31 Οκτωβρίου 2015

An Agent-Based Model of the Acquisition of U.S. Client States - Part I.


Προτού περάσουμε στο πρώτο μέρος της μελέτης των Stephen Majeski (University of Washington) και David Sylvan (Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva) με θέμα «An Agent-Based Model of the Acquisition of U.S. Client States» προηγείται μια σύντομη περιγραφή της έννοιας client-state (κράτος-πελάτης) και της σχέσης του με τον πάτρωνα (patron state) [και μια συμπληρωματική αναφορά στην έννοια του «προτεκτοράτου», η οποία έχει την αξία της]. H περιγραφή είναι από το έργο Guide to International Relations and Diplomacy:

A client state is country that is economically, politically, and/or militarily dependent upon another state - usually a great power. The relationship is a bilateral, and normally beneficial one, with mutual, although different, obligations. The client state tends to be one that is diplomatically isolated, if not an actual 'pariah state', due to its policies or the circumstances of its creation. It is often militarily powerful but economically weak.

Contemporary examples of client states during the Cold War were Israel and South Korea for the United States, and Syria, Iraq, Libya and Ethiopia for the Soviet Union. But client states are not a phenomenon exclusive to the twentieth century. Nineteenth-century Europe saw the Balkan states, for example, as clients of the great powers.

The patron supplies the client with arms and uses its influence and veto on the client's behalf in the United Nations and other international organizations in exchange for the client's military and intelligence services. Thus both Israel and Syria provided their respective patrons with captured weapons, intelligence about the activities of the rival superpower in the region and access to port facilities and airfields. The client is not, however, the patron's puppet... The client is able to exercise this independence because of its regional importance as a Trojan Horse for its patron or because of support for it within the domestic political structure of the patron state.

Both superpowers (the USA and the USSR) found clients among states that were considered part of the 'periphery' in regional sub-systems due to their ethnic and historical differences from the majority of states in the region. Other states became clients when the circumstances of their creation led them to become diplomatically isolated in the international community. Often a state becomes a client because it is the enemy of the rival patron's client... However, because they had invested so much in a client, the super-power patrons were loath to terminate the relationship. They also feared that if too much was required of the client, it would attempt to seek another patron, as did Egypt in 1974-1975 and Somalia in 1977.

The United States has traditionally feared the loss of a client due to a military coup or a popular revolt overthrowing a ruler rather than due to a ruler seeking a change of patron.

Protectorates are dependent or not fully sovereign states. Because they were often deemed too weak and lacking in organizational structure to be responsible for meeting their external obligations under international law, they were legally restricted. The territorial integrity of a protectorate was guaranteed under a treaty negotiated with the protecting power. In most cases, these territories were being 'protected' from other great powers, to the benefit of the 'protecting power'. Very often, the 'protected' state formed an important link in an imperial chain, had geostrategic value and provided financial and trade benefits, allowing the great power a way of protecting its empire more economically than outright annexation or colonization would permit. Indigenous dynastic interests were generally guaranteed domestically, but external action was severely circumscribed... Attempts to establish joint protectorate control over Morocco and Ethiopia were examples of semi-protectorates, sometimes called international protectorates... Protecting powers were few in number. The imperial powers of Britain, France, Russia and the United States shared a near-monopoly in the field. A new type of subservient state came into existence in Eastern Europe under Soviet communist control after the Second World War. Essentially tie facto protectorates, they were legally independent of external control and were called 'satellites'... Partly to block the resurgence of protectorates, the United Nations Charter provides for the right of self-determination for all peoples, and a General Assembly resolution of 1960 called for the independence of all territories and the end of colonialism.

Η Hellenic Republic αποτελεί περίπτωση υποχωρητικού, υποτακτικού και μη διεκδικητικού client state το οποίο κατά περιόδους υποτροπιάζει σε χειρότερες μορφές. Την περίοδο που διανύουμε παρατηρείται η παρακμή ή η αυτονόμηση των πελατειακών κρατών ή κρατών-πελατών των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών. Το Ισραήλ, η Τουρκία και η Σαουδική Αραβία αποτελούν χαρακτηριστικές περιπτώσεις πελατειακών κρατών που αυτονομούνται ή προσπαθούν να αυτονομηθούν (και να κερδίσουν βαθμούς ελευθερίας) από τον πάτρωνα τους. Η Ελλάδα αποτελεί περίπτωση πελατειακού κράτους που παρακμάζει. Το Ιράκ, η Βοσνία-Ερζεγοβίνη και η Συρία αποτελούν περιπτώσεις κρατών-πελατών που διαλύονται (αργά ή γρήγορα, ενδογενώς ή εξωγενώς). Η Σιγκαπούρη και η Νορβηγία αποτελούν περιπτώσεις πρώην πελατειακών κρατών που αναβαθμίστηκαν στο status του κυρίαρχου κράτους.

Είτε θα γίνεις κυρίαρχο κράτος (και όχι subordinate σε υπερεθνικούς παράγοντες) είτε η μοίρα σου θα είναι η λιβανοποίηση, βοσνιοποίηση, φινλανδοποίηση, πορτορικανοποίηση σου (στο πιο «ευρωπαικό» και μεταμοντέρνο).

David Sylvan
Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva

Stephen Majeski
University of Washington

Paper prepared for presentation at the 44th Annual Convention of the International Studies. Association, Portland, February 25 - March 1, 2003


United States foreign policy in the twentieth century has arguably been built around the creation and protection of client states. This tendency both antedates the cold war and continues after its end. We lay out the elements of a theory of U.S. client state acquisition (for the entire period from 1898 to the present) based on two motives, each with several associated mechanisms: helping “endangered” states from “enemies” in the region; and “getting one’s ducks in a row” to prepare a war or set up alignments to ward off a new one. In both cases, client status is consensually arranged between the U.S. and the client; ceiling and diffusion effects may also enter into client acquisition. These mechanisms are then modelled using simulation; the model contains certain agent-based elements. Preliminary analysis of the model indicates that 1) the model generates fairly stable results; 2) it tracks the historical cycles in US client acquisition (periodic spikes) fairly well though it systematically under represents the number of clients that the US accumulates.


In a series of papers, we have argued that one of the fundamental components of U.S. foreign policy for over a century has been the acquisition and protection of client states. United States security and well-being is seen as revolving around the maintenance of particular regime types in various states; and from time to time, U.S. officials have felt it important to take on (but not, apparently, to discard) additional clients. This policy, moreover, has been largely unchanged since the U.S. first began to expand overseas. Of course, the mechanisms of U.S. client maintenance are considerably more sophisticated now than they earlier were, and the U.S. reach is now global in a way that might have been seen as exaggerated in earlier, supposedly isolationist periods. By the same token, the U.S. has in the last century gone through at least three major eras, with the Cold War as demarcator. Nonetheless, we would argue that the continuities of U.S. policy, as regards the acquisition and protection of clients, far outweigh the historical differences.

In making this claim, we have for the most part been focusing more on the maintenance of client states than on their acquisition in the first place. Thus, the U.S. reacts toward its clients in remarkably similar ways, no matter whether we are talking about Santo Domingo in 1903 or Bosnia in 1995. For example, when a client is in trouble -- say from domestic opposition seen as likely to endanger the regime type -- the U.S. will predictably opt for an escalation ladder, involving increasingly “noisy” means (whether by itself or via proxies), each taken over from tasks the client is deemed as unable to accomplish. Such means of protecting clients, we have argued, stem to a considerable degree from micro-processes of how U.S. foreign policy recommendations are put together, chosen among, and called into question. Those microprocesses are discernible over decades, and we see no sign of changes in either them or the policies they generate.

However, the fact that client states are maintained in the same way now as in the past tells us little about why they became client states to begin with. If clients were never, to paraphrase the famous phrase about the British Empire, acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness, the circumstances of their acquisition vary considerably. Some were swept up in en bloc, as part of a general policy of alliance-construction; others, gradually and with considerable trepidation, as the least bad way of responding to particular, highly specific dangers. We have shown elsewhere how much the process of client acquisition depends on the client’s being seen as having clearly demarcated place characteristics; but those characteristics, in turn, can be highly varied.

The issue, then, is whether it is possible to come up with one or more mechanisms of client state acquisition capable of accounting for the apparently broad range of U.S. motives over the last century. This paper puts forward two such mechanisms which, we argue, are at the core of client acquisition in almost every instance of its occurrence (the two, which we shall discuss below, are Israel and Saudi Arabia). Those mechanisms, in turn, give rise to temporal and spatial patterns of acquisition which track quite well actual historical patterns; they also suggest likely future scenarios and shed light on certain counterfactual situations.

This paper is divided into four parts. We begin with a conceptual discussion of what client status means and how it has worked for the United States historically. We then turn to a discussion of the two acquisition mechanisms, explaining each one and illustrating it with several examples. Next, we formalize these mechanisms as an agent-based computational model, “walking through” the model’s code (it is written in Java, and implemented in the RePast simulation environment). Finally, we present the results of the model’s simulation, both in terms of its “fit” with the historical patterns discussed above and in terms of particularly interesting trends and counterfactuals.

Client States

At least as far back as ancient Rome, powerful political units have acted through a network of clients. To the patron, the advantages of having clients rather than, say, imperial provinces are twofold: the administrative and political costs of administering clients are considerably less than those occasioned by direct rule; and to have clients (referred to by the Romans as “friends”) is significantly more flattering to one’s self-image as a free political unit than to have subjects. Counterbalancing these benefits, of course, is an obvious disadvantage: clients, by virtue of their formal independence, are often obstreperous and able to manipulate the patron for their own ends. If two or more clients enter into conflict with each other, or if they are judged to be utterly incompetent, the patron will feel compelled to step in; this, historically, is how client networks were transformed into formal empires.

The reverse is also true. When imperial provinces revolt, especially when such revolts take place simultaneously or in rapid succession, the costs of putting down the rebellion are often too high for the empire as a whole to be maintained. The temptation is then great to grant formal independence to the remaining provinces. If regimes deemed to be compliant can be set up (often staffed by former provincial officials and by bureaucrats from the metropole), provinces can be transformed into clients. This, in sum, is what the French and to a lesser degree the British succeeded in doing during the era of decolonization; it is what the Russians have been attempting after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

As these examples illustrate, client state networks also require considerable resources to maintain. Frequently, the patron needs to provide economic and military aid; and if the client in question is faced with an insurgency, the patron also needs to move troops and ships to help in stamping out the revolt. This can be an expensive proposition, particularly over long distances and in the face of well-armed rebel forces. Similarly, the costs of maintaining military bases are quite high. These various resource requirements help explain why the British engaged in successive retrenchments and why, quite apart from any concerns about democracy, the French have found it increasingly difficult to maintain their network of African clients.

For several decades, the United States has had the single largest network of client states. They fall into several, quite distinctive, categories. First come states with whom the U.S. has a formal military alliance. These include most of Latin America (via the Rio Pact); the original and some of the more recent NATO countries; Australia and New Zealand; Japan; and South Korea. A second group comprises states with whom the U.S. has intimate military ties, furnishing extensive military aid and maintaining close links with the indigenous armed forces. These include several states in the Middle East, such as Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia; they also include states with whom the U.S. formerly was allied, such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan, or with whom there are long-standing political links, such as Indonesia and, for many decades, Ethiopia. Most states in this category also receive extensive U.S. economic aid. Third come pro-Western states with whom the U.S. has close economic and military ties. These include various states in the Caribbean and Pacific, as well as several African countries, such as Uganda and, formerly, Liberia fell into this category for many decades. Since the (first) Gulf War, several states in the Red Sea or Gulf area would also be included here. Fourth are formally neutral but pro-Western states with whom the U.S. maintains not only significant economic connections but, increasingly, military links as well: Sweden is the most prominent case in point. Fifth, although their status as U.S. clients is by no means firmly cemented, are several newly independent states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, such as Bosnia, Tajikistan, and, most recently, Afghanistan. In our view, at least 60 states today are American clients.

What these states all have in common is that the maintenance of their type of regime (though not by any means the individual leaders or political groupings comprising any given regime) is a) considered by the U.S. government as a legitimate matter of concern, which b) is worth considerable political and, if need be, economic and military efforts, should it be seen as endangered. In addition, the dominant political forces in each of these states also c) consider that characteristics a) and b) are themselves normal and legitimate. This, then, is a more complete definition of client states.

In order for regime maintenance to be an American goal and for that goal to be accepted as legitimate by the regime, the U.S. must receive explicit permission to engage in surveillance. This phenomenon is at the core of the concept of a client, and serves both as a measurement criterion for categorizing states and as a distinctive feature separating patron-client relations from related phenomena such as alliances. As a measurement criterion, looking for whether or not surveillance exists leads us to treaties and executive agreements permitting the U.S. to have military attachés and other sorts of overseers, but also, and more fundamentally, to the types of activities frequently reported routinely in daily cables and other messages from the embassy to Washington. This last point is important, since in the early years of the last century, U.S. bureaucratic mechanisms were not nearly as developed as they have subsequently become (e.g., military aid programs had not yet become regularized; there were no CIA stations; and so forth). By the same token, these mechanisms have now become common, so that any kind of U.S. bilateral relations with a given country are more likely than not to involve some sort of militaryto-military contacts, even if surveillance is not terribly extensive.

Patron-client relations are conceptually distinct from alliance relations. The former, as we have said, involve oversight by the patron of the client’s internal affairs, with the client giving its assent (even if reluctantly) to this oversight. Alliances, however, tend to be restricted more to external attack and, importantly, need not involve surveillance. Hence, the U.S. can be allied to a given state, in the sense of guaranteeing its security in case of external attack, but without protecting the regime in question against many potential domestic enemies. Conversely, the U.S. can oversee the client’s performance without giving the kinds of guarantees (and weapons transfers) typically involved in alliance relations (in these cases, the client frequently nags the patron for more, and more sophisticated weapons, not to mention explicit military guarantees). Of course, most clients are also allies, and vice-versa, but the two concepts are sufficiently different that they not only should be differentiated but should also be seen as not falling along a common dimension (e.g., security).

It is important to understand that client status need not involve lining up with the patron on many foreign policy matters, nor, indeed, that relations between the two are peaceful and harmonious. Clients may and often do take a stance on various items at odds with that of the patron, and this possibility may be strengthened by understandable feelings of resentment on the part of the client at its status. Since, for the patron, what counts is maintenance of regime type; this more overriding concern may even facilitate the client blackmailing the patron. However, when push comes to shove, it is understood by both sides that the patron’s basic goal and its surveillance means are legitimate. Put in standard political science terms, we can say that the status of being a patron, while undoubtedly connected with the patron being powerful or influential, in the end is conceptually distinct. Rather, patron status is in effect a mode of governance, a kind of hegemony, and one all the effective precisely for its doubly voluntary character.

It should also be pointed out that multiple levels of patron-client relations are possible. Clients of the United States can themselves be patrons for other states. What we do exclude, for logical and practical reasons, is that a client of a client is also the client of its patron’s patron, i.e., that a country like the U.S. can, as it were, reach down directly to a client while the latter also keeps its client status via, say, a former colonial power. We rule this out simply because, given the intrusiveness of surveillance and the notion of responsibility for regime-type maintenance, it simply is not possible for two patrons to be surveilling the same client for more than a limited time (in the end, the “middle” client either solves the problem or passes it to the U.S.). A second patron may extend security guarantees to the “lower” client, but it can only do so with the consent of the “middle” client, qua patron of the “lower” client.

Most U.S. clients are states with perfectly stable regime types. They do not require obtrusive surveillance or (except for economic and military aid) significant assistance. However, if the situation is deemed to warrant it, surveillance can easily become more intensive and assistance granted. Some regimes are seen as considerably more endangered. In such cases, U.S. officials engage in active policies aimed at buttressing the regime. These policies go well beyond transferring resources; they frequently involve daily advice to politicians, bureaucrats, the military, and various other political forces in the country. Of course, certain regimes are sufficiently thin in trained administrators that they rely routinely on the U.S. for advice even when there is no imminent danger in sight. At times, however, the client is faced with a problem for which its own resources, even buttressed by U.S. aid, are insufficient. In those cases, U.S. intervention may be resorted to.

We will return to this issue below, when we discuss motives for acquiring clients. With these points in mind, we can now give a kind of stylized chronology of U.S. client acquisition. It should be kept in mind that this list is neither complete nor, as of yet, entirely verified. As we indicated, client status can only be ascertained when cable traffic is examined (and not only the cables deemed most worthy of being published by the State Department’s own historians). What we did, as a second-best alternative, is to use treaties and military base agreements, along with reading through various of the volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series, supplementing both with particular secondary sources. It will be noted that we skip over most of the 1980s, due to paucity of any kinds of primary source materials; we also surely under represent a number of small Caribbean and Pacific island states.

