_ Jurij Kofner, Director of the Center for Eurasian Studies. Moscow, October 27th 2015. Translation: Don Nillo.
The essay “The Golden Background of Eurasia. The New Cold War and the Third Rome”(Goldgrund Eurasien. Der Neue Kalte Krieg und das Dritte Rom) published in early 2015 in Leipzig by Dimitrios Kisoudis, a German political scientist of Greek origin, may represent a new stage in the study of the Fourth Political Theory.
In a book of 114 pages the graduate of Freiburg and Seville universities separates myths from reality regarding the old-new confrontation between Russia and the West. He introduces the German reader to the Eurasian ideology and provides his own unique interpretation on how political theories evolved in both Russia and the West. A special interest (and my personal sympathy) is aroused by his view on the theory of liberalism and on such concepts as postmodernism, post-structuralism and eurasianism itself.
In the first chapter Kisoudis puts forward the thesis about the beginning of the new (i.e. the second) Cold War between Russia and the West. The Ukrainian conflict of 2014 is its starting point. Defining Russian-Western relations in this way the author tries to discover some differences and similarities with the first Cold War that took place from 1945 to 1991 between USSR and USA. In his comparison the researcher defines two aspects of confrontation – geopolitical (including resource-based conflicts) and ideological.
The geopolitical component has stayed the same – it is the opposition between Eurasian land power (Makkinder’s “Heartland”) and the transatlantic sea powers. Kisoudis admits that this time Russia begins with far less favorable starting conditions because it had lost the first Cold War in 1991 and thus her territory shrank as well as her ability exert influence upon the continent.
Next Kisoudis examines the contradictions in ideology. The worldview confrontation of the first Cold War was obvious, he says: the open Capitalist West versus the authoritarian Socialist East. Now, according to Kisoudis, ideological boundaries are not that clear. There indeed are evident differences in attitudes — but not along the former border between “capitalism” and “communism”.
Supporters of Washington and Moscow are represented among all three political groups: liberals, socialists and nationalists. That became apparent during Ukrainian conflict. For instance, whereas the old nationalists of Poland, the Baltic States and the Anglo-Saxon world are following the West, Italian, French, German and Greek New Rights advocate Russia. Left-wing socialist anti-imperialists also support Russia (e.g. the German Left Party, or the voluntary interbrigades fighting in Donbass), but the New Left (for example, the German so-called “anti-fascists”, Green parties or “Femen” activists) are opposing Russia since they see her, truefuly, as a bulwark of traditionalism.
But most interestingly is the fact that liberals also are divided into supporters and opponents of the modern West. Attention should be paid to the fact that Kisoudis, who writes his essay advocating Putin’s policy, considers himself a liberal. However, according to the author, it is not liberalism that dominates the Western political landscape, but its converted form – postliberalism (alas, Kisoudis doesn’t use exactly this term). He depicts modern American liberals not as liberals, but as imperialists and neocons, who, just as the Bolsheviks, wish to forcefully spread their system all over the world. The only difference is that the first believed in world revolution and the second – in the triumph of global governance and the global market. On the contrary, a true liberal prefers power of persuasion and is not inclined to spread his values and social patterns by the use of force.
Kisoudis divides modern liberals into “thick” and “thin” ones. The first, or neocons, are violently set against Russia, in every way possible they support an increase in the military budget as well as intervention in the Ukrainian and Middle Eastern conflicts (such are, for example, John McCain or the Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan couple). The second (such as Murray Rothbard, Noam Chomsky, Ron Paul) disengage themselves from other countries’ domestic problems and argue for the building of a truly liberal society in the USA.
As well as some other social scientists Kisoudis states that there is a similarity between the radical left and the neocons. In fact, American liberals are neo-trotskyists wishing the dominance of one ideology and political system – the same way as the Bolsheviks dreamed of World Revolution. The neocons are actually advocating the strengthening of state influence, even though they conceal it.
After this analysis the author tries to understand what the defining feature of new ideological confrontation between Eurasia and the Transatlantic community really is. For this purpose he appeals to Alexander Dugin, who regards liberalism as the principal reason of Western degradation and all the troubles in the world. However, Kisoudis disagrees with the Russian philosopher and rejects such opposition of “liberalism vs. traditions” as well as the thesis that moral degradation, imperialism and westernization are inevitable consequences of the liberal theory. For this purpose Kisoudis gives the example of Friedrich von Hayek, the father of the Austrian school of economics. He was a staunch opponent of Keynesianism and promoted the idea of “private money” but also emphasized the importance of traditions, because, to his opinion, “people can adequately make decisions only when using the accumulate experience of previous generations”. According to Kisoudis, the real reason for degradation in the West lies in the predominance of postmodernism. He comes to the conclusion that the actual fight takes place between those who support traditional values and those who advocate postmodernism.
