China, Outer Space and the Arctic’s melting point

As a cold, dark, dangerous place, the Arctic is often compared to Outer Space. It is a remote, barren land, mostly unknown, and cannot even be reliably penetrated without the use of advanced technology. Funnily enough, the US State Department has a single lawyer dedicated to legal issues concerning both areas. We have discussed previously in this blog the liquid quality of both the Far North and Outer Space: a medium for exchange and interaction, more than colonization and competition.

This intimate relationship between both becomes even more apparent when realizing that any advances made in the Arctic depend on satellites: there is no Arctic if there is no Outer Space. Communications with the rest of the world, subsistence activities, reliable navigation, weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and environmental protection all require space-based technology, and this especially true in the Poles.

As of now, both the Arctic and Space are militarized but not weaponized areas. This means that there are military forces deployed there, but no weaponry is currently deployed there to threaten other powers. In the popular imagination, this calls back to the Cold War era, with images of radar dishes and nuclear warheads guaranteeing missile-based deterrence. In fact, the militarization of the region goes back a little bit further in time. In one of the few historical instances of US territorial invasion, a small Japanese contingent occupied the Aleutians in Alaska for about a year in 1943.

The Battle for the Aleutians was simultaneous to the more famous Battle of Guadalcanal, leading to the first being somewhat overshadowed by the latter. Nonetheless, it featured extremely ferocious fighting, harsh conditions and the only recorded banzai charge in American soil, heroically led, sword in hand, by Colonel Yasuyo Yamasaki. The Aleutians’ strategic value was due to their ability to control Pacific routes, something US General Billy Mitchell had already predicted in 1935: “I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world.” The Soviets did not participate in any way in the battle, their attention being mostly focused on the Battle of Stalingrad, which was happening also at the same time.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, and probably due to the region’s hostility, the Arctic was conducive to a relative defrosting of Soviet-Western relations during the Cold War (pun absolutely intended). During one of the earliest cooperation efforts by both powers, in 1973, the US and the USSR, along with Norway, Denmark, and Canada, joined forces through the Polar Bear Treaty, which protected said animals from being indiscriminately hunted from aircraft. This cooperation came only a year after the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the 1972 Interim Agreement on Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, both significant diplomatic inroads designed to limit nuclear proliferation. Successive agreements have been signed on this matter, with President Obama signing the third them with Vladimir Putin in 2010.

These small steps in cooperation were taken further in 1982, when the US and the USSR showed a united front in the negotiation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, addressing some territorial and environmental issues which also affected the Arctic. Collaboration in the Arctic outlasted the disintegration of the USSR, and in 1996 the Arctic Council was created, becoming the main instrument of governance in the polar regions. Nowadays, it is still mostly concerned with scientific endeavors and search and rescue operations, avoiding completely the topic of security. It includes all the countries with sovereignty in the Arctic: the US, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

Russian-American cooperation in the Arctic survived unscathed the lowest points of mutual relations, including the 2014 Crimean Crisis (still ongoing to some extent). And the same happened with Space: until this year, the West still depended on the Russians and their Soyuz rockets to bring astronauts to the International Space Station. Cooperation kept going on steadfastly.

Not even aggressive Russian gas geopolitics have changed this reality. Nord Stream 2 is only another tool of Russian power. The US and its Central-Eastern European allies decry it, while Denmark, Finland, and Sweden welcome it. Seeing how its presence affects most Arctic and Baltic countries, it’s interesting how the project has not affected significantly cooperation efforts in the Polar regions among all involved.

How would the entry of a new player affect this equilibrium? Recently, China started to refer to itself as a “Near Arctic Country”; a generous descriptor, considering its northernmost city is at the latitude of Philadelphia. Just as it has been doing with Outer Space exploration, China has entered the Arctic in full force during the last few years. And by the way, guess who is not allowed to participate in the International Space Station?

The last China polemic is the purchase by mining giant Shandong of a Canadian gold mine in the Nunavut region. The fact has been examined as a possible security risk, especially after the diplomatic tensions between Canada and China related to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, of Huawei, on intellectual-property theft charges. China securing a legal and physical foothold in the Arctic would help it secure its control of gold, hydrocarbon and rare earth minerals in an area of increasing interest, sprinting ahead of its competitors.

Cooperation in the North Pole between major world powers has been steady and solid for decades. Substances, however, tend to modify their physical properties after undergoing a change in their chemical composition. Adding a new element will surely alter the delicate transpolar bonds. What was Trump’s stance on Russia? What is Biden’s stance on China? Is the melting point of the dark northern waves rising or lowering? We’ve said it before: the Arctic is melting fast, and it’s not only about the climate.

Post-election ripples: Trump’s friends and foes accross the Atlantic

The world is holding its breath. The aftermath of the US presidential election has left many questions unanswered. One thing that made it notable was the polarization involved, which was even greater than in the last presidential race. In 2016, very few Americans declared in a poll that political violence could be justified. Four years later, this number has risen to about 30%: a worrying proportion, especially when taking into account the fact that the results have been much more contested this time, and are now clouded in a mist of rumors and explicit accusations of fraud.

This polarization is not exclusive to the mainland American Empire: exclaves from the Mediterranean all the way to the South Pacific are setting up the pieces, ready to move them according to the result. Spain, which started the 21st century as America’s best friend in the Old Continent, has changed a lot, and is immersed in a deep political crisis (or reform, depending on where you sit). The “extreme” right-wing party Vox, of which we have talked in the past here and here, initiated a no confidence vote against the Social Democrat government led by PM Pedro Sánchez. The main issue was its management of the pandemic, although deep political divisions and a lot of Kulturkampf came into play too. If the objective was to remove the Socialists from power, the motion was a resounding failure. Only congressmen of Vox voted in favor, while everybody else, both from Leftist and Rightist factions, voiced their support for the government’s measures, most making a point of distancing themselves from Vox.

It should go without saying that Vox is the American party in Spain, or more precisely, the Trumpist party. The initial contacts between both sides were done through and Steve Bannon and Rafael Bardají. Bardají is, like Bannon, a publicist. He used to belong to the People’s Party (PP), and had strong ties to ex-PM José María Aznar, whose hawkish loyalties to George W. Bush ran uncontested and got Spain deeply entangled in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Aznar and Bardají were founding members of the Friends of Israel initiative. He also belongs since 2019 to the executive board of Expal, one of Spain’s most important weapons manufacturers, and a key provider to Israel’s (and Turkey’s) armed forces.

This means that Vox is also the most pro-Zionist party of Spain, by the way; a fact which explains why it’s not really popular amongst old-school, blue-blooded Fascists. In fact, Vox has good relations with Netanyahu’s Likud party, and has received financing from Iranian opposition forces with alleged ties to Israeli secret services. This is of course in line with Trump’s biggest successes in foreign policy: getting the Arabs and Israel to forget their mutual grievances against Iran, to Obama’s and the EU’s chagrin.