A Partial List of U.S. Client States, with Approximate Dates of Acquisition

1898 Cuba (ends 1959)
1900 Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Dominican Republic
1903 Panama
1939-40 Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil; Canada;
also Liberia (ends mid-1980s)
1943 China (ends 1949)
1945 Italy, Saudi Arabia
1946 Argentina, Philippines
1947 Greece, Turkey
1948 France, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Sweden, Austria; Korea; Israel
1949 West Germany
1950 Taiwan, Thailand
1951 Japan, Australia, New Zealand
1952 Ethiopia (ends 1974; resumes mid-1990s)
1953 Spain, Iran
1954 Pakistan
1955 South Vietnam (ends 1975)
1957 Lebanon (ends 1975)
1963 Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Jordan
1964 Laos
1967 Indonesia
1974 Tunisia
1976 Egypt
1977 Malaysia
1981 Singapore
1982 Belize
1984 Brunei
1991-92 Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Djibouti
1994 Uganda, Bosnia

Some notes on particular cases: South American states had mostly economic ties with the U.S. until the late 1930s, when in preparation for a possible war, swarms of military attachés were sent south and surveillance began on a large scale. Italy was occupied by U.S. troops, but was a recognized state by 1945; Truman was ready to intervene overtly to prevent a domestic Communist takeover even before the CIA’s efforts in the 1948 elections. In 1948, the Marshall Plan went into effect and its counterpart funds mechanism provided a powerful means of surveillance; interestingly, the Swiss, who participated in the Plan, were given an exemption from counterpart fund control; the Irish, who also participated, had most of their funds semi-controlled by the UK (and therefore remained a client of the UK for decades more); see Till Geiger, “Why Ireland Needed the Marshall Plan but did not Want It: Ireland, the Sterling Area and the European Recovery Program, 1947-1948,” paper, Queen’s University of Belfast. Sweden, in spite of being a neutral, participated eagerly in the Plan and also, although refusing NATO membership, established close military ties with the U.S. Dates for Japan and Australia and New Zealand are cautious, depending for the first on dates of the peace treaty and for the latter two on the economic mechanisms involved in the security arrangements negotiated that year. Iran was offered aid (and accepted some of it) earlier, but only after Mossadeq’s overthrow were full surveillance mechanisms put in place. Jordan was offered client status in the Eisenhower Doctrine but its refusal led the U.S. to continue letting Britain remain as its patron for some years further, when Hussein’s entreaties became too insistent to ignore. Indonesia could be entered a year earlier, during the immediate chaos of the countercoup, but not back in the 1950s, even when the U.S. gave up the idea of fomenting a military revolt against Sukarno. Tunisia could be as early as 1968, depending on the weight given to particular military accords. Bosnia is highly ambiguous: it was on a client trajectory (see Holbrooke’s memoirs) by 1994, but surveillance now seems devolved on the European Union. The cases of Afghanistan, Qatar, and Tajikistan are too recent (and involve too many secret agreements) to be sure if they are full-fledged clients, or merely are military bases and the recipients of security guarantees.

It is evident that these clients were not acquired in a single, continuous process. There were major waves of acquisition, following or preceding wars; there were also frequent, near-yearly acquisitions in the late 1940s, the 1950s, and portions of the 1960s and 1970s. (These two patterns will be at the core of our discussion, below, of the two motives and mechanisms for client acquisition.) By the same token, some of these cases involved formal military alliances, others, bilateral, at times informal, arrangements (for example, Israel was mostly supplied with weapons by European states throughout the 1950s and well into the 1960s; the U.S. eschewed formal military arrangements in those years; yet on an annual basis, top Israeli ministers visited Washington and bargained over weapons and economic assistance).

Just as the temporal pattern and institutional modalities of U.S. client acquisition fall roughly into two categories, so too do the statuses of those clients prior to the moment of their acquisition. On the one hand, there are a number of states which were not only independent for a long time but indeed were not clients of any other state; this is the case for many Western European states and also the South American and, to a certain degree, the Central American ones (the establishment of the state of Panama is an egregious counter-example). On the other hand, there are many states, notably in Asia and the Middle East, which used to be colonies of a European state. The U.S. “took over” many of these clients because either they were no longer under the surveillance of a patron or their former colonial master, as patron, was deemed to be incompetent in protecting them from danger. In either case, the client was facing a problem which it was unable to solve on its own, or even with the help of its European patron. In the latter circumstance, we can see the U.S. as “inheriting” the client from the European patron; in the former circumstance, the U.S. “inherits” the problem from the client itself.

Note that in its pattern of involvement in Asia and the Middle East (and to some degree in the Western Hemisphere as well), the U.S. has opted over and over for a different mode of governance. European states, for the most part, established colonies; the U.S., with rare exceptions, did not. While it is true that the Europeans have themselves set up clients (the British did this extensively in the 19th century and the French in Africa after independence), this is far less prevalent among them than it is for the U.S. There may be deep historical or ideological roots to this European/American difference; but what is clear is that the U.S. pattern is precisely a consistent pattern, with vanishingly few exceptions.

Of course, not all U.S. clients remain in that status. At times, revolutions or other domestic upheavals result in major changes in regime type, leading to the “loss” of the client. Often, the U.S. is led to intervene overtly or covertly to contain or head off such upheavals, and there are no guarantees that intervention of this sort will succeed. (The issue of intervention has until recently been the principal focus of our research.) Nonetheless, we would observe that the U.S. has a fairly successful track record: most of its clients stay in that status for many decades, and rarely require intervention. It may be that this stability is due to a kind of selection bias, in which the U.S. only becomes a patron for clients it thinks can survive, but whatever the reason, some states have been U.S. clients for over a century now. This also suggests that states do not “graduate” from client status. Even if things look stable and there is no sense of urgency, the U.S. will routinely cast a gimlet eye on elections, investment laws, and other facets of the client’s “internal” life. Hence it was that in the mid-1970s, when it appeared for a while that the PCI might win the Italian elections, Kissinger suddenly began speaking out on Italian politics. The same is true of Mitterrand’s first term in office and, quite recently, of the various assurances sought from and given by Lula in Brazil.

Finally, and with rare exceptions, it is worth noting that the U.S. client acquisition seems to have little to do with either power or profit; instead, as we will argue below, U.S. acquisition of clients was and is undertaken to maintain or restore order and stability, which were or are at that moment threatened (or potentially threatened). Of course, American policy makers are not averse to promoting economic interests, nor are they shy about projecting power. But, as various scholars have already emphasized,10 U.S. policy is that of a hegemon, who sees itself as beset by problems which it (often reluctantly) has to solve, since its clients (who themselves may be patrons) are simply unable to do so themselves. We would note that this sense of being dragged into new commitments is not uncommon among hegemons; British policy in the nineteenth century was marked by a similar sense of self.

Why and How Does the U.S. Acquire Clients? Motives and Mechanisms

From the prior discussion, it is clear that the U.S. has been in the business of acquiring and protecting clients for a long time. Why have generations of U.S. foreign policymakers chosen to acquire clients? Since 1898, and arguably before, the United States has had political, economic and security interests to foster and protect on an increasingly global scale. For sure, particular interests have emerged, evolved, and changed. Threats, created by the particular enemies of the day that threaten those interests (revolutionaries, communists, drug traffickers, authoritarian despots, narcoterriosts, religious fanatics, kidnappers, pirates, among others), have come and gone. In our view, what has been a constant, across time and space, are the overarching U.S. goals of law and order, and stability. U.S. foreign policymakers have consistently believed that their political, economic, and security interests of the day require order and stability. From time to time, of course, those interests may indicate that certain regimes should be countered or even overthrown (or, for many decades, that U.S. clients should lose their colonial empires), but such actions are always seen as a restoration or, conversely, the initial establishment of a certain kind of just international order.

In the American view, the way in which order is indicated is via the existence of states with regimes which know their place in this order and which uphold its current principles. Such regimes must be defended; otherwise order is by definition threatened. This defense is partly against external threats; but to U.S. policymakers, the principal threats to such regimes are internal. Accordingly, existing clients must be scanned and surveilled on a regular -- ideally, a daily -- basis; and such is precisely the role of the enormous U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy as it is implanted in each U.S. client.13 (Of course, this bureaucracy took quite a while to be built up, but by the late 1940s it was well in place.) But since U.S. clients may themselves have clients, those clients too should be scanned regularly to check on their health, even if this scanning might not be as frequent or as intrusive as for U.S. clients and even if it is directed more at “sub-clients” with regimes reported already to be shaky.

We originally had thought that the U.S. would not be surveilling clients of its clients (e.g., Britain’s clients) for the reasons presented above. However, a careful reading of one of the classic cases where the U.S. took over a client from its former patron (Greece in 1947) suggests that the U.S. was scanning the situation in the non-client for a year.

So too should “free agents” -- i.e., clientless states -- be scanned (though not necessarily surveilled widely and deeply), since if they are threatened or plunge into chaos, this risks spreading and undermining international order. If such signs appear in either sub-clients or free agents, then, other means failing, it is a natural step for the U.S. at least to consider solving those problems itself; and this implies taking on the actor in question as a client.

Stephen Majeski - University of Washington.
David Sylvan - Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva.

End of Part I

25 Οκτωβρίου 2015

Με αφορμή τις εκλογές στην Πολωνία.


Ξεκίνησα να γράψω ένα σημείωμα - με αφορμή τις εκλογές στην Πολωνία και την Ελβετία - που θα είχε ως κύριο θέμα του την διεύρυνση και άνοδο της «δεξιάς» (νέας, ριζοσπαστικής, νεοσυντηρητικής, ακραίας ή άλλης). Επειδή, πρώτον, μετεξελίχθηκε σε «σεντόνι» και δεύτερον, αντιμετώπισα ένα αναλυτικό χάος, αποφάσισα τελικά να γράψω ένα μικρό - αλλά σχετικά διαυγές - σχόλιο για τα επερχόμενα αποτελέσματα των εκλογών στην Πολωνία.

Πέρα από την μετακίνηση ολόκληρου του πολιτικού φάσματος προς τα «δεξιά», αυτό που παρατηρούμε γενικότερα ως τάση στην Ευρώπη (και όχι μόνο), είναι η άνοδος εναλλακτικών πολιτικών ρευμάτων που εναντιώνονται στα παραδοσιακά πολιτικά κόμματα, στο κατεστημένο (anti-establishment parties) και στο κυρίαρχο ρεύμα (mainstream). Σε αυτό το σημείο ξεκίνησα να γράφω για το Κίνημα των Πέντε Αστέρων, την νεολαιίστικη αισθητική των Nipster [neo-Nazis hipster] και της ισλαμογενούς ριζοσπαστικοποίησης [δες φώτο στο τέλος] η οποία μικρή σχέση έχει με τις παραδοσιακές «μαντίλες», παρά μάλλον με κάτι που θα μπορούσε να περιγραφεί ως «μεταμοντέρνος» αναρχοισλαμισμός (κάτι σαν ριζοσπαστικός νεοσυντηρητισμός δίχως παραδοσιοκρατικό λούκ - νομίζω πως δεν έχουμε ιδέα τι συμβαίνει στην «ισλαμιζουσα νεολαία»). Είναι δυνατόν να υπάρξει ριζοσπαστικός αντιπαραδοσιοκρατικός - νεολαιίστικος - νεοσυντηρητισμός; (ακούγεται περίεργο, το ξέρω). Όπως γίνεται κατανοητό παράτησα αυτή την προσπάθεια. Θα επανέλθω μελλοντικά. Ας δούμε προς το παρόν πιο «πεζά» και «παραδοσιακά» ζητήματα.

«Νόμος και Δικαιοσύνη» και «Συμμαχία Ευρωπαίων Συντηρητικών και Μεταρρυθμιστών»

Τα επερχόμενα αποτελέσματα στην Πολωνία δεν σχετίζονται με την προηγούμενη αναλυτική κατηγορία. Δεν ανήκουν σε αυτήν. Το κόμμα «Νόμος και Δικαιοσύνη» δεν εκφράζει κάποια εναλλακτική προς το κατεστημένο, το mainstream και τις παραδοσιακές πολιτικές. Αποτελεί μια τυπική επανάκαμψη ενός παραδοσιακού δεξιού-συντηρητικού κόμματος εξουσίας το οποίο έχει μετακινηθεί περισσότερο «δεξιά», όπως και το πολιτικό φάσμα σε ολόκληρη την Ευρώπη. Το «Νόμος και Δικαιοσύνη» θα μπορούσε να θεωρηθεί ως το πολωνικό αντίστοιχο του κόμματος «Δικαιοσύνης και Ανάπτυξης» στην Τουρκία (το κόμμα των Ερντογάν και Νταβούτογλού - προσπαθεί να - είναι το τουρκομουσουλμανικό αντίστοιχο της χριστιανοδημοκρατίας. Θα μπορούσε να χαρακτηριστεί ως «ισλαμοδημοκρατικό»). Μάλιστα οι αναλογίες-αντιστοιχίες των δύο κομμάτων, του πολωνικού και του τουρκικού, δεν περιορίζονται στο ζήτημα της ιδεολογίας, αλλά σχετίζονται και με τον διεθνή προσανατολισμό τους (που για εμένα έχει σαφώς μεγάλη σημασία), καθώς είναι περισσότερο ατλαντικά και η συμμετοχή τους στα ευρωπαϊκά θεσμικά πλαίσια αυξάνει την επιρροή των Η.Π.Α. Και τα δύο αυτά κόμματα εθνικής βάσης, τόσο το πολωνικό «Νόμος και Δικαιοσύνη» όσο και το τουρκικό «Δικαιοσύνη και Ανάπτυξη» είναι μέλη του ευρωπαϊκού κόμματος [χάρτης] «Συμμαχία Ευρωπαίων Συντηρητικών και Μεταρρυθμιστών» (Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists) το οποίο σχετίζεται με την αγγλοσαξονική επιρροή στην ανατολική Ευρώπη και του οποίου ηγείται το (Βρετανικό) Συντηρητικό Κόμμα.

Κράτη κόμματα των οποίων συμμετέχουν στην «Συμμαχία Ευρωπαίων Συντηρητικών και Μεταρρυθμιστών»

Τα κόμματα εθνικής βάσης που συμμετέχουν σε αυτό το ευρωπαϊκό κόμμα - όπως και το Civic Democratic Party, συνιδρυτής του οποίου υπήρξε ο (χ)Ουσσίτης πρώην Πρόεδρος της Τσεχίας Václav Klaus -, μπορούν να θεωρηθούν ως ευρωσκεπτικιστικά, συντηρητικά ή υπερσυντηρητικά κοινωνικά και «νεοφιλελεύθερα» οικονομικά. Ως προς την ιδεολογία τους, μπορούμε κάποια από αυτά να τα χαρακτηρίσουμε «θρησκευτικοδημοκρατικά, συντηρητικοφιλελεύθερα ή νεοσυντηρητικά», ως προς τον διεθνή προσανατολισμό τους ατλαντικά και ως προς την ευρωπαϊκή τους διάσταση ευρωσκεπτικιστικά. Είναι διαφορετικής υφής η χριστιανοδημοκρατία και ο νεοσυντηρητισμός της «Χριστιανοδημοκρατικής Ένωσης» (CDU) και των κομμάτων εθνικής βάσης που συμμετέχουν στο «Ευρωπαϊκό Λαϊκό Κόμμα» από τη μια μεριά, και του «Νόμος και Δικαιοσύνη» και της «Συμμαχίας Ευρωπαίων Συντηρητικών και Μεταρρυθμιστών» από την άλλη. Οι κυβερνήσεις «μεγάλου συνασπισμού» - ή οι συμμαχίες του «κεντρισμού» - αποτελούνται από τους ευρωπαϊστές «χριστιανοδημοκράτες, δεξιούς ή/και συντηρητικούς» του «Ευρωπαϊκού Λαϊκού Κόμματος» έχοντας ως συνιστώσα τους ευρωπαϊστές σοσιαλδημοκράτες του «Ευρωπαϊκού Σοσιαλιστικού Κόμματος» (η «κεντροαριστερά», λοιπόν, νερώνει το ιδεολογικό κρασί της σε ότι αφορά μια συγκεκριμένη «δεξιά». Αυτό, από μόνο του, δημιουργεί μια πρώτη ανισορροπία και ένα επιπλέον κενό στο ιδεολογικό και πολιτικό φάσμα και μεταθέτει την αντιπαράθεση από το δίπολο «Αριστερά-Δεξιά» στο δίπολο «Ευρωσκεπτικισμός-Φιλοευρωπαϊσμός»).

Να τονίσω πως το υπερ-δεξιό νεοσυντηρητικό ουγγρικό κόμμα Fidesz υπό τον Viktor Orbán (το οποίο συχνά παραλληλίζεται με το πολωνικό «Νόμος και Δικαιοσύνη») είναι μέλος του «Ευρωπαϊκού Λαϊκού Κόμματος» και όχι της «Συμμαχίας Ευρωπαίων Συντηρητικών και Μεταρρυθμιστών». Μια διαφορά που έχει τη σημασία της καθώς είναι αδιανόητο για ένα κόμμα που συμμετέχει στην ατλαντική και αγγλοσαξονίζουσα «Συμμαχία Ευρωπαίων Συντηρητικών και Μεταρρυθμιστών» να είναι θετικά προσκείμενο προς τη Ρωσία.


Με βάση την προηγούμενη προσέγγιση, μια αδιαφόριστη σύγκριση ανάμεσα στο «Εθνικό Μέτωπο» της Γαλλίας (κράτος-μέλος της Ε.Ε και της Ευρωζώνης), στο «Νόμος και Δικαιοσύνη» της Πολωνίας (κράτος-μέλος της Ε.Ε όχι όμως της Ευρωζώνης) και στο Κόμμα του Ελβετικού Λαού (κράτος που δεν είναι μέλος ούτε της Ε.Ε ούτε της Ευρωζώνης) μπορεί να αποδειχθεί παραπλανητική. Ναι μεν φανερώνει γενικότερες τάσεις, αλλά θολώνει το τοπίο ως προς τα αίτια, τα συμφέροντα, την κοινωνική σύνθεση, τις διεργασίες, τα κίνητρα και τις επιδιώξεις.

Θεωρώ πως όταν εξετάζονται οι πολιτικές εξελίξεις στο σύνολο της Ευρώπης θα πρέπει να σταθμίζονται -τουλάχιστον- οι εξής παράγοντες:

Η μεταπολεμική διχοτόμηση-κατοχή της Ευρώπης υπό τις Η.Π.Α και τη Ρωσία.

Η ολοένα και μεγαλύτερη διαφοροποίηση ανάμεσα στα κράτη-μέλη της Ευρωζώνης και στα υπόλοιπα κράτη-μέλη της Ε.Ε.

