To the readers
Since the publication of the first parts of the series “War in Ukraine and Conflict of Civilizations”, some readers have had questions that concentrated over few important subjects. In particular, readers asked:
Why do so many analysts talk about division of the world into macro-regions or pan-regions forming around economically and militarily strong powers, but you insist that macro-regions are being formed around centers of the main world civilizations?
If the world will be ruled by the Supergroup of «civilizations», what role will the other 160 independent members of the UN that cannot be classified as «civilizations», play in the international relations?
What role do you assign to Great Britain and the EU in the new system of international relations? What place will be occupied by Great Britain that for several centuries was the center of the largest empire, played important role in formation of Western civilization and in the beginning of the last century, still had its own so-called at that time, «British Pan-Region»? Will the UK be included in the “Supergroup” of civilizations that will rule the world, or will it remain one of those whom Vladimir Putin calls the “circle of admitted” and become part of one of the macro-regional civilizations, submitting to its center, for example, the US? Or, India? Is there any chance for Great Britain to become the center of its own macro-regional civilization?
Are the political and economic crises in Great Britain, the EU and the US related to their leaders’ mistakes caused by underestimation of the conflict of civilizations and economic and military capabilities of China, Russia and India, and as a result, by counterproductive and futile resistance by the West to the demands by rapidly growing powers-civilizations to change the world order?
Why do you consider Russia as «great civilization» that can claim membership in the «Supergroup»? Why don’t you share the opinion that the leaders in the new multipolar world will be the USA, China, and possibly India and Latin America, but Russia will have to stay out, because it does not respect the sovereignty of other countries, it has small economy and population, corrupt and split into competing clans and elite groups to become one of the leaders of the world?
How can rationalism, as you claim, be considered as state ideology of the ruling elite in modern Russia, if rationalism is the method that was accepted and applied by many thinkers and statesmen, but was not the basis of any particular ideology? Do you agree that «rationalism» in Russia is used as disguise of lack of ideas and of moral inferiority of the current Russian leadership and its elites?…
These questions are important and interesting, and I planned to answer them after I complete the series on the war in Ukraine.
However, the recent events forced me to take a break in the series about the war in Ukraine and respond to the questions posed by my readers.
Through the Looking-Glass. Bonfire politics in Wonderland
The first event was the resignation of Boris Johnson and start of contest for the post of British Prime Minister. The Conservative Party nominee debates struck me, — and not me alone, — by the fact that none of the contenders raised two biggest problems facing the UK and the West.
Nothing was said about the growing confrontation between the West and Russia in Ukraine, where Britain plays one of the central roles. The defeat of the West in Ukraine will be seen by the rest of the world as not just the end of Western dominance in international relations, but as humiliation of the US, EU and the UK, and that will bring enormous losses to the UK trade, economy, finances and political status. What do the contenders think about that possibility? Are they ready to face it? Or, do they make their plans around only one possible outcome of the war: Ukraine’s victory over Russia that show no signs to stop halfway and whose military-industrial complex was working 24×7 since 2014 producing weapons and preparing for the war? Are the contenders ready for direct war with Russia that can become reality within days or weeks after their election?
Nothing was said about the energy crisis that is one of the main catalysts for the economic crisis looming in Europe, that could be the most devastating crisis in its history. None of the candidates for party leadership neither gave any analysis of causes of the energy crisis, nor tried to offer any way to stop it and protect British people and the UK from skyrocketing prices and destroying the economy. Will the British citizens and industries continue to pay for electricity 2-3 times more compared to the US, 4-5 times more compared to China, 8-10 times more compared to India, and to pay for gas 25-30 times more compared to Russia? Can the contenders offer any way to reduce prices and save British industries and living standards?
What are they going to do in the times of huge and constantly growing deficit of energy resources in the world due to over ten years shortfall in investments in oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy production that was imposed on the world by the Western leaders, who concentrated their efforts on green energy… and failed? How is the UK going to cover this shortage driven by rising economies, mostly industries, and growing demand for energy and resources in China, India, Latin America, South East Asia and other booming macro-regions?
The only country that in the last ten years has been constantly increasing its investments in exploration and development of gas, oil and coal deposits and nuclear energy research and production was Russia. Now, Russia is declared “foe” by the West, including the present Conservative government. Russia and China now dominate in nuclear energy research and production. The share of Russia in the world production of energy resources will be growing rapidly in forthcoming 20 years due to expanded reserves and deposits. However, Russia plans to contain export of resources limiting it to export to “friendly” states only. That means that the West will be forced to import from the countries friendly to Russia, and at a higher price. How do the future leaders of the UK intend to deal with these problems, or do they accept as inevitability importing Russian gas and oil from India with 25% mark-up?
There are no answers coming through the Looking Glass…
The second reason for the break in the series on war in Ukraine was the sharp turn of economic crisis in the West into political turmoil that threatens to deprive leaders of Italy, Germany, France and the US.
At the same time, new restructuring of economic system and public administration began in Russia, comparable in depth and consistency to Gorbachev’s “perestroika” in 1980-s, and that could lead to dramatic change in the Russian state and social systems. Unlike Gorbachev’s “perestroika” that was initiated from above by the top of the communist state bureaucracy, new “perestroika” is being pushed from below, from the traditional layers of Russian society, who demanded return of control over resources from oligarchs to the state, strengthening of the state planning, return to traditional moral values and abandoning liberal ideas that have been actively introduced into Russia, or at that time, the Soviet Union, since the 1960s.
Putin and his close circle, facing the war in Ukraine, stopped resisting this pressure and officially started leading this movement, turning it into the political mainstream of modern Russia. What may come out of this second “perestroika”?
Third, “The Spectator” published interview with Henry Kissinger, outstanding in terms of analytical depth and form of presentation, that met rather inadequate reaction, at least in the media, both in the West and in Russia.
In his interview, Henry Kissinger, albeit veiled, answered some of the questions that readers had asked me, and I consider it appropriate not only to present my point of view, but to answer readers’ questions using the interview of the former US Secretary of State and one of the patriarchs of international politics as pretext and in some way, as support of my ideas and position.
So, I begin this article with an analysis of an interview with the former US Secretary of State, who once played an important role in the collapse of the USSR as one of the forms of Russian civilization and played an important role in creating confrontation between Russia and China, ensuring unipolar world and complete US domination that lasted for three decades.
Patriarch’s message, upside down
The new world order is becoming real and makes its requirements for political leadership in leading powers of the world. This appeared to be the problem in many of them. First of all, in the countries of Western democracy that resisted most to changes in the world system of international relations demanded by rapidly gaining strength civilizations of the East and South of Eurasia, the Middle East and Latin America.
These were precisely the problems of Western democracy that Henry Kissinger spoke about in his interview.
99-year-old Henry Kissinger’s interview, published by “The Spectator”, consists of several parts. The first part is devoted to the war in Ukraine and possible outcome of that war. However, I would like to return to the analysis of that part of the interview later, since Kissinger’s position and views on that war become clearer after analyzing his answers to subsequent questions. Thus, the interview of the patriarch of world diplomacy should be analyzed in reverse order, upside down.
So, I propose to begin our analysis with Kissinger’s story about his new book “The Age of AI: And Our human Future” that Kissinger used as pretext to deliver his thoughts about the current state of Western democracy and therefore, Western civilization…
Compare and Feel the Difference
In his interview Kissinger said that the era of Artificial Intelligence does not make politicians smarter and does not stimulate selection of the most intelligent and capable state leaders.
Kissinger said that he couldn’t find in the West a single politician who corresponds to the status of «outstanding» or «great». Kissinger made it clear that he believes that modern leaders do not meet requirements of present time, the time of crises, transitions, conflicts, growing threat of nuclear war, when alignment of forces in the world is fundamentally changing and new system of international relations is being created.
Leaders in such times, according to Kissinger, should be politicians who are able and ready to «shape events … in conditions of great turbulence.» They must «interpret what is happening» and give «a special direction to the development of events.» State leaders must have «strategic idea and meaning», and the goal must be provided with «technical capabilities for the execution of political will.» Kissinger does not see such leaders in modern Western countries.
The leaders of the Western powers, according to Kissinger, lack «long-term thinking and a vivid sense of history.»
The political leaders of the West do not correspond to the level of problems and threats, and this is one of the main conclusions to be drawn from the interview. In fact, Kissinger spoke, insisted and called for a change of political leadership in the leading countries of Western democracy.
Main threats to Western civilization
Kissinger believes that great leaders must “understand their society and believe in it. But they must also be able to rise above it, to guide society from the state it is in to one it has never been.”
Kissinger does not know and does not see a single state leader of Western civilization who thinks strategically, has vision of the future, believes in his ideas and builds state policy in such a way that this future could be created, according to Kissinger, on two main political principles, or values: «for the good in the world » and«for the stability of the world «.
States and societies whose leaders are deprived of vision, faith in their idea and idea itself, awareness of strategic goals and perspectives, understanding of the future, according to Kissinger, pose «huge threat» to the West itself, because in society and state built on the principles of Western democracy, devoid of the image of the future as an idea, «any demagogue … can use people’s indignation, their irritation caused by the circumstances that have arisen», not for the benefit of people and progress for the better, not to resolve contradictions within society and international community, but “to achieve personal disproportionate influence«.
Underwater part of the Western «iceberg»
Kissinger touches on extremely important issues, and he does it in the style of his favorite writer Hemingway: only small part is visible on the surface, rest is hidden like the underwater part of an iceberg. However, it is the underwater part that readers have to think out, that is the most important.
Ideological cliches and fetishisms are being used by politicians for personal political purposes in the UK and the USA, where the ideas of developing interactions and relationships between people, social groups, public and business structures, for example, relational thinking, as well as the ideas of «social sustainability» and ability of society and business to create and develop social capital, to maintain interethnic harmony, promote community cohesion and family harmony, social integration, — all what is necessary to minimize conflicts and ensure well-being of people, society, states, — have received incomparably greater development than in most other countries, including Russia, China and India.
And yet, American, British and European politicians have hardly accepted these ideas, do not notice them and pursue policy that dismisses «social sustainability», relational thinking, but promote ideas of “climate” and “environmental sustainability”, scratching and narrowing them down to “green energy” agenda, thereby destroying the energy foundations of their own economies and social systems.
Unlike current political leaders, Kissinger spoke of importance to preserve the continuity of the moral values of Western democracy, including principles and values in foreign policy: «for the good in the world » and»for the stability of the world «.
In Western civilization, ideas about preservation of moral values, their transmission, including in politics, from one generation to another are being actively and persistently developed creating basis for social sustainability, for stability of Western states and civilization as a whole that can be preserved and can develop only on the basis of traditional values.
That is the Law of Conservation of Civilizations:
Change in moral values and moral laws of society leads to change in code of civilization that in turn leads to death of civilization, absorption it by others civilizations or to transformation of civilization and birth of new on its basis.
This has happened to all civilizations.
Russian civilization was born in the vastness of Eastern Europe, and it was based on the code of moral values and moral laws of rural territorial communities of dozens of Slavic tribes scattered over an area of over a million of square kilometers. These values have largely survived through the millennia to this day.
The moral values of the ancient Russian village communities were close to the moral laws of early Christianity, enshrined in the Orthodox Church. That is why Ancient Russia chose Orthodoxy, and Russia still remains faithful to Orthodoxy, because moral principles of people of “deep” Russia remain close to Orthodox values to this day.
Other peoples and nationalities, among them Turkic, Tatars, Uighurs and Siberian tribes and peoples, who were included and merged into Russian civilization that was created from the very beginning not as a single nation, but as a merger and integration of many Eastern Slavic tribes, accepted moral principles and laws of relationships that had been created by the Eastern Slavic territorial communities that created the Russian people and Russian state, and from X century, also by Orthodox Christianity.
The peoples that became part of Russia had different traditions, professed different religions. However, over the centuries, most of them were part of the Great Horde, the largest inland empire in the history of mankind, uniting population with traditions and rules of conduct and administration, including religious tolerance.
The most powerful nations that merged into Russia professed Islam, Buddhism and other world religions that have the same basic moral principle with Christianity and Judaism, — the Golden Rule: «Treat others as you would like others to treat you” or “Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated”, or “What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself”
However, every time when Russian moral values, traditions and laws of Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Buddhism began to change or erode under the influence of external forces (invasions, ideological influence, including Western ideas of Enlightenment, bourgeois democracy and Marxism, etc.) or internal political and economic crises and natural disasters, Russian civilization used to undergo changes and transformations, some of them dangerous that threatened the existence of Russian civilization.
However, the stability of communal morality and the Orthodox faith and traditions preserved Russian civilization and returned it to the main path of its development. Such a return to the traditional values of Russian civilization is taking place in Russia now.
Democracy’s biggest challenge
The same happened to European civilization. When the pagan laws of morality and relations between people and tribes began to be replaced by the moral laws and values of Christianity, Western European civilization began to take shape. The transformation of the moral values of early Christianity into Catholic moral values, and then into Protestant confessions values and rules of relationships, led to the transformation of Western European civilization, including its transition to the stage of the Renaissance, Enlightenment and capitalism, with its initiative, competition, rivalry, and birth of Western democracy that laid foundation of modern Western civilization. The rejection of these values and «social sustainability» will inevitably lead to further transformation and change in the code of Western civilization.
Modern politicians, carried away by liberal values, sacrificing traditional moral laws and moral values to new liberalism, undermine the moral foundation of Western civilization, disintegrate society, intensify the process of its fragmentation, division into small groups, factions, movements and currents, each with its own political goals, morality and values, often opposing each other and conflicting.
This fragmentation of society and the state contributes to the growth of conflicts in society and politics, breaks civilization and deprives it of stability and efficiency. That results in lack of ability to concentrate efforts on the main goals, primarily on preventing conflicts, ensuring stability in the world, that Kissinger spoke of as necessity.
It was precisely the growing factionalism and conflicting as basis for political activity that now bring politicians to the pinnacle of power, among whom Kissinger could not find a single one who could be called an «outstanding» statesman and politician.
Hence the inability of the West to find basis for compromises in relations with other civilizations, primarily with China and Russia, in creating new world order.
Heroes of the past vs heroes of our time
The inability of the current state leaders of the countries of Western democracy to solve problems facing the world, to resolve escalating contradictions and find ways out of conflicts is shown by Kissinger through comparison of current leaders with state leaders of the twentieth century.
Of the leaders of the last century, Kissinger selected Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer, Richard Nixon, and it is about these politicians that he talks in his interview, although in the book he wrote also about others: Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew, Margaret Thatcher.
The choice of leaders of the 20th century for comparison with current leaders is not accidental. Kissinger not only worked and communicated with all those leaders, he knew them intimately enough to understand their character, ideas, views and evaluate them as state leaders. All of them were leaders of the leading Western democracies. Each of them played prominent role in transition of their countries and the whole world from the system of world order that existed before World War II, through the world war, and then the cold war to the current system of international relations that their successors now have to change and rebuild…
(To be continued)