Return of Empires (Part 1)

"Big Space" against chaos in international relations?

Dmitry Minin 19.03.2013

French expedition recently in Africa, clearly smack neoimperskim, rather neocolonialist spirit led many to think about whether these actions beginning of a new cycle of world politics, which replaces the outgoing unipolarity may not come with all the expected multipolarity, but something something else — a new, or perhaps a well-forgotten old, but in an updated package?

Something that will allow, for example, the United States, "leaving, do not go away," and to continue to implement its global plans in a more complex system of inter-state relations? And then the demand will be, seemingly forever sunk into oblivion imperial projects and vassal of the past.

One of the first on the trend in the beginning of the first mandate of President Barack Obama noticed and identified the famous German philosopher Jurgen Habermas. He noted, for example, that when you return after Bush's influence in Washington "realist" school of international relations is different from the "neo-cons" is not so much on the goals of preserving the global hegemony of the United States, as the choice of means of implementation of these objectives. The desired order of the world of this school is in the best, according to Habermas, the theory of "big space" Carl Schmitt. Last thought "great space" as a sphere of influence of the dominant imperial powers and their "strong ideas". "Innate", wherein the historical achievements of the central power, according to Schmitt, "to assert their superiority to the periphery of the dependent nations and groups of nations according to their own criteria and at the same time with nothing incommensurable conceptions of justice." Balance between the modern heirs of the old empires would have to be established "through the procedure of large spaces that carries the principle of non-interference with the world of classical international law on the subjects of international law, of a new type."

It can be said that during the first term of Barack Obama America was still at a crossroads, leading a rearguard action to preserve global leadership, but more and more convinced of inefficiencies and burdensome these efforts, particularly in the context of the global financial crisis.

Since the beginning of the second term of presidency Obama begins a decisive reformatting the world.


Washington problem not only in that the maintenance for unipolar it becomes impossible, and multipolarity undesirable. It is not satisfied with the fact that, while maintaining the existing order in time to place a global hegemon will China, which may behave as it does America itself. Habermas presciently observed: "Most of America's own interests to try to tie up today tomorrow the world powers such an international order that already do not need any super power."

In this case, the West appears more and more research is showing that in response to the devolution of world leaders — the U.S. and the growing chaos in world politics has begun the process of natural regeneration of the imperial policy of a number of former metropolitan countries and often in the wrong direction, which would suit America. On the return of figurative empires mentioned in the Italian geopolitical magazine "Limes": "Empire never die, unless the reason is not uprooted from the root, not bombarded with salt. Their spirit lives on for many generations as the descendants of the ruling, and subject peoples. They are ready to be reborn again at the first opportunity, as soon as the geopolitical pressure on them will be weakened, and the orders set forth eternal, will be brittle and worn. " Not being able to resist this "hurricane", the White House, according to the proposed prescription, should lead this process and send it to the "right direction." The spontaneous formation of new empires encouraged to oppose the construction of such an organized, that America will be able to act together, and the creation of a potentially hostile entities as possible to slow down.

Thus, the former deputy defense minister and chief financial officer of the Ministry of Defense Dov Zakheim in the journal National Interest refers to the "growing number of triumphalism at the time of the fallen empire." According to him, "in East Asia, China is increasingly demonstrating its political, economic and military muscle as the dominant power before which others must humbly bow. In the Middle East and Central Asia, Turkey is using its newfound economic and political power to spread the influence of the many countries that once were part of the Ottoman Empire.

And Moscow is using the power and influence that give it energy resources, and conducts in Europe and in the regions adjacent to Russia from the former Russian Empire tsarist policy in the new version.

One should also not forget the impact of India in South Asia. In a region where once ruled by the Mughal economy overshadows its neighbors. It should be remembered, and that the imperial mantle, which is inherited from Portugal, Brazil, taking advantage of its growing economic power. The imperial heritage of these countries gives them an incentive to increase his own importance, not only in their respective regions, but also on the world stage. During a visit to these countries and meetings with representatives of their elites are increasingly growing sense that they return to their traditional role of leading powers. "

And the main thing that bothers D. Zakheim, "they all believe that the United States, and even more — Europe should no longer monopolize decision-making process, pushing the global community. They reject the order, formed after World War II, calling it outdated, and does not automatically agree to accept American leadership on what else matters. Washington politicians and statesmen, is now obsessed by another heir to the empire — Iran must understand and acknowledge that these countries there is more than impressive economic growth, the expansion of military and political influence. Americans are well known for their lack of sensitivity to the story. But they'll need all the susceptibility, which they are able to accumulate in order to successfully deal with those states whose claim to a more significant role in the world due not only to the current achievements, but also former glory. " Not difficult to see that the fears Zakheim akin to those expressed by Samuel Huntington has in his prophecies about the coming "clash of civilizations".