Η διαφοροποίηση ανάμεσα σε κράτη-δανειστές και κράτη-οφειλέτες.

Η απότομη αποσύνδεση - και υπερεθνικοποίηση - των παραδοσιακών εθνικών κομμάτων από τα εθνικά κοινωνικά σώματα κατά την περίοδο της «μονοπολικής στιγμής» κυριαρχίας των Η.Π.Α.

Η άνοδος εναλλακτικών πολιτικών τάσεων εναντίωσης στα παραδοσιακά πολιτικά κόμματα, στο κατεστημένο και στο κυρίαρχο ρεύμα (anti-establishment/mainstream parties).

Η αλλαγή της ισορροπίας δυνάμεων ανάμεσα σε υπερεθνικό και εθνικό επίπεδο εντός της Ε.Ε (και οι αλλοιώσεις που αυτή επιφέρει στα εθνικά πολιτικά συστήματα. Χαρακτηριστική τελευταία περίπτωση η άρνηση σχηματισμού κυβέρνησης από τον Πρόεδρο της Πορτογαλίας).

Το «γιατί» όλων των προηγούμενων έχει εξεταστεί κατά καιρούς και αποτελεί θέμα μελλοντικού σημειώματος. Δίχως τους προηγούμενους παράγοντες και δίχως αναλυτική εκλέπτυνση, η γενική αναφορά στη διεύρυνση της «δεξιάς» (νέας, ριζοσπαστικής, νεοσυντηρητικής, ακραίας ή άλλης) οδηγεί σε θολούρα και χονδροειδή συμπεράσματα δίχως ιδιαίτερη εσωτερική συνοχή.

Για περαιτέρω ιχνηλάτηση και πληρέστερη προοπτική

Περί «Ευρωσκεπτικισμού» - μέρος α´. Η περίπτωση του «Ευρωρεφορμισμού».

Αλλαγή ισορροπίας δυνάμεων ανάμεσα σε υπερεθνικό και εθνικό επίπεδο εντός της Ε.Ε.

Ο «κεντρισμός» ως οικονομικο-πολιτικός μονόλογος και η πολιτιστική αυτοχθονία ως πολιτική πολυφωνία. Εισαγωγή στις έννοιες του πολιτικού και πολιτιστικού «προστατευτισμού».

Explaining the Rapid Rise of the Xenophobic Right in Contemporary Europe.

I) Σύντομη αναφορά στις κυρίαρχες ιδεολογίες και II) την άνοδο του «εθνικισμού» στην «Ευρώπη».

From Nations to Provinces: The Demographic Collapse of Southern and Eastern Europe.

The changing political map of Europe: how political shifts have altered the map of Europe.

Υπερεθνικότητα (supranationalism), διακυβερνητισμός (intergovernmentalism), κυριαρχία (sovereignty) και αυτοδιάθεση (self-determination). Εισαγωγή.

Με αφορμή μια επισήμανση του Joschka Fischer. Κυριαρχία, ηγεμονία, εθνικό κράτος και «Ευρώπη».

«Γκωλισμός» (Gaullism) Και «Ευρωπαϊσμός». Σύντομο Σχόλιο.

Χριστιανοδημοκρατία, ορντολιμπεραλισμός και «Ευρώπη». Εισαγωγικό σχόλιο.

Το τέλος τής χριστιανοδημοκρατίας. Τι σημαίνει για την Ευρώπη η πτώση τού κινήματος

Ο ΟρντοΛιμπεραλισμός ως οικονομική Θεολογία της Τάξης και επικοινωνιακός λόγος.

Εἶπα καί ἐλάλησα, ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἒχω. Ηγεμονισμός και κυριαρχία. Μια αναφορά.

Περί «λαϊκισμού». Σύντομη αναφορά.

Ένα μοιραίο -ιστορικό- σφάλμα;

Μπορεί να υπάρξει ριζοσπαστικός αντιπαραδοσιοκρατικός -νεολαιίστικος- νεοσυντηρητισμός;

24 Οκτωβρίου 2015

Greece, Europe and sovereignty.

By Jacques Sapir
Note kindly translated by Anne-Marie de Grazia

What image will the European Union leave behind when the Greek crisis is over? Indeed, whatever the outcome of this crisis, whether it ends with a default of Greece and a probable exit from the Eurozone, or by the acknowledgement of the soundness of the Greek position and a political treatment of the debt, or with a capitulation of the Greek government, the consequences of this crisis for the EU and for its image will run very deep. The crisis will have brought to light the opacity of the decision processes within the EU as well as in the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank. It will have stressed the anti-democratic character of numerous decisions and its profound aversion for the sovereignty of peoples. The European Union, without realizing it, has taken on the role of the defunct Soviet Union in developing the equivalent of a doctrine of “limited sovereignty.” Therefore, whatever the issue of the crisis, its impact on the EU’s image will be disastrous.

A non-dialog and its foundations

The management of this crisis has been disastrous, but it is a disaster for which the European Commission carries the full responsibility. As soon as the new Greek government (the alliance between SYRIZA and the sovereignists from ANEL) came to power, it became evident that the framework of the negotiations could not be the one of the «memorandum». This reality was turned down by the negotiators of the Eurogroup who insistently sought to bring back the Greek government into the very framework which it was rejecting. The European Commission and the diverse European “institutions” pretended to believe that the negotiations bore on the amounts of the debt, when the Greek government was proposing to get out of this logic of aid and to treat the problem of the debt politically, as was done with the German debt in 1953. The refusal on the part of the Commission to pay attention to what the Greek government was saying has led to these negotiations transforming themselves into what the Greek Minister of Finances, M. Yanis Varoufakis, is calling a «war» [1]. As could be expected, this has led to a hardening of Greece’s position. Presently, we are witnessing a de facto alliance between the left of SYRIZA with the sovereignists of ANEL, an alliance which largely determines the attitude of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras [2].

If we are today at the brink of the abyss, it’s mostly because the European Union too has followed in these negotiations aims which were political: to bring Greece to bend, so as to guarantee that the austerity framework as it is wanted by Germany and by the countries who have taken on the role of vassals – such as of Spain, France and Italy – cannot be put into question by democratic means. Progressively, during the spring of 2015, it has become evident that what the European Union was seeking was not an agreement with Greece, but a surrender in mid-battle of the Greek government. Whatever the final result of these «negotiations,» the European peoples will have understood that on the side of Brussels there was only a Punic faith, and that Mr Juncker has in mind merely a Carthaginian peace.

From this point of view, and this is of enormous importance, the European Union has lost the image battle. It has revealed itself such as it is at the core: a structure of oppression, a deeply undemocratic ensemble. The reputation of the European Union is forthwith stained by its behaviour towards Greece.

The European Union as it is

The European Union was presenting itself as a new construct, neither a «super-State,» nor a mere association. In affirming peremptorily, in the words of M. Barroso, that the EU is a project «sui generis» [3], the European leaders exonerate themselves of all democratic control and in so doing they are burying the principle of national sovereignty, yet without replacing it with anything else. This is the arbitrariness of power in its nakedness. It was reaffirmed, in the most brutal way, by Jean-Claude Juncker, successor of the ineffable Barroso at the head of the European Commission: «There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties» [4]. This revelatory declaration dates back to the Greek elections of January 25th 2015, which saw SYRIZA’s victory. In a few words, all is said. Constitutional Law, in other words the norms by which we give ourselves rules in order to organize our lives in a community, normally concentrates on the question of Sovereignty.

However, this is the question which the oligarchs of Brussels and Frankfurt are wishing would go away. We could well see that the scheme developed, consciously or unconsciously, in Brussels and which reveals itself in the discourse of Barroso as well as in the declaration of Juncker, has no other end than to exclude sovereignty and to leave the leaders of the European Union without democratic control over their actions. But Juncker’s declaration goes even further [5]. It refuses any country the right to reexamine decisions taken in treaties. We are indeed already today within the framework of a «limited sovereignty». These terms pick up on the discourse of the Soviet Union concerning the Eastern European countries in 1968 at the time of intervention of the Warsaw Pact in Prague. They purport to consider the member states of the European Union as colonies, or more precisely, as «dominions» within the frame of the Commonwealth, whose sovereignty was subjected to that of the home country (Great Britain). Except that in the case in point there is no home country. The European Union would therefore be a colonial system without a home country. And maybe that it is even a colonialism by procuration. Behind the image of the supposedly united Europe which is now divided in fact by the European institutions, one can make out the looming profile of the United States, before whom Brussels steadfastly gives way, as we have seen on the question of the Transatlantic Treaty, or TAFTA, or the Ukrainian crisis.

Bring back sovereignty, rebuild the State, re-found democracy

This revelation of the true nature of the European Union is leading some authors to compare it to a «soft fascism» [6] Laurent de Sutter, a Law professor and editorial manager at the Presses Universitaires de France, gives the following explanation: «This generalized delirium manifested by the European authorities should be investigated. How come it spreads itself out so shamelessly before our eyes? Why does it go on pretending to find reasons for itself, when these reasons no longer make any sense – are only empty words, hollow slogans and inconsistent logic? The answer is simple: it is indeed fascism. It is a question of providing for oneself an ideological cover that is purely conventional, a discourse which one pretends to support, in order, in fact, to realize an altogether different operation in reality» [7].

We must then draw all the consequences from this, even if the formula «soft fascism» can be shocking. It is clear at present that the fight aiming at the recovery of sovereignty is an essential prerequisite. We will be able to debate on important questions only once this sovereignty will be established and the State reconstructed. This is why we must greet the decision, however belated, of Jean-Pierre Chevènement to leave the Mouvement Républicain et Citoyen (which he had founded) in order to position himself in a space for debate transcending «…historic sensitivities because one will never get France out of the rut without this » [8]. It is clear from now on that the divergences will no longer happen along a «right-left» axis, at least, not so long as the question of sovereignty will not be decided. «There is nothing irremediable except the loss of the State» Henri IV has said [9]. When he made this declaration in front of the judges in Rouen, a Parliament at that time being an assembly of judges, he gave to understand that a superior interest imposed itself on particular interests and that the individuals’ pursuit of their legitimate aims could not be done to the detriment of the common goal of living in a society. In reclaiming the sense of the Nation, he put an end to civil war. This is where we have arrived at today. One may deplore it, but we must acknowledge it and draw the essential conclusions.

Clearly, today a united front of sovereignists should be coming together. Contrarily to what one may think, this is not an easy formula. As any united front, it is not meant to be a magic formula producing a fake unanimity, but a tactical instrument aiming at a precise political goal. It will impose, in due time, that one distinguish well the critiques which could be raised within the front from those which we should reserve for our enemies.

Jacques Sapir

[1] http://www.euractiv.com/sections/euro-finance/varoufakis-greeces-creditors-have-turned-negotiations-war-315247

[2] Evans-Pritchard A., « Syriza Left demands ‘Icelandic’ default as Greek defiance stiffens », The Telegraph, 14 juin 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11673989/Syriza-Left-demands-Icelandic-default-as-Greek-defiance-stiffens.html

[3] Manuel Barroso, Barroso J-M., Speech by President Barroso: “Global Europe, from the Atlantic to the Pacific”, Speech 14/352, speech given at Stanford University on May 1st, 2014.

[4] Juncker J-C, « La Grèce doit respecter l’Europe», Le Figaro, 29 janvier 2015, http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2015/01/28/01003-20150128ARTFIG00490-jean-claude-juncker-la-grece-doit-respecter-l-europe.php

[5] See the analysis by C. Delaume, « Du traité constitutionnel à Syriza : l’Europe contre les peuples », in Le Figaro-Vox, 2 février 2015, http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/politique/2015/02/02/31001-20150202ARTFIG00405-du-traite-constitutionnel-a-syriza-l-europe-contre-les-peuples.php

[6] De Sutter L., « La raison délirante de l’Europe, un nouveau fascisme mou ? », in Libération, 10 février 2015, http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2015/02/10/la-raison-delirante-de-l-europe-un-nouveau-fascisme-mou_1199605

[7] Idem.

[8] Le Figaro, « Chevènement veut un «mouvement d’idées» allant de Mélenchon à Dupont-Aignan », 15 juin 2015, http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/le-scan/citations/2015/06/15/25002-20150615ARTFIG00090-chevenement-eut-un-mvouvement-d-idees-allant-de-melenchon-a-dupont-aignan.php

[9] Discours de Henri IV au Parlement de Rouen en 1597.

23 Οκτωβρίου 2015

”The West and Russia - A Controlled Catastrophe”. Alexander Zinoviev interview (1999 French Figaro Magazine).

The End of Communism in Russia Meant the End of Democracy in the West. The modern epoch is not only post-communist, it is also post-democratic! “The West wanted and programmed the Russian catastrophe. I read documents and participated in the research, which under the guise of ideological struggle worked towards the destruction of Russia.”

Alexander Zinoviev, along with Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov, was one of the three great intellectual giants who became dissidents during the late Soviet period. This remarkable and prophetic interview was originally published in 1999 in the French Figaro Magazine. Its original title was: ”The West and Russia - A Controlled Catastrophe”

An annual conference attended by Russian and foreign luminaries and Zinoviev fans in memory of Zinoviev's work will be held in Moscow on October 27.Translated from Russian especially for RI by Sergei Malygin and Andrey Medvedev. Alexander Zinoviev was exiled from the Soviet Union with his wife and daughter on 6th August 1978, principally on account of his writings on the nature of Soviet communism. They spent the next twenty years based in Munich. On 30th July 1999 they returned to Moscow, principally on account of his writings on the West. Zinoviev died in 2006 and his remains are buried in the Novodeviche convent. These few lines suggest that he must have been a remarkable man. He was. Born in 1922 to a Russian peasant family, he was the sixth of eleven children who became an international phenomenon in a variety of fields: philosophy (particularly in the field of many-valued logic), literature (novels, novellas, poetry), politics, sociology, and painting. The two books which, for me, best illustrate the reasons for his exile and rehabilitation are, respectively, The Reality of Communism and The West. This, Zinoviev’s last interview before returning to Russia provides an excellent example of his unmatched forensic gifts as a sociologist. I look forward to sharing with friends of RI further details of the life and work of Aleksander Aleksandrovich in future columns.

Michael Kirkwood. Leading specialist on Zinoviev, professor emeritus, University of Glasgow.

The West and Russia - A Controlled Catastrophe

Q. With what feelings are you returning home after such a long exile?
A. With a feeling that I once left a strong, respected, even awe-inspiring power. Returning now, I found a defeated country in ruins. Unlike others, I would never have left the USSR if I had had a choice. Emigration was a real punishment for me.
Q. Nevertheless, you were welcomed with open arms here! (in Germany - Ed. Note)
A. That is true… But despite the triumphant recognition and the worldwide success of my books, I have always felt like a stranger here.
Q. After the collapse of communism the Western system has become the main focus of your research. Why?
A. Because what happened was what I had predicted: the fall of communism turned into the breakup of Russia.
Q. So the fight with communism was a conspiracy to destroy Russia?
A. Precisely. I say this because once I was an unwitting accomplice of this action that I found shameful. The West wanted and programmed the Russian catastrophe. I read documents and participated in the research, which under the guise of ideological struggle worked towards the destruction of Russia. This became so unbearable for me that I could no longer stay in the camp of those who destroy my people and my country. The West is not a stranger to me, but I consider it an enemy empire.
Q: Have you become a patriot?
A: Patriotism does not concern me. I received an international upbringing and I remain loyal to it. I cannot even say whether I love Russians and Russia or not. I am part of them. Today’s suffering of my people is so horrible that I cannot stand watching them from afar. The barbarity of globalization manifests itself in many diverse, unacceptable ways.
Q: Nevertheless, many former Soviet dissidents speak about their former homeland as a country of human rights and democracy. Now that this point of view has become commonly accepted in the West, you are trying to refute it. Isn’t there a contradiction here?
A: During the Cold War, democracy was a weapon in the fight against communist totalitarianism. Today we understand that the Cold War era was the history of the West’s  apogee. During that time the West had it all: unprecedented growth of wealth, true freedom, incredible social progress, colossal scientific and technological achievements. But at the same time the West was imperceptibly changing. The timid integration of developed countries launched at that time has developed into the internationalization of the economy and the globalization of power that we are witnessing now. Integration may help the growth of common good and have a positive impact if it is driven by the legitimate aspiration of fraternal people to unite, for example. But the integration in question was conceived from the beginning as a vertical structure strictly controlled by a supranational power. Without a successful Russian counter-revolution against the Soviet Union, the West could not have started the process of globalization.
Q: So, the role of Gorbachev was not positive?
A: I look at things from a slightly different angle. Contrary to common belief, Soviet communism did not collapse because of internal reasons. Its collapse is certainly the greatest victory in the history of the West. An unheard of victory which, let me say it again, can establish a unitary power monopoly on a planetary scale. The end of communism also signalized the end of democracy. The modern epoch is not only post-communist, it is also post-democratic! Today we are witnessing the establishment of democratic totalitarianism, or, if you will, totalitarian democracy.
Q: Does not it all sound a little absurd?
A: Not at all. Democracy requires pluralism and pluralism implies an existence of at least two more or less equal forces which oppose each other and at the same time influence each other. During the Cold War there was world democracy, global pluralism, with two opposing systems: capitalist and communist, plus other countries with an amorphous system which belonged to neither. Soviet totalitarianism was sensitive to Western criticism. In turn, the Soviet Union influenced the West, in particular through the latter’s own communist parties. Today we live in a world dominated by one single force, one ideology and one pro-globalization party. All of this together began to take shape during the Cold War, when superstructures gradually appeared in various forms: commercial, banking, political and media organizations. Despite their different fields of activity, what they had in common was essentially their transnational scope. With the collapse of communism they began to rule the world. Thus, Western countries ended up in the dominant position, but at the same time they are now in a subordinate position as they gradually lose their sovereignty to what I call the supra-society. The planet-wide supra-society consists of commercial and non-commercial organizations whose influence extends far beyond individual states. Like other countries, the Western countries are subordinated to these supranational structures. This is despite the fact that the sovereignty of states was also an integral part of pluralism and hence of democracy on a global scale. Today’s ruling supra-power suppresses sovereign states. The European integration unfolding in front of our very eyes is also leading to the disappearance of pluralism within this new conglomerate in favor of supranational power.
Q: But do not you think that France and Germany remain democracies?
A: Western countries got to know true democracy during the Cold War. Political parties had genuine ideological differences and different political programs. The media also differed from each other. All this had an impact on the lives of ordinary people contributing to the growth of their wealth. Now this has come to an end. A democratic and prosperous capitalism with socially oriented laws and job security was in many ways thanks to a fear of communism. After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, a massive attack on the social rights of citizens was launched in the West. Today the socialists who are in power in most European countries are pursuing policies of dismantling the social security system, destroying everything that was socialist in the capitalist countries. There is no longer a political force in the West capable of protecting ordinary citizens. The existence of political parties is a mere formality. They will differ less and less as time goes on. The war in the Balkans was anything but democratic. Nevertheless, the war was perpetrated by the socialists who historically have been against these kinds of ventures. Environmentalists, who are in power in some countries, welcomed the environmental catastrophe caused by the NATO bombings. They even dared to claim that bombs containing depleted uranium are not dangerous for the environment, even though soldiers loading them wear special protective overalls. Thus, democracy is gradually disappearing from the social structure of the West. Totalitarianism is spreading everywhere because the supranational structure imposes its laws on individual states. This undemocratic superstructure gives orders, imposes sanctions, organizes embargos, drops bombs, causes hunger. Even Clinton obeys it. Financial totalitarianism has subjugated political power. Emotions and compassion are alien to cold financial totalitarianism. Compared with financial dictatorship, political dictatorship is humane. Resistance was possible inside the most brutal dictatorships. Rebellion against banks is impossible.
Q: What about a revolution?
A: Democratic totalitarianism and financial dictatorship rule out the possibility of social revolution.
Q: Why?
A: Because they combine omnipotent military power with a financial stranglehold. All revolutions received support from outside. From now on this is impossible because there are no sovereign states, nor will there be. Moreover, at the lowest level the working class has been replaced with the unemployed class. What do the unemployed want? Jobs. Therefore, they are in a less advantageous position than the working class of the past.
Q: All totalitarian systems had their own ideology. What is the ideology of the new society you call post-democratic?
A: The most influential Western thinkers and politicians believe that we have entered the post-ideological epoch. This is because by “ideology” they mean communism, fascism, nazism, etc. In reality, the ideology, the super-ideology of the Western world, developed over the last fifty years is much stronger than communism or national socialism. A western citizen is being brainwashed much more than a soviet citizen ever was during the era of communist propaganda. In ideology, the main thing is not the ideas, but rather the mechanisms of their distribution. The might of the Western media, for example, is incomparably greater than that of the propaganda mechanisms of the Vatican when it was at the zenith of its power. And it is not only the cinema, literature, philosophy - all the levers of influence and mechanisms used in the promulgation of culture, in its broadest sense, work in this direction. At the slightest impulse all who work in this area respond with such consistency that it is hard not to think that all orders come from a single source of power. It was enough to decide to stigmatize General Karadžić or President Milošević or someone else for the whole planetary propaganda machine to start working against them. As a result, instead of condemning politicians and NATO generals for violation of all existing laws, the vast majority of Western citizens is convinced that the war against Serbia was necessary and just. Western ideology combines and mixes ideas based on its needs. One of these ideas is that Western values and lifestyle are the best in the world! Although for most people on the planet these values have disastrous consequences. Try to convince Americans that these values will destroy Russia. You will not be able to. They will continue to assert the thesis of universalism of Western values, therefore following one of the fundamental principles of ideological dogmatism. Theorists, politicians and media of the West are absolutely sure that their system is the best. That is why they impose it around the world without a doubt and with a clear conscience. Western man as the carrier of these highest values is therefore a new superman. The term itself is a taboo, but It all comes down to this. This phenomenon should be studied scientifically. But I dare to say that it has become extremely difficult to conduct scientific research in some areas of sociology and history. The scientist who desires to research mechanisms of democratic totalitarianism will face extreme difficulties. He will be made into an outcast. On the other hand, those whose research serves the dominant ideology are flooded with grants while publishing houses and media are fighting for the right to work with such authors. I have personally experienced it  when I have been teaching and working as a researcher at foreign universities.
Q: Does not this super-ideology you dislike, have ideas of tolerance and respect for others?
A: When you listen to representatives of the Western elite, everything seems so pure, generous and respectful to people. Doing so they use the classic rule of propaganda: hide the reality behind sweet talk. However it is enough to turn on the TV, go to the movies, open a bestselling book or listen to popular music to realize the opposite: the unprecedented dissemination of the cult of violence, sex and money. Noble speeches are designed to hide these three (and there are more) pillars of totalitarian democracy.
Q: What about human rights? Is it not the West who honors them the most?
A: From now on the idea of human rights is increasingly under pressure. Even the purely ideological thesis that these rights are intrinsic and inseparable today will not sustain even the  first stage of a thorough analysis. I am ready to subject  Western ideology to the same scientific analysis that I did with  communism. But this is a long conversation, not for today’s interview.

