maandag, juli 31, 2006

Fukuyama's Second Thoughts door Jonah GOLDBERG in National Review Online, 31 juli 2006.

When Samuel P. Huntington, author of the famous “clash of civilizations” thesis, was accused of being too simplistic, he pled guilty as charged. But, he countered, any serious attempt to explain complex phenomena — never mind the grand sweep of world history — would have to be simplistic. “When people think seriously,” he said, “they think abstractly; they conjure up simplified pictures of reality called concepts, theories, models, paradigms. Without such intellectual constructs, there is, William James said, only ‘a bloomin’ buzzin’ confusion.’”

Since the end of the Cold War, no one has made a greater name for himself — save for Huntington himself — in sorting out the confusion than Francis Fukuyama. In his famous National Interest essay, “The End of History?” (and in the subsequent book The End of History and the Last Man), Fukuyama offered the first Big Explanation of Everything after the Berlin Wall fell. Breathing new life into Hegel — and by extension Marx — Fukuyama argued that history is purposive, and that over time the world must move in the direction of modernity and democracy, because modernity and democracy are the systems best equipped to satisfy the diverse longings of mankind. Fukuyama has deflected some subsequent criticism by arguing that he was not prescribing a blueprint for hastening the end of history, but rather saying that his thesis was misunderstood by conservative “Leninists” seeking to accelerate history by imposing democratic norms on less advanced societies. The End of History was about modernization and materialism, he insisted, not democracy and idealism. “What is initially universal,” he now writes, “is not the desire for liberal democracy but rather the desire to live in a modern society, with its technology, high standards of living, health care, and access to the wider world.”

This is somewhat understandable, considering how unkind the post-9/11 world has been to his original thesis. The rise of Islamism was hardly sudden, but America’s realization of the scope of its challenge was. In The End of History, the Islamist threat was at most an opponent to liberalism, not a competitor, since Islamism, according to Fukuyama, could not offer an ideological challenge to liberal democracy (an odd dismissal, by the way, if idealism doesn’t matter).

The September 11, 2001, attacks seemed to refute his thesis, however, and validate Huntington’s. The latter argued that history was far from its end, but that global conflicts would continue so long as the world was divided into greater “civilizations” such as the West and Islam. After 9/11, this darker vision seemed to sort out the new reality better than did Fukuyama’s faith that all the great arguments had been settled. According to Huntington, culture matters more than prosperity, and culture by definition involves the bad and the good sides of human nature. “It is human to hate,” wrote Huntington. “For self-definition and motivation, people need enemies.”

In his new book, America at the Crossroads, Fukuyama now undertakes not an analysis of the world so much as an effort of self-redefinition — and indeed, he does so by finding his own new enemies. This requires some difficult juggling, since he does not actually seem to disagree with them all that much.

Fukuyama argues that neoconservatism, the school of thought with which he has been most closely associated, needs to be saved from “the neocons,” by which he means the younger generation of foreign policy hawks and democratic idealists — people like William Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Paul Wolfowitz — who generally go by that label, as well as others who get called “neocons” whether they like it or not. According to Fukuyama, these neocons internalized the wrong lessons from the cold war and are now applying them to today’s world, in effect becoming right-wing Leninists dedicated to speeding up the wheel of history the way they did in hastening the demise of the Soviet Union. While the original neoconservatives were defined by their skepticism of utopian projects, he argues, the new generation concluded from the West’s victory in the cold war that sweeping social engineering can in fact work. To support his point, he quotes Hoover Institution fellow Ken Jowitt: “The Bush administration has concluded that Fukuyama’s historical timetable is too laissez-faire and not nearly attentive enough to the levers of historical change. History, the Bush administration has concluded, needs deliberate organization, leadership, and direction. In this irony of ironies, the Bush administration’s identification of regime change as critical to its anti-terrorist policy and integral to its desire for a democratic capitalist world has led to an active ‘Leninist’ foreign policy in place of Fukuyama’s passive ‘Marxist’ social teleology.” To which Fukuyama adds: “I did not like the original version of Leninism and was skeptical when the Bush administration turned Leninist.”