One of the main dilemmas, which is right now in front of the imperial policy of the United States, according to the German scientist Herfrida Münkler, expressed in the book "Empire: the logic of world domination from ancient Rome to the United States," is the difference between the recognition of uselessness of further expansion and the fear that it will be perceived by others as a sign of weakness. "It's hard to give up the imperialist, civilizing, humanitarian mission, spreading the values on which to base the identity of the empire — so that both the population and the neighbors did not consider this evidence of decay."

Another feature of America, by definition Münkler, is that it is by its very nature — "hurrying Empire," which is the result of a short four-year election cycle.

"Probably, the growing tendency in recent years to solve the problems of Washington militarily in part due to time pressure generated by democratic mechanisms. Military solutions usually look fast and final, and therefore "hurrying empire" may resort to them more often than it would be reasonable
or appropriate. "

Distinct features of the imperial researchers see in politics and the European Union. In "Imperial change of borders in Europe: the case of the European Neighbourhood Policy" (Sambridge ° F International Affairs Review, June 2012) pointed out, for example, that the European Neighbourhood Policy can be interpreted as a declaration of imperial intentions of the EU. By imperial strategies can, in particular, include the fact that, in accordance with the policy laid down in the said schemes integration relations EU's neighbors are more subordinate objects rather than equal partners of the EU. In line with the strategy of a multicultural empire, through the European Neighbourhood Policy European Union creates new boundaries and the dividing line between the neighbors following the example of the Balkans. According to the author, the imperial policy of transforming the boundaries conducted by the European Union, has a less visible but more intrusive monitoring tools that are based on the voluntary submission and acceptance of the norms imposed.

Thus, the construction of "large spaces" in world politics began. Of course, one should not expect any formalization of the boundaries of these new / old empires or official declaration of them as such. Because it is not a direct their recovery with all attributes (it would have looked like a farce), and the return of the appropriate course of action, or modus operandi to project the interests of the former colonial powers.

Arises at the behest of Washington impending global hierarchy is avoided identification with the colonial empires of old times, so as not to irritate the memory of nations.

And not only in the former colonies subjected to ruthless exploitation, but also in the imperial capitals, whose residents are not very eager to take on the burden of the past to chip in and see the arrival of new large flows of migrants from these areas. Any conventions or agreements, similar to the capitulations or acts of vassalage, too, we should not wait, modern legal tie-up can be much stronger evidence of the dependence of the old times. Renaissance neo-imperial Western powers easier to follow the logic of their ideas and actions, not giving much importance "high moral principles" that they hide behind.

Postmodern World, or "The newest Middle Ages?"

Loomed in the process of consolidation of the world "great spaces"-like return empires of times past, at first glance it may not seem like with the spirit of the time. However, we live in an era in which, because of uncertainty in the minds of omnivore to such an extent that it is not foreign to most improbable policy prescriptions.

The world is in a state of Interregnum (interregnum), in which, as Zygmunt Bauman says, "change — the only constant, and the unknown — the only certainty", in this world, Europe is still a battlefield, but this time between the Westphalian model of sovereign states and new forms of supranational governance.

Classic European empires of modern times, that is, of the modern era, have risen on the ruins of feudalism, but that is a feature of postmodernism and that he was ready to adopt an eclectic basis of the organizational forms of political relations of any era. Piracy, which is once old days (remember the famous Algerian pirates), is once again firmly established off the coast of Africa — of course, the side effect, but it has become a sign of the times in which the most unimaginable way mixed archaic and modern.

And it's nothing new. Such scrapping periods occurred more than once. Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev written between the two world wars of the paper "The New Middle Ages," long before the creators of the theory of postmodernism Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard and others, said: "In history, as in nature, there is a rhythm, a rhythm change of eras and periods, change in the type of culture, ebb and flow, ups and downs … They talk about organic and critical epochs, eras of the night and day, and sacral secular. We are destined to live in a historic time of change of epoch. Old world new stories (he, still calls himself an old habit "new" old and decrepit) comes to an end, and decomposes, and the emerging new world is still unknown. " Berdyaev marked this era as "the end of history and the new beginning of a new Middle Ages", describing it as a transition from the modern history of rationalism to irrationalism or supernationalism medieval type … "Spiritual beginning of its long history eradicated, her spiritual powers are exhausted … By all indications, we set out from the historic day era and entered the era of the night … Falling false covers and exposes the good and the evil. History Day before changing the night always ends with the great shocks and disasters, it does not leave peacefully … All the usual categories of thought and life form the most "advanced", "progressive" and even "revolutionary" people of the XIX and XX centuries are obsolete and have lost all meaning for the present and especially for the future. "

The transition to the new Middle Ages, as once the transition to the "old" Middle Ages, according to the observations of Berdyaev, accompanied by a noticeable dissolution of the old societies and imperceptible addition of new ones. "The struggle for conflicting interests, competition, deep solitude and abandonment of everyone characterize the type of societies of modern times. In the spiritual and intellectual life of these societies all detected growing anarchy, the loss of a single center, single supreme goal … Individualism has become obsolete in the modern history of all the possibilities, it does not have any energy, it may not have experienced pathetically. End of the spirit of individualism is the end of the new history of … liberalism, democracy, parliamentarism, constitutionalism, legal formalism, humanistic morality, rationalistic and empirical philosophy — it's all a product of the individualistic spirit of humanistic self-assertion, and they all become obsolete, losing the previous value …

Are there many ontologically real in the exchanges, banks, paper money, a monstrous factories producing unwanted objects or instruments of destruction of life in the foreign luxury, in the speeches of parliamentarians and lawyers, newspaper articles, there is a lot of real growth in the insatiable needs?