What differs postmodernism from liberalism? In its time liberalism was a natural response to the rigid and unjust hierarchical system that prevailed in the Middle Ages. Thus liberal theory has its value, such as respect for human dignity, equality before the law, people’s access to governance. Though, with the transition to the postmodernist era liberalism in the West has degenerated into its extreme – postliberalism.
For a better understanding of postmodernism it is necessary to study its origins – post-structuralism, the main exponent of which was the French philosopher Michel Foucault. All the three political theories had emerged in the modern age, which was defined by structuralism. This means that every ideology has its more or less clear and coherent structure (its elements, subject and object, friends and foes, etc.). But the main feature of postmodernism is “discourse”. The control of discourse, to be exact.
Through the possession, concentration and control of all mainstream media assets in the Western states the global financial elite and high circles behind the scenes (the so-called “deep state”) started to control the discourse in society. This postmodernist elite determines the content of the social discourse, in other words — they decide what should and should not be talked about. And anyone who disagrees with the prevailant status quo will be ostracized. For postmodernism and post-structuralism the discourse is of fundamental importance, while the context pales into insignificance. The structures of the three political theories collapse, their elements randomly switch places; the emphases are also placed differently. For example, the Old Left emphasized anti-imperialism and social justice; the New Left accentuates feminism and environmentalism. As a result, this leads to standardization and the destruction of traditional values. Postmodernism also involves the fight against tradition and the elimination of borders between ideologies, nations, cultures and even the sexes. Here Kisoudis appeals to the Russian philosopher Konstantin Leontiev and his concept of “secondary blending oversimplification”, which is now observable in the West. So Eurasian Russia is opposing this exact trend and stands up for the preservation of diversity, traditional religions and cultural identities of the peoples all over the world.
For Kisoudis, the opposition between traditionalism and postmodernism makes up the major metaphysical foundation of the confrontation between Russia and the West. On the political level this corresponds to the confrontation between western “monetary socialism” and Russian “authoritarian liberalism”, he argues. This conclusion may seem surprising, but Kisoudis provides some strong evidence.
The Transatlantic states are using methods of Orwellian control and love to interfere in people’s private lives. The USA is setting quotas for African Americans to enter universities. In Europe, government dictates how many women there should be in the boards of directors. In the West in general it is the state who is mainly financing the propaganda of “LGBT values” and persecutes by law anyone who disagrees. The amount of government involvement in the economy is another indicator for Kisoudis. For instance, income tax in some European states is extremely high taking away almost half of the wages (45% in Germany). The average amount of government spending as percentage to GDP in the European Union is also about 50% or even higher (60% in Denmark and Greece). All these facts are not consistent with the liberal theory that expects a minor role of the state.
Otherwise, Russian authoritarian liberalism allows freedom in economy and domestic affairs. Russia does have opposition media (such as the publications of “Kommersant.Money”, “Kommersant.Power”, TV-channel «Rain», news on Mail.ru, etc.). Russian income tax is no more than 13%, while the state’s share in GDP is less than 38%. It is also little known outside of Russia that many patriotic Russians consider Putin’s economic policy too liberal. Authoritarianism only displays itself as a strict resistance to the weakening of traditional values and external threats to sovereignty.
One may say that “monetary socialism” is not an appropriate term. Well, by mentioning “socialism” Kisoudis tries to show the new leading role of the state within society (the “deep state”, to be precise), the coercive nature of governance techniques. “Monetary socialism” does not imply the idea of social justice. Thus, it rather should be called “monetary fascism” since it is characterized by the influence of huge transnational corporations and their lobbys covering up their policies with liberal concepts yet in fact implementing a postliberal, antidemocratic and neocolonialist agenda.
In summary the following conclusions can be drawn. The geopolitical component of the first and the second Cold Wars did not change, while the ideological confrontation assumed a different character: the new conflict is all about postmodernism versus traditions. In politics it manifests itself as the opposition between Eurasian authoritarian liberalism and Western monetary fascism. Kisoudis advocates the benefits of true liberalism. This point is very important for the supporters of Fourth Political Theory, which is supposed to integrate the best of all of the three previous political theories, not only that of socialism and nationalism (that is, of the Conservative Revolution).
The book “The Golden Background of Eurasia. The New Cold War and the Third Rome” can be recommended as highly required when studying the Forth Political Theory and Putin’s “authoritarian liberalism” – an original realization of the Eurasian philosophy that reveals Russia’s mission to defend traditional values, as well as cultural, economic and political diversity.