Ordo Pluriversalis: The End of Pax Americana & the Rise of Multipolarity, by Leonid Savin, Translated by Jafe Arnold, Black House Publishing, London, 2020.
This book is significant not only because of its detailed examination of globalisation, unipolarity, multipolarity, and associated themes such as foreign policies, superpower rivalries, geopolitics and diverse branches such as the meaning of nationalism, and ethnos, but because it provides an insight into an important school of thought in Russia and further afield.
Leonid Savin is a member of the Military Science Committee of the Russian Ministry of Defence, has served on the faculty of sociology at Moscow State University, is editor of Geopolitica.ru, editor of the Journal of Eurasian Affairs, director of the Foundation for Monitoring and Forecasting Development for Cultural-Territorial Spaces, and lectures within Russia and outside. He is an organiser of the Eurasian Movement, and a leading advocate of the Fourth Political Theory. Of the latter, the primary theorist is Dr Alexander Dugin, whose influence as an adviser and scholar extends over military, academic, political, and governmental agencies in Russia, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Eurasianism sees Russia as pivotal in forming a new geopolitical and civilisational bloc, halting the process of globalisation driven by an Anglo-American axis that seeks world hegemony. In the new multipolar world envisaged by The Fourth Political Theory ‘vectors’ replace both pretty nationalism and globalism.
Traditional Russian Outlook on Western Positivism and Universalism
Given that there is much about Putin’s foreign policies that show influences from the Eruasian doctrine, Ordo Pluriversalis reveals aspects of the ideological background that often informs official Russian attitudes. Indeed, Dugin has advised a range of personalities, including Putin, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, and flamboyant ‘ultra-nationalist’, Zhirinovsky.
Savin dedicates his book to the 100th anniversary of the publication of Europe & Mankind, by Nikolay Trubetzkoy (1890-1938). In 1920 Prince Trubetzkoy identified ‘cosmopolitanism’ as a façade for ‘Romano-Germanic [‘Western’] chauvinism’. (N. Trubetzkoy, Europe & Mankind, English translation by Alexandr Trubetzkoy, online: https://sashamaps.net/docs/writings/europe-and-mankind/ ). What Trubetzkoy saw in 1920 in cosmopolitanism as a façade for international domination by ‘the West’, is analogous to the present epoch of Atlanticism, or U.S. world hegemony in the name of liberalism and globalisation. Trubetzkoy states what is very close to what Eurasianists such as Dugin and Savin are reiterating:
‘So the spreading of so-called European cosmopolitanism among non-Romano-Germanic peoples is purely a misunderstanding. Those who succumbed to the propaganda of Romano-Germanic chauvinists were misled by the words “mankind”, “humanity”, “universal”, “civilization”, “world progress”, and so on. All these words were understood literally, whereas in reality they concealed very specific and rather narrow ethnographic concepts’. (Trubetzkoy, ibid., chapter: The Hypnotic Power of Cosmopolitism).
‘“Mankind”, “humanity”, “universal”, “civilization”, “world progress”; these are the same slogans we hear today whenever globalisation is imposed on a ‘rogue state’, whether by military invasion, financial credits, aid, trade, or ‘colour revolution’.
So we see that the first critique of globalisation was based on ‘cosmopolitanism’, as Trubetzkoy referred to it, insofar as globalisation requires the levelling of all cultures and peoples in the name of the world shopping mall and the world factory. ‘Liberalism’ still uses the same slogans of ‘Mankind’, ‘humanity’, ‘world progress’, that provide the moral rationalisation for bombing a state into submission where commerce and moral rot cannot sufficiently penetrate.
Rise of Post-Cold War Multipolarity
Savin examines a variety of advocates of unipolartity, and the unipolar world that appeared after the implosion of the Soviet bloc. The end of the Cold War era was supposed to usher the ‘new American century’, as one influential neocon think tank was called. Various think tanks began looking at a number of scenarios, after it became apparent that U.S. global hegemony was not going to go unchallenged even with the demise of the USSR. In 2012 the U.S. National in Intelligence Council issued Global Trends 2030 which considered emerging conflicts in Asia, causing world economic dislocations, the possibility of a convergence of China with the USA and Europe; a fractured world where nation-states were supplanted by NGOs and world-cities as power centres.
The scenerios are not new. During the Nixon years there was a de facto agreement between the USA and China vis-à-vis their common enemy, the USSR, and a Sino-U.S. pact had been assiduously promoted for decades by Rockefeller and other plutocrats, as an adjunct to the Trilateralist doctrine (USA-Europe-Japan).
Problem of Populism for Unilateralists
However while the rise of China, the resistance of Islam, and the sundry ‘rogue states’ confronted unipolarity after the Soviet collapse, with Russia promptly overcoming the Yeltsin aberration, in some globalist quarters the chief challenge to unipolarity comes from within the USA. The danger of a breach between the foreign policies of the governing classes and the mass public – the danger of ‘populism’ – haunts the oligarchy.