In order to make this case, Fukuyama rehearses the origins of the neoconservatives, including their relationship with the political philosopher Leo Strauss. And on this score, Fukuyama should be congratulated for offering one of the most thoughtful treatments of the subject in recent years. Indeed, the twin serums of “Straussianism” and “neoconservatism” have generated more concentrated middle-brow stupidity than virtually any other subject in recent memory. And, when served in the poisoned chalice of anti-Bush polemic, these already heady brews form a grog so toxic that even recreational use usually ends in a kind of drooling paranoid dementia. Fukuyama correctly notes that most everything written in recent years about neoconservatism “is factually wrong, animated by ill will, and a deliberate distortion of the record of both the Bush administration and its supporters.”

The story of the original neoconservatives started with a handful of young, mostly Jewish, Trotskyist intellectuals who gathered in a U-shaped stall called Alcove 1 at New York’s City University in the 1930s: Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer, Seymour Lipset, and a handful of others formed in opposition to the much larger conclave of Moscow-loyal Stalinists in Alcove 2 (whose membership included Julius Rosenberg). The rift between Stalinists and Trotskyists intensified until it was finally punctuated by an ice pick in Trotsky’s skull in 1940. Over time, as one could only expect given the spectacular moral and economic failure of communism, the ranks of disillusioned intellectuals swelled. In the 1970s, the combined hangover from the 1960s, the Vietnam war, and the increasing tendency toward accommodation and appeasement of the Soviets shook loose even more former liberals and leftists, chief among them Norman Podhoretz but also many non-Jewish intellectuals such as William Bennett, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard John Neuhaus, James Q. Wilson, Glenn Loury, and Michael Novak.

Contrary to those who believe that neoconservatism is first and foremost a foreign policy doctrine best summarized as Zionist warmongering, most of these intellectuals were more likely to stand opposed to the domestic folly of campus radicalism and Great Society overreach as they were to communist aggression. Fukuyama rightly identifies this as a crucial point. “If there is a single overarching theme to the domestic social policy critiques carried out by those who wrote for The Public Interest,” he writes, “it is the limits of social engineering. Ambitious efforts to seek social justice, these writers argued, often left societies worse off than before because they either required massive state intervention that disrupted organic social relations… or else produced unanticipated consequences.” This, writes Fukuyama, is what linked the first wave of neoconservatives to the later converts in the 1960s and 1970s: “Both American liberals and Soviet communists sought worthy ends but undermined themselves by failing to recognize the limits of political voluntarism.”

In other words, neoconservatism was never fully an “-ism.” These were heterodox intellectuals making arguments that often contradicted those of other card-carrying neocons. Nonetheless, Fukuyama identifies four basic unifying ideas or principles fundamental to neoconservatism: First, the aforementioned folly of sweeping social engineering; second, the belief that America is a force for good in the world, possibly uniquely so, and thus American moral instincts should not be constantly second-guessed; third, that international institutions cannot be reflexively trusted to protect American interests or substituted for American action; and fourth, that the internal nature of regimes has a bearing on their moral stature, which in turn should inform how America treats them. This last point was neoconservatism’s rejection of Nixonian realism.

In Fukuyama’s telling, neoconservatism arose as a cultural reaction, first against Stalinism and later against domestic radicalism. The answer to the question “Who are your enemies?” in the 1970s was probably a far better determinant of whether you were a neoconservative than the answer to “What do you believe?” This continued to be the case when the second generation of neocons emerged — those who had never migrated from Left to Right but had instead grown up within the movement. They received important staff-level positions in the Reagan administration and served as some of the most effective shock troops for Reagan’s foreign and domestic policies.

These younger conservatives, however, fell prey to their own success. “During much of the cold war,” Fukuyama writes, “neoconservatives became used to being a small, despised minority…. The foreign policy establishment — the people who ran the bureaucracies at the State Department, the intelligence community, and the Pentagon, as well as the legions of advisers, think-tank specialists, and academics — was largely dismissive of them. Neoconservatives were also used to having the Europeans look down on them as moralistic naïfs, reckless cowboys, or worse.” But, he continues, “the sudden collapse of communism vindicated many of these ideas and made them appear mainstream and obvious after 1989. This naturally did a great deal to bolster the self-confidence of those who had held them, a self-confidence that strongly reinforced the us-versus-them solidarity that characterizes all groups of like-minded people.”