In any case: the no confidence vote promoted by Vox had only one function: to force supposed rightist allies to take a stand. The People’s Party, still the biggest Rightist party in Spain, and which since the 2008 financial crisis has been playing Merkel’s game, viciously repudiated Vox. Ciudadanos (Citizens), which would be the French, center-liberal, jacobin-jupiterien alternative, also sided with the government, next to all its former black beasts: Bolivarian Communists and even Separatists allies. This effectively makes Vox the only opposition party, not only against the Social Democrats, but also to what they represent: the Franco-German, Open Society axis, of which the EU is the most important project.

It should be said that the EU might be Western and Liberal, but it’s not necessarily a pro-US organization. From a trade and geopolitical perspective, it’s one of the main rivals of America, and both powers have shown some antagonism during Trump’s administration. This is one of the key issues of Trump’s support for euroskeptic elements such as Italy’s Salvini, Hungary’s Orbán and Poland’s Kaczynski. It also explains why most European leaders are happy with the prospects of a Biden victory.

The People’s Party and Citizens have shown their true colors. They’ve also stated their allegiance to their masters in Brussels, and their opposition to Trump’s geopolitical projects. If Biden becomes President, they may continue enjoying their survival in Spain’s rightist circles under Pax Americana; if not, they’re done for. Vox put all its eggs in one basket, and now its only option is to follow through on its bet. The next questions are if the basket was the correct one, and who in Europe will do the same.

“Christianity is gay” III: Blue Moon edition

Christianity, with Catholicism being no exception, has repeatedly been accused of being feminized religion. This claims have come both from all across the political spectrum, from Spanish Civil War Anarcho-Communists to Nazi and Nouvelle Droite Spartanists. This revolutionary movements have all seen in the Church an emasculating force, weakening the mind of men and exerting a powerful influence on women. In this contexts, violence against religion and its representatives was seen as more or less justified, and even a necessary purifying act.

But in the face of this hypothetical anti-Catholic (anti-Feminine?) violence, there have also been those willing to put up a fight. A most surprising thing is that the American Catholic Church has emerged as one of the most prone to confrontation. In this sense, it has taken the path of the Polish Catholics who confronted the Prussian state of Bismarck in the 1870s. This was the original edition of Kulturkampf, the cultural (thus memetic) warfare that has been going on and off between the secular state and the shredded remnants of Christendom.

Today Catholics represent the largest religious minority in the United States, mostly due to immigration from Latin American countries. The USA will be one of the main Catholic world powers of the 21st. Certainly, fantasies about an Integralist America espoused by the likes of Adrian Vermeule, or even Rod Dreher and Ross Douthat, are far-fetched. Reality does not work like that, and nominally Catholic immigrants are not necessarily the most loyal upholders of doctrine. A good marker for this is their support for loaded subjects, such as abortion, which is widespread among American Catholics. A particularly notable example of this is Joe Biden, whose claims to devout Catholicity contrast with the policies he aims to implement in case he were elected.

This Catholic tendency to progressive stances contrasts with that of Evangelicals, mostly aligned with Trump, precisely because he is against abortion. In other words: quite paradoxically, immigrant, culturally-Catholic converts to Protestant denominations might be more adherent to the Church’s teaching regarding specific subjects. Given this reality, it is interesting to note that Donald Trump has decided to take an active part in the controversy, siding with anti-abortion activists in repeated occasions. In this sense, he has carved a memetic path to the category of the first “Catholic” president of the United States, even openly attending an anti-abortion rally.

Adding another twist to the screw, it must be said that the most conservative sectors of the US Church, led by Cardinal Raymond Burke, mostly sided with Trump since the beginning. At the same time, Cardinal Burke’s more traditionalist positions have led him to clash with Pope Francis, particularly regarding the dubia he participated in against the Encyclical Amoris Laetitia. Pope Francis, himself a Latin American, has also been portrayed by the media as criticising Trump’s administration on its treatment of immigrants. Steven K. Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and a Catholic, disapproves of the Pope’s positions on ideological matters, accusing His Holiness of being a Liberation Theology-type socialist and being coy about Europe’s Islamisation. This latter subject is particularly important, as it intersects with the role of women in European society and is at the same time the central point driving identitarian and euro-skeptic movements within the EU, both religious and secular.

While Bannon’s attempts to build an Anti-Globalist (thus, Trump-friendly) Coalition in Europe have so far seen little success, the battle is not over. Most recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo picked another quarrel with the Vatican when he demanded a harsher stance towards China and the Communist Party’s role in Bishop nominations. The Pope declined meeting Pompeo so close to an election, to avoid being again pulled into the fray. Meanwhile, the BLM riots have only contributed to increase Trump’s appeal to Latinos, still mostly Catholic, exploiting the chasm between them and African Americans. For the first time in history, Hispanics will surpass blacks as the largest minority share of voters.

This essay would not be complete without mentioning the recent unrest in Poland: precisely after the Law and Justice-aligned Supreme Court ruled abortion unconstitutional. Law and Justice has been the ruling party in Poland since 2015, and its right-wing populist policies have been the main reason behind the country’s enfant terrible reputation in the EU. Like Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, the Catholic country has become the poster boy of what Brussels’ bureaucrats call illiberal democracies, scandalizing globalists worldwide with their reactionary, anti-Open Society antics. Poland is adamant in its intent to take Germany’s role as America’s beachhead in Europe, something neither the Germans nor the Russians are too excited about.

The final movements of this global game will remain hidden for a while, but some signs have become apparent. Banners, signs and graffitti in Polish churches, carried by abortionists who wave coat hangers at priests. Murders and decapitations in France, the Eldest Daughter of the Church, carried out by the masculine messengers of the Religion of Peace.The election of a New American Emperor. Rumors of war, conquest, death and pestilence loom large accross the world in All Hallow’s Eve. Prepare for the Blue Moon.

This article is part of a series. You can find the previous installment here.

The Peloponnesian Paradigm, and why Central Asia matters

The Spartan-Athenian rivalry is a useful memetic framework for the discussion of biopolitics, as we have seen in the past few weeks. The archetypal attitudes towards women and feminity found in both Greek cities are a fantastic tool for exploring deeper questions in regards to contemporary politics. The polarization generated by issues related to sex and race, biological traits as they, demonstrates that the 21st century will be a biopolitical one. This Peloponnesian Paradigm, as we will call it here, can be however applied as a recurrent theme in geopolitics.

Harvard political scientist Graham Allison used it most recently to describe America’s relation to China’s rise, coining the term Thucydides Trap. A reference to Greek historian Thucydides, it describes a tendency to conflict between a standing hegemon and an emerging power. Supposedly, this dynamic of rising and declining powers explains the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), which pitted a well-established Sparta against Athenian burgeoning influence in the Eastern Mediterranean. As an agrarian society, Sparta had an outstanding army; Athens relied instead on building a very advanced navy, which protected its thriving diplomatic and trade relations. People like dichotomies, and the difference between tellurocracies such as Sparta (landed, agrarian, militaristic) and thalassocracies such as Athens (naval, commercial, diplomatic) soon became codified in culture.

The Peloponnesian Paradigm offers enormous memetic potential to understand the world we live in. It is a fine way of reintroducing the Classics into the much degraded current political discourse, too. The comparison, though, is somewhat overused, as it can be applied to almost any situation. For example, if one leaves out the ideological details, Anglo-American intervention in World War Two can be understood as an attempt to tackle competition from both Germany and the USSR: the well known balance-of-power strategy described by Kissinger. As we like to remember here in The Outpost, NATO was designed to keep the Soviets out, the Americans in, and the Germans down. From the Reformation onwards, this policy had been a constant to British approaches to the continent; an outlook inherited by its spiritual successor, the American Empire of the Waves.

By the second half of 1940, Britain was clearly on the defensive. Miraculously successful as it may have been, the evacuation of Dunkirk was still a military disaster for the Allies. The economic blockade imposed on Germany by the Royal Navy was failing, and supply lines across the Atlantic were threatened by the U-boats of the Kriegsmarine. In dire need of ships, Churchill made a deal with the US through which destroyers could be acquired in exchange for British possessions in the Atlantic. Bases in places such as Newfoundland, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad and the Bahamas were passed on to America in one single sweep, while ships leftover from the Great War were given to the Royal Navy. In other words: Winston “best PM ever” Churchill was the man to deliver the final blow to the British Empire, a fact frequently overlooked when judging his historical role. Fortunately for his legacy, History is written by the victors. In any case, the destroyers-for-bases deal signaled a new era in the Anglo-American “special relationship” and ensured the Americans’ future naval supremacy, turning the US into the military and economic powerhouse we all know and love. This was precisely the road map traced by Alfred Thayer Mahan, so it should not be considered in any way a lucky coincidence.

America had been, up to 1945, a fairly provincial country; a nation of “farmers and shopkeepers”, built around the myths of the minutemen, the pioneer, the homesteader and the railroad. Not very different from the Germans, after all: a country for built by and for a free middle class. Perhaps not coincidentally, German is still the most commonly claimed ethnic ancestry in the US, according to Wikipedia: over 50 million people. For all their imperialistic (and land-based) adventures in 20th century Europe, Germans never built a lasting overseas Empire; their colonial possessions in Africa were held only from the 1880s to 1920. Is the geopolitical role of a civilization determined by “national character”, or is said national character what leads it inexorably to a certain role? Did the Germans lack the qualities to succeed in their imperial endeavor? And were Americans always fated to become the British’ successors?

These questions need to be answered before applying the Peloponnesian Paradigm to any modern day system; especially if one intends to predict the future. Historically, the Chinese were not particularly known as a seafaring civilization. Their greatest mariner, Zheng He, was almost forgotten in his homeland until the 1900s; this, despite the fact he almost single-handedly gave form to 15th century South East Asian maritime trade. Building a powerful blue-water navy nowadays still requires a lot of money, time, and zealously guarded knowledge and expertise, much as it did in the Age of Exploration. Currently, the ability to project maritime power abroad is strongly dependent on having aircraft carriers, of which China has only 2 (the US Navy, by contrast has 11). This is a fact the Chinese are compensating by building artificial islands all over the South China Sea, and is also the reason the US Marine Corps is trying to re-adapt to an archipelagic operational environment.

Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army has a Ground Force half a billion men strong, and Xi Jinping has made a centerpiece of his Foreign Policy the One Belt One Road Initiative. Set to be completed in 2049, it is probably the most expensive infrastructure project in History (an estimated 4-8 trillion USD), and intends to finance the construction of railways and roads all across the Eurasian landmass, with a complimentary sea route along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. All of this naturally concerns the US, who as a naval power has to make an extra effort to remain in the New Great Game developing in Central Asia. It also concerns Russia, a quintessential land power, and a referent for all ex-USSR republics. Finally, it concerns Turkey, a former and actual naval power in the Mediterranean, an ambiguous US ally, and one of the cradles of the 19th century pan-Turkist movement known as Turanism.

Is geography destiny? Do countries change in shape in consonance with their character, or is it the other way around? Sparta only won the war against Athens after the Battle of Aegospotami (405 BC), where Lysander sunk the Athenian fleet and left the enemy defenseless and without grain imports. Sparta had to change to overthrow Athens, developing its naval capabilities thanks to new diplomatic ties with Persia. In a way, it embraced the thalassocratic nature of its enemy, learning to defeat him with his own weapons.

The Peloponnesian Paradigm shows powers can change, turning the strategies of their rivals into their own. At the same time it builds its westward railroads, China can attempt to become a naval power and push for world domination. Meanwhile, the US can try to stay entangled deep inland, as it has for the last 20 years in the Middle East, so as to remain relevant in the region. With regards to a country like Turkey, expanding its influence towards Central Asia means gaining strategic depth in a competitive neighborhood. And for Russia, it means recovering access to lost key assets, including vast mineral resources and a strategic cosmodrome at Baikonur (Kazakhstan). Being a strong player in Central Asia is thus crucial to all of the above’s foreing policies. Now you can go and wonder why the Afghanistan affair is still not over, and why trouble keeps coming up constantly in places like Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang.

Ginsburg v. Goebbels and the search for New Sparta

It is impossible to write a misogynist manifesto without a minimal historiographical review, particularly relating to the Ancient world. The author of such a manifesto can count on a very favorable fact for his political project: the aesthetic interest that Sparta and its culture arouse in the general public. Through the simple fact of being a doctrinaire of the New Right, the misogynist will no doubt be familiar with a certain bowdlerized, pop-Spartan aesthetic, as codified by the blockbuster, neocon propaganda movie 300.

Sparta, the dirt-poor, traditionalist, agrarian, landlocked home of laconic warriors and dominating mothers; Athens, the rich, sophisticated, sea-trade hub were philosopher kings come from. Sparta’s grip on modern culture is not new; it has elicited great passions among political theorists since Aristotle, who explicitly mentioned the power held by its women, comparing it wit its rival city. Indeed, the historic rivalry between Athens and Sparta was a favorite topic in the institutional debates of Ancient Rome, which saw itself reenacting Sparta’s role against rival Carthage. Machiavelli too expressed fascination by this contrast; Voltaire, in contrast, poured all his irony into ridiculing Spartan institution; interestingly, both for being feminist and militaristic.

The German National Socialists, heirs to the related Prussian Junker meme,were not immune to the Spartan spell either. In the roles this polis reserved for its men and women, they found inspiration for a new political and educational paradigm. How would have the authors of the Communist Manifesto explained the coming to power of National Socialism in 1933? What conclusions would have they drawn if they had had at their disposal, as a doctrinal document, the speech that Joseph Goebbels gave on March 18, 1933 on the role of the German woman?

In 1900 two million babies were born in Germany. Now the number has fallen to one million. This drastic decline is most evident in the nation’s capital. (…) The government is determined to halt this decline of the family and the resulting impoverishment of our blood. There must be a fundamental change. The liberal attitude toward the family and the child is responsible for Germany’s rapid decline. We today must begin worrying about an aging population. In 1900 there were seven children for each elderly person, today it is only four. If current trends continue, by 1988 the ratio will be 1:1. These statistics say it all. They are the best proof that if Germany continues along its current path, it will end in an abyss with breathtaking speed.

Goebbels visited Greece in 1936, and on that occasion stated that if he returned to Sparta, as if 2,500 years had not passed, it was because in this Greek city he could feel as comfortable as in Germany, naturally thanks to the reforms promoted by the Nazis. When evaluating the Third Reich and analyzing its totalitarian, militaristic and racist inclinations, we must remember its vocation as a renewed Sparta, particularly in regards to the role that women filled in it.

As is well known, the Spartan woman was expected by the State to generate offspring so she could provide the community with new warriors. This is exactly what the Nazi regime expected of German women. How would Goebbels find Germany in 1988, the date he explicitly mentions in his speech? Undoubtedly, his most pessimistic forecasts had been met. This is accentuated if we stretch the period to a more recent date: October 30th, 2018, the day Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her departure from power. Angela Merkel: a laid-off, childless stateswoman: the perfect embodiment of the characteristics Goebbels most despised in a German female.

From an aesthetic viewpoint, Merkel is at the antipodes of Goebbels’ own wife, Magda (1901-1945), decorated as an exemplary mother of the Third Reich. Platonically in love with the Führer, in 1945 and faced with the fall of the Reich, she murdered her six children and then killed herself along her husband. As Spartan women sometimes did, Magda had more than one husband in the course of her life. In 1921 she married Günther Quandt, an industrialist twice her age. Apparently, the businessman was more concerned with his work dealings than with having kids; Magda left him and went on to marry Goebbels, only 4 years her senior and father of the six dead children. Thus, her only surviving son, Harald Quandt, was the product of her first marriage. He survived the war thanks to being old enough to become a Luftwaffe officer and fall prisoner in North Africa, a condition which kept him away from his exemplary warrior-mother. After the war, Quandt would go on to thrive in the American-supervised West Germany economic milieu, inheriting a family fortune that stands to this day.

The demographic situation of Germany is common in most all the western world. As Pax Americana advances, fertility seems to decline everywhere. Is this an exclusive phenomenon of the liberal democratic, industrialized world? Well, seeing how the ex-USSR territories are no better (and in many aspects worse), the obvious answer would be a loud no. Only developing countries, especially those of Muslim persuasion, can be expected to consistently stay above the replacement rate in the next few decades. The question, thus, still stands: what would the writers of the Communist Manifesto say about all of this? Is this the way of Progress? Both the Capitalist and the post-Communist wastelands are conspicuously infertile, and their “liberal attitude towards the family” (to use Goebbels’ expression) is to blame for it, as many are already past the industrial stage.

Following the hints left by Marx and Engels’ pamphlet, we know the enemies of the Capitalist-Communist revolutionaries are none other than the Reactionary and Bourgeois Socialists, of which the Nazis were only but a specific brand. Different attitudes towards womanhood seem to be one of the fault lines separating these progressives from their enemies. As Revolution is the motor of history, it is of obvious interest knowing who is who in this fight if one aims to predict the future. Thus, another question arises: who today carries the torch of the Spartan spirit, and who is siding with the Capitalist-Communist evolution?

As we have seen, Mutti Merkel’s EU lacks any trace of the lacedemonian ethos. Almost no country in Europe has tried to wear the Spartan hat since the Nazi era. The European Fourth Reich is a trading juggernaut; Athenian by virtue of its NATO chains, it has lost its taste for war and tradition. Only some factions within it, like Poland and Hungary’s ruling parties or Italy’s Lega, pose a challenge to this situation. A challenge that, not unexpectedly, has revealed the cracks in the EU’s foundations, and that might lead to its complete irrelevance in the near future.

What about Mother Russia, then? Definitely a land power, depending on raw-material exports and with an oversized and proud military, it seems to fit the Spartan bill to some extent… except it doesn’t. In spite of what PUA sex tourists want you to believe, Eastern European women are not “traditional” or “red-pilled”, and divorce, abortion and female labor were a feature of Soviet life a long time before they were a thing in Europe. Despite much shirtless bear-riding and jihadist-killing, Putin is no Spartan natalist either. He has tried to solve Russia’s demographic crisis through one of the most liberal immigration policies of the world, and his coziness with Germany in all important matters (like energy policy) proves this.

China is a completely different object. The trading giant par excellence, it lacks however anything calling back to Athens in its Capital-Communist personality. It is definitely not a philosophers’ paradise, either. It is not Spartan, either. Decades of family planning through the infamous one-child policy stunted its demographic growth, and an aging population has led the Communist Party of China to recently reverse its anti-natalist laws. The impact of the pandemic is yet unknown, but it can be assumed that it will not lead to a rediscovery of warrior motherhood by the Middle Kingdom’s managerial elite.

Finally, we have Trump’s America and its current redefinition crisis. The president made sex and gender a central point in his 2016 campaign, showing off an impressive record on misogyny and generally taking the side of the pro-lifers. His isolationist tendencies are also a Spartan characteristic, as well as his fondness for verbal abuse of opponents. In 2020 the gender question has been somewhat overshadowed by racial disturbances, but even those are loaded in regards to the question of motherhood, especially when taking into account the dismal disparities in the rate of abortion when sorted by race. Ruth Baden Ginsburg’s opportune death has also contributed to bring the issue back to the front; the passing away of the architect of Roe v. Wade has already provided a lot of cringe reaction videos to fuel Trumpist propaganda.

In general, it can be said that the Overton window has moved considerably to the right in the last four years. We will see what happens in November, but American Spartanists have reasons to feel confident.

Mediatic facts and controlled demolitions from across the Rubicon

Conflict is deeply ingrained in the human mind. Like a cloud of electrically charged particles, it remains potential and shapeless, in an ideal resting state. When it is given ideological meaning, however, it’s as if the particles were suddenly exposed to an electromagnetic field. The latent conflict acquires a memetic nature, and animosity becomes orderly, vectorial. Ideological meaning works as a framework which allows hostility to be interpreted rationally by those who partake in it. It provides a cultural scaffold, a channel for violent impulse to develop and become political. It is through this process that the primal, schmittian distinction between Friend and Enemy is born.

In other words, political conflict cannot be deducted from ideological contradictions and divergences. On the contrary: ideology is induced from conflict, which is ontologically previous to it and which arises from real events, which are physical phenomena. We can observe how the parts in a conflict perform their confrontation, and after identifying the ideological differences found among the parts, we place said differences at the root of the conflict.

This notwithstanding, once a conflict is memetically well defined, the inverted phenomenon can also happen. An occurrence, which by its physical nature is non-disputable, can acquire a memetic load and become a mediatic fact, which is something entirely different. A mediatic fact can be completely counterfactual: in the age of deep fakes and counterfeit news, any story is suspect of having been distorted, misrepresented or plainly invented from scratch. Whatever the case, the mediatic fact becomes such by virtue of its ability to fit into an existing narrative, the previously established memetic framework of the conflict.

The recent blast in Beirut can serve to illustrate the difference between this closely related concepts. On August 4th, a huge explosion devastated the port of the city and the surrounding areas. The death count is by now past 200. Initial reports immediately pointed to a container where ammonium nitrate had been unsafely stored, after it was seized by port authorities six years ago. So far so good. But then, when it’s time to lay blame on someone, interpretations start to diverge according to one’s political stances.  Was it a terrorist attack by Shia group Hezbollah? An intelligence/military operation by Israel, or by somebody else? Perhaps just a horrible accident?

It is important for those involved in a conflict to establish a mediatic fact immediately after an event, so that it’s successfully propagated among potential friends. Violence is a creative force. Integrating every violent occurrence into a wider narrative strengthens intra-group links, fosters cohesion, and breeds identity. The mediatic fact is born from highlighting certain aspects of what happened, downplaying others and, if necessary, bending the factual truth. This is all a fancy way of describing propaganda, as should be obvious: nothing new about fake news, despite the pedantry of network theorists.

So what is going to happen now in Lebanon? Nobody knows for sure. As always in matters of geopolitics, we are dealing with incomplete information. We can’t even be sure the tragedy was intentional, let alone try to guess the motives of any potential culprit. The mediatic fact each actor is constructing, though, can be analyzed to shed some light on what the future could bring.

The explosion comes at a delicate moment in Lebanon. The country is being heavily affected by COVID-19 and deep in a financial crisis which will require a bailout of more than $93 billion. This is a gigantic sum, and the problem is aggravated by the fact that nobody wants to pay it. An important sector of the Lebanese economy is controlled by Hezbollah, which has a formal political representation in the country but is considered a terrorist organization by most of the American Empire. It is estimated that Hezbollah extracts at least $0.5-1 billion every year from Lebanon, while enjoying important clout in the legislative and executive branches; its military wing owns an impressive arsenal of 150,000 precision-guided missiles and is arguably more powerful and experienced than the government’s Lebanese Armed Forces. A lot of Hezbollah’s military effort is spent in supporting Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria, backed by Iran and Russia. Any help delivered to the Lebanese regime would be fueling this system, something the West is reluctant to do.

Interestingly, Hezbollah has not rushed to accuse Israel directly in its formal statements, and has taken a more defensive stance, calling for an investigation of the blast to find out the truth, even going as far as initially ruling out Israeli involvement in the catastrophe. The Lebanese Cabinet, which was under the stranglehold of Hezbollah, resigned en masse in the aftermath of the blast. But instead of seizing the opportunity to exacerbate tensions with Israel and take over, the militants have called for a “national unity government” (preferably under their control, of course). In other words, the mediatic fact for Hezbollah is that the status quo has been altered by a fateful accident, and going back to it is the solution.

Israel has denied any involvement in the affair and offered humanitarian aid through UN channels, as it is still technically at war with Lebanon. While there have been accusations on social media of the Jewish State being behind the explosion, these are unlikely and in any case hard to prove. There is no interest either for Israel in escalating the situation more than it does already: the Israeli Defense Forces continue to clash with Hezbollah in Lebanon’s southern hills, with the last cross-border shelling happening only last month. In summary, the mediatic fact for Israel is that all of this has been a terrible tragedy, and an indicator that it’s time to move on from old policies; if somebody is to be blamed it’s Hezbollah, for storing explosives in populated areas.

This said, the truly remarkable event concerning Israel in these last few days is not the explosion, but the US-brokered agreement between the country and the United Arab Emirates to restore formal diplomatic relations. Again, this is a mediatic fact: the UAE and Israel have been in contact behind the scenes for years, and Israel’s supposed concession of suspending its West Bank occupation is just it acquiescing to postpone something which it can’t do anyway. Making all of it official after the blast is a way of building a united front just in time for possible regime change in Lebanon.

Mediatic reactions haven’t come far behind the mediatic fact of the agreement. Hezbollah condemns the act, calling it a “betrayal of Islam” and criticizing the other Arab regimes which arestanding already in turn awaiting the order” to make peace with the US before the November elections. Turkey’s Erdogan declared “the move against Palestine… can’t be stomached”. For Syria and Iran, the deal means the chasm with the Sunni world is widened. For Turkey, it is another reason to move away from the USA and towards new friends in Europe, Russia and China.

Israel, the US and its Arab allies have waited for this turbulent moment to tease Lebanon with the prospect of a relatively peaceful Levant, set to balance the Turkey-Syria-Iran axis. They don’t need to push for change in Beirut, as the tide is already going on that direction by itself. Once food shortages and disease start kicking in, the Lebanese system is bound to fall apart. If anything, the US, Israel and the Gulf States are interested in seducing Lebanon to fall on the right side if all hell breaks loose. If this process happens in the form of a controlled demolition instead of an explosion, all the better… But you can’t plan for what lies across the Rubicon. There are steppe wolves out the door, and many of them yearn to see the sunset over the Mediterranean’s wine-colored waters.

The worst thing to come out of 2020

If one thing can be said of George Friedman’s book “The Next 100 Years: a forecast for the 21st century”: it is that it’s provocative. It was published in 2009, and summarized the author’s views on what could be expected in the following century. One of the most interesting theses it asserted was the idea that, contrary to some people’s beliefs, the 21st century is to be the American Century, even more so than the 20th. The current big rivals of the US, that is, Russia and China, are expected to crumble in the following decades if Friedman is to be believed, being swiftly devoured by medium powers such as Turkey, Japan, and Poland.

Last July, Andrzej Duda was reelected as President of the Republic of Poland after a close election, “fraught with irregularities” according to scandalized progressives worldwide. Duda belongs to Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – PiS), the right wing party which has been ruling the country since 2015. They represent the most “deplorable” faction in Polish politics: populist, rural, Catholic, hostile to Russia, and staunchly pro-American. Their bitterest rival is the liberal party Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska – PO), which is more EU-aligned and holds ideas completely in tune with the Current Year™ and Open Society Foundation-like projects.

Duda’s victory, if it is followed by the likely Trump victory in November 2020, will mean that the European country stays firmly on the Americans’ side for another five years. According to Friedman, US interest in the region of Central and Eastern Europe is dependent on the circumstances of Eurasian power politics: if China were to collapse, to avoid an unbalanced Russia the US would have to make their influence felt again in Europe. This assumption so far has not been fulfilled. Even in spite of the pandemic, China is still nowhere near crumbling. The alleged Chinese freedom-loving opposition against Xi Jinping does not seem to be any closer to overthrowing the Capitalist-Communist People’s Republic. And accordingly, Poland’s pushes for more American military presence in its soil have so far been to no avail.

In his book, Friedman asserts that a US-backed Poland is bound to grow stronger, leading a coalition of former Soviet satellites in an Eastward push as Russia loses its grip on Eastern Europe. After all, in the 17th century Poland’s dominions reached as far as the Black Sea, and Polish nationalism has not forgotten this fact. The old idea of an Intermarium, a geopolitical project of building a federation stretching from the Baltic to the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. Poland’s relative isolation from naval trade routes makes access to ports outside the Baltic a paramount priority, justifying their reaching out to countries such as Croatia, and clashing with Turkish protagonism in the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Friedman points to this divergence as the origin of the next great European conflict: a US backed Poland confronting an assertive Turkey favored by a declining Germany.

While Friedman’s arguments seemed convincing in 2009, recent developments seem to be pointing towards a different state of affairs. Last June, the Visegrád Group countries (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) held another of their regular consultations with Turkey, listing energy, infrastructure, transport, and tourism as vital areas of cooperation. The project of Via Carpathia, a transnational highway network linking Lithuanian port of Klaipėda to Thessaloniki in Greece, is an example of this effort to build new geopolitical spaces.

Another topic was also discussed in the meeting: Polish support for Turkey’s European aspirations. The European Parliament (EP) is the EU’s first institution, and assigns the number of seats of member states according to their population. It is currently dominated by Germany and France, the two most populous European countries, with 96 and 79 seats respectively. Turkey has a population of 80 million people, just as Germany; it would have an enormous influence in European politics, even more concentrated after the UK’s exit. It is easy to understand, then, why the EP voted to suspend accession talks with its Muslim neighbor in February 2019.

Concerns for insufficient loyalty to the liberal-democratic religion are cited as one of the reasons Turkey does not belong in the EU. Interestingly, the same arguments are used against Eastern European enfants terribles Poland and Hungary, which are nowadays described as “illiberal democracies” by both American and European globalist progressives. The leaders of all three countries have made strong statements and cracked down on organizations linked to the Open Society Foundation, in actions similar to Russia’s suppression of foreign NGOs operating in its territory. They are not alone in this behavior: public figures from Romania, North Macedonia and even Pakistan have also been espousing anti-globalist talking points since Trump’s election in 2016, mimicking the President’s rhetoric against his domestic adversaries. And again, it’s no secret that Trump’s policy has led to friendlier relations with Putin than the ones expected from a Clinton presidency.

In an unrelated(?) chapter on shady occurrences in Eastern Europe, on July 29 thirty-three mercenaries with ties to Russian security firm Wagner were detained in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, accused of trying to destabilize the country for the elections set for August 9th. Belarus has been ruled by Soviet nostalgic Alexander Lukashenko, a.k.a. “Europe’s Last Dictator”, since 1994; the country’s relations to Russia, however, have been progressively deteriorating due to the latter’s push for deeper integration of Belarus in the Russian Federation. Moscow’s official excuse for the affair is that the detained operators were on their way to Istanbul, bound for deployment in Libya; a plausible explanation, as a replay of the 2014 Crimean crisis is risky and unlikely. Ukraine, who sees the mercenaries as criminals because of their role in Crimea, is demanding their extradition. If the event is portrayed as an attempt of disruption by Russia, the narrative could push Lukashenko towards the West’s arms, in spite of all his authoritarian sins. On the other hand, ethnic Poles are a significant minority in Belarus, and their close ties to Poland have been the cause of uneasy relations between both countries, as Warsaw mostly supports the Belarussian opposition.

If the economic crisis caused by the pandemic proves too much for Russia to handle, and conflict sparks up in Belarus, the situation is bound to become complicated quickly. Lukashenko’s antics could very well provoke a cornered Russia into starting a rushed hybrid campaign, in anticipation of Poland doing the same. Still, while it’s unlikely that Warsaw forgets past grievances from Moscow, shared international enemies and common interests might provide an opportunity for unexpected collaboration. Turkey is now arguably on better terms with Russia than with America, although the Nagorno-Karabakh question remains a sore point.

How will the American Empire handle this fragile situation? China isn’t any closer to collapse and internal chaos than it was in 2009, giving little reason for the US to enter new commitments in Eastern Europe. The Middle East and the South China Sea are more deserving of its interest, as long as Russia and China remain strong. The balance is so delicate, a small gust of wind in Belarus, Armenia or Libya could blow up the whole global system. Coronavirus might not be the worse thing to come out of 2020, after all. It’s going to be a Wild American Century. 

The friendzoning of the West

The Gross Domestic Product of the People’s Republic of China was worth 14,342.90 billion USD in 2019, according to official data from the World Bank and projections from Trading Economics: almost the 12% share of the world’s total economy. This makes it the number 1 economic power of the global capitalist world. Such impressive results are not obviously not only due to the adventurousness and ingenuity of its Capitalist entrepreneurs: the country has been carefully and methodically run since 1949 by the Communist Party of China (CPC). With an iron fist, the CPC has been preparing its people for 70 years, leading them out of post-war poverty and devastation. It has acted so that they could catch up to the United States and Western Europe, and in this way join them in fulfilling the Revolution: just as the authors of the Communist Manifesto conceived.

In 1927 China was in the middle of an internal struggle between different factions of the Kuomintang (KMT), the Chinese republican party who had led the overthrowing of the Qing Dinasty in 1911. Chiang Kai-shek, head of the Nationalist-Socialist faction, succeeded in taking over the party against its most Internationalist/Communist wing, and spent much of the following decade fighting his numerous rivals and political opponents. These included warlords such as steppe bandit Zhang Zuolin, favored (and later murdered) by the Japanese; filo-Fascistic KMT Commander Li Zongren, of the Guangxi Clique; and Secretary General of the CPC Mao Zedong. By 1937, Chiang was almost in full control of China, with most of his enemies dead or in exile, and the CPC was divided and in disarray, barely surviving in some small rural pockets. Unfortunately for him, however, the Japanese launched a land invasion in Manchuria and a tight naval blockade. The KMT endured most of the fighting, and quickly saw itself go bankrupt. Meanwhile, the war allowed the CPC enough breathing room to recover and grow strong among the peasantry.

When the Japanese were kicked out of China, at the end of World War Two, the victorious Truman administration tried to make the KMT and the now recovered CPC forget past grievances, make peace and build a unified government. The US hoped to achieve this by threatening to withhold UN humanitarian aid and controlling weapons’ sales, which the KMT needed direly. For geopolitical reasons, neither the USA nor the Soviet Union were interested in a strong government in China, whatever its color; a weak KMT meant favorable trade deals for the Americans, and a safe buffer zone in the USSR’s southern flank full of economic opportunities in Manchuria and Xinjiang. Furthermore, China had managed to secure a place as a permanent member of the UN Security Council: an ideologically divided regime shared by the KMT and the CPC was easier to influence towards one side or the other, and the Cold War was looming in the horizon.

Soviet and American authorities soon realized their plans were backfiring spectacularly when the CPC started scoring victories against KMT-aligned forces, around 1946-1947. They had hoped for an easy to manipulate Republic of China under perpetual threat of the Communists, but Mao had grown too dangerous and uncontrollable. Both powers increased their involvement in the region, trying to force a “two-state solution” with a Southern KMT-China and a Northern CPC-China. Chiang Kai-shek agreed to this plan, but Mao did not, which says a lot about Communist ambitions. By 1950, Stalin had to unleash Kim Il-Sung to start the Korean War, while at the same time denying him military aid; this forced Mao to step in, diverting his attention and preventing him from obliterating the last KMT stronghold of Taiwan. Technically, the Chinese Civil War is still going on partly due to this fact; currently, nonetheless, it’s the Americans who are carrying the weight of Taiwan’s defense. In spite of Taiwan’s resistance, one thing is clear: the communists were from 1949 onwards in control of mainland China, and in the position to start their revolution.

Upon reflection, and in light of the Chinese communists’ epic history of success, reffering to the Russian Revolution of October 1917 as The Communist Revolution is at least disputable. Nonetheless, Mao Zedong’s takeover of 1949 does not fit the bill either; it was only the start of a long and painful development. For a real, Manifesto-approved Communist Revolution, the world had to wait for a few decades. A different leadership from Mao was necessary, and it would come from a foreign-educated professional revolutionary out of rural Sichuan: Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997).

The man who would be later known as “The Architect of Modern China” became involved in Marxist-Leninist circles as a young student in France, where he had been sent to study and work at the age of 15. By 1926, as one of the foremost leaders of Chinese Communism in Europe, he went to Moscow’s Sun Yat-sen University to receive further ideological education, with the intent of applying it in his home country. The school was a Comintern training camp for Chinese revolutionaries; interestingly, he was classmates there with Chiang Ching-kuo, the son of Chiang Kai-shek who would go on to become the President of Taiwan in 1978.

Deng returned to China in 1927, just in time for the KMT purging of its Communist elements and the breakout of the Chinese Civil War, summarized above. He participated in all of its most notorious episodes, including the early military campaigns in Guangxi, Mao’s epic Long March in 1934, and the Hundred Regiments Offensive of 1940 against the Imperial Japanese Army. His military prestige allowed him to rise in politics under the shadow of Chairman Mao. His reformist policies, however, made him an easy target in the cutthroat world of Communist Party bureaucracy. During the Cultural Revolution, Deng suffered a smear campaign from which he only recovered after Mao’s death in 1976, when he became the de facto leader of China. The time had come at last.

In order to fulfill the prophecy Marx and Engels formulated in 1848, the Communist Revolution had to include the capitalists: as the first piece of the dialectic process, they could not be done without. Deng knew this, and managed to embed his ideas into the CPC’s constitution. Deng Xiaping Theory boiled down to the idea that capitalism is the primary stage of communism, and that state socialism and state planning are not by definition communist, and that market mechanisms are class neutral. The consequence of this approach was a pragmatic policy of “seeking truth from facts”; that is, applying only policies that yield results, adapting ideology to them – in jargon, accelerating the process of ideological evolution by subordinating it to material conditions. If the means of production had to be taken over to achieve Communism, the more developed was the Chinese industrial fabric, the better.

This realism needed a conversation partner up to the task, and for such a role no one could be better than Henry Kissinger. Thanks to his so-called Ping-Pong Diplomacy (1971), the US embargo on China was lifted, starting the still ongoing trade relations between America and China – or more specifically, between America and the CPC, which to this day is still in charge of the economy. The agreement opened up China to the rest of the world and successfully drove a wedge between the USSR and the CPC, setting them on different paths and confirming the latter as the true harbingers of Revolution. The USSR would become progressively more ossified, clinging to an ideological dogmatism no one truly believed in anymore. Deng Xiaoping, meanwhile, made visits to Singapore and praised Lee Kuan Yew, paving the way for China to become the “factory of the world” it is today.

So, what has been the West’s role in this story? Well, it’s only necessary to look at the numbers. In the year 2019, the 90 million card-carrying members of the CCP made $400 billion from US capitalists, all under the concept of trade surplus. Marx and Engels, after all, were not mistaken: the cost of implementing Communism was always going to be paid out of the Capitalists’ pocket. Those who finance global revolution are many things, but they are certainly not naive. So rest assured: if Capital is paying for the drinks, it’s because it does not plan to remain in the friend zone for too long.

Age of the Corporate Drone

Capitalism is eternal, will never fall, and will not be replaced by any kind of socialism. Such was the accelerationist message encoded in the Communist Manifesto: a message intuited by Veblen and which was not difficult to decipher for Trotskyist James Burnham (1905-1987). At the core of Burnham’s view of communism was one notion: that the progress of capitalism depended not on the owners of Capital, but on those who controlled its flow.

Burnham saw a similarity in the economic fabric of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Roosevelt’s New Deal USA: the dominant role of huge hierarchical, permanent structures operated by credentialed bureaucrats. From this observation, he described the existence of a managerial class: a technocratic elite of administrators at the top of corporate and government organisms, making most decisions regarding politics, economy and culture. This managerial regime differed greatly from classical entrepeneurial capitalism, and was completely alien to democratic liberalism. Its nature was exploitative and totalitarian: a hive-like community of white-collared bugmen. A world lacking a guiding thread, simplified and run by an depersonalized elite expert in handling the chaos of reality. A portrait of this vision can be found in Adam Curtis’ famous documentaryHypernormalisation”.

Born out of capitalism’s universal voracity, the managers guarantee the most efficient satisfaction of capitalist desires. Their superior status is a function of their role; not the cristallization of any individual right, but the product of their corporate position. All the powers and privileges of possession are bestowed upon them, who nonetheless are not owners of the corporation, but owned by it as organs. There is no Protestant ethic of individual self-discipline and entrepeneurship at play here. As a class, the managers’ power increases with the mass and complexity of the system; their ideal habitat is a hyperconnected world of endless appetites, consumerist hedonism and multivariable change. As any MBA student knows, the more volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, the better opportunities for the manager.

Burnham’s book “The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World” was published in 1941, signaling the author’s turning away from Marxism. It was a turbulent year. The Third Reich and the USSR started it as allies by way of the Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact; a collaborative effort which ended abruptly with Operation Barbarossa and the Wehrmacht’s Eastward push in June 22nd. Two months prior, the Soviets had signed a neutrality agreement with Japan, respected by both countries until 1945, when the defeat of the Empire of the Rising Sun was unavoidable. The net result of these actions, in the geopolitical sense, was the firm establishment of the Soviet State as a tool of the predominantly sea-borne Allies. By solely focusing on their Western flank, the Russians became the land power we all know and love, leaving East Asia for the budding American naval Empire: a prize ripe for the taking. These developments were later enforced through the US’s policy of containment, which sought to isolate the Communist block from the rest of the world in application of Nicholas Spykman’s geopolitical theories.

Burnham himself was critical of containment. He supported what in International Relations is known as rollback, the opposite strategy of promoting regime change which failed in Korea (1950) and Cuba (1961). This attitude was not meant to counter socialism with capitalism, as he considered the latter’s demise a fact. Instead, Burnham believed that the product of capitalist critical acceleration was not collapse and socialist reform, but a next step in the capitalist-communist dialectic: managerialism. And in the coming world of managers, he sought to ensure the USA’s leadership by calling for a World Federation against the rival Eastern block, a position which turned him into the first neocon. This idea served as an inspiration for George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, illuminated by the writer’s own experiences of totalitarianism and propaganda during the Spanish Civil War.

Just like Burnham, Francis Fukuyama famously did not buy into the notion that capitalism was dying and was going to be substituted by socialism. Quite the contrary. In his frequently oversimplified article “The End of History?” (1989), Fukuyama announced the triumph of capitalism. What he proclaimed, though, was nothing else that the materialization of the Marxist utopia of 1848. He made no attempt to hide this fact: “The notion of the end of history. It’s not original. The best known propagator was Karl Marx, who believed that the direction of historical development was a purpose determined by the interaction of material forces, and would come to an end only with the achievement of the communist utopia that would finally resolve all previous contradictions.”

It seems his objective was to try and encourage the Soviet leadership to destroy their own real socialist state, in order to facilitate the progress of communism in the world. In this, he wasn’t asking for any betrayal of Marxist principles. The text had been drafted with a specific occasion in mind: the visit of Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze to the USA.  The arguments that the young State Department official proposed were aimed at helping Moscow communists understand the Communist Manifesto: that is, to continue to trust the doctrine of Marx and get rid of Socialism once and for all.

Birds of prey have no friends: the first anti-Capitalist War

Hitler: one of the few people in Modern History who have ascended to almost purely memetic status. Che Guevara and Mahatma Gandhi come close, but none of them have gone so far in their transfiguration; perhaps because Hitler serves as the contemporary incarnation of Evil. There are already more than 120,000 books and articles that have been written about the character, so any new approach to the topic has to be justified. This is why Cambridge historian Brendan Simms deserves at least some credit for trying to produce a fresh, powerful and consistent interpretation of the dictator in his 2019 book “Hitler: a global biography”. In the Outpost we believe he also succeeded, which is even better.

An award-winning author of other historical works, Simms specializes in analyzing the centuries-old rivalry between England and Germany. The main thesis of his book on Hitler was already advanced in an article in 2014, titled “Against a world of enemies: The impact of the First World War on the development of Hitler’s ideology“. The focus of Simms’ interpretation places the life of the German dictator, and in particular his combat experiences in the First World War, at the root of his political beliefs. Then a 25 year old private infantryman, Hitler first saw action at the First Battle of Ypres, where many fresh recruits perished; the event is still remembered in German historiography as the Kindermord bei Ypern (the Ypres Killing of the Innocent); Hitler’s own regiment sustained 3000 casualties out of its 3600 men.

The future Führer would go on to serve at the Battles of the Somme, Arras and Paeschendaele, being promoted to the rank of Gefreiter (lance corporal) and earning the Iron Cross. Like many others of his generation, Hitler soon came to respect the English enemy whom he was facing in the battlefield; not only for his prowess but for his country’s productive power. The Western Front had been the terrifying testing ground of a new doctrinal concept: la guerre de matériel, “material warfare”, in which the industrial capacity of the contenders was fully devoted to supplying the troops and carrying out massive artillery shellings, leading to the dizzying casualty rates of the War. This element of Anglosaxon superiority was further fixed in Hitler’s mind after the war, when he witnessed the fast economic recovery of the English-speaking world, and the well-being that it provided for its population. Years later, when he became involved in politics, Hitler held on to his admiration for the Anglosphere, now increasingly represented by the blooming USA. In the prison cell where he wrote his seminal book Mein Kampf, he hung a portrait of car manufacturer Henry Ford, which according to him epitomized the American civilization.

Simms tries to convince his readers that the figure of Hitler and the Nazi movement should be put under a new perspective, namely, that Hitler unleashed the Second World War not against Communism nor against the Soviet Union, but against International Capitalism. This Anti-Capitalist streak was primely directed against Great Britain and its ally, the United States, and was rooted in anti-Semitism. For Hitler, Bolshevism itself was nothing more than an instrument of Jewish capital.

Nowadays, the memetic weight of the Holocaust dominates the collective imagination about the Second World War. Nonetheless, it was not seen as the main point of the conflict by contemporary Americans. At Nuremberg, Nazi leaders were indicted primely for conspiring against peace and for waging wars of aggression; the accusations of war crimes and crimes against Humanity came second, and were not given an exclusively anti-Semitic interpretation. The trials were also criticized by jurists for their ex post facto nature: the crimes were only codified as such after their perpetration, with Chief US Prosecutor Robert H. Jackson describing the whole legal process as a “high-grade lynching party”. The centrality of the Holocaust in narratives of the war started growing much later, after Israel’s independence in 1948, high-profile Nazi executions such as Adolf Eichmann’s in 1962, and the proliferation of literature and film about the war.

According to Simms, however, the Holocaust was not “a detail” of the war that Hitler planned. On the contrary: the Jews were the main objective of destruction, being the human element of International Capitalism. Hitler, more than an anti-Communist, was an anti-Semite. In his 1945 Berlin testament, he did not even mention the Soviet Union or Communism; he had carried out the war effort that eventually led to his death with a single objective: opposing “the international statesmen… of Jewish origin or who worked for Jewish interests”. All across his writings he makes frequent references to “International Jewry and its collaborators”. This terms are highly charged, and their use is meant to target a specific type of capitalist: the globalist financial bourgeoisie of moneylenders who do not build nor create, but prey on other’s work. Alchemists performing dark magic with numbers, juggling assets and exchange rates. In a sense, it was a revival of the old medieval taboo on usury, still present in most of the Muslim world.

It is simply a historical truth that Hitler’s army endured most of its hardest fighting on the Eastern Front, but Simms’ framework suggests Hitler’s strategic gaze was set on the West. If Germany was fighting the USSR to obtain its coveted Lebensraum, it was to compensate for a deficit of territories, resources and human strength: in sum, all of the advantages that the “Jewish capitalists” had at their disposal. Globally, Simms’ interpretation of the facts is not really new. Movements on the Fascist side of the spectrum have always rejected financial Capital and the rootless, cosmopolitan culture it engenders, its non-generation of value. The moniker National Socialism is there for a reason. Nazis were an offshoot of German Socialism, a bastard product of Idealist over-theorization and French revolutionary literature. Their model, which glorified the German petty-bourgeois and seeked to transform him into a citizen-at-arms, was always more Spartan than Athenian.

What is interesting, though, is that Hitler’s German Anti-Capitalism only echoed the ideas of many North American capitalists, among them Henry Ford himself. Like many others in the English-speaking world, Ford approved of Hitler’s European policy. He saw in it a force capable of counteracting the parasitic financial power embodied by “Jewish Capitalism”, the true enemy of the industrial civilization which had taken root in the United States. It is a well known fact that, for the war’s duration, Ford had been producing both jeeps for the US Armed Forces and turbines for the Wehrmacht’s V-2 rockets. In June 1940, after France had been already conquered, Henry Ford personally blocked a US government-approved plan to build Rolls-Royce engines under license, for use in British fighter planes. The manufacturing plant of Ford Motor Co. in Germany did not need to be seized by the Third Reich, as it collaborated freely with the war effort after the American and German branches broke contacts, once the US had entered the fray against the Axis. Furthermore, Ford was not alone in this position. General Motors Corp. literally put the German invasion of Poland on wheels. The use of POWs as labor certainly cut costs for American manufacturers operating in conquered Europe, but what is attributed to simple greed might actually have been a principled stance. It turns out corporate America loved the Fascists: IBM, Exxon (then Standard Oil of New Jersey), Gillette, General Electric, Singer, Eastman Kodak… All of them had a German connection.

After the War, and moreso after General Eisenhower’s presidency, the US went on with the civilizational project initiated by Ford and developed by National Socialism: the Autobahn, the Volkswagen and the V-2 bomb became the Interstate Highway System, the Chevrolet, and the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. A certain vision of the future had prevailed, the mission was accomplished and the victors were to enjoy the spoils of victory. The Second World War might have been “America’s Good War”, a conflict based on ideals. What those ideals were, and whether they were that good after all… well, that’s an entirely different story.

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