Robert Kagan, prominent among neocons, writing in The Jungle Grows Back (2018) welcomes a fear of China as providing the necessary unifying focus that had been lacking since the end of the Cold War, but worries that peoples (plural) are reverting back to traditions, a process he blames on Trump. Another veteran neocon, Charles Krauthammer, wrote in 1990 in The Unipolar Moment that U.S. hegemony would be achieved, yet predicted that it would only last a generation. He frankly stated that U.S. actions in the Persian Gulf, and elsewhere were undertaken behind the façade of ‘multilateral clothing’, giving the appearance of international legitimacy, but that the world order would collapse. While Krauthammer refers to the USA creating ‘world stability’, and of ‘remaking the international system’ based on ‘domestic civil society’, Savin questions this with the long record of American global adventurism. Krauthammer calls his ‘new unilateralism’ ‘realism’ but also sees the main danger as being the USA’s return to ‘Fortress America’, or to ‘multilateral institutions’.
It is ‘America first’ non-interventionism that became resurgent, to a degree, with the Trump interregnum. What was so horrendous about Trump’s foreign policy, that aligned neocons with street rioting Leftists, is that it returned to the doctrine urged by George Washington in his ‘Farewell Address’ (1796) : that the USA cultivate neither friends or foes abroad. One of Trump’s last speeches was to cadets at West Point, where he said that the USA should refrain from trying to police the world. ‘The job of the American soldier is not to rebuild foreign nations, but defend, and defend strongly, our nation from foreign enemies. We are ending the era of endless wars’. (Donald Trump Tells West Point Cadets, We are not the Policeman of the World, Telegraph, June 13 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/13/donald-trump-tells-west-point-cadets-not-policeman-world/ ).
So amidst the chaos of what some commentators have long called the ‘new world disorder’, Savin states that the task of those who reject globalisation is to ensure a ‘stable multipolarity’. (p. 44).
The implosion of the Warsaw Pact caused a crisis in international relations. The Cold War between two great powers assured that the USA would be restrained. In the immediate aftermath of the Soviet collapse, such restraint was gone. The USA could act unilaterally. The USA expanded its influence into the former Warsaw Pact states and Russian territory with the use of ‘colour revolutions’, whose supposed ‘spontaneity’ was well-planned and lavishly funded by Open Society, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and many other parts of the so-called global ‘civil society’, which Russia was to blacklist and expel.
China’s Contribution to Multiplurality
Of the post-Cold War epoch, Savin sees several significant responses favouring multiplurality.
He sees antecedents in Chinese foreign policy, including the 1954 treaty with India, where territorial integrity, non-interference and co-existence were prescribed. Chinese scholars opined that the world would see one super power and many strong powers. China indicated that it would assist Europe in becoming a ‘pole’. China sees itself as playing a role in Europe’s economy and security.
It might be asked, conversely: How far can China’s economy be said to complement that of Europe, and will the E.U. become reliant on China as a ‘pole’? Does China see multipolarity as a phase in globalisation with itself as leader, rather than as a bulwark against globalisation?
The joint declaration with Russia in 1997 on a ‘Multipolar World and the Establishment of a New International Order’ places China at the forefront of the multipolar project alongside Russia. This seeks a world system based on recognition of diverse paths for development, in contrast to the hegemonic and unilateral doctrine of neo-liberalism. It was a response to the invasion of Iraq.
In 2000 Russian foreign policy documents were referring to a ‘multipolar system’. In 2013 there was reference to a ‘polycentric system’ and international relations based on a regionalism of diverse interests, with regional currencies and trade pacts. That year a presidential decree referred to Russia as becoming ‘one of the influential centres of a multipolar world’.
Despite frequent references in Russia declarations and studies to the projected ‘new international order’ continuing to work within the system of the U.N., Russia had no intention of subsuming itself to any such globalist enterprise. Rather, Russia insists on its interests in Europe, Middle East, Transcausia, Central Asia, and the Asia-Pacific region. It might be asked whether China and Russia will, rather, conflict in such regions?
Significance of India
India rightly plays a pivotal role in such a new dispensation. She is seen and sees herself as playing the role of a power in the Indian Ocean that might conflict or co-exist with China and the USA. Savin refers to the territorial and civilizational disputes between China and India, but also considers that multipolarity might provide a new context for co-operation, especially if there are common interests in restraining a U.S. presence. One might expect the USA to try and confound any such Sino-Indian relationship, as it has unsuccessfully in regard to Russo-Indian friendship.
Iran as a Geopolitical Pole
Iran emerges as a geopolitical pole given its position between Central Asia and the Middle East, and its being the centre of Shi’ite Islam. Iran’s position of leadership has been impelled by its conflict with U.S. interests seeking to expand in the region. Iran’s consciousness of its position was indicated by President Khatami in 1999 in declaring 2001 ‘The Year of Dialogue Among Civilisations’ as the counter to the unipolar doctrine of ‘the clash of civilisations’. Under the following presidency of Ahmadinejad Iran pursued friendship with Latin America, Russia, Africa and China; the latter sponsoring Iran’s pursuit of membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. (Savin, p. 112).