In short, Fukuyama is saying, the neocons got cocky. Their explanation for the most important conflict of the previous half-century — the cold war — had been vindicated. And, as far as they were concerned, they were best suited to explain the post-cold-war confusion as well.

So the great irony is this: In Fukuyama’s telling, the new neoconservatism of Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan emerges as in many respects the opposite of the old neoconservatism of Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. This younger generation, which never went through a disillusionment-migration cycle from Left to Right, simply never internalized the lessons of being deeply wrong about something truly important.

In the 1990s The Weekly Standard embodied the new attitude. Its editorials rattled sabers at China and Iraq. It aggressively supported military intervention in the Balkans. And, with David Brooks taking the lead, it championed something called “National Greatness” conservatism, which turned the skepticism of the previous generation on its head; the connection to foreign policy was made clear in that the patron saint of National Greatness, according to Brooks, was Teddy Roosevelt. As Fukuyama notes, “National Greatness inevitably manifests itself through foreign policy, since foreign policy is always a public matter and involves issues of life and death.” If the old neoconservatism was defined by skepticism and trepidation, Fukuyama argues, the new neoconservatism flirted with hubris on a grand scale.

Whatever its faults — and there are many — this explanation provides far more analytical heft than the run-of-the-mill nonsense we so often hear about warmongers and Straussian cultists. Vice President Cheney was never a neocon. Nor was Donald Rumsfeld, or most of the senior war planners. But they were most certainly battle-scarred veterans of the Reagan years and subscribers to what Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, has called the “Reagan synthesis.” Reagan’s success had many fathers and by no stretch of the imagination were they all neocons, but with the aid of a media and academic establishment always eager to discredit traditional conservatism, the storyline that the humane and intellectual facets of Reaganism were “neoconservative” stuck. Indeed, prior to 9/11 it was standard practice in academic writing to label all remotely legitimate conservative ideas “neoconservative” rather than simply “conservative,” because the latter had long since been spoiled as a synonym for the racist, sexist, and vaguely fascist.

In this sense, Fukuyama’s criticism of the neoconservatives is broader than he allows. If the folks at The Weekly Standard were guilty of hubris, so were those at National Review. While Fukuyama claims to be debunking much of the “nonsense” about neoconservatism as an elite Zionist cowboy cabal, he is to a certain extent reinforcing it by treating neoconservatives as a more distinct and unified group than is really the case. In other words, he is still saying it was the neocons’ fault — just not for the wacky and sometimes anti-Semitic reasons we’ve heard from the paranoid, ignorant, and hysterical.

The failures of Fukuyama’s analysis, however, extend beyond taxonomy. Much has been made of Fukuyama’s alleged hypocrisy in attacking a school of thought of which he was, until recently, an important adherent. He signed the various letters and petitions of the Project for the New American Century. He wrote op-eds affirming the “irrefutable logic” of Bush’s Axis of Evil doctrine and he supported invading Iraq until very late in the game. Former kindred spirits such as Charles Krauthammer have accused Fukuyama of being a fair-weather supporter of the war who only repudiated the effort when public opinion turned against it.

On this score, Krauthammer and others have a strong case. But this has overshadowed an even more important point: If Fukuyama’s supposedly more authentic neoconservatism could not spot the folly in the new National Greatness “neoconservatism” until very recently, the differences between the two outlooks cannot be that significant. Even if Fukuyama’s criticisms are entirely in good faith and his critics are completely wrong, the fact that he walked out of the movie just minutes before the credits started to roll — and that he does not admit to any kind of real revolution in his thinking — suggests that we are talking differences in degree, not in kind. This is reflected in most of the discussion about his book, as even supporters of the administration’s policies tend to find his proposals sensible. “Neither his old arguments nor his new ones,” writes a sympathetic Paul Berman, “offer much insight into this, the most important problem of all — the problem of murderous ideologies and how to combat them.”

