long march through the institutions”.The sections, united in purpose throughout the world, would get the levers of power in their hands and then change our world that has evolved over millennia, our world of many nation-states, of European and male supremacy, of capitalism and private ownership and unequal wealth, into One World of material equality and moral beauty.

In this drama, your identity according to the categories of the New Left is what matters about you. You are black, female, homosexual, or in the nostalgia of the theorists a worker, so you are expected to take part in, or at least assist, the long march. You are expected to be on the Left.

And now the Left itself is having a crisis of identity? What is it about its Leftness that is troubling it?

Pluckrose and Lindsay, who declare themselves to be liberal and not socialist or “identitarian”, reflect on what is happening in and to the Left in Britain and America, and set about defining, diagnosing, and prescribing a cure for the problem:

The Left is in crisis. We no longer present a cohesive movement, and we no longer form coherent political parties. We are a fractured and ill-defined mess, our goals are diffuse and scattered, and we are hemorrhaging supporters from what should be our base—the working class, liberals, and racial and sexual minorities. It is not clear that left-wing parties and movements are currently listening to that base or have its best interests at heart.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent British election, which was disastrous for the left. Labour lost key seats, including in areas that have voted left for close to a century, and experienced its worst drubbing in four decades. An outright majority was won by surely the least credible Tory Prime Minister in living memory.

That’s Boris Johnson they’re talking about. A man who was born to be Prime Minister of England, very possibly a good one. He has sworn to take Britain out of the European Union which is  a corrupt and undemocratic political darling of the Left, so of course the Left abominates him. To persons on the Left, he is almost as bad as our great President Trump.

It seems uncomfortably likely that this disaster is soon to be mirrored in the US by the re-election of Donald Trump for a second term, despite the fact that the American public has had four years—beginning with his 2015 campaign—to notice how manifestly unfit he is to be the leader of the western world. The pressing questions at the moment are, what’s going on? and what, if anything, can we do to stop it?

They do some quite credible analysis of what’s going wrong on their side:

Let’s start with what isn’t going to work. It simply will not do to blame these electoral results on the idea that the majority of the population is ignorant, hateful, or unaware of their own best interests. This is the attitude—made popular throughout the educated left by a growing commitment to elitism and critical theories—that got us into this mess in the first place. This attitude is particularly worrying because it leads leftist activists to double down on exactly those things that are killing the left.

If left-leaning parties around the world hope to have any future electoral success, they need to ditch both elitism and identity-based theory and develop some self-awareness. They need to start listening to the people they are supposed to represent so that they can understand what people actually want from a left-wing party. Only in this way can the left heal its fractures and form a strong and principled movement, with political parties that the general public can trust and respect.

The policies of left-wing parties need to come from the people—not represent revolutionary ideologies most do not share or appreciate having imposed upon them for their own good. The public will not stand for this—nor should they. It is absolutely right to reject the social engineering projects of theorists, activists, and the privileged elite who, like self-appointed philosopher kings, want to order society according to their ideological vision of how things should be rather than how they are or realistically could be.

People who reject the ideologues’ vision are not all racist, sexist, and xenophobic bigots or radical capitalist absolutists. Liberals and working people, who form an overlapping majority, generally have strong opinions on what will make their lives better and society fairer, and they are increasingly deciding that right-wing parties are closer to providing this. Barely electable as those might be, that’s still miles better than being totally unelectable. This is a point our left-wing parties seem utterly unable to grasp—as our elections keep demonstrating. This calls for humility and introspection from the left, rather than doubling down and denigrating the masses for their wrongthink.

Ah, yes. It seems that whenever the workers are given a chance to express their political preference, they choose wicked but rewarding capitalist conservatism over morally beautiful but materially deficient socialism.

But Pluckrose and Lindsay, and probably all Leftists, assume that “most people” really want a left-wing government. One that is not too radical.

So Left-wing parties must strive to keep themselves from becoming too radical. But it’s not easy for them:

Left-wing parties and movements generally have a harder job maintaining consistency and cohesion than conservative ones because of their progressive nature. Progress requires change, moving with the times, and finding new directions. It requires fighting for certain advances and then, when these are achieved, fighting for new ones. Conservatives generally have an easier time with continuity because they seek to conserve aspects of society that they see as good, as well as upholding consistent principles, rooted in consistent moral intuitions of individual responsibility, respect for tradition and authority, cultural cohesion, and family. While differences do exist within conservatism—especially between libertarian fiscal conservatives and religious and/or social conservatives—there are natural limits as to how much principles can change and evolve when they are firmly rooted in the drive to conserve.

Progressives, on the other hand, are always trying to move forward and address new injustices and inequalities. The drive to progress necessarily manifests in many different directions at the same time and these can even contradict each other. One good example of this is the vitriolic conflict between the radical feminists, whose rejection of gender is rooted in an adaptation of Marxist class struggle, and the self-ID trans activists, whose conception of gender is rooted in postmodern queer theory. These groups are both decidedly left-wing and yet they do not agree.

Another such conflict came to light when Goldsmith University’s Feminist Society endorsed the Islamic Society’s protests against communist feminist, Maryam Namazie, due to her criticism of Islamism. For progressives to make progress, their competing aims therefore need to be balanced within a consistent ethical framework—a liberal framework—that can prevent the left from repeatedly fracturing because of incompatible aims and conceptions of the world.

… [There is a] current deadlock between the three main elements of the left [which are]: the radical (or socialist), identitarian (“Social Justice”), and liberal left. She argues that the  liberal left must strongly champion liberalism, as an overarching principle by which the valid concerns of the other strands of the left can be judged. Neither socialism nor identity politics can win back the voters who have gone over to the right because most people support regulated capitalism and universal principles of fairness and reciprocity, regardless of identity. This is perfectly compatible with profound concern about the disadvantages people face because of their class, race, sex, or sexuality.

The socialists—who prioritise the material realities of economic and class issues—and the identitarians—with their myopic and obsessive focus on race, gender, and sexuality as social constructs perpetuated in language—cannot easily cooperate with each other, without a broader framework that is neither socialist nor identitarian. The left needs to focus on both economic and identity issues. … [R]ight now most people want a combination of center-left economics and center-right stability. We can achieve this by restoring liberalism to the heart of left-wing politics and rejecting the lure of illiberal alternatives.

Liberalism, in its essence, seeks incremental reform to address social injustices, and it does so on the level of the individual and the universal. That is, liberalism seeks to produce a society in which every individual has access, in principle, to everything society has to offer, regardless of economic background, race, gender or sexuality. Liberalism is not (as its socialist and Social Justice critics claim) a belief that society has already achieved that aim and a corresponding denial of any continuing disadvantages caused by economic inequalities or prejudice.

On the contrary, by insisting on the rights of the individual and universal principles of non-discrimination we can oppose the barriers impeding any social group. This is the approach taken by the Civil Rights Movement, liberal feminism, and gay pride—with great success. … Critics of liberalism are right to warn us that focusing only on the individual and the universal can lead us to overlook issues disadvantaging specific groups. But we can address these criticisms most effectively by appealing to a broader liberal framework, not by attempting to overthrow it.

We have moved into a new stage of history. The battles the left fought over the past half-century have largely been won. We cannot go back to focusing on miners’ rights and trade unions, or on securing equal pay for women, outlawing racial discrimination, or legalizing homosexuality: we have won those wars. In fact, much of the right supports these advances now too.

So far, not much to make us feel irresistibly compelled to argue.

But next they explain what liberalism means to them:

We have new battles to fight. These include combating climate change, securing our place on the world stage and within the global economy, and fostering a cohesive multiculturalism, free from moral relativism and enforced conformity. The left now finds itself pulled in many directions at once. This is the source of its profound identity crisis.

The intractability of the problem facing the left was made abundantly clear by the recent UK election. Constituencies such as Grimsby and Blyth voted Conservative after decades of being staunchly Labour. As Aditya Chakrabortty points out, this is largely due to changes in working class political identity:

While the party bigwigs threw their weight about, the mines and the manufacturers, the steel and the shipbuilding were snuffed out. With them went the culture of Labourism: the bolshy union stewards, the self-organised societies, most of the local newspapers. Practically any institution that might incubate a working-class provincial political identity was bulldozed.

Workers have other concerns now, and it seems they did not feel that Labour was addressing them. In areas that were long-term Labour strongholds—and which have now turned Tory—a majority of working people also voted Leave in the Brexit referendum. This points to a deep and fundamental rift that cannot easily be ignored—and some of the responses to this division highlight many of the same issues that triggered working-class support for Leave in the first place.

[Jeremy] Corbyn’s Labour Party was torn between honoring the wishes of the many working people who wanted to leave the European Union and those of its liberal and cosmopolitan supporters, who strongly supported Remain. After dithering on the issue for a couple of years, Labour finally compromised by calling for a second referendum, a solution that, by calling Mulligan on the results of the first Brexit referendum, seems not to have mollified its working class base in the least. Since then, a YouGov survey found that Labour voters were more likely to think the next Labour leader needed to be more centrist and that the general population overwhelmingly did not care for identity politics, at least in the realm of gender.

The Economist has described Labour as out of touch with the working class, particularly in the north. …

While the issue of Brexit is far more complicated than a simple left-right divide, it highlights a profound disconnect between the old, class-conscious left and the new identity-conscious (read: identity-obsessed) left. By attempting to satisfy both of them at the same time, Labour is tearing itself apart. We can also see this in the anti-Semitism that now plagues the party, which is a consequence of attempting to come to terms with postcolonial guilt by acknowledging Britain’s role in the current tensions across the Muslim world. As a result, Labour often supports conservative Muslims over liberal ones, and condones—or actively endorses—the sexism, homophobia, and antisemitism that comes along with that position, leaving British Jews in a very vulnerable position. These deep inconsistencies have led many centrist and liberal voters in the UK to believe that the Tories better represent their interests than can Labour.

These political challenges are not confined to the UK. In the US, the Democratic Party is flailing, as it attempts to satisfy both its economic and identitarian wings, in the run-up to the 2020 elections. While the majority of the left and center—and a significant part of the right—hope that a reasonable, electable presidential candidate will emerge from within the Democratic Party, they’re forced to stare wild-eyed as the vast majority of the current and past hopefuls catalogue their pronouns in their Twitter bios and declare that “the future is female” and “the future is intersectional”.

Meanwhile, the activist base—the only ones interested in these displays—write articles fixated on the identity politics surrounding these candidates. Joe Biden is just one more old, white man who needs to step aside (even though he has tremendous support among black Americans, as does that other old white man, Bernie Sanders, who is polling in second place). If you don’t support Elizabeth Warren, even as she panders endlessly to the far-left fringe, it’s because you’ve bought into systemic misogyny (or condone Trump’s allegedly racist mockery of her as “Pocahontas”). Pete Buttigieg, who would be America’s first openly gay president if he were elected, isn’t gay enough. He may be married to a man but, we’re told, he isn’t really gay because he’s straight-passing and not a queer activist. …

Note of possible relevance: Pete Buttigieg’s father, Joseph Buttigieg, translated into English the works of no less a Communist Superhero than Antonio Gramsci himself.

This leaves left-wing parties in a quandary. They need to move with the times but are currently unsure where those times are going.

“The times”, aka History, is seen by theLeft as an agent with a purposeful will. It – not human thought and action – shapes events. Human beings are the tools of History – though its ultimate purpose is their perfection. A Marxian thesis which still lingers with the Left.

Marx believed his envisioned revolution was inevitable – though also in need of action by the “revolutionary class”.

A contemporary Labour MP, Jess Phillips, believes the working class needs a Labour government, even if it is not revolutionary. She writes in the Guardian:

The truth is, there are corners of our party that have become too intolerant of challenge and debate. The truth is, there is a clique who don’t care if our appeal has narrowed, as long as they have control of the institutions and ideas of the party.

We’ve all got to discover the courage to ask the difficult questions about the future of our party and the future of the working-class communities who need a Labour government. Because the alternative is that the working-class voters who, in despair, lent the Tories their votes on Thursday, never take them back.

It is time for the left to acknowledge this wake-up call. If the election of Donald Trump in the US and the catastrophic collapse of Labour in the UK haven’t made it obvious that we have a problem, it is unclear what will. The left cannot continue to try to impose a set of ideological values held by only a tiny minority of the left-leaning public and then blame that public for not electing a left-wing government. While trying to find its footing in today’s society and address the injustices and concerns of most of its natural base, the left has fallen into the trap of listening to noisy ideologues rather than average liberal and leftist working people. How much more evidence do we need that this does not work? When will we start listening to what people overwhelmingly want—a society that meets their material needs and feels fair and ethical? When will the left commit to being liberal again?

We ask: for what do “working class communities need a Labour government”? If the (somewhat) right-wing governments elected in the United States and Britain meet their material needs – and in the US at present the Trump administration is amply doing so – and if that seems “fair and ethical” to the voters, what can a reformed right-shifted left-wing government do for them? Can such a government, with redistributionist welfare policies designed by “noisy ideologues” to achieve fairness as an ethical ideal, meet material needs more amply?  No. That’s the whole point. Planned economies do not work. Equality of wealth, equality of power, equality of talent, equality of achievement, all that is meant by “social justice”, will never be brought about by History, nor can it be made to happen by ideologues, whether noisily by revolution or silently by their gaining control of the institutions of democracies.

The Left is failing because Leftism as such, whether “liberal” in the contemporary sense (“combating climate change, securing our place on the world stage and within the global economy, and fostering a cohesive multiculturalism … meeting material needs and feeling fair and ethical”), or uncompromisingly socialist, or defiantly “identitarian”, cannot succeed.

The law, by treating all sane adults equally, may sometimes be “fair”; but nature will not be, nor History, nor any political party.

Is NATO worth saving? 5

It is 70 years since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established.

Theodore Roosevelt Malloch writes at American Greatness:

Only nine of its 29 member states pay their agreed dues—up from five last year, thanks to President Trump’s pestering. Not that he gets any credit for it.

Nevertheless, that is $130 billion more for NATO’s collective defense! Which is both more money than one can fathom, and simultaneously a pitiful fraction (around 20 percent) of America’s defense spending.

NATO’s membership is paying more thanks to constant hammering by President Trump. But many [more than two-thirds of the member states] have not yet reached the treaty’s required 2 percent threshold, including the richest countries, like Germany. So long as Angela Merkel remains in power with the votes of left-wing socialists (called the “Grand Coalition”) in the Bundestag, the chance is near zilch of this issue being dealt with. For her part, Merkel has promised Germany will hit the 2 percent target sometime in the “early 2030s”. …

By which time Germany will be a Muslim ruled country, a fate from which its only salvation might be Russian conquest.

That Russian domination could be considered by indigenous Germans preferable to Islamic subjugation is in itself a vivid indication of just how horrible the outlook is for Europe.

But Trump is turning [NATO] round. Give him credit.

The world has changed a great deal in the 70 years since the Washington Treaty was first signed and the North Atlantic Charter was put into force. American soldiers held the line on the free side of the Iron Curtain long enough for Moscow to trip on its own contradictions.

But 1989 was 30 years ago and the triumph that was the 50th anniversary celebrations (1999) is a distant memory. Today NATO is fully benefiting from nostalgia for the 1990s, despite the Balkan wars awkwardly underscoring the limitations of collective security in the new world order.

This week’s NATO summit is less of a celebration of the military achievements and the collapse of the Soviet empire than it is a day of reckoning.