‘The Latin American Pivot’
Given that since the Monroe Doctrine the USA has considered Latin America its ‘backyard’, resistance to ‘American imperialism’ has a long pedigree. This has taken the form of both far-left guerrilla movements and the rise of populists. Chavez was particularly important is assuming leadership of this trend, which ideologically rests on a ‘new socialism’ that incorporates indigenous cultural identities intrinsically opposed to globalisation processes. A proponent of ‘Bolivarianism’, the doctrine of a South American bloc, this has manifested in institutions such as the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Community of Latin American & Caribbean States, and the initiative by Chavez and Castro in 2004: Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
Of particular importance is that in 2011 Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica iterated the need to avoid ideological dogma, and transcend left, right, and centre. What was Péron, for example, who remains such a pervasive influence, Chavez having called himself a Péroninst? What of Vargas in Brazil, whose supposedly ‘right-wing dictatorship’ is still remembered for its reforms among the industrial workers and peasantry? Both were advocates of a geopolitical bloc, as was Ibanez in Chile, although Vargas was stifled by internal opposition in pursuing this goal. Other pacts were signed by Péron with Ecuador and Nicaragua, but also stymied by internal opposition. Péron side-tracked the opposition from within by initiating a justicialist-syndicalist pan-American labour union, ATLAS, banned in 1955, after his ouster. (Bolton, Péron & Péronism, London, 2014, pp. 182-188).
Polycentricity and Pluriversality
Mulitpolarity is synonymous with polycentricity, or many centres of polity, which will comprise a pluriverse of ‘interests, perspectives, values’, where there are going to be at least several ethnic or religious groups within the same space.
While Savin traces the concept back especially to Americans such as William James, it is to South American thinkers that we return. It is here that Western universalism attempted to impose itself on sundry indigenes, first as imperialism, then as globalisation. Here there is much discussion in academia about ‘many worlds’, ways of being and of ‘reality’. Here spirituality remains a legitimate means of critique, beyond the positivism of the West. Savin cites academics referring to the continuing connexion with the spirit world, where the ‘natural, religious, spiritual, political, and social are not separate’. (Savin, p. 138).
Savin shows by the example of Carl Schmitt, the German legal philosopher, that elements of the West are as relevant to the ushering of a new dispensation as any other remnant of tradition. Schmitt is quoted from a 1927 work that ‘there is always a Pluriverse of different peoples and states’. The world is a ‘pluriverse, not a universe’. Rejecting the possibility of a world state and ‘one humanity’ he saw such concepts as facades for imposing ‘economic imperialism’.
A Matter of Time
Inherent in the globalist vision is the Late Western perception of time being linear, with a focus on the present. The obsession with ‘progress’, while thinking only of the moment, has major impacts on ecology, economy and society. Here we see a gamut of ideas inherited from the Enlightenment; positivism, Darwinism, utilitarianism.
The global managerial elite has adopted Late Western time and space perceptions, where the cliché holds good that time equals money, while to the Russian time is eternity, while India has a sense of timelessness, reflected in the vastness of the yugas of the Vedic literature, and China thinks in long durations. Savin points out the commonality of Marxism and capitalism: the lineal ascent from ‘primitive to modern’, with a focus on the present, and detachment from the past.
Citing the Weimar era revolutionary-conservative Arthur Moeller van der Bruck, epochs unfold as part of a chain of past, present and future which unlike the Late West, expresses a chain of continuity and ‘social holism’. This is why conservativism ‘creates value’, while the Late Western fixation with the present creates exploitation (Savin, p. 177); why ecological devastation in quest of instant profit is normal and necessary.
Savin poses the question as to the position of the West in a future pluriverse. Can the West be saved; ‘reset’? Alternatives he lists are: (1) Non-West, (2) Anti-West, (3) New West, and (4) East (and North and South), as a ‘spatial, ideological concept’.
Because the Fourth Political Theory is a conservative alternative, what Savin shows is that the left critique is flawed because the left itself derives from the same zeitgeist. Oswald Spengler said something similar a century ago when he stated that there is no so-called ‘proletarian’ movement that does not operate in the interests of money, in his essay/lecture on ‘Prussian socialism’ (1919), in The Decline of The West, and in The Hour of Decision.
From the notion of time as lineal and therefore suggesting ‘progress’ emerged the notion that some races are ‘primitive’ and some advanced. Here the Western concept of ‘race’ emerged, again from the Enlightenment. This notion of ‘progress’ heralded the doctrine of the ‘civilising mission’ of the West, a notion that the USA assumed after Britain’s imperial decay, and rationalised colonialism; the precursor of today’s globalisation. Enlightenment philosophers such as Adam Smith and Kant had written of racial hierarchies, and the ‘necessity of development’.
We might recall that Rousseau held such notions, as did the liberal-democrat, pro-Jacobin, slave-owning Francophile faction of the USA’s Founding Fathers led by Thomas Jefferson. As did Karl Marx, whose dialectical materialism required the imposition of industrialisation on ‘primitives’ such as Indians, writing that ‘whatever may have been the crimes of England she was the unconscious tool of history…’ (Marx, The British Rule in India, NY Daily Tribune, June 25, 1853). Without ‘the laying of the material foundations of Western society in Asia’, there could be no process leading to socialism. (Marx, The Future Results of British Rule in India, NY Daily Tribune, August 8, 1853).