Q: Does Western ideology have a key idea?
A: The idea of globalization! In other words, world domination! Since this idea is rather unpleasant, it is hidden under lengthy phrases about planetary unity, transformation of the world into one integrated whole… In reality, the West has now commenced work on structural changes across the whole planet. On the one hand Western society dominates the world, on the other hand it itself is being rebuilt vertically with the supranational power on the very top of the pyramid.
Q: World government?
A: Yes, if you will.
Q: To believe in it, doesn’t that mean to be a victim of delusional fantasies about global conspiracy?
A: What conspiracy? There is no conspiracy. The world government is controlled by the heads of well known supranational economic, financial and political structures. According to my estimates, this super-society, now ruling the world, has about fifty million people. Its center is the United States. The countries of Western Europe and some former Asian “dragon” countries are its basis. Other countries are dominated under a tight financial and economic ranking. This is the reality. Regarding propaganda, it presumes that the creation of world government under control of the world parliament is desirable because the world is a big brotherhood. All these are just stories designed for the plebs.
Q: The European Parliament as well?
A: No, because the European Parliament exists. But it is naive to believe that the European Union was a result of the good will of the governments of the member states. The European Union is a weapon for the destruction of national sovereignties. It is part of the projects developed by supranational organisms.
Q: The European commonwealth changed its name after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As if to replace the Soviet Union, it was called  the “European Union”. After all, it could be called differently. Like bolsheviks, European leaders call themselves commissioners. LIke bolsheviks they head commissions. The last president was “elected” being the only candidate 
A: We must not forget that the process of social organization is subject to certain rules. To organize a million people is one thing, to organize ten million is another, to organize a hundred million is a very hard task. To organize five hundred million people is a task of colossal proportions. It is necessary to create new administrative bodies, to train people who will manage them and to ensure their smooth functioning. This is the primary task. In fact, the Soviet Union is a classic example of a multinational conglomerate led by a supranational management structure. The European Union wants to achieve better results than the Soviet Union! That is justified. Even twenty years ago I was stunned by the fact that so-called flaws of the Soviet system were even more developed in the West.
Q: Like what?
A: Planning! The Western economy is infinitely more planned than the economy of the USSR was ever planned. Bureaucracy! In the Soviet Union 10 to 12% of the active population worked in the country‘s management and administration field. In the US this number is 16 to 20%. However the USSR was criticized for its planned economy and the burden of bureaucratic apparatus. Two thousand people worked in the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The Communist Party apparatus reached 150 thousand workers. Today in the West you will find dozens, even hundreds of enterprises in industrial and banking sectors employing more people. The bureaucratic apparatus of the Soviet Communist Party was negligibly small compared with the staff of large transnational corporations of the West. In fact, we must recognize that the USSR was mismanaged because of the lack of administrative staff. It was necessary to have two to three times more administrative workers! The European Union is well aware of these problems and therefore takes them into account. Integration is impossible without an impressive administrative apparatus.
Q: What you say is contradictory to the ideas of liberalism promoted by European leaders. Do you not think that their liberalism is just a show?
A: The administration has a tendency to grow greatly which is dangerous in itself. It knows that. Like any organism it finds antidotes to continue its normal functioning. A private initiative is one of them. Another antidote is  social and individual morality. Applying them,  power fights self-destructive tendencies. So it invented liberalism to create a counterweight to its own gravity. Today, however, it is absurd to be a liberal. The liberal society no longer exists. The liberal doctrine does not reflect the realities of the unprecedented era of concentration of capital. The movement of huge financial resources does not take into accounts the interests of individual states and peoples consisting of individuals. Liberalism implies a personal initiative and taking of financial risks. Today any business needs money provided by banks. These banks, whose numbers are diminishing, implement a policy which is by its nature dictatorial and manipulative. Business owners are at their mercy because everything is subject to lending and therefore is under the control of financial institutions. The importance of the individual - the basis of liberalism - is reduced day by day. Today it does not matter who heads this or that company, this or that country: Bush or Clinton, Kohl or Schröder, Chirac or Jospin, what is the difference?
Q: The totalitarian regimes of the 20th century were extremely cruel, which cannot be said about Western democracy.
A: It’s not the means that are important, but the end result obtained. Would you like an example? In the struggle against Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union lost 20 million people (according to the latest figures of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation – 27 million. - Ed. Note) and suffered tremendous destruction. During the Cold War, a war without bombs and guns, there were a lot more losses any way you look at it! Over the last decade the life expectancy of Russians dropped by ten years! The death rate is much higher than the birth rate. Two million children do not sleep at home. Five million school-age children do not attend school. There are 12 million registered drug addicts. Alcoholism has become universal. 70% of young people are not suitable for military service due to various physical defects. These are the direct consequences of the defeat in the Cold War, followed by a transition to a Western lifestyle. If this continues, the population will drop rapidly at first from 150 million to 100 million, and then to 50 million. Democratic totalitarianism will surpass all previous totalitarian regimes.
Q: Through violence?
A: Drugs, poor nutrition, and AIDS are much more effective than military violence. Although after the immense force of destruction of the Cold War, the West invented a “humanitarian war”. The military campaigns in Iraq and Yugoslavia are two examples of collective punishment and retaliation on an exceedingly large scale, while the propaganda machine shapes them as a “good cause” or a “humanitarian war”. Turning the victims of violence against themselves is another, different approach. An example of its use is the Russian counter-revolution of 1985. However, when they unleashed the war in Yugoslavia, the countries of Western Europe led war against themselves.
Q. In your opinion, the war against Serbia was also a war against Europe?
A. Absolutely right. In Europe there are forces that can compel it to act against itself. Serbia was chosen because it resisted the ever-expanding globalization. Russia could be next on the list. Before China…
Q: In spite of its nuclear arsenal?
A: Russia’s nuclear arsenal is huge, but it is outdated. Besides, the Russians are morally disarmed and ready to surrender… I believe that the monstrosity of the 21st century will surpass everything that mankind has seen to this day. Just think about the coming global war on Chinese communism. To defeat such a populous country one will need not exterminate around 500 million people, not 10 or 20 million. Today, given the level of excellence of the propaganda machine, it is quite possible. Naturally, in will be done in the name of freedom and human rights. Unless, of course, some PR organization invents a new and no less noble a cause.
Q: Don’t you think that people can have their own opinions, and that they can vote and thus express themselves?
ANSWER. First of all, even now people don’t vote that often, and they will vote even less in the future. With regard to public opinion in the West it is shaped by the media. Suffice it to recall the universal approval of the war in Kosovo. Remember the Spanish war! Volunteers from all over the world traveled to that country to fight on one side or the other. Remember the war in Vietnam. But these days, people are so well shepherded that they react only the way that the purveyors of propaganda want them to.
Q: The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were the most multi-ethnic countries in the world, but they were destroyed nevertheless. Do you see a connection between the destruction of multiethnic countries, on the one hand, and the promotion of multi-ethnicity on the other hand?
A: Soviet totalitarianism created a genuinely multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society. It was the Western democracies that made superhuman efforts to fan the flames of various kinds of nationalism, because they considered the breakup of the Soviet Union as the best way to destroy it. The same mechanism worked in Yugoslavia. Germany had always sought the obliteration of Yugoslavia. United, Yugoslavia could strengthen its resistance. The essence of the Western system is to divide in order to make it easier for the West to impose its laws on all parties, and then act as Chief Justice. There is no reason to assume that this know-how will not be applied in relation to the dismemberment of China in the future.
Q: India and China voiced their opposition to the bombing of Yugoslavia. If needed, could they form a core of resistance? After all, 2 billion people are no joke!
A: The means of those countries cannot in any way be compared with the military might and technological superiority of the West.
Q: Were you impressed by the effectiveness of the US military arsenal in Yugoslavia?
A: Not only that. If such a decision had been made, then Serbia would have ceased to exist within a few hours. Apparently, the leaders of the new world order have chosen a strategy of permanent violence. Numerous localized conflicts will now keep igniting one after another so that the “humanitarian war” machine, which we have already seen in action, could keep extinguishing them. In fact, this is likely to become the solution to extending control over the entire planet. The West controls most of the Earth’s natural resources. Its intellectual resources are millions of times greater than the resources of the rest of the world. This is the foundation of the overwhelming hegemony of the West in technology, the arts, media, IT, and science, and this implies its superiority in all other areas. It would be too easy to just conquer the world. After all, they still need to rule! And this is the fundamental problem that the Americans are trying to address now… Remember that in the time of Christ, the population of earth was only about 100 million people. Today, Nigeria alone has that number of inhabitants! A billion “westernoids” and the people assimilated by them will rule the entire world. However, this billion, in turn, also needs to be controlled. In all probability, two hundred million people will be required to control the Western world. But they must be chosen and taught. That's why China is doomed to failure in its struggle against the hegemony of the West. The country does not have enough control, nor economic and intellectual resources to implement an effective administrative system consisting of approximately 300 million people. Only the West is able to solve the problems of global governance. It has already started to do so. Hundreds of thousands of “westernoids” in the former communist countries, such as Russia, tend to occupy leadership positions there. Totalitarian democracy will also be a colonial democracy.
Q: According to Marx, apart from violence and cruelty, colonization also brought with it the blessings of civilization. Perhaps the history of mankind is simply repeating itself at this new stage?
A: Indeed, why not? But, alas, not for everyone. What kind of contribution to civilization has been made by American Indians? Almost none, as they were crushed, destroyed, and wiped off the face of the Earth. Now look at the contribution of the Russians! Let me make an important point here: the West did not fear Soviet military power as much as its intellectual, artistic, and athletic potential. The West saw that the Soviet Union was full of life! This is the most important thing that must be destroyed, should one wish to destroy one’s enemy. Which is precisely what was done. Today, Russian science is dependent on US funding. It is in a pitiful state because the US is not interested in financing its competition. Americans prefer to offer Russian scientists jobs in the United States. Soviet cinema, too, has been destroyed and replaced by American movies. The same thing happened to literature. World domination manifests itself primarily as an intellectual, or, if you prefer, a cultural diktat. Which is why in the last few decades, Americans have so zealously tried to bring down the cultural and intellectual common denominator of the entire world to their own level – it will allow them to impose this diktat.
Q: But might this domination turn out to be a blessing for all mankind?
A. Ten generations from now, people will, indeed, be able to say that it all happened in the name of humanity, i.e. for their greater good. But what about the Russians or the French who are alive today? Should they be happy that their people will have the same future as the American Indians? The term “humanity” is an abstraction. In reality, there are Russian, French, Serbs, etc. However, if the current trend continues, then the nations who founded modern civilization (I mean the Latin peoples), will gradually disappear. Western Europe is already bursting with foreigners. We have yet to speak about it, but this phenomenon is not accidental, and it is certainly not the consequence of the allegedly uncontrollable human migration flows. The goal for Europe is to create a situation similar to the situation in the United States. I suspect that the French will hardly be delighted to learn that mankind will come to be happy, but only without the French. After all, it might well be a rational project to only leave a limited number of people in the world, who could then live in a paradise on earth. Those remaining people would certainly believe that their happiness is the result of historical development… No. All that matters is the life that we and our loved ones are living today.
Q: The Soviet system was ineffective. Are all totalitarian societies doomed to inefficiency?
A: What is efficiency? The US spends more money on weight loss than Russia spends on its entire public budget. Still, the number of overweight people is growing. And such examples are many.
Q: Would it be correct to say that the intensifying radicalization in the West will leads to its own destruction?
A: Nazism was destroyed during total war. The Soviet system was young and strong. It would have continued to thrive, had it not been destroyed by outside forces. Social systems do not destroy themselves. They can only be destroyed by an external force. It’s like a ball rolling on a surface: only the presence of an external obstacle could break its movement. I can prove it like a theorem. Today, we are dominated by a country with enormous economic and military superiority. The new emerging world order is drawn to unipolarity. If the supranational government manages to achieve this by eliminating all external enemies, then a unified social system can survive until the end of time. Only a person can die from their illness. But a group of people, even a small group, would try to survive through reproduction. Now imagine a social system comprising billions of people! Its capacity to anticipate and prevent self-destructive phenomena will be limitless. In the foreseeable future, the process of erasing differences across the world cannot be stopped, since democratic totalitarianism is the last phase of the development of Western society, which began with the Renaissance.