Does NATO have a future or is it, as French President Emmanuel Macron recently called it, “brain dead”? Merkel herself famously criticized NATO in the months after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and backed Macron’s version of a European army, widely seen as a threat to the alliance.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the enfant terrible of the alliance (whose rough neighborhood includes long borders with Iran, Syria, Iraq, all unstable war zones) has also come out swinging, this time against Macron. It is Macron who’s brain dead, the Turkish president said. His ambassador in Paris was called in for a stern dressing down.

Turkey has been not just an uncooperative member of NATO; it has been positively obstructive, in the past and again now.

The question has arisen whether Turkey could be expelled from NATO.

At [the 70th] anniversary summit of its members, President Trump, who has long thought the collective security arrangement “obsolete” … reiterated his demand that Europe pay more (South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Japan, as well) for their defense.

He suggested NATO should refocus on terrorism, Syria, cybersecurity, and most critically, China, the number one adversary NATO countries face. …

Can NATO adapt fast enough?

Can NATO adapt?

The Russians are in no state [at present] to take over Ukraine, much less Germany. …

The organization has certainly proven to be resilient—but is it relevant any longer?

Is it an alliance any longer?

Witness the differences in implementing nuclear sanctions on Iran—Europe has set up INSTEX, a sanctions-dodging mechanism for blockade-running. Iran’s regime, currently wracked by the worst protests in 40 years, when the mullahs came to power, is being thrown a lifeline by Paris, Brussels, and Berlin.

Why?

As the strongest and most successful military alliance in history—at least it is according to its own secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg of Norway—the crux of the matter on this birthday is, does NATO have an ability to change significantly? He certainly thinks so.

In our new book Trump’s World, Felipe J. Cuello and I argue that the “dog fight” over NATO is in a critical stage and the disruptor-in-chief, Geo Deus Donald Trump, may give it a second breath—but only if the alliance pays and it shifts.

GEO DEUS DONALD TRUMP.

 

 

An earthly Deus even we can believe in. Thank you Theodore Roosevelt Malloch and Felipe J. Cuello for that!

In his America First paradigm, but not alone, there is a new taskmaster in town and he plays by new rules not old ways and ideologies of globalism. NATO survives and grows in strength thanks to one Donald J. Trump.

That is to say, if it survives and grows in strength it will be thanks to Geo Deus Donald J. Trump.

Perhaps a new type of “alliance” is needed. States that want to be protected by the mightiest military in the world pay America directly; put their own forces – those few who have them in working order – under the command of the president of the United States; their ordnance, warships and aircraft, technological facilities, satellites, and foreign offices (yes, those too!) at his disposal. At least for as long as Donald J. Trump or successors approved by him are in power.

Would the world not then be a safer, more peaceful, more prosperous place? Could be. It’s at least a possibility.

Fascist socialism versus Islam 3

President Trump will keep Americans safe from both Democratic Socialism and Islam while he is in power. But what will happen after him?

Is the American future to be fascist-socialist under Democratic rule – as California is now (see our post immediately below, Californian left-fascism, a model for the nation? November 15, 2019)?

Or is it to be Islamic?

Islam is already exerting decisive power in Europe. Most effectively in Sweden and France. And it is steadily advancing towards domination in America.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, acronym CAIR,  has announced that it wants to get 30 Muslims into Congress. And there are at least 100 members of Congress who would welcome CAIR’s chosen members into their company it would seem, since 100 members of Congress have written letters to CAIR to affirm their friendship with that Hamas-connected organization. Ninety-seven of the signatories are Democrats, three are Republicans.

The fascist-socialist Democrats and militant Islam are in alliance now, presenting a common front to their shared arch-enemy, President Trump with his tens of millions of followers. But the time may all too possibly come when one or the other – likely the Democrats first – will, by crooked means (because they cannot do it by honest election), take command of all three branches of government. Then the allies will become rivals and enemies.

Both are global and totalitarian in ambition, a similarity which will make them rivals.

And although they both suppress individualism, demand doctrinal orthodoxy and punish heresy, their differences of doctrine and character will make them enemies.

The New Left is:

Secular

Egalitarian

Libertine

Western, middle-class, modern, academic  

Revolutionary

Islam is:

A god-worshiping religion  

Male dominated

Puritanically prurient

Oriental, tribal, archaic, bellicose

Unalterable

So they way it looks now, if the worst should come to the worst, the American future will be either fascist-socialist or Islamic.

The question is: when the conflict between them comes as it must, which of the two dark forces is likely to prevail?

Posted under Europe, Fascism, France, Islam, Leftism, Socialism, Sweden, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 17, 2019

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 3 comments.

Permalink

Veterans Day 2019 1

The First World War, which ended 101 years ago today, was an utterly unnecessary war. It was started for no better reason than to satisfy the vanity of kings.

According to War History Online:

There were around 8 million Frenchmen fighting, 13 million Germans, 9 million Austro-Hungarian men, 9 million British soldiers, 18 million Russians, 6 million Italians and 4 million from the United States.

Here’s the “official” break down [of dead and injured in the engaged armies]:

France: 1.4 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Germany: 1.8 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Austria-Hungary: 1.4 million dead, 3.6 million injured.

Russia: 1.8 million dead, 5 million injured.

Britain and British Empire: 900,000 dead, 2 million injured.

Italy: 600,000 dead, 1 million injured.

Serbia suffered the greatest losses [proportionately] to their military. Nearly three quarters of their soldiers were either killed (130,000) or wounded (135,000).

The battles of Verdun and the Somme in 1916 left 770,000 and 1.2 million (respectively) missing, wounded or dead from both sides.

Some of the most devastating losses were caused in the beginning weeks of the world war. In one day, August 22, 1914, nearly 27,000 French soldiers were killed. That day remains the deadliest day in France’s history in regards to military men killed.

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I: about 40 million.

It was a vast blood-letting that started the ever accelerating decline of Western civilization.

It destroyed a great part of a whole generation of men.

It facilitated the turning of Russia into a Communist torture-chamber and graveyard, and source of sepsis for the whole world, still spreading.

It led causally to the Second World War, which the allies had necessarily to fight, and in which there were even greater numbers of dead and injured.

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth wept as the customary wreaths were laid at the foot of the cenotaph in memory of the men and women killed in the two world wars.

Today in America we honor all those who have served and serve now in the US military.

It was because America came to the aid of Europe twice in the last century, that liberty was preserved for our world. Whether it will survive much longer remains to be seen. Half the voters of America seem to want to live under the tyranny that was militarily defeated in the last century.

We do well to remember, as Europeans mourn their heroes and Americans honor theirs, how precious and rare is the liberty they fought for.

Posted under Austria, Britain, communism, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, liberty, nazism, Russia, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, November 11, 2019

Tagged with ,

This post has 1 comment.

Permalink

The pursuit of happiness 57

Gentlefolk in the 18th. century thought that to try to live happily was a reasonable aim, to judge by the statement of the great authors of the US Declaration of Independence. To them it appeared “self-evident” that every person had a “right” (“endowed by their Creator”, or, in other words, a natural right) to his life and his choice how to live it, which surely meant that he would live it as nearly to his heart’s desire as he could.

Horny handed sons of toil, even if as free under the law, were not expected, either by themselves or their betters, to achieve the same forms of happiness. Enough for them if they could earn their daily bread. For that they lived and strove. Their life was the striving. It occupied their hours, their days, their years, their bodies and their thoughts. Success was survival. Survival was for most of them the only reasonable attainable happiness. If some strove for more – excess, property, leisure – and attained it, then happiness abounded. (Happiness, that is to say, as contentment. Other forms of gratification – thrills, excitement, delights of the senses, scoring triumphs – are not our subject. They are experienced episodically and enjoyed to the degree the individual is capable of.)

The welfare state relieved the workers of the need to strive for survival. Now all could be philosophers. The joy of exploring the limitless sphere of the mind was open to all. Universal happiness would reign.

But doesn’t.

The reasons why people commit suicide are many and various, but what they all have in common is that they find life unbearable. So suicide rates might be taken as a gauge of happiness and the lack of it in a population.