Character of Laws
Globalism and unipolarity, or American hegemony, receives legal sanction by contrived notions of ‘international law’. With Savin’s chapter on ‘law and justice’ (p. 187) we come to the utilitarian methodology of imposing and expanding that hegemony. International law is expressed through institutions such as The Hague Tribunal and the London Court of Arbitration. Francis Fukuyama suggests an international network of institutions to enforce international law.
‘International law’ justifies global interference including military invasion. The manner by which this serves vested interests might be seen by such examples as U.S. support for Kosovan independence, while rejecting the Crimean desire to return to Russia. The criteria for support or opposition rests with what serves globalist economics and geopolitics. Savin points out the manner by which the USA buys votes in the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly with offers of aid and loans, including support or otherwise for IMF loans.
Again, ‘international law’ proceeds from Enlightenment doctrine, including the social contract theory of Locke, Rousseau and Kant. What we are seeing is the replacing of organic world-views, whether in regard to time or law, with the inorganic and utilitarian. Savin mentions that the process was already emerging during the 16th Century, where mercantile expansion was the forerunner of globalisation: he alludes to Catholic theologian Francisco de Vittorio objecting that there is ‘no universal civil jurisdiction’. Subsequent conservative critics in the West such as Joseph de Maistre, and more recently Carl Schmitt, raised similar objections to universalism, contending that there are a multiplicity of localised world-views, from which emerge laws according to unique circumstance.
What has arisen over centuries of global mercantile expansion, once justified with religious morality, and now with international judicial concepts, has cynically in the name of ‘human rights’, become a universal levelling process.
Security and Sovereignty – Shifting Definitions
The intrusion of ‘international law’ serves Pax Americana. From ‘international law’ one proceeds to justifications for embargoes, sanctions and outright military invasion. The concepts of security and sovereignty are no longer defined according to local traditions, customs, and the ecological and historical experiences that go to form tribes, peoples, cultures, nations, and states. They are levelled to serve unilateral agendas.
Because language is manipulated, Savin often uses etymology to discover the root of concepts. Hence, ‘security’ has meant to the Greeks, ‘to knock down’, to the Romans, ‘without worry’, to the Russians, ‘careful oversight’, or vigil. We now have in the lexicon of statehood, ‘failed states,’ ‘fragile states’, ‘fractured states’, ‘restricted sovereignty’. To the modern epoch ‘collective security’ means what might be delivered to a ‘rogue state’ or a ‘failed state’ by NATO bombs, especially if that state includes a resource-rich region, such as Kosovo. U.S. backing for the 2014 coup in the Ukraine is regarded as a matter of ‘self-determination’, while Russia’s support for Crimea is called ‘expansionism’.
Other systems are at play, such as cyberwarfare, and the intrusion of transnational corporations, NGOs, venture funds and rating agencies; the power of ‘Big Pharma’ and Monsanto, regional alignments, the role of the U.S. dollar , and the granting or withholding of World Bank loans. Stewart Patrick suggests in Sovereign Wars (2017) that the extension of global links will provide new opportunities for globalisation. Indeed, it is readily ascertainable how NGOs and ‘civil society’ have acted in tandem with the U.S. State Department, USAID, NED, cyber-giants, and many others to intrude on sovereignty. This has enabled the USA to become a ‘hyper-sovereign power’ that extends an outreach globally, unrestrained by traditional concepts of security according to proximity. Savin also mentions Israel as ‘hyper-sovereign’ in its occupation of territories from neighbouring states, and the ‘pseudo-sovereignty’ of Palestine. One might also add the ‘hyper-sovereignty’ of Israel’s world-wide network that encompasses Diaspora Jewry, and sundry lobbies such as AIPAC.
Russia and Hungary acted to remove this ‘civil society’ due to its service to U.S. interests. While whole regions, state after state, have been brought into the orbit of Pax Americana U.S. officialdom alleges that Russia interferes in U.S. politics. Savin states that Russia has sought to defend herself from this onslaught by establishing in 2017 the Temporary Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty & the Prevention of Interference in the Domestic Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Economics & Religion
These two premise sovereignty and security. As one might expect they are studied as separate entities today, where there has long been in Western academia and further afield a lack of coherence in studies, and overspecialisation that does not allow for a holistic education. But religion reflects the character of a people-culture-nation-state, and economics is also as much diverse among the peoples of the world as religion.
Again the theme is that there is no universal – ‘one size fits all’ – categorisation for the nebulous construct called ‘humanity’.
Savin returns to etymology in seeking for the nature of the subject: economy = home(stead) + rule. (Savin, p. 252). Economics expresses locality; although under globalisation, the locality becomes universal. What remains of traditional religion conflicts with modern economics.
For the West Protestantism had a primary impact on economy, and its predicate the Medieval social ethos; i.e. Catholic. Savin states that Catholicism introduced a rationalistic element into Medieval thought which allowed for the entry of capitalism. However Gothic Europe had for centuries lived according to an ethos that eschewed not only usury as sin, but mercantile competition. The economy was profoundly non-capitalist. In 325 A.D. the Council of Nicea banned usury – interpreted as any profit from money – among clerics. Under Charlemagne the ban was extended to laymen. In 1139 the Second Lateran Council called usury theft. In 1311 the Council of Vienne declared usury a heresy. However, the Church often allowed Jews to practice usury, as did the Muslims, and prohibitions started to wax and wane. (K. R. Bolton, Opposing the Money Lenders, London, 2016, pp. 2-3).
