War of the World Island (Dugin)

In this work A. Dugin advances and develops the typology of Eternal Rome vs. Eternal Carthage–land empires against sea, mercantile empires. So his thesis: Russia cannot be interpreted apart from the Russian land (Dugin loc. 128). From this he deduces a Geopolitical theorem: “the geopolitical system depends on the position of the observer and interpreter” (loc. 147). All observers are already embedded in a context.

Russian geopolitician: geopolitics of the heartland. Russia is going to be a “civilization of Land.” Of course, this is the typology of Eternal Rome vs. Eternal Carthage/Atlantis. This ties in with Dugin’s thesis: we are always already observers. Russia, therefore, will observe itself from a certain perspective, a land-based perspective.

Dugin extends the analysis a step further: Russia as Land-Civilization means its gradual becoming in history will ultimately be on a planetary scale (loc. 188). It is a “continental Rome.” Unfortunately, this means it will be drawn into conflict with “Carthage/Atlantis,” Britain and America. As Dugin notes, “The fact that Russia is the heartland makes its sovereignty a planetary problem” (loc. 259).

He gives the reader a brief treatment of Russian history from the October Revolution to the current day (though not including Putin’s presence in Syria). Readers may chafe at his neutral account of Soviet terror, but one supposes it fits his thesis: the Soviet Union strengthened Russia’s presence as a Land Civilization.

The Politics of Yeltsin:

Retells Chesterton’s narrative of Rome vs. Carthage. Rome’s defeat of Carthage was the defeat of Moloch. Dugin sees the contrary of this happening in 1991. I disagree. Rome’s sordid, almost dead state was parallel to Yeltsin’s Russia.

New Atlanticist Geo-Politics: The structure of the bi-polar world remained but with one of the poles withdrawn (loc. 1527ff). There was no longer a West-East Axis, but a “Center-Periphery” one. Nato was placed at the center of the world and everyone else on the periphery.
Dugin’s conclusions.

(1) There is a need for an energetic, post-Putin head of state (2741).
(2) Although working for a multipolar world, Russia must have global ambitions to thwart Atlantis.

Critical of Putin

Some say Dugin is the brainchild behind Putin. This is false. Dugin criticizes Putin on a number fronts.

*Dugin says Putin should not have allowed US support in Afghanistan, as this placed more NATO bases on Russia’s border (2144).

*Dugin notes no matter how important Putin’s gains are, they are not irreversible (and thus, they are open to a NATO/Atlanticist turn; loc. 2741).

Conclusion:

The book was surprisingly good. I had heard horror stories about Dugin (see the shrill hysteria at National Review), but most of his analysis is level-headed and familiar territory to Russia readers.

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Notes on Liberal Democracy

While noting that Donald Trump is most likely a horrible person, one of the good things emerging from this political season (and to a much lesser degree from the Bernie Sanders campaign) is the fact that the “party system” in particular and “liberal democracy” in general is failing to make good on its post-Enlightenment promises.  Of course, I expect left-wing outlets to attack any criticism of liberal democracy, but I was surprised to see some anti-Trump conservatives defend liberal democracy. Moreover, they see, possibly accurately, that the attacks on liberal democracy come increasingly from the so-called “Alt Right” and from monarchists like myself.

I don’t want to identify with the Alt Right simply because too many of them are vile racists and post-Nietzscheans.  Nevertheless, in many of these conversations few have actually defined and identified liberal democracy.  Taking my cue from Matthew Raphael Johnson, I’ll give it a try.  You will note that both Establishment Republicans and Establishment Democrats agree with every one of these points.  This is why “voting” rarely changes anything.

most of these points are taken from Matthew Raphael Johnson)

(1) Commitment to a market ideology which sees the world in quantified terms (and by market I don’t necessarily mean “capitalism,” though that could be included)
(2) a web of relations that depends on social credit
(3) Commitment to representative institutions, albeit with a major caveat: liberal loyalty to representative institutions only makes sense if liberalism itself is served.
(4) commitment to some abstract idea of “universal human rights.” But of course, a universal right is often too vague to be useful.

In another essay, Johnson lists these tenets as defining liberal democracy (especially in foreign politics)

1. Liberalism alone grants legitimacy.
2. Liberal values are comprehensive and self-evidently true. They require no supporting argumentation.
3. The “global community,” is a real entity, but the “nation” is the product of “myth.” It has the right to intervene wherever “democracy” is threatened.
4. Implicitly, the American taxpayer should be coerced to pay for these actions.
5. Capitalism is the sole rational mode of production.
6. Liberal democratic capitalism should be (and is) the only ideology that has the right to be imposed and enforced with American arms.
7. The only objects that exist in the universe are individuals. Collectives are only conventions.
8. Nationalism (which is undefined here) is inherently monstrous and ruinous. This includes all forms of economic nationalism such as import substitution.
9. Only the leader of global liberalism has the right to intervene in the politics of other states. Anyone else, especially if they are against the liberal consensus, does not have this right and should be obstructed by force.
10. American influence and power, if it is controlled by liberal values, is inherently just