Everywhere disclosed bad infinity, not knowing the end. " Russian philosopher noted that in the past a unifying role, at least for a large part of humanity, Christianity has played. His very appearance "meant a way out of the pagan nationalism and particularism." At the end of the new stories "we see again in front of the pagan world of uninhibited particularism, inside of which is a deadly struggle, and destruction."

Like a long time these lines are written, but sound as though it is said about today. Berdyaev also predicted that the coming war would "not so much of the national political as spiritual and religious", as if anticipating the long-running conflict between the West and Islam. However, he remained a kind of historical optimism about the outcome of the clash of opposite forces and principles in this new Middle Ages. "We are entering an age — believed Berdyaev — when already lost faith in all politicians and when the political side of life will no longer play the role that played in modern history, when she would have to give way to a real spiritual, and economic processes."

However, no matter how important, many thought looked N.Berdyaev these days, it would certainly be wrong to equate the time in which he wrote, and the beginning of the XXI century. Although these historical spiral coils and paired with each other,
each of them is his own printing. And as the new Middle Ages had already taken place, in imitation of N.Berdyaev trends of our time could be called The newest Middle Ages.

One of the most notable features of this period is, for example, the emergence of various kinds of complex networks, not just information technology and social issues, but also covering the relationship between states (economic, cultural, political, military). Strategy for the use of network warfare to control the people are extremely popular in Washington. Pentagon, in particular, has officially adopted a new military doctrine of network-centric warfare, aimed at "superior knowledge" and "information dominance." At the same time, and there arises an international network world with its apparent independence of separate centers of power, in fact, embedded in a complex hierarchical relationships and interdependence, in an ontological sense, surprisingly reminiscent of the world of the Middle Ages.

In the eyes, in particular, formed a multi-tiered system of vassalage, in which the supreme "Senor" is no longer, as before (because it can not and will not), to intervene in virtually all the cases in the zone of its dominance of the rulers on a "vassal of my vassal not my vassal. " Washington understands that it is impossible or financially or physically to delve into the circumstances of all 200 countries in the world, and that's all there with the increasing stress tried to do so far. Simply choose a half dozen or a dozen of trusted representatives ("vassals") and charge / entrust them to do it by controlling themselves. That's why some of the last time America's closest allies, especially France, so similar to the start of the hand of feudal land.

Perhaps we can talk about the project a kind of super-empire on the site of the only superpower, which is on the network principle be subject to the re-emerging regional or traditional empire.

Center the same, but he is now the coordinator rather than a direct ubiquitous manager, it is also more economical, but in the end, they hope Americans are not less effective. In this case, the fullness of sovereignty, including the right to intervene militarily, of course, will focus on the top of the pyramid. According to the famous American scholar Noam Chomsky, the basis of the international order is that the United States has the right to use violence when they please. And not one has such a right. "Of course not. Well, maybe just our satellites. So vassals inherit this right. This also applies to other U.S. customers. But in fact, all the rights in Washington. That's what it means to own the world. It's like the air you breathe. You can not hit it with a question. "

In fact, today, at a new stage of history, the world is restored neo-feudal system of vassalage, which came in time to replace the great Rome. The current Rome — Washington, DC, in many ways is in the same state of imperial exhaustion, including moral, trying, in effect, to extend its hegemony in the same ways, even in the newest technical performance, and it's still only a technique, and so — nothing new. "Circling the wind turns, and the wind returns to business as usual," — says the Preacher.

Neovassalitet has a lot of amenities. First of all, if something goes wrong, you can always put in a responsible not the one who really pulls the strings, that is Washington, and the state-vassal. Using such a vassal, you can even deny its involvement in the disposal of the fate of other states, napyalivaya over the mantle of an impartial arbitrator. Secondly, such a mechanism of global power projection to minimize the costs of the administration of territories that the global financial crisis is very important.

However, starting to restructure the world, Washington must take into account and the costs that it brings. Interests main lady at some point may not coincide with the interests of the major vassals who are able to demonstrate and obstinacy.

In addition, those against whom this game is aimed to be able to begin to strengthen their own union, the outlines of which have already guessed. Therefore, in the implementation of their project, Washington will have to solve a lot of challenges.

To be continued

According to the materials of the Strategic Culture Foundation

Like this post? Please share to your friends: