What is the bigger story? The West Against the Rest or The West Against Itself?
The Illiberal Quartet of Xi, Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan is in the line of fire of haughty homilies about Western “values.”
Illiberalism is arrogantly and provocatively depicted in the West repeatedly as a Tartar Invasion 2.0. But closer to home Illiberalism is responsible for the social, civil war in the U.S. as Trump’s America has long ago forgotten what the European Enlightenment was all about.
The Western view is a maelstrom of a Judaeo-Greco-Roman, pseudo-philosophy steeped in Hegel, Toynbee, Spengler and obscure biblical references decrying an Asian attack on the “enlightened” West’s mission civilisatrice.
The maelstrom stunts critical thinking to evaluate Xi’s Confucianism, Putin’s Eurasianism, Rouhani’s realpolitik and “non-Westoxified” Shi’ite Islam, as well as Erdogan’s quest to guide the global Muslim Brotherhood.
Instead the West give us phony “analyses” of how NATO should be praised for not allowing Libya to become a Syria, which it indeed has.
Meanwhile a golden rule prevails about one Asian power: never criticize the House of Saud, which happens to be the ultimate manifestation of Illiberalism. They get a free pass because after all they are “our bastards.”
What the illiberal-bashing frenzy does accomplish is to reduce what should be a crucial debate about a fearful West Against the Rest, to the more pressing issue of The West Against Itself. This intra-West battle is being in manifested in several ways: Viktor Orban in Hungary, eurosceptic coalitions in Austria and Italy, the advance of the ultra right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and the Sweden Democrats. In short it’s The Revenge of the European Deplorables.
Bannon’s ‘Paradise’ Regained
Into this European fray steps Steve Bannon, the master strategist who elected Donald Trump and is now taking the continent by storm. He is about to launch his own think tank, The Movement, in Brussels, to foment no less than a right-wing populist revolution.
It comes replete with Bannon spooking assorted EU lands by paraphrasing Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “I prefer to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
Bannon’s growing influence in Europe has reached the Venice Biennale, where director Errol Morris presented a documentary on Bannon, American Dharma, based on 18 hours of interviews with Trump’s Svengali himself.
Bannon held court two weeks ago in Rome supported by Mischaël Modrikamen, the president of the Popular Party in Belgium, who is slated to lead The Movement. In Rome Bannon again met Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini – whom he had previously advised “for hours” to finally break a political coalition with fading star Silvio “Bunga Bunga” Berlusconi. Salvini and Berlusconi though are now horse-trading again.
Bannon has correctly identified Italy as the vortex of post-politics, spearheading the crusade to defeat the EU. The game-changer should be the May 2019 European Parliament elections, which Bannon reads as a certified victory for Right populism and nationalist movements.
In this do-or-die battle between populism and the Davos Party, Bannon wants to play The Undertaker against a puny George Soros.
Bannon is even seducing cynics in France by designating self-described “Jupiter” Emmanuel Macron, now in public opinion free fall, as public enemy number one. A faded U.S. newsweekly declared Macron to be The Last Man Standing between “European values” and, well, fascism. Bannon is more realistic: Macron is “a Rothschild banker who never made money – the definition of a loser…He imagines himself to be a new Napoleon.”
Bannon is connecting across Europe because he has identified how the West peddles “socialism for the very rich and the very poor” and “a brutal form of Darwinian capitalism for everybody else.” Quite a few Europeans easily grasp his simplistic concept of Right populism, according to which citizens must be able to get jobs, something impossible when illegal immigration is used as a scam to depress workers’ salaries.
The political strategy underlining The Movement is to unite all European nationalist vectors – a currently fragmented mess featuring sovereignists, neoliberals, radicalized nationalists, racists, conservatives and extremists on a quest for respectability.
To his credit, Bannon viscerally understood how the EU is a vast, de facto “un-sovereignty” space held hostage to economic austerity. The EU bureaucracy can easily be construed as Illiberalism Central: It was never a democracy.
There’s no question Bannon impressed on Salvini the need to keep hammering over and over again how the Germany-France leadership of the EU is anti-democratic. But there’s a huge problem: The Movement, and the Right populism galaxy, center almost exclusively on the role of illegal migrants – leading non-ideological cynics to suspect this might be little else than State xenophobia posing as a revolt of the masses.
Meanwhile, in Plato’s Cave…
Belgian political theorist Chantal Mouffe, teaching at the University of Westminster and a darling of the multicultural café society, could easily be depicted as the anti-Bannon. She does identify the “crisis of neoliberal hegemony” and is capable of outlining how post-politics is all about Right and Left wallowing together in a conceptual swamp.
The political impasse of the whole West once again revolves around TINA: There Is No Alternative, in this case to neoliberal globalization. The Goddess of the Market is Athena and Venus rolled into one. The question is how to organize a politically strong reaction against the all-out marketization of life.
Mouffe at least understands that just demonizing Right populism as irrational – while despising the “deplorables” – is not good enough. Yet she places too much hope in the fuzzy political strategy of Podemos in Spain, La France Insoumise in France, or Bernie Sanders in the U.S. Arguably the only progressive politician in Europe who has a clear shot at government is Jeremy Corbyn – who’s consuming all his energy fighting a nasty demonization campaign.
Sanders has just launched a manifesto calling for a Progressive International – capable of outlining a New Deal 2.0 and a new Bretton Woods.
For his part, Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister and co-founder of the DiEM25 democratic movement, laments the triumph of a Nationalist International – at least stressing that they “sprang out of the cesspool of financialized capitalism”.
Yet he resorts to the same old players when it comes to pushing for a Progressive International: Sanders, Corbyn and his own DiEM25.
Mouffe’s conceptual solution is to bet on what she describes as Left populism, which can be construed as anything from “democratic socialism” to “participatory democracy”, depending “on the different national context.”
This implies that populism – relentlessly demonized by the neoliberal elites – is far from a toxic perversion of democracy, and can be authentically progressive.
Slavoj Zizek, in The Courage of Hopelessness, couldn’t agree more, when he stresses that when the masses “not convinced by ‘rational’ capitalist discourse” prefer a “populist anti-elitist stance,”this has nothing to do with “lower-class primitivism”.
In fact Noam Chomsky, way back in 1991, in Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies, had brilliantly shown how Western “democracy” really works: “It is only when the threat of popular participation is overcome that democratic forms can be safely contemplated.”
“So what does Europe want?” Zizek asks. He holds the merit of identifying the “principal contradiction” of what he qualifies as “The New World Order” (actually we’re still under the slow burn of the Old Word Disorder). Zizek succinctly depicts the contradiction as “the structural impossibility of finding a global political order that could correspond to the global capitalist economy.”
And that’s why the “change” spectrum is so limited, and for the moment totally captured by Right populism. Nothing substantial can happen without a real socio-economic transformation, a new world-system replacing casino capitalism.
Taking the shadowplay in their Platonic – Russophobic – cave for reality, while mourning “the end of Atlanticism,” the champions of “Western values” prefer to adopt a diversionist tactic.
They keep on summoning fear of “illiberal” Putin and his “malign behavior” undermining the EU, coupled with “debt trap” neo-colonialism inflicted on unsuspecting customers by those devious Chinese.
These elites could not possibly understand they face a plight of their own making, courtesy of free market populism, which happens to be the apex of Western Illiberalism.
Originally published on 2018-09-18
Author: Pepe Escobar
Source: Consortium News
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
During the Albanian Muslim secessionist and separatist war in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, Kosovo Serb civilians were targeted for murder and expulsion. December 14, 2010 marked the 12th year anniversary of the mass murders of six Kosovo Serbs in 1998 by Kosovo Albanian secessionists and separatists. The cold-blooded murder of the six youths was a horrific and shocking mass murder. The killers were Albanian Muslim separatists, suspected members of the KLA, which U.S. special envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard described in 1998 as “without any question, a terrorist group”: “I know a terrorist when I see ...
“To talk of the pure origins…of any ethnic populating the Balkan Peninsula is neither justified nor serious nor scientific”
(E. Ivanova, “’The Ethnic’ Conflict”, Iztok-Iztok, № 2, 1991, p. 64)
This text has set itself the tasks to present historical development and current economic, cultural and political position in the Balkan societies of one specific ethnolinguistic group of the Orthodox religion - the Vlachs, who speaks some form of Romanian language and is called by their neighbors by different names Koutsovlahs, Aromanians, Armanians, Grammostens, Karakachans, Cincars, Arnauts, Uruks, Macedo-Romanians, Chobans, etc. This pastoral ethnolinguistic group is a good example of successful peaceful ...
Will the election of Republican George W. Bush as President usher in changes in foreign policy with regard to Serbia, Yugoslavia, and the Balkans? Will there be a continuation of „humanitarian interventionism“, „military humanism“, „economic globalism“ and „globalization“?
The Bush Administration foreign policy team has rejected the selective humanitarian interventionism of the Bill Clinton/Al Gore Administration, as espoused by Madeleine Albright and James Rubin. John Hulsman, Balkans adviser to Bush, announced that Bush was concerned about „imperial overstretch“ and has rejected a foreign policy that uses the US military in „nation building“. Hulsman has announced a „philosophical sea change“ in Balkans ...
Kosovo is to set up a regular standing army, officially defying everyone, including NATO, although the bloc’s objections are only half-hearted. The alliance would prefer that the illegal entity of Kosovo change its constitution in order to create an army. Just amend it, and then you’re free to have one. This stance looks more like connivance than any real opposition to the move.
Washington’s position is more or less the same. It supports "the gradual, transparent transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into a multiethnic force in line with NATO standards" as long as it complies with the provisions of Kosovo’s constitution, reflecting that “entity’s multiethnic ...
Throughout the past decade, the UN General Assembly Third Committee has adopted the resolution: “Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”Every year the resolution is adopted by an overwhelming majority of UN member states, while the European Union, which, as the battleground of Nazism should have supported the resolution, merely abstains, and their fence-straddling raises disturbing questions about their actual tendencies. Japan’s abstention raises equally disturbing questions. The United States has consistently, and shockingly, opposed this resolution.The resolution is sponsored by the Russian Federation, which ...
Editor: Little did I know when I posted a short news story about the ‘invasion of Hungary’ last evening that the situation in Kosovo has become untenable and a mass exodus was so advanced. ‘Pungentpeppers’ has again pulled many threads together to give us the big picture of what is happening in Eastern Europe. Is the US responsible? An Austrian political leader says so!
Mass exodus from Muslim Kosovo into Europe
~150,000 or more Kosovars on the move since summer
~Hungarian Police catch 1,000 Kosovars daily – a small fraction of the total
~Hungarian mayor calls for fence as Kosovars overwhelm village
~Austrian politician blames ...
The current Ukrainian crisis and, in fact, a civil war which started at the very end of 2013 are grounded in for decades lasting internal interregional antagonisms between the western and the eastern regions of Ukraine. The crisis is fully fueled by the Western governments which armed far-right “European” Kiev regime giving to it a comprehensive political, financial and diplomatic support for the policy of brutal Ukrainization and even Nazification of the whole country but primarily at the expense of the Russian-speaking population at Ukraine’s East. A similar example we experienced in “European” Croatia in the 1990s when the same ...
The weapons are foreign, the fighters are foreign, the agenda is foreign. As Syrian forces fight to wrest control of their country back and restore order within their borders, the myth of the “Syrian civil war” continues on. Undoubtedly there are Syrians who oppose the Syrian government and even Syrians who have taken up arms against the government and in turn, against the Syrian people, but from the beginning (in fact before the beginning) this war has been driven from abroad. Calling it a “civil war” is a misnomer as much as calling those taking up arms “opposition.” It is not ...
It has been 200 years since the birth of Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who unified Germany.
Otto von Bismarck emphasized the importance of good relations with Russia. "The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia", he said. Bismarck was convinced that a European security system without Russia would be impossible and war with Russia would be disastrous. Bismarck had been Prussia's ambassador to the Russian Empire. He was no Russophile, but he had an understanding of the geopolitical situation that almost no politician today possesses.
Let's imagine that Bismarck left a letter to the following rulers of Germany, ...
NATO was always more about offense than defense, about America controlling the policies of Alliance members, increasing their numbers, pressuring them to stress militarism more than they’d chose otherwise – and selling them lots of US weapons.When founded in April 1949, Soviet Russia was a North Atlantic Alliance enemy in name only, ravaged by WW II – needing years after Stalin’s April 1953 death to regain pre-war normality, peace essential to restore it.Washington controls NATO, covering 75% of its budget, calling the shots, installing subservient Alliance officials to serve its agenda.At a time when no US enemies exist, they’re invented ...
The Russian Revolution of 1917 terrified the capitalist world. In my last article based on the first volume of D.F. Fleming’s classic “The Cold War and It’s Origins 1917-1960” I traced the story of the attempt to destroy the world’s first communist revolution. 14 Nations attacked the Soviet Union attempting to carve out territory and crush the revolution. They also launched a massive wave of repression at home. Then they attempted to isolate the USSR while they built up Hitler’s Germany as a bulwark against Communism. This lead to World War 2 and an alliance between the USSR, Britain and ...
The name of the modern land-locked country north of Greece, with its capital at Skopje, has returned to the news. It is officially called FYROM, but embedded in that name is “Macedonia” which is a reflection of the longstanding attempt to take over the modern Greek province of Macedonia as reflected in maps used in many places, including schools.It is clear that this naming implies territorial ambitions which have long been understood (http://macedonia-evidence.org/documentation.html). If that threat to the stability of the southern Balkans is to be stopped permanently, I suggest that the following must happen:1) the country should be named ...
GR Editor’s Note
Moscow is accused of doping as part of a US dirty tricks campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
What is the record of the US with regard to doping?
The main sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, and NBA have allowed unusually relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment. The USADA is the US government agency responsible for the implementation in the United States of the World Anti-Doping Code, Yet, the record suggests that the USDA does not actively intervene in “big money sports” and often turns a blind eye ...
Antonio Zambrano-Montes, a 35-year-old Mexican national, was shot to death by police in Pasco, Washington last Tuesday as he was backing away from officers with his hands up. A video of the shooting clearly corroborates claims by Zambrano-Montes’s family that he was killed “execution-style.”Police claimed that Zambrano-Montes, who had lived in the city for ten years and worked as an orchard picker, may have been “armed with a rock” before he was shot multiple times. Protests erupted over the weekend, with more than a thousand demonstrating in Washington state on Saturday against the killing.The United States has invaded, bombed, and ...
The anti-Russian/anti-Soviet bias in the American media appears to have no limit. You would think that they would have enough self-awareness and enough journalistic integrity -– just enough -– to be concerned about their image. But it keeps on coming, piled higher and deeper.One of the latest cases in point is a review of a new biography of Mikhail Gorbachev in the New York Times Book Review (September 10). The review says that Gorbachev “was no hero to his own people” because he was “the destroyer of their empire”. This is how the New York Times avoids having to say anything positive about life ...
For decades Palestinians have lived on the edge of annihilation, their homeland steadily annexed until just a slither of the original remains. It’s a story that just won’t go away, even for those thousands of miles away, who try to cover their ears and eyes from the shame which has befallen the ruthless oppressor of this now tiny peninsular of land and its battle weary people.In 1975, I worked on a kibbutz called Rosh Hanikra, in Northern Israel. It’s main income was derived from intensive commercial avocado pear production. There were maybe four hundred inhabitants. The social experiment known as ...
The British Labour Party no longer represents the working class. Under UK prime minister Tony Blair, the Labour Party became a vassal of the One Percent. The result has been a rebellion in the ranks and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, a principled Labourite intent on representing the people, a no-no in Western “democracies.”Corbyn is too real for the Labour Party Blairites, who hope to be rewarded with similar nest eggs as Blair for representing the capitalist One Percent. So what is the corrupted Labour Party doing to prevent Corbyn’s election?The answer is that it is denying the vote to ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
"In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…."Today, Christopher Columbus is celebrated as a mythical hero by some – complete with songs, poems, and fictional tales about his great adventure across the Atlantic to explore the majestic land that would eventually be known as the Americas. There are fifty-four communities named after the explorer in the United States, including the District of Columbia. “Hail, Columbia” was the United States’ unofficial national anthem until 1931. A federal holiday, “Columbus Day,” is celebrated every second Monday in October.Despite all of this, historians have begun to tear down the Columbus myth: ...
Statistics from 2014Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
Mass Murders of Serbs in Kosovo Town of Pec in 1998
New Old World Order? The Foreign-Policy of the George W. Bush Administration
Kosovo: An Illegal Entity Annexed and Ruled by NATO is to Create a Regular Army
UN Anti-Nazi Resolution 10 Year Anniversary: Syria, Israel and North Korea Support It, US Adamantly Opposes It
Mass Exodus from Muslim Kosovo into Europe: Did US Play a Role in Creating the Crisis?
What is the Best Solution To the Ukrainian Crisis?
Syria: It’s Not a Civil War and it Never Was
Angela Merkel Ignores Otto Von Bismarck’s Advice Never to Quarrel with Russia
Provoking Moscow: NATO Needs Enemies to Justify Its Existence
The Cold War and Its Origins: History of the Soviet Union (1950-1960)
FYROM Should be Named Paionia as it was 2,500 Years Ago
The Human Rights Disaster in America
Cold War Then, Cold War Now
Crimes Against Humanity and the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Western Democracy is an Endangered Species on its Way to Extinction
Is it an Empire? See the Facts
The Truth about Christopher Columbus
The USA is No. 1 in the World!
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS