November 22, 2015
Translated for Fort Russ by Soviet Bear
The surprise and the pyramid of powers
I was surprised. But not with the fact that the Ukrainians blacked out of Crimea by blowing up power lines. I was surprised with two things: why haven’t they done it before, and why it caused a storm of indignation in Russia. In search of a rational explanation, I tried to put this single episode in a more General coordinate system. And here are the global conclusions I came to.
In the world there is one main power, a few minor powers, and many passive objects in someone else’s game — with microscopic local interests. They are called “sovereign states” and for the most part represented they are in the UN. But today such formal “sovereignty” is something like a bad joke. Sovereignty is a measure of power. No power = no sovereignty. According to American political scientist S. Krasner: “Sovereignty is organized hypocrisy”. Exactly!
Power is distributed hierarchically in the world
At the top of the pyramid of powers is the United States. Right underneath them are influential, sometimes obstinate, but always loyal vassals — the European Union, Japan, Turkey, and some sort of proxies in the Islamic world — Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan.
The next in the scale of power are those countries who are able to effectively compete in some fields with the United States, they belong to the “second world” (not the first, but not the third): this is the BRICS countries and others like them. Brazil (collectively, Latin America), Russia, India, China and South Africa (collectively, TRANS-Saharan Africa in General). Potentially this may also include some of the Islamic powers, seeking to be independent from the USA as far as possible.
All the rest are irrelevant and just get underfoot, adjoining every time to someone who is stronger in each particular local case. They are only excuses for sorting things out between the powers of the first and second levels, a kind of “Gastarbeitern” of world politics.
USA: the structure of power of the first order
No to what is really important. The structure of the first power (USA) is: the highest expression of a certain ideological formula — liberalism (globalism or the establishment of a global liberal democracy as the ultimate goal), as well as two means to achieve the ultimate goal — the victory of liberalism on a global scale —
1 By peaceful trade
2 By military force
“Merchants” (the doves) in the United States government believe that in favor of liberalism you can persuade others with arguments and seductive proposals, and the “Warriors” (the hawks), are convinced that the shortest way to it is the establishment of absolute American military and geopolitical hegemony on a global scale (because the USA is the Bastion of liberalism, so the more United States – the more liberalism, the stronger US – the stronger and deeper is liberalism). There is a deep consensus between the “Merchants” and the “Warriors”: they both move towards the same common goal, both simultaneously advocates of one world government and American patriots; all the difference is only in the choice of means to achieve a common goal. They argue with each other, but the debate over when the power of the second order appears on the horizon.
They all act collectively: the most important thing brings them together, especially in the face of the enemy and competitor. All the contradictions here are purely tactical in nature. CFR and neocons, pacifists and militarists USA are strategically and essentially one single entity. All of them are first and foremost liberals, and therefore, share a liberal ideology, which today can be defined as “American ideology”.
If we understand this, we will understand almost everything about how the modern world works.
Let’s talk about secondary powers now. To this category belongs modern Russia.
Its structure directly depends on the structure of the first power (USA) and, in General, similar (with difference of proportions) to the structure of all the other secondary powers. In this structure there are also two symmetrical pole — “trade” (peace) and “military” (war). They constitute the core of the bipolar system of governance. While the secondary power is not direct vassal of the USA and have not turned into third-rate power (that is a small size country), it has a relative sovereignty not absolute (like USA) but not phony (default by Krasner), like a small country.
Relative sovereignty consists of two poles – peace and power, which are, however, qualitatively different. The peace wing – “merchants” is presented by the ideological liberals (acting as agents of the hegemony, in the sense of A. Gramsci, and global liberalism), and the security forces — “Caesarists” (also in the sense of A. Gramsci), that is, pragmatically oriented bureaucrats, interested only in maintaining power. If the liberals are not against changing the balance of relations with the United States, gradually giving up Russia’s sovereignty (on decent terms) to the primary power (globalization), the Caesarists would refuse liberalism (which for them has no significance) in favour of the sovereignty, because in direct American hegemony, the power of national bureaucracies will be either significantly restricted, or transferred into the hands of external managers (as happened in Russia in the 90s).
However, both the liberals and the Caesarists in the secondary power always have a vital interest in maintaining the status quo. They are satisfied with it, as it is now, and not happy with how it will be then (no matter how). So both poles are interested in all remaining unchanged. This leads to a sustainable and stable enantiodromia, i.e. to move simultaneously in two opposite directions: the military stand for peace (not war, which would be logical), and liberals for sovereignty (and not globalization that follows from the ideology of liberalism). The military doesn’t want to fight, and the liberals want to restrain the globalization. So there is an enantiomerical compromise. Here are all kinds of contradictory statements: Crimea is ours, Donbass — theirs; we are not at war with Ukraine, we trade with Ukraine, etc. It’s not just a cover up for the expansion with a smoke attack of peaceful cynical diplomacy, this is the way of thinking of enantiomerical ruling elite.
Enantiodromia ends where one of the trends clearly begin to dominate. When the Caesarists realize that U.S. hegemony and liberalism as such will inevitably lead to de-sovereignization of Russia, and it does not depend on who prevails in the United States — the hawks or the doves, they (Caesarists) are shifting into the zone of ideological non-liberalism (anti-liberalism) and preparing for war. For the real military war. Because they know that sooner or later it will be imposed on them if they will insist on sovereignty.
When the liberals understand the same thing, they cross the border and offer to sacrifice sovereignty for peace.
Outside of enantiodromia bureaucrats become (anti-liberal and anti-American) patriots, ideological patriots (Russia above all), and liberal supporters of the regime and its elite become opponents of the regime and an implacable opposition (there should be no Russia at all). Liberals in irreconcilable opposition represent a fifth column, while the liberals in the government — sixth column. Symmetrically, a distinction between security officials and bureaucrats (within the elite) and independent ideological core of patriotism (great power nationalists, supporters of the Orthodox Empire, traditionalists, conservatives and conservative revolutionaries, Eurasianists and followers of the 4PT).
But modern Russia — as almost all modern powers of the second level is dominated by enantiodromia. This is an alliance of military men for peace with the liberals for sovereignty. They mimic the structure of the first power, but this imitation is based on one fundamental mistake: American elites are ideologically unanimous, aspiring toward a common goal and argue about tactics — tools, processes, timing, place and time of carrying out of an operation, the expediency, the formulae of calculation of the balance of interests, etc., and enantiodromia elites are self-contradictory — the liberals are in one party, national bureaucrats (Caesarists) in the opposite. Doves and hawks in the U.S. — two horses, harnessed from one side of the chariot, the liberals and bureaucrats in Russia — from different sides. This is the enantiodromia.
Enantiodromia of second-level powers is in the conceptual stupor, however it is also in a hurry to get rid of those who pose a threat – the fifth column, ultra-liberal opposition who are directly challenging our sovereignty, and committed patriots who insist on a non-liberal ideology and the inevitability (sooner or later, but we have to prepare ourselves already now) of a direct clash with the United States. So outside of the mainstream are those, and others. The fifth column, and consistent patriots (military for war) are banned. The primary discourse in the society is completely controlled by enantiodromians who are looking more and more like schizophrenics.
If we understand this, we will understand not “almost everything” in the modern world, but everything. Indeed, the same scheme mutatis mutandis — works and all the other countries of the second level of power, and even third-rate countries, which is in a field of intense controversy between wealthy and geopolitically ambitious countries.
Crimea without electricity: explanation
These General formulas explain to us the reason for our surprise. When we reunited with Crimea in response to the Maidan, we were the only ones recognized legality of this reunion and nobody else. And it absolutely makes sense that Kiev does not just disapprove, but starts a direct “Reconquista” if it can, and if the Kiev is unable to do so, it will try to strangle the separated territories in any other available way. From the point of view of consistent patriots in Russia, it is very clear and it was clear from the beginning. The Americans and their European vassals pushed the crowd in Kiev to overthrow the compromising (enantiodromic) Yanukovych, who was both yours and ours, and not yours, and not ours (until he got confused himself). The goal was to bring in a third-level country, with close-to-zero sovereignty, a direct Pro-American liberal elite. It happened. This dealt a blow to Russian sovereignty, and there despite enantiodromia (this time Russian) consensus (albeit relative) of traders and security forces responded with the reunification with Crimea. Not all sixth column unconditionally accepted the Crimea reunion, but they had nothing to do: who was categorically against it, can just move into fifth column.
But the joy of the patriots was premature: on the Crimea and all stalled, and in respect of Donbass won again enantiodromia — the military for peace together with the liberals for sovereignty began to write the Minsk agreement. The slogan was: if only there was no war. Trade negotiations with Kiev continued: no one is fighting. Yes, war is peace. All right. A mountain of corpses, an accident, an internal affair of a third-rate country. Purges began among the patriots, who thought that the bureaucracy, Caesarists and security forces have shifted in their direction, in the direction of Novorossiya, anti-liberal ideology and preparation for a decisive war. There it was. Enantiodromia kept its power firmly and was not going to give it up. Not now.
But in Kiev the situation was no better. Overthrowing one enantiodromist, a crowd of third-rate power, brought to power another enantiodromist. And this, in new conditions, began to waver — neither war nor peace, rushing from the fight with the rebels of Donbass to Minsk agreements and discussions of gas prices. In this situation, two enantiodromias with participation of bipolar American elite (always promoting solely in their interests in any situation no matter by trade or war) Ukraine supplied electricity seceded Crimea with electricity.
Supplied up to a certain point, then stopped. A little more war, a little less trade. Tomorrow may be again a little more commerce, a little less of the “Right Sector”, and so in period.
In Russia it is structurally the same, but the scale power is different: the difference between relative and fictitious sovereignty is still very significant. It is partially neutralized by, however, the fact that behind the country’s virtually no sovereignty looms the shadow of the country with absolute sovereignty (USA). And here is the important lesson: how Poroshenko negotiates with Russia, the same way Moscow agrees with Washington. Imbalance of powers explains how negotiations are going: strong can always break any agreements in their interests — without consequences (if there is nobody who is stronger). Weak, following the lead of a strong (trade, doves, if only there was no war), always depend on him more and more. And if it comes to a critical point, then it will be too late to start the war at some point, Moscow could do with Kiev whatever it wants by using the carrot and the stick tactic. But Washington can do the same with Moscow.
The liberals in Washington count on this in relations with Russia — they are willing to postpone war, so the sixth column in Moscow has time strengthen its position, to incorporate liberalism deeper in the elites and even masses, hoping that thus decomposed secondary power will fall into their hands by itself. The American strategists (for example, Steve Mann) understand that liberalism, historically, strengthens democracy and by contrast, corrupts and undermines undemocratic regimes.
But this game lasts only as long as the sixth column stays in power together with peace guaranteed to it (the peace in exchange for liberalism) continues to weaken Russia. If ideological patriots (and not just the bureaucrats) are using the respite, then the initiative goes to Washington hawks. Not against doves and traders as it may seem, but with their blessing. After all, they both have one goal.
Washington calls Kiev, and electric transmission towers leading to Crimea get blown up. From Moscow it may be followed only by enantiomerical answer: surprise or indignation. After all war is peace. Let’s not forget.
Thus, we not only eliminated the subject of our surprise, but learned a good lesson from this minor episode of the great war of continents.