19 February 2013

Transnationalism

When I wrote the essay “Kingdom 2037” last year, describing a hypothetical future restored English Monarchy, I paid relatively little attention to international relations. My line was that the realm would follow a cautious foreign policy, maintain armed forces for defence, and resist foreign-backed rebel groups if they appeared within the country.

My unspoken assumption was that the existing “international community” was no longer in force, or at the very least was enormously weakened in comparison to the situation today.

That is an essential assumption. In simple terms, any kind of successful reaction in a significant Western country is currently completely impossible, no matter what happens inside it.

It is not simply that the offending reactionary country will be bombed, although that itself is quite probable. Even without that (in other words, even if the reactionary country has nuclear weapons), it will be subjected to constant pressure through every conduit of international activity.

Every international company that does business there, every NGO, every embassy, every media organisation, will be taking whatever opportunities exist to support rebels and to undermine the sovereign.

It is possible to resist this pressure — all you have to do is limit foreign influence wherever it arises. Foreign business must be done only through local trusted partners. Foreign NGOs are excluded or subject to extremely close surveillance and inspection. 

This can work. It is what Russia does, and China. The problem is that the effort of resisting the international community ends up dominating the state. In Russia, particularly, the decision to exclude foreign commercial competition gives such lopsided power to a handful of domestic industrialists that they become the dominant figures in the state. Rather than being the sovereign who stands above internal disputes and arbitrates them, Putin is inextricable tied to the oil and gas companies. True, he runs them instead of them running him, but, ultimately, what’s the difference?  It doesn’t have to be that way: Russia could grow economically in plenty of other areas, but the power of the resource extraction industry in the absence of meaningful foreign competition means that they cannot let that happen. The alternative paths to prosperity all pass through exposing the country to being taken over by the international community.

In fact, the measures necessary to fend off the international community are very familiar: they have gone by the name of Nazism. All foreigners and foreign influences are subject to intense suspicion — any groups of people who have strong foreign ties, such as immigrants and Jews, are necessarily treated as enemies of the state. Autarky is aimed for as a defence, and in the absence of international trade, collectivisation of industry or corporatism becomes the essential approach to managing the monopoly power of domestic industry. These are the deliberate steps the original German Nazis took — their movement was explicitly, first and foremost, about becoming independent of the international community so that Germany could escape subservience.

When I floated this idea with some actual self-described Nazis, they disagreed: “National Socialism was literally born out of the will to attempt to revert modernization and to revive Germany from its death ... as time grew and National Socialism fostered an actual ideology, it began to exist solely for the purpose of the creation of a new man.”  I don’t think it’s a large disagreement, but I wouldn’t want to unfairly misrepresent any Nazis.

Thus, by the way, the endless question of “is Nazism left or right?”. Nazism in my theory intends to be right, but if you take all the steps necessary to fend off the international community, you are not going your own way; you can go only one way — to totalitarianism, which means that the results are barely distinguishable from the progressive totalitarianism of communism. Though I have to say, that “new man” idea does sound more than a little progressive to me.

What this all means is that if the World Order survives, if the Cathedral retains control of the United States and its commercial and military power, then true reaction anywhere in the world is impossible. A disappointing conclusion, but, after all, that is what hegemony means.

It doesn’t bother me that much, because I don’t think the World Order will survive. The strategy I advocate is to prepare for its self-inflicted demise and to cause the next World Order be a reactionary one. The demise might be catastrophic, or it may be a shifting to new powers: though I’m not really keen on Nazism in itself, one thing to be said in its favour is that it is less ideological and less aggressive than liberalism is. If power shifts from the US to a non-Western centre — China, say — they are quite likely to refrain from imposing the same ideological hegemony that the US does currently, at least for a few decades.

Is that shift of power likely?  I do not take the view that China, or any other non-Western power, is presently on a course to simply grow stronger than the West. The power shift would only happen if the West were to seriously cripple itself, gradually or suddenly. There are a number of plausible paths by which that could happen. Even a balance of power would permit much more freedom to other countries than exists under the current Pax Americana

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