The Jewish role is considered in detail by Savin, drawing on the sociologist Werner Sombart (The Jews & Modern Capitalism, 1911), and sundry Jewish historians. More consideration could be given to the decisive Protestant role, although Savin does cite Max Weber, (The Protestant Ethics & the Spirit of Capitalism, 1905). Although the Church was still in the 16th century resistant enough to try (unsuccessfully) to ban Molinaeus’ book Treatise on Contracts & Usury, Henry VIII established a legal rate of usury, and the old prohibitions gradually went. Holland became the centre of modern banking, from whence the Bank of England learnt its trade. The primary utilitarian philosophers Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill defended usury as legitimate contract. (Bolton, Opposing the Money Lenders, op. cit., p. 4).
Judaism, Catholicism, Islam
Savin states out that Judaism, unlike Christianity and Islam, is based around legalistic contracts with God. (Savin, p. 256). Their continuing nomadism made them an international people that were ideally situated to be the middle men of commerce across boundaries. This was the premise that Menasseh ben Israel, head of the Jewish community in Amsterdam, used in trying to persuade Oliver Cromwell to allow Jews readmittance to England. (Menasseh ben Israel to Cromwell, 1655, in Paul R. Mendes-Flohr and Jahuda Reinharz, The Jews in the Modern World, Oxford, 1980, pp. 9-12).
Savin sees Catholicism as lacking in its response to the rise of international capitalism. However he does accord credit to the encyclicals of Popes Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum) and Pius XI (Quadragesimo anno) which offered an alternative to capitalism and socialism, both seen as godless. Savin accords even less cogency to the position of Russian Orthodoxy to the problem, other than vague principles relating to commerce.
Islam has had a robust outlook in condemning usury (riba) as sin and proclaiming the need for social justice in trade, but here too there are flaws. Savin cites B. Koehler’s Early Islam & the Birth of Capitalism, (London, 2014).
Economics has an inherently global character which Savin sees as only being avoidable by a totally closed economy such as the North Korean. He also avers to the problem of surplus production that has yet to be resolved, which Marx pointed out was an impelling factor that would internationalise trade beyond the boundaries of empires. An alternative that was found by Schumacher of ‘small is beautiful’ fame was from ‘Buddhist economics’, which is also called the ‘middle way’; a sustainable economy, rather than a growth economy.
The question is one that stands at the crux of opposition to globalisation, but one that both Right and Left fail to address: the sovereign prerogative of the state to issue its own credit and currency, according to the productive capacity and needs of its people, without recourse to global financial speculators. That this can be done without any wizardry or miraculous intervention was shown during the 1930s by this reviewer’s country of residence. (K. R. Bolton, State Credit & Reconstruction: The First New Zealand Labour Government, International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 38, no. 1, January 2011, pp. 39-49). That the present New Zealand Labour Government does not have the foggiest idea of how to deal with the housing crisis is indicative of the woeful lack of today’s economic understanding, which one might suspect is deliberate obfuscation cultivated by those who fund such institutions as the London School of Economics.
However, the Russian Orthodox Church has made recent declarations on usury. Moreover there is a local currency called the kolion that could provide a Russian example of what can be done on national and regional scales. (Bolton, Kolionovo vs . Usury: A Lesson for the World, Geopolitica.ru, 19 May 2016, https://www.geopolitica.ru/en/article/kolionovo-v-usury-lesson-world ).
Power & State
Economy, sovereignty and religion are intrinsic to notions of state and power. In defining the many forms Savin refers to Plato’s types of power which reflect the cyclical descent of a state from health to decay: from monarchy and aristocracy, to the tyranny of oligarchs and mobs. Latin rex had legalistic implications, Persian Shahan sha (king of kings) reflected the divine nexus typical of traditional societies, while to the Rus leadership derived from one who initiates a beginning (Savin, p. 287).
Max Weber described three types of power in the modern epoch: rational/legalistic, traditional, charismatic. To the conservative French thinker Joseph de Maistre, power is predicated on something transcendent, whether religious or juridical. Heidegger, in referencing Nietzsche, saw power as mastering over something, including oneself. Acclaimed Persian Sunni scholar al-Ghazali (1058-1111) presented a similar outlook of self-mastery [the inner jihad of Muslim theology].
The constant lesson from Savin is that globalisation means shifting definitions, and an attempt to set a universal standard. Hence the ‘citizen’, the subject of state and power, becomes the mobile and cosmopolitan consumer, rootless, as befits concomitant shifts in notions of territory and locality. Savin refers to the ‘mall-state’, (Savin, p. 303).
The past epoch of imperialism saw the imposition of borders regardless of ethnicity. Savin refers to the fracture of the Kurds across several states, and to the Durand Line between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Middle Eastern states are composed of a colossal mess of map design by the Anglo-French that so disturbed T. E. Lawrence. The Versailles Treaty subjected Sudeten Germans to Czechs and provided Hitler with the justification for expansion eastward. The demands for a Greater Albania were the means by which Kovoso was detached from Serbia. Many other inorganic and a-historic borders provide propagandistic justifications for U.S./NATO/UNO intervention.