The figures for those rates from the last few years (according to Wikipedia – and perhaps not entirely trustworthy) provide some surprises. (Worth noticing in passing – far more males kill themselves than do females everywhere.)

Highest suicide rate in the world: Greenland. Average 82.8 per 100,000 per annum. It is a welfare state.

Google reveals:

As part of Denmark, Greenlanders have access to one of the most extensive social welfare systems in Europe, including universal, nationalized medical care and free state education, including college.

(President Trump has asked Denmark if it would sell Greenland to the USA. Rhetorical question: Would life in Greenland be better, more bearable, happier if it became the 51st. state of the USA, which provides much less welfare? USA suicide average per 100,000 per annum, 14.5.)

Big drop to the next highest. Guyana 30.2, Lithuania 28.27, South Korea 26.6

The average for most European countries is between 12.57 (Germany) and 17 (Belgium).

Britain? Only 7.23!

China? 9.8

Iran 4.8   The state does most of the killing there.

Venezuela 3.2  Nature does it there, because the people are starving and have no medicines. Venezuela is – way beyond a welfare state – a socialist state.

Syria 0.1  Constant civil war rages there.

Pakistan 1.1   People are happy in Pakistan?

Haiti  – a truly miserable place of hunger and disease. Average suicide?  0.0

But back to the pursuit of happiness in the civilized West.

What went wrong? Is it possible that the strivers enjoyed the striving and its meager rewards?

Or did philosophizing bring the newly leisured to ask, “What is it all for anyway?“. And find no answer?

There are thousands of counselors – even millions, we would guess – telling unhappy people how to be happy. There are hundreds of thousands of books giving readers rules for living –  from obedience to which, happiness might be expected.

And there is religion. Religion is supposed to “give meaning to life”.

Does it answer the question “what is it all for anyway?”

Let’s look at an individual case of unhappiness. In America.

At the American Conservative, we found this letter, reproduced by Rod Dreher, to whom it was sent as if to an agony aunt:

Mr. Dreher,

The things you have been writing lately about alienated young men and mass shootings prompt me to reach out to you. I am not a young man anymore, but I am dealing with things that I did not imagine I would be when I was young and newly married. Back then, everything made sense. I feel like I need to tell my story.

My background is that I am a successful businessman (a kind of consultant) living in a well-to-do suburb of a Southern city. My wife and I married relatively early, and had two kids. The boys are in good colleges in other states. They are getting ready to head back to school next week. It has been a real pleasure having them here this summer. Our house becomes a tomb when they are not around.

Four years ago, my wife told me that she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. After almost 30 years, she had had enough. I did not see that coming. We almost never fought. We used to go to dinner together, take family vacations, do things together, etc etc. She just said that she thought she had hitched herself to a man too young, and now that the boys were older and out of the house, she was reconsidering her life. I asked her if there was another man. She said no, and eventually I believed her. I asked her if she wanted a divorce. She said probably so, but she wanted to wait until the boys got out of school. She is a reasonable person with a finance background, and knows that a divorce would cost us a lot at a time when we are supporting two kids in college.

She has a job she loves. I work from a home office. I was so glad when my company gave me the chance to do this. I miss the friendships in the office, but when you talk on your blog about wokeness in the workplace, I always find myself nodding along. A few years back, my company started getting engaged with “diversity and inclusivity” in the workplace. I noticed that every time they would run us all through one of those seminars, we would all come out of it more suspicious of each other. It was crazy. It was as if our bosses were trying to poison the office environment. I got to the point where as a white male, I saw my co-workers as potentially the people who would try to get me fired if I said one wrong thing by mistake. They might have seen me that way too. It was crazy. The more management pushed “diversity and inclusivity”, the more anxious things felt in the office. When the company was restructuring and offered people in my division the chance to work at home, I jumped at it, just to get out of that tense environment.

It was a blessing at first, but nowadays I wonder if that was the right thing to do. The idea of working from home seems great, until you realize that you don’t see people at all. I have a nice home office where I put in my 9 to 5, which is really more like 8 to 7, but everybody does that. If I’m being truthful, I stay in my office longer than I have to on most days, because there is nothing for me outside of it. My wife used to be my best friend. Now we just share a house and a bed. She has friends from her office, and goes out with them a lot. When all this started, I honestly thought she was seeing some guy. I’m not going into the details, but I’m truly convinced that she’s not. She’s just hanging out with other middle-aged women who are sick of their husbands too.

I used to think only men behaved like that. Mother and Daddy have both passed away, but they had a good marriage. Some of their friends got divorced when I was a kid, and it was always the man leaving his wife for a younger woman. They were very judgmental of them, but in a way I still think was right. They were Southern people (I think you know what I mean, Mr. Dreher), and that meant that they thought it was dishonorable for a man to do his wife like that. I internalized that honor code, and have always lived by it, and my Catholic faith. If my wife demands a divorce, I will give it to her, but I won’t marry again. How could I go through an annulment? I can’t say truthfully that this was not really a marriage. I meant it when I said my vows, and I believe my wife did too. I am not going to make bastards of my sons because my wife abandoned me and I want to be married again. Besides, there would be no marrying again for me anyway. I look at myself in the mirror — mid to late 50s, half-bald, pot belly, etc etc. What woman would want me even if I was free to marry her?

I was an only child, so I have no close family to speak of. We are Catholics. My faith is just about the only thing that keeps me going through all this, but it’s thin. My wife refuses to see a marriage counselor. I made the first steps to getting an appointment to talk to our priest, but I gave up because that was hopeless. I feel bad for our priest. He’s managing a big suburban parish all on his own. It would have taken forever to get an appointment, and there was no way he was going to be able to give us the time it would take to save our marriage, especially given that my wife doesn’t want to save it. Besides, there is nothing I’ve ever heard our priest say that tells me he is a man who could help us. He talks like one of those life coaches our company used to bring in for team building exercises, a guy who gets all his ideas from Hallmark cards.

She still goes to mass with me, but just out of habit. When I stand there listening to Fr give his cheerful but empty homilies, I think about what’s keeping me from going home and blowing my brains out. I’m not going to do this because I’m scared of pain and I’m scared of going to Hell. Also, I don’t want to hurt the boys, and make them feel like they did something to cause it or give them something to be ashamed of. However, I think a lot about how little I have to live for anymore. I am not even sure that the boys think of me much, except as “Good Old Dad”…

Nobody can see it. I stand there in church, wearing my coat and tie, and people probably think I have it all together. We drive nice cars, we live in a nice house in a good neighborhood, etc, etc. I am grateful to have a good job that has allowed me to provide for my family. By all the world’s standards, I’m doing well. I have “white privilege”. 

What a joke. When I first started working in my home office, I would dress up in a coat, no tie, and dress pants to go to “work.” It felt right to hang on to that habit. Since my marriage fell apart, I notice that some days I don’t even get out of my pajamas. I sit there at my nice desk doing all my work on my laptop, and go right back to bed at the end of the day without even taking a shower. I know this is pathetic, and if the boys were still at home, I would know to keep up appearances. This is my life.

When the boys graduate and don’t have to depend on us, I guess that will mean Decision Time. I will probably move out, though to all rights we ought to sell the house. I remember the day we bought it, and talking with my wife about that big dining room, and how we looked forward to the kids coming home with their wives and children for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh, we sure had big plans for that dining room. We bought a house with a fireplace because we dreamed about sitting around it with the grandchildren. All that is over now, and not because I wanted it to be. I feel so powerless. Maybe I would stay here if either one of the boys moved back, but given the fields they have chosen, I don’t look for that to happen, and even if it did, we would just be keeping up appearances for their sake. Southern people are real good at that, as you know.

What prompted me to write to you is your writings about the loneliness crisis. I am not some white trash 22 y.o. living in a trailer somewhere, playing video games, and living off his Mama, but I am completely isolated in my life. My “video game” is Excel spreadsheets. The friends I had back in the happier days were all “couples friends” through my wife. When she said she didn’t want to be married to me, we stopped having people over, and stopped accepting invitations to other people’s houses. After a few years, those invitations stopped coming. I tried to keep up these friendships with the husbands, but it was awkward. I told a couple of the guys I was closest to about the mess in my marriage, and they seemed sympathetic, but there wasn’t a lot they could do. They all had kids, and their couples friends. Two or three times I went to their dinner parties by myself, but you talk about awkward! I was embarrassed by it all, and just quit going. I miss those guys, and I even miss their wives. We used to be happy all together.

If this is “white privilege”, screw it. I stopped by the shoe repair shop a couple of weeks ago, and there were some black guys my age sitting around talking and laughing with each other. I envied them. I probably make 10 or 15 times more than them, but they are probably rich in ways that I used to be before I went “bankrupt”. I would trade all this so-called “white privilege” for a happy marriage, a strong family, and good friends. Mother and Daddy didn’t have a lot of money, but at least they had that. They also had a small-town church where they felt at home. How can anybody feel at home in a big parish like mine? I was taught to be charitable, especially to the clergy, and I do feel bad for our priest, who is carrying a heavy load. But this ain’t church. I’ve gotten to the point where I sit there during mass and I wonder how many of those men in the pews are just like me: barely holding it together, wondering what the hell we’re living for, ignored by our wives, and starving for friendship. God feels so far away. I have never doubted His existence, but these days, He feels like the Pope — a nice man who lives far away and who doesn’t see us.

I know I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself. I guess I am. But damn it, I didn’t think things were going to work out like this. I did everything I was supposed to do, and it all fell to pieces anyway. I’m racking my brains trying to figure out how I can fix this, but my wife doesn’t want it to be fixed. She just wants out. I recognize that I am privileged economically and socially, but I’m here to tell you that if you were a working man who drove by my house, and saw me out front mowing our big lawn, you would think I had it made. In fact, you would be looking at a dead man, at a man who secretly hopes he falls over from a heart attack so he doesn’t have to keep carrying this weight of loneliness. At this point, my only purpose in life is to do what I have to do so my sons can have a good life or think they have a good life, until they get to my age and it falls to shit, and they end up doing just what their Good Old Dad is doing.

The thought just occurred to me as I’m writing this that the only real reason we will have to keep our household together after our sons graduate is if one of them can’t find a job, and has to live with us. That’s a sorry state to be in, knowing that the only thing that would keep you and your wife together is an unemployed grown-up child.

I appreciate the opportunity to get this off of my chest. I like reading your blog because even though it’s depressing sometimes, I feel like you talk about the real world, which is more than I get from my priest. I would just ask your readers to keep in mind that when they see people at church, in the store, and at other places, that those people might be suffering in ways that are not obvious. You think folks have it made, but they don’t. You see me getting out of my [luxury car brand] at church, with my wife, and we’re all dressed up and smiling, but from my very jaded perspective, we’re dead people who have no future. At least my wife has the girls from the office.

I’ve thought about asking my manager if I can come back to the office, but I know that’s not a solution. I’m the Great White Male, the source of all evil in the world. Given my run of luck, it would be about right for somebody to falsely accuse me of something, and end up taking away the last I have left from what started out as an American dream. I’d end up jobless and poor, and then the gun to the head might not seem so scary after all.

Sorry. Thanks for listening.

One thing we find particularly interesting about this “confession” is how little the man’s faith does for him. Fear of hell keeps him from suicide. That’s about all.

If he were not a believing Catholic, he might have developed some curiosity about the world he lives in. It has not occurred to him to go exploring in the infinite realm of the mind.

He was happier when his children lived with him. If he had grandchildren living near by he might be happy again. For a while, anyway. Until they grew up. But young men are not quick to marry now and raise a family.

Readers, your comments are needed.

Russia 1

An illuminating article. For us, lifelong students of Communism and the modern history of Russia, almost as full of surprises as of affirmations.

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society”, as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions”, which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

Religious morality? Communism not a religious morality? Not the same religious morality in certain vital respects? All red capes waving at us bulls!  But for the sake of what’s to come, we’ll only stand and paw the ground – and give a snort or two.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

A louder snort. But on:

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West”. Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia. Moscow let countless priorities languish as it rebuilt in record time its massive Christ the Savior cathedral to original specifications. As the Russian Orthodox church resumed its place as a pillar of the Russia that had been Christianity’s bastion against the Mongol horde as well as against the Muslim Ottomans, golden domes soon shone throughout the land. Whatever anyone might think of the Russian Orthodox church, it anchors the country to its Christian roots.

Few Americans understood Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the close of the 20th century as the reassertion of a bankrupt, humiliated, resentful people looking to make Russia great again. Since then, Putin has rebuilt the Russian state into a major European power with worldwide influence. Poverty and a resource-based economy notwithstanding, it is on a sounder financial basis than any Western country. Corruption is within historical limits. The leadership is appreciated by the vast majority, whose national pride and solidarity dwarf those of Western publics. Nearly all Russians approve strongly of its absorption of Crimea. Russia effectively controls Ukraine’s eastern end, and has exposed the West’s incapacity to interfere militarily in the former Soviet empire. In the Middle East, Russia is now the dominant force.

In sum, the Russian bear licks its deep wounds as it growls behind fearsome defenses.

The Neighborhood

Russia’s Westernism is neither imitation nor love of the West. It is the assertion that Russia is an indispensable part of it. The Russians saved Europe from Napoleon, and from Hitler, too. That they did the latter tyrannically, as Soviets, does not, in their minds, disqualify them from their rightful place in Europe, or justify Europeans, much less Americans, trying to limit Russia’s rightful stature. Today’s Russian rulers are not gentler or nicer than the emperor who shook off the Mongol yoke—who wasn’t known as Ivan the Nice Guy. Like their forebears they are calculating Russia’s stature in terms of the limits—primarily in Europe—set by their own present power as well as by that of their immediate neighbors.

Russian writing on international affairs focuses exclusively on the country’s role as a member of the European system. By the 2030s, if not sooner, the Russian government will have filled such territory, and established such influence, as befit its own people’s and its neighbors’ realities, and will be occupied with keeping it. More than most, Putin is painfully aware of Russia’s limits. Its declining population is less than half of America’s and a tenth of China’s. Despite efforts to boost natality, its demography is likely to recover only slowly. Nor is its culture friendly to the sort of entrepreneurship, trust, and cooperation that produces widespread wealth. What, then, are Putin’s—or any Russian leader’s—national and international objectives?

As always, Ukraine is of prime interest to Russia because it is the crux of internal and external affairs. With Ukraine, Russia is potentially a world power. Without it, it is less, at best. But Putin’s pressures, disruptions, and meddlings have shown him how limited Russia’s reach into Ukraine is, and is sure to remain. Hence, Russia’s conquest of Ukraine east of the Don River signifies much less the acquisition of a base for further conquest than the achievement of modern Russia’s natural territorial limit in Europe. The 20th century’s events forever severed Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia; even Belarus has become less compatible with it. Modern Russia is recognizing its independence, even as the Soviet Union at the height of its power effectively recognized Finland’s. As the Russian Federation’s demographic weight shifts southeastward—and Islamism continues to gain favor there—the Russian government will have to consider whether to shift its efforts from keeping the Muslim regions within the federation to expelling and building fences against them.

As the decades pass, post-Soviet Russia will have to work harder and harder to cut the sort of figure in Europe that it did under the tsars. That figure’s size is the issue. The Russian empire’s size has varied over the centuries according to the ratios between its and its neighbors’ national vigor and power. In the past, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the Hanseatic powers, Germany, all have shrunken or swollen Russia. Borders and spheres of influence have varied. There is no reason why this should not be so in the future. Russia will neither invade Europe nor dominate it politically because its people lack the political will, and its state the capacity, to do either. During Soviet times, this will and this capacity were the product of the national and international Communist Party apparatus, now gone forever.

A glance back at this gargantuan human structure reminds us of how grateful we should be that it now belongs to history. The Communist faction that resulted from the 1918 split in the international socialist movement—like the rump socialist faction that ended up governing Europe after 1945, but unlike the fascist one—already intended to conquer the world. (Fascism, Mussolini’s invention, recalled some of ancient Rome’s peculiar institutions and symbols—the fasces was the bundle of punishing rods carried by the consuls’ lictors—and added governing Italy through business-labor-government councils. It was not for export.) Communists worldwide came under the firm control of the Soviet Party’s international division run by formidable persons like Andrei Zhdanov and Boris Ponomarev, disposing of virtually unlimited budgets and, after 1929, of the services of countless “front organizations.” These, the party’s hands and feet and its pride and joy, reached out to every imaginable category of persons: union members, lawyers, teachers, journalists, housewives, professional women, students, non-students. Each front organization had an ostensible purpose: peace, through opposition or support of any number of causes. But supporting the “Soviet line” was the proximate purpose of all. Through tens of thousands of “witting” Communists, these fronts marshaled millions of unwitting supporters, helping to reshape Western societies. Soviet political control of Europe was eminently possible, with or without an invasion, because the Soviet domestic apparatus had marshaled Soviet society, and because its international department and front organizations had convinced sectors of European societies to welcome the prospect.

The tools that today’s Russia wields vis-à-vis Europe are limited to commerce in natural gas, and to the opportunities for bribery that this creates—witness Russian Gazprom’s employment of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Not only do European governments not fear being invaded by Russia, they refuse to diversify their sources of natural gas, and generally oppose American sanctions imposed on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The notion among European ruling parties that the voters who are in the process of rejecting them for various “populist” and nationalist options, are pining for Russian-style governance or tricked by Russian wiles is a baseless attempt to sidestep the ruling parties’ own failures.

The Lefty globalists think that? There’s a surprise! Whatever makes them think so? We see the populist movements as being unequivocally towards conservative nationalism, self-determination, personal liberty, not … neo-tsarism.

Europe’s rulers know that Russian military forces are not built to conquer the continent, because these forces lack the wherewithal for large-scale projection of power. Instead, they possess formidable capacity for what soldiers call “area denial”. This fits Russian leaders’ strategic goals, the people’s sentiments, and material constraints. The wars that today’s Russian military are built to fight are in areas that today’s Russian military sees most threatened by the U.S. and NATO, on its borders with Poland and Lithuania (where Russia crushed the Wehrmacht in 1944-45), and in Ukraine, north of Crimea. Russia’s military posture has ever been, and gives every sign of remaining, strategically defensive but operationally offensive. Now as before, when war seems imminent Russia’s operational doctrine calls for taking the initiative in a preemptive manner.

Although Russian strategy would be to surround and seal off foreign troops by air and ground, for the first time in Russia’s history, military manpower is scarce and precious. Economizing manpower is one reason why the country has fully integrated nuclear weapons in ordinary military operations, recalling nothing so much as President Dwight Eisenhower’s doctrine in the 1950s of “more bang for the buck”. To seal off the airspace, and to provide an umbrella for their ground forces, the Russians would use the S-400 air-missile defense system—the world’s best, which is now deployed around some 300 high-value locations. Strikes (or the threat thereof) by the unique Iskander short-range missile would preclude the foreign forces’ escape, as Russian troops moved in with Armata tanks, which carry the world’s best reactive armor.

Possession of perhaps the world’s best offensive and defensive strategic forces—comparable to America’s and far superior to China’s—is why Russia is confident that it can contain within limited areas the wars that it needs to fight. Because Russia has nothing to gain by military action against America or China, this arsenal is militarily useful only as insurance against anyone’s escalation of border disputes, and as the basis for Russia’s claim to be a major world player.

Priorities and Collusion

Russia loomed small in U.S. foreign policy from the time of the founding until the 1917 Bolshevik coup, because the interactions between America’s and Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests were few and mostly compatible. Given that these fundamentals have not changed, it would be best for both countries if their policies gradually returned to that long normal.

But for both countries, transcending the past century’s habits is not easy. The essential problem is that neither side’s desires, nor its calculus of ends and means, is clear to the other, or perhaps to itself. It seems that the main thing Putin or any other Russian leader might want from America is no interference as Russia tries to recreate the tsars’ empire. Thus Russia’s continuing relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America can only be understood as Cold War inertia—the almost instinctive sense that what is bad for America must somehow be good for Russia. The U.S. government, for its part, while largely neglecting Russia’s involvement in the Western hemisphere, tries to limit its influence in Europe while at the same time reaching agreements concerning strategic weapons—a largely Cold War agenda. The soundness of these priorities on both sides is doubtful.

Both Russia and the U.S. fear China, and with good reason. The crushing size of contemporary China’s population and economy frightens the Russians. The fact that some Russian women marry Chinese men (disdaining Russian ones) embarrasses them and has made them more racially prejudiced than ever against the Chinese. Yet Russia aligns with China internationally and sells it advanced weapons, paid for with American money—money that China earns by trading its people’s cheap labor for America’s expensive technology. With these weapons as well as its own, China has established de facto sovereignty over the South China Sea and is pushing America out of the western Pacific. Nonetheless, the U.S. treats Russia as a major threat, including “to our democracy”. For Russia and America to work against one another to their common principal adversary’s advantage makes no geopolitical sense. But internal dynamics drive countries more than geopolitics.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election—a charge which has roiled American public life for the past two years and counting. Interference in American life? That is what the Soviet Union was all about. By contrast, current concerns about Russia are a tempest, albeit a violent one, in a domestic American teapot.

In America, the Soviets worked less through the Communist Party than they did in Europe. Here [in America], they simply seduced and influenced people at the top of our society. Even in America prominent persons in the Democratic Party, academia, media, and intelligence services (or who would become prominent, e.g., future Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and CIA Director John Brennan), were Communists more or less openly. Far more important to the Soviets were persons convinced that Soviet and American interests were identical. Harry Hopkins, for example, who ran the U.S. government on President Franklin Roosevelt’s behalf, considered Stalin’s objectives to be so indistinguishable from America’s that the KGB considered him to be effectively Stalin’s agent. By contrast, Alger Hiss, an important State Department official, was one of many controlled Soviet agents within the U.S. government. But the compatibility between Hiss’s views and those of many in the U.S. ruling class was striking. For example, even after Soviet archives confirmed Hiss’s status as a Soviet agent, Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, like many of his class, angrily insisted on Hiss’s innocence.

The comradeship of American liberals and Soviet Communists lasted to the Soviet Union’s end. In May 1983, for example, in an incident widely reported at the time and confirmed by Soviet archives, former U.S. senator John Tunney visited Moscow and, on behalf of his friend and classmate—and prospective Democratic presidential candidate—Senator Edward Kennedy, proposed to KGB director Viktor Chebrikov that Kennedy work with Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov to “arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA” because “the only real potential threats to Reagan [in the 1984 election] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations”. Kennedy promised “to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews”. Collusion, anyone? Today, with the Soviet Union gone, its moral-intellectual imprint on our ruling class remains.

The contemporary notion of Russian interference, however, owes nothing to Russia. It began when, in June 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tried to explain how a trove of e-mails showing its partiality for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders got into the public domain, alleging that they had been hacked from its server by Russian agents. To this day, there is zero evidence for this, the DNC not having allowed access to that server by any law enforcement agency or independent party.

Throughout the rest of the 2016 campaign, this narrative merged with one from CIA Director John Brennan and other leaders of U.S. intelligence, who were circulating a scurrilous dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, that alleged Trump’s connections with Russia. The Obama Administration used the dossier as the basis for electronic and human surveillance of the Trump campaign. Together, these narratives prompted a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no basis for the dossier, or for a relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, the assertion of Trump’s indebtedness to Russia became the pretext for #TheResistance to the 2016 election’s result, led by the Democratic Party, most of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the media.

In Europe as well as in America, the establishment’s protagonists have pointed to Russia to allege that their rejection by the voters is somehow “undemocratic”. Larry Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, following Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, wrote that “in one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence [from sovereign voters] of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” Voting against the establishnment, you see, is undemocratic!

What Are Our Interests?

Making impossible a rational public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia is the very least of the damage this partisan war has wrought. American liberals believed the Soviet Union’s dissolution was impossible; conservatives flattered themselves that they caused it. Few paid attention to what happened and how. Once the Soviet Union was gone, the West in general and Americans in particular presumed to teach Russians how to live, while helping their oligarchs loot the country. Russians soon got the impression that they were being disrespected. At least as Soviets, they had been feared. The Clinton Administration was confident that Russia would become a liberal partner in the rules-based international order. At the same time Clinton tried to load onto Russia the hopes that the U.S. establishment had long entertained about global co-dominion with the Soviets. In the same moment they pushed NATO to Russia’s borders—a mess of appeasement, provocation, and insult. Long-suffering Russians, who had idolized the West during the Soviet era, came to dislike us.

As the George W. Bush Administration fumbled at the new reality, it tried to appease Russia by continuing to limit U.S. missile defenses in fact, while publicly disavowing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; it formally objected to Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, while effectively condoning it. The incoming Barack Obama Administration tried to go further along the same self-contradictory line by withdrawing anti-missile support from eastern Europe, and quietly promising even more restraint. But when, in 2014, Putin seized Crimea, Obama imposed serious economic sanctions and agreed to place NATO and American troops in Poland and the Baltic States. Then, for the most tactical of domestic political considerations, the Obama Administration, and hence the U.S. establishment, decided to try explaining the course and results of the 2016 U.S. election campaign as “Russia’s attack on our democracy”.

What are the American people’s interests in Eurasia, and how big are these interests? Although today’s Russia poses none of the ideological threats that the Soviet Union did—and despite the absence of geopolitical or any other clashing interests—Russia is clearly a major adversary in Europe and the Middle East. Its technical contributions to China’s military, and its general geopolitical alignment with China, are most worrisome. What, other than Soviet inertia and wounded pride, motivates the Russians? The U.S. maintains economic sanctions on Russia. To achieve precisely what? From both sides’ perspective, it is difficult to see what good can come from this continued enmity.

Today’s triangular U.S.-Russia-China calculus is not comparable to the Soviet-Chinese military confrontation of the 1970s and ’80s, when both the U.S. and China feared Soviet missiles, and the U.S. best served its own interests by implicitly extending its nuclear umbrella over China. Today, the problems between Russia and China stem from basic disparities that U.S. policy obscures by treating Russia as, if anything, more of a threat than China. The best that the U.S. can do for itself is to say nothing, and do nothing, that obscures these disparities. Without backhanded U.S. support for close Russo-Chinese relations, the two countries would quickly become each other’s principal enemies.

Ongoing U.S. anxiety about negotiations with Russia over weaponry is nothing but a legacy of the Cold War and a refusal to pay attention to a century of experience, teaching that arms control agreements limit only those who wish to limit themselves. Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing the Iskander missile; the U.S. was right to withdraw from the agreement, but mistaken in ever expecting another country not to arm itself as it thinks best. In that regard, Americans should not listen to, never mind accommodate in any way, Russia’s (or any other country’s) objections to U.S. missile defenses. These are in our clear and overriding interest. Defending America as best we can—against missiles that might come to us from anywhere, for any reason—is supremely our business.

What then are America’s legitimate, realizable demands on Russia?

Putin’s Russia, by its 2015-18 intervention in Syria and its management of Turkey, achieved the tsars’ historic desire for a warm water port. Although the former conquest is firm, keeping Turkey friendly to Russia must ever be troublesome. Absent a friendly Turkey, Russia’s renewed control of Crimea and even the Syrian bases will be of very limited worth for any but defensive purposes. Whatever else might be said of its role in the Middle East, Russia has brought more stable balance to local forces than ever in this young century. Only with difficulty will American statesmen regret that our old adversary now deals with some of the problems that bedeviled us for a half-century.

The U.S. would be more secure geopolitically were Russia merely one of several European powers. But it has always been an empire, whose size has varied with time. An independent Ukraine has always been the greatest practical limitation on Russia’s imperial ambitions. That is very much a U.S. interest, but is beyond our capacity to secure.

U.S. relations with Russia regarding Ukraine are analogous to U.S. relations with Europe 200 years ago. Our overriding interest then was to prevent the Europeans from holding any major part of the Western hemisphere. By stating America’s intention to guard its hemispheric interests while forswearing meddling in European affairs, the U.S. encouraged them to face that reality. Today’s Russia realizes it cannot control Ukraine except for its Russian part, nor the Baltics, never mind the Visegrád states. The U.S. could lead Russia to be comfortable with that reality by reassuring it that we will not use our normal relations with Ukraine or with any of Russia’s neighbors to try to define Russia’s limits in Europe. We should realize that our setting such limits is beyond America’s capacity, and that it undercuts the basis for fruitful relations.

The U.S. prefers the Baltic States, and especially Ukraine, to be independent. But we know, and should sincerely convey to Russia, that their independence depends on themselves, and that we regard it as counterproductive to make them into American pawns or even to give the impression that they could be. Ukraine’s independence—and hence Russia’s acceptance of it as inevitable—depends on Ukraine retrenching into its Western identity, rejecting the borders that Stalin and Khrushchev had fixed for it, and standing firmly on its own feet—as, for example, by asserting its Orthodox church’s independence from Russia’s.

Wise U.S. policy would remove sanctions that previous administrations placed on Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Fruitless strife has been these sanctions’ only result. For example, they emboldened Ukraine to suppose it had U.S. support for presuming it had the same right to navigation in the Sea of Azov, passing under a Russian bridge, as it does in the Atlantic Ocean.

But in accord with the Monroe Doctrine, we should be willing to wage economic war on Russia—outright and destructive—on America’s own behalf, were the Russians to continue supporting anti-U.S. regimes in the Western hemisphere. If you want economic peace with America, we would say, stop interfering in our backyard. We Americans, for our part, are perfectly willing to stop interfering in your backyard.

In sum, nothing should be geopolitically clearer than that the natural policy for both America and Russia is not to go looking for opportunities to get in each other’s way.

Religion versus morality 50

We constantly hear the claim of religious believers that all our societal woes, the rise in crime, the careless conception of unwanted children, the disrespect and incivility that characterizes interpersonal relations, derives from the circumstance that the West has become irreligious, has abandoned what is misleadingly called the “Judeo-Christian” tradition. (See for instance here.)

I contend to the contrary that  not only is religion as such fundamentally immoral in that it teaches falsehood as truth; but, in addition, religious dogma is too weak to support values and principles necessary to the survival of our civilization. 

When the Christian nations of Europe taught their morals to the peoples they colonized, they did so in the context of religion. So when, in the course of time, religion was abandoned by many individual members of the proselytized nations – because it is untrue –  the moral teaching went with it. 

Had the Europeans conveyed the lessons of the Enlightenment, had they taught moral behavior on grounds of reason rather than faith, the principles – such as that of ‘enlightened self-interest’ requiring mutual esteem, reciprocated tolerance and honesty – would have continued to make sufficient sense in themselves to remain unaffected by the rise and fall, the popularity and unpopularity, of other ideas.

 

 

Jillian Becker   August 26, 2019

 

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Europe, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Monday, August 26, 2019

Tagged with

This post has 50 comments.

Permalink

This raging war 9

The fiercest, most intense and most extensive war ever fought is raging now. The battleground where no blood is spilt, no corpses buried, is the abstract sphere of ideas. The weapons are words.

The sides are Globalism versus Nationalism.

The issue is the future of the human race.

The question is, should there be separate self-governing nations or world government?

The Cold War was about the same question. International communism with its world government aspirations sought to conquer nation states defending individual freedom. The communist side lost, but its ideologues lived to fight another day.

Many of them lived in the nation states whose governments opposed the spread of communism. They fight now for their world government ideal from within their free countries.

John Fonte writes at American Greatness:

In 2008, Robert Kagan, then advising the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, declared that the “United States . . . should not oppose, but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty.”

The social-material base of the transnationalists [the globalists – ed] is housed in many institutions and organizations. For example, in the leadership of the United Nations; with bureaucrats from the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank; with judges from the World Court in the Hague, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

The social base certainly includes the leadership of the European Union (which is a model for supranational governance) and its administrators in the European Commission, judges in the European Court of Justice, and other EU officials. It includes international non-governmental organizations (e.g. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, George Soros’s Open Society foundations, etc.); and it includes “the Davoisie,” the global corporate leaders who attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. …

[T]he Obama Administration [promoted] transnational progressivism and diminishing democratic sovereignty. As Obama told the United Nations in 2016:

We’ve bound our power to international laws and institutions . . . I am convinced that in the long run, giving up freedom of action—not our ability to protect ourselves but binding ourselves to international rules over the long term—enhances our security.

With the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of conservative democratic nationalists throughout the West, the global governance project has been seriously challenged for the first time. It appears that the “arc of history” has been altered.

So, what is this conflict between democratic sovereignty and transnational progressivism (or globalism) all about?

It is about the oldest questions in politics, examined by Plato and Aristotle: who should rule and on what basis? Who makes the rules by which we are governed? What is legitimate and what is not?

The program for the National Conservative Conference states that since the fall of the Berlin Wall, many American conservatives have “grown increasingly attached to a vision of a ‘global rules-based liberal order’ that would bring peace and prosperity to the entire world while attenuating the independence of nations”.

Wait! Conservatives have done that? Which conservatives? Why? When? And in what way, then, are they conservative?

So, let us examine this post-1989 “global rules-based liberal order”.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many conservatives embraced President George H. W. Bush’s call for a “new world order”. It appeared to be a consolidation of the West’s Cold War victory and, thus, the building of a Reagan-Thatcher global order based on expanding liberal democracy and free markets.

Ah! Phew! A Reagan-Thatcher liberal order would be just fine.

But the “rules” in this “rules-based” liberal global order began to “evolve” (as academics like to say).

“Evolve” to the “academics” means change into a totally different, in fact an opposite concept.

In the 1990s, the United Nations Landmines Treaty and the establishment of the International Criminal Court were enacted by globalist forces (including European nation-states, American NGOs, and foundations) against the concerns of American sovereignty.

Recognizing this new transnationalist challenge in September 2000, John Bolton, in a University of Chicago law journal article, portrayed a coming conflict between “Globalists and Americanists.” At that time, 19 years ago, Bolton warned that we must take global governance seriously as a threat to democratic sovereignty.

A decade later, the Obama Administration in the name of the liberal global order was strong-arming democratic nation-states into adhering to progressive social policies concerning radical feminism, abortion, LGBT, and gender issues.

Meanwhile, the EU forced the removal of democratically elected leaders in Italy and Greece, and, led by Germany, facilitated mass migration from the developing world without the consent of the people of Europe’s democratic nation-states. It appears that the “rules” have changed as the liberal global order envisioned by Reagan-Thatcher conservatives has morphed into the transnational progressive order of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.

In a “rules-based” global order the crucial question, of course, is who makes the rules? We are always reassured by the foreign policy establishment, dominated by self-styled “liberal internationalists” (who are, in reality, transnational progressives)—“don’t worry, Americans and their democratic allies will be making the rules”.

Yes, it is true that American elites will play an oversized role in the formation of global “rules”. Therefore, we should take a close look at what American elites are saying.

A leading international relations specialist, and supporter of global governance, Princeton University Professor G. John Ikenberry asks how do nation-states “reconcile the international liberal vision of increasing authority lodged above the nation-state—where there is a sharing and pooling of sovereignty—with domestic liberal democracy built on popular sovereignty.” He admits, “This is the unresolved problem in the liberal international project.”

Ikenberry’s answer is buried in several footnotes in his book, Liberal Leviathan. He cites American international relations scholars, Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. Their argument is that national democracies cannot be relied upon to formulate the global “rules” because they disregard the interests of foreigners (Keohane cites the United States and Israel explicitly as major transgressors in this regard.)

Given the “limitations” of democratic sovereignty—of democratic self-government—American international relations specialists contend that the legitimacy of the rules-based order lies with “external epistemic communities” and “external epistemic actors.” You got that? “External epistemic actors.” In other words, for American transnationalists, global experts in international law, human rights, the environment, gender equity, and the like, would have greater legitimacy in the creation of “global rules” than democratically elected officials. This is a prescription for post-democratic rule.

Unelected dictators – among them no doubt some Americans – will be the world’s rulers as they are now of the EU. And like the rulers of the EU, they will be redistributionists, Socialists, collectivists. Their world order will be ruled much as China is. By force and coercion. By the imposition of an orthodoxy of ideas. Heretics will be removed before the contamination of an unauthorized opinion can spread.   

Without a doubt, the American leadership class is crucial to the success of the post-democratic global governance project. Because of the power of the American nation-state, U.S. submission to global authority would have to be voluntary. And that, indeed, is the dream of American transnational progressives (including our corporate elites)—America would provide what they would loudly hail as “leadership” in first creating and then submitting to the “rules” of a supranational legal regime.

This is what the American Bar Association means when it advocates the “global rule of law”. This is what Robert Kagan meant when he asserted that the United States “should not oppose but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty”.

This is what President Bill Clinton meant when he told his confidant Strobe Talbott that “we have to build a global social system” for a world in the future in which America was no longer the leading power. Talbott noted that Clinton was “careful not to broadcast” these beliefs “while in office”.

And this is what President Obama meant when he told the United Nations in 2016 that by “binding ourselves to international laws and institutions” and that by “giving up freedom of action” and “binding ourselves to international rules over the long term” America would actually enhance its security. …

For decades conservative thinking has ignored the globalist challenge. The good news is that the Trump Administration is taking the conflict between democratic sovereignty and global governance seriously.

During his U.N. speech in 2017, President Trump mentioned sovereignty more than 20 times. He began by declaring “In foreign affairs we are renewing the principle of sovereignty”. He stated, “Our success depends upon a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security, prosperity, and peace.”

The following year, President Trump told the United Nations:

[S]overeign and independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom has ever survived and democracy has ever endured . . . so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all . . . We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.

So of course the globalists – aka the Left, the Progressives, the Communists, the Democratic Party, the EU, the UN, and namely Merkel, Putin, Xi Jinping, Corbyn, Pelosi – hate him. Hate him. The savior of freedom.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Brussels, declared “our mission is to reassert sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and exert their sovereignty as well.” The speech was called, “Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order.”

Months later, Pompeo told the Claremont Institute:

Countries all over the world are rediscovering their national identities, and we are supporting them. We’re asking them to do what’s best for their people as well. The wave of electoral surprises has swept from Britain to the United States and all the way to Brazil.

Today, we are witnessing the awakening of a national conservatism that might have been dormant, but has always been with us. …

The old conservative formula, that essentially ignored the transnational progressive challenge externally—and the identity politics-multiculturalist challenge internally—is not adequate to face the contemporary threats from global progressive left-liberalism.

National conservatism (in our country, we could call it Americanism) is needed to frame the two core issues of our time: the external challenge from globalism that I have examined, and the closely related internal challenge from identity-politics, multiculturalism, intersectionality, political correctness, social justice, woke-ism, whatever you want to call it—that the Claremont Institute and several speakers at the National Conservatism Conference have identified as the major adversary facing our nation today.

On both fronts, externally and internally, we are now involved in a conflict that will determine, not simply the direction of politics, but the existence of the democratic nation-state in America, Britain, the West, and throughout the world.

Older Posts »