Ethnoi, Peoples, Nations
The natures of ethnoi, peoples, and nations are being redefined with the goal of obliteration into a vortex of monoculture, where a mass of drones is administered by a managerial class.
Concepts of nationality include the German ‘volk’, and the ‘Deusches volkthum’ of Friedrich Jan (1815) defining individuals united into an idenitity. Jacobinism and liberalism played an important role in defining nationalism and ‘people’ as a means of rebellion against the traditional dynastic and imperial orders, uniting individuals by means of social contract and constitutions rather than through the nexus of divine rulership. For Herder nations are born from time and place, and each nation has its own character. The Romantic Movement referred to a common spirit of ‘past, present and future’.
Max Weber saw the nation as ‘a specific sentiment of solidarity in the face of other groups’, and he wrote of a people’s ‘values’. (Weber Economics & Society, Vol. 2, p. 922). There were and remain theories that both affirm and reject the necessity of attaching nation to state. For Margaret Canovan nationhood reflects ‘solidarity’ and ‘feeling’ (Nationhood & Political Theory, 1996, p. 69).
Savin traces the Russian school of ethnology to Sergey Shiro Kogorov, who defined an ethnos as ‘a group of people who speaks the same language, recognises their common origin, and has a set of customs and lifestyles which are preserved and sanctified by traditions which differ from the customs of other groups’. (Savin, p. 323). During the Soviet era ethnos was defined by Yulian Bromley as ‘a stable group in a definite territory, with common and stable particularities of language, culture and psyche’, conscious of their unity and difference from others. He stated that language and religion were not definitive criteria for an ethnos.
Savin alludes to Russian Eurasianists as referring to ‘multi-ethnic nationalism’, based on ‘historic destiny’, rather than ethnicity, language or religion. (Savin, p. 343). Savin sees the denial of ethnic differences as part of modernism and post-modernism. He alludes to ‘constructivism’ as the post-modern contention that ethnos is a creation of power elites (Savin, p. 328).
Professor Alexander Wolfheze sees modern nations as ‘bio-cultural residues’ from the overthrown traditional order, where the bourgeois replaces the dynastic rulers. (The Sword of Tradition & the Origin of the Great War, 2018, p. 271). As Marx predicted, this bourgeois ruling class would become ‘international’. K. Leontiev in the 19th century saw modern nationalism as a means of ‘cosmopolitan democratisation’. (National Policy as a Tool of World Revolution). There arose a chauvinistic aggressive nationalism that provided ideological impetus for imperialism and colonialism, in pursuit of markets and resources; the forerunner of globalisation.
Beyond Western concepts, Savin examines the Arab, where ‘nation’ has been defined as a ‘community of people, bound together by a commonality of race, language, homeland, and laws’ (Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi). Ibn Khaldan referred to the ‘spirit of solidarity’ (asabiyyah), where language played the predominant role. In our time, the Grand Mufti of Moscow, R. Gaynetdin defines ‘nation’ as a ‘spiritual kinship’ with language and territorial bonds. (Savin, p. 346).
Indian nationalism was not constituted until the 19th century as a doctrine. Ghandi equated nation with self-governance. A. Ghose saw nationalism as ‘a divine force’, as ‘god manifesting himself’. D. Savarkar was influenced by 19th century Western Indology, referring to communalism, territory, blood (Aryan), Sanskrit, and Hinduism.
Strategic Cultures & Civilisations
While nations have fixed territories, a people (singular) does not. National borders frequently do not correspond with ethnic divisions. There might be successful sub-nations existing within a supra-nation, or imperial edifice where the monarch is the unifying factor, confederations, or state imposed edifices. Savin uses the example of the Quechua Indians spread over a large number of states in Latin America.
The term ‘strategic cultures’ was coined by Jack Snyder in 1977 to analyse the impact of cultures on international relations and military conflicts. However the antecedents go back to Sun Tzu, and Thucydides (Savin, p. 358). During the 19th century concepts such as ‘folk psyche’ and ‘folk spirit’ anticipated ethnopsychology. Savin gives a recent example of Ruth Benedict’s study on Japanese ethnopsychology produced during World War II, The Chrysanthemum & the Sword. Benedict and other social scientists, despite their generally leftist persuasion, played a major role during the Cold War is supplying ethnographic studies for the USA, including the CIA. Through the Asia Foundation, for example, the CIA created ‘part of a widespread pattern linking hundreds of anthropologists and other regional specialists with Cold War intelligence agencies’. (Katherine Verdery, The CIA is Not a Trope, Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory (2016), Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 447).
The social scientists employed by the CIA, working in tandem with Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie and other oligarchic funds, analyse and categorise peoples and cultures according to how they might be subsumed by globalisation. Scholars from outside the West assert the recognition rather than the obliteration of diversity. Muslim scholars assert a dichotomy: there is Islam, and there is the West and its ‘surrogates’ in which money predominates.Abdul Rahman states that there can be no ‘dialogue of civilisations’, because of the hegemonic nature of the West, but states that there needs to be dialogue that maintains a balance of power of different civilizational blocs.(Savin, p. 379).
Russian Eurasianists in emigration, such as K. Chkheidze, criticising the flawed character of the League of Nations, seen as trying to implement a universal state, advocated ‘continental states’, which took account of racial psyche, cultural heritage, and a common recognition of historical tasks. These geopolitical blocs might include Pan-Islam, Pan-Europe, Pan-America, Pan-Asia, and Russia-Eurasia. These ideas probably influenced Karl Haushofer, the German geopolitical theorist, whose doctrine in turn has influenced current Russian thinkers. (Savin, p. 390).
Samuel Huntington politicised the concept of ‘civilisation’ in Clash of Civilizations: Remaking a World Order (1996). Here we see civilisation blocs in intrinsic conflict as they pursue or resist hegemony. Globalist hegemony receives coherent opposition perhaps most of all from Shi’ite Islam and Russia. However, Dugin offers an ideology and implicit strategies intended to be broad enough to be adapted across the world: a type of global anti-globalisation. Dugin in The Theory of the Multipolar World (2012) credits Huntington with coming closest to conceptualising the ‘pole’ as the basis for a pluriversal system of international relations.
While Dugin is the most widely known and influential of the present Eurasianists, he is part of a geopolitical tradition in Russia, the ‘founding father’ being Petr Savitsky whose concept of mestortazvitie (‘place-development’) refers to the emergence of blocs as totalities comprising geographic, ethnic, economic, historical, and other factors. (Savin, p. 392). Ethnography has been an important factor. Lev Gumilev with his Ethnogenesis and the Biosphere of the Earth (2012), has provided a fascinating hypothesis on the emergence of ethnoi and the role of geography. From Germany the geopolitical theorist Carl Schmitt (‘large spaces’) provided important input.
In concluding his consideration of ‘civilisation’ Savin states that etymologically it implies a ‘process’. He refers to Norbert Elias (The Civilising Process, Basel, 1939) in stating that globalisation is one such ‘civilisational process’.
‘International politics’ is seen as a Western invention, which draws significant support from Westernised elites from the former colonies. One can point to organisations such as the African-American Institute as having selected and trained political, technocratic and managerial classes to assume leadership of the former African colonies, replacing the departing colonial civil servants with the new servants of U.S. neo-imperialism and the World Bank. Savin draws on anti-colonialist thinkers such as Franz Fanon (Black Skin, White Masks) but given the rootlessness of the managerial and technocratic classes being shaped by globalisation into what G. Pascal Zachary has approvingly called The Global Me perhaps maintaining reference to a ‘white’ ruling class’ is passé and obscures the depth of globalisation as a coagulating process of all ethnicities and cultures? We might also note that Black and Brown cultures that have been reshaped by postmodernism into subcultures such as Hip Hop are used as a means of co-opting youth in the process of globalisation, as shown in the Rivkin memorandum (Charles Rivkin, Minority Engagement Report, U.S. Embassy, Paris, 2010).
However, there are scholars within Western academia who provide depth critiques of globalisation and its Enlightenment origins, including its implications for ethno-cultural identity. John Gray in Enlightenment’s Wake: Politics & Culture at the Close of the Modern Age (1995) perceives both liberalism and Marxism as belonging to ‘secularist, rationalist, and humanist’ ‘world historical failure’ (Gray, p. 98; Savin, 400).
The implications of ecology are also identity-based: what are nations and geopolitical blocs other than the eco-systems of ethnoi from whence they are birthed, developed and sustained? Savin cites Jacob von Uexküll, founder of ecology, as stating that ‘a unitary world does not exist’. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben asserts, ‘every environment is a closed unity’ (The Open: Man & Animal, 2003, pp. 40-41; Savin, p. 401), a direct philosophical challenge to the ‘open society of Karl Popper and his protégé George Soros.; but a challenge that does not seem to deter ‘Green’ politics from embracing globalist agendas.
In tracing the origins of a non-Western approach to international relations, Savin cites the publication of the paper by A. Acharya and B. Buzan in 2010, ‘Non-Western International Relations Theory’, in Perspectives on and beyond Asia. Savin gives first place for such perspectives to the ‘Chinese school’. However, he also cites Yazing Qin who contends that there is no ‘Chinese school’. The main ideas have been taken from the West, and remain premised on the ancient ‘Tributary System’, which subordinates others to the Chinese pole. (Qing, Why is there no Chinese International Relations Theory?, in Non-Western International Relations Theory, 2010, pp. 29-31; Savin, p. 410).
Savin contends that the Chinese school is based on the 3G model: Great Learning, Global Vision, Grand Harmony, premised on Confucian doctrine.
Hindu & Muslim
Acharya (op. cit.) advocates for an Indian approach to international relations based on religious tradition. Savin mentions Swaraj (self-government) and Swadeshi (self-sufficiency) as principles still widely employed in India. (Savin, p. 413). India remains pivotal to any resistance to globalisation in this reviewer’s opinion. (Bolton, Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, 2013).
Islamic theory is based on a dichotomy of Muslim and non-Muslim states. (Savin, p. 414). This religious dichotomy is portrayed by globalist propagandists in asserting the inevitability of the ‘clash of civilisations’. However, history has shown both epochs of conflict and of accord between Islam and the West. The situation is dialectically exploited by the USA’s support for Wahhabist states, while duplicitously claiming to lead a ‘war on terrorism’ as a primary method of imposing Pax Americana. (Bolton, Zionism, Islam & the West, 2014).
The Fourth Political Theory attempts to provide a coherent philosophy on which to premise alternatives to globalisation and the Pax Americana that is premised on what us seen as passé liberal-Enlightenment dogmas from the Late West. The Fourth Political Theory is intrinsically conservative, defined as being cognisant of the importance of traditions and therefore of differences. It also inherently rejects the notion of positivism and the lineal approach to history as ‘progress’.
This conservative rejection of positivism and the concomitant industrialism that was applauded as much by Marx as by the Manchester School, has brought us to treadmill economics that has encroached upon most of the world; i.e. globalisation and what Marx predicted (approvingly) as the internationalising tendency of capitalist production. To this Savin posits ‘sustainable development’. While this is an aim of the U.N. the institution is itself a product of positivist, Enlightenment notions of ‘humanity’. The nations that comprise much of the U.N.O. are still firmly embedded in various stages of capitalism, including those that are described a socialist. Certain Muslim and Latin-socialist states, such as Cuba and Iran, are exceptions. Few function outside the orbit of the World Bank for example. Hence the neglect of environment (Savin, p. 420), and lack of an ecological perspective, that includes human cultures as constituents of unique eco-systems.
In looking for antecedents to the Fourth Political Theory, Professor Martin Heidegger plays an important role. (Savin, p. 421).
The Heideggerian concept, Dasein, can be seen as in accord with khudi and its analogous concepts in East and West. Here Dasein means a state of authentic being, where one exists between past and present, the underlying notion of the eternal, and the nexus between man and divinity.
Alexander Dugin asks, ‘can one speak of a specific Russian Dasein?’ (Savin p. 425). Every civilisation has its own concept of Dasein. For Russia it is centred on Orthodox Christianity and Eurasianism: tradition, and the coming-into-being. Savin quotes Heidegger on an ‘historical people’s’ metaphysics manifesting as metapolitics. Dasein requires a process of re-discovering for those living within post-modernism.
Savin gives examples of the influence of Heidegger, throughout Latin America, among Muslim scholars, Japanese (Kyoto School), the Buddhist equivalence of Dasein (‘true being’), and Korea. Heidegger is a bridge between East and West, between ‘abstract contemplation’ and ‘rigid rationalism’. (Savin, p. 427).
There is increasing discussion on multipolar principles implicit in ‘multilogue’ and ‘polylogue’, where even Western scholars and diplomats are searching for alternatives to unipolarity. New alliances are being considered at different levels.
Mohammed Samir Hassain, University of Pune, sees a commonality between Germany and India in opposing unipolarity. In Germany, scholarly and diplomatic quarters are discussing the concept of ‘anchor countries’ (German Development Institute, 2004; Savin, p. 433), the equivalent to Dugin’s ‘poles’, around which regional blocs might form. The European Union has potential for what high level thinkers are calling ‘strategic autonomy’. (D. Fiott, Strategic Autonomy towards European Sovereignty in Defence?, EU Institute for Security Studies, November 2018; Savin, p. 437). In particular doctrines on European continental defence, such as the European Defence Fund, are forming outside NATO.
Savin suggests that the E.U. might become ‘another West’, while there is discussion on the E.U. becoming another ‘pole’ in a multipolar world. (Savin, p. 438). Russia stands between East and West. Russia’s role with that of Germany is being widely recognised as such among strategists in both Russia and the E.U. Although Savin has discounted Spengler, like Moeller and other Weimar era conservatives, Spengler saw Germany’s future being aligned with that of Russia as the successor to the West on the world stage. (Spengler, The Two Faces of Russia & Germany’s Eastern Problems, 1922, in Prussian Socialism & Other Essays, London, 2018, pp. 111-125).
What structural forms might a multipolar world take? With talk of geopolitical and regional blocs, the impression might easily be of cumbersome bureaucratic entities obliterating local identities and imposing downward structures. However, the raison d’etre of the Eurasianist doctrine is to offer an alternative to the global uniformity; to maintain or restore every authentic identity.
Fourth Political Theory suggests geopolitical blocs as confederations of small entities. This is contrary to the Late West’s conception of ‘the banality of multiculturalism’ (Savin, p. 449), which serves to fracture and re-integrate national and cultural entities around a money nexus.
What Eurasianism suggests is along the model of the Swiss confederation, where 22 regions form an organic totality. Savin draws on the works of German thinker Leopold Kohr, who rejected the nebulousness of ‘humanity’ in favour of identities that would replace the artificial borders of nation-states (modernist liberal constructs, yet so beloved by the nationalist-right); the ‘bourgeois spirit’ as Savin calls it (Savin, p. 446).
The goal is, Savin concludes, ‘A pluriversal, harmonious order of a complex of polycentric system of systems…’