Indeed, Fukuyama’s specific criticisms suggest that he has come up with his theory first and then selected the facts necessary to support it — precisely the criticism he levels at the Bush administration. He berates Vice President Cheney and his clique for ignoring contrary voices. But Fukuyama himself agreed that those contrary voices were wrong regarding the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons programs. More importantly, he claims that the war planners’ arrogance led them to ignore warnings about the war’s aftermath. But with the possible exception of General Shinseki’s admonition about the need for more troops to occupy Iraq, such warnings were almost nonexistent — and were certainly not forthcoming from Fukuyama. Indeed, as Lowry and others have argued, the real intelligence failure wasn’t the much-ballyhooed weapons of mass destruction foul-up, but the failure of the CIA and other intelligence agencies to appreciate the extent of Iraq’s social decay. Critics of the invasion essentially made the same mistake that advocates of it made in assuming that Iraq was a functioning nation, and some critics, after the fact, have gone so far as to claim that Iraq has been made even less functional by U.S. intervention. The reality was that it was, to use Kanan Makiya’s phrase, a Republic of Fear. When the United States removed the fear, the whole place imploded. But, again, this does not mean that what happened was widely foreseen: The doom-and-gloom forecasts from bureaucratic opponents of the war were, in the final analysis, at least as wrong as the “cakewalk” talk on the other side — for example, what happened to the refugee crisis the invasion was supposed to create?

Fukuyama criticizes the Standard for downplaying the importance of civil society and culture to rebuilding Iraq, which is fair to a point. But he also notes that “The Weekly Standard has turned against Donald Rumsfeld and called for his resignation, its chief criticism of him remains his failure to provide enough troops to secure Iraq, rather than the multiple other dimensions of nation-building where U.S. policy fell short.” But is it really true that the Standard’s editors would oppose the “multiple other dimensions of nation-building” if Iraq were secure? On the contrary: They call for Rumsfeld to be replaced by Senator John McCain, a bold Rooseveltian type who would, in their view, “make the Pentagon a full partner in the building of a stable, self-governing Iraq and… re-engage the American people in the importance of the pursuit.” Those who advocate more troops do so with the sensible assumption that a pacified Iraq would allow the conditions in which building everything from courts to soccer fields becomes possible.

Fukuyama writes that the new neoconservatives learned the wrong lessons from the cold war and are hence determined to use military might in circumstances ill-suited to force. “No one was opposed in principle to the use of soft power,” he writes, “they simply hadn’t thought about it very much. As the saying goes, when your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.”

But Fukuyama has this exactly backwards. The United States has a lot of tools, the military being only one of many. He claims that America “has become steadily less generous” and says that the U.S. ranks 21st out of 22 leading developed nations in foreign giving. But as John Fonte has pointed out, on this count Fukuyama is simply wrong. The U.S. ranks 11th of 22 among leading donor countries, and government foreign aid has doubled between 2000 and 2004, increasing as a percentage of gross national income as well. President Bush committed America to massive increases in spending on aids, for example, and has dedicated funds to a host of soft-power measures. In reality, the nations that have only a single tool in their belts are our “allies” in the “international community.” With the exception of Great Britain, the European nations have virtually no ability to project military power abroad, and combined with their tendency to be seduced and corrupted by the talky-talk of the UN and EU and intimidated by large and restive Muslim minorities, it’s no wonder that every problem they see looks like a job for diplomacy.

Fukuyama is director of the International Development Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and something of an international academic celebrity. Perhaps thanks to this experience he is better suited to make sensible suggestions about how to use the levers of diplomacy and aid instead of the hammer of military might. But his calls for a new era of “horizontal accountability” and an “agenda of multiple multilateralisms” seem to suggest that he has become deeply ensconced in the world of transnational elites endlessly talking about talking in places like Davos and Geneva.

Fukuyama is certainly correct that political and intellectual movements cannot be separated from their historical and geographic contexts. Each age makes what it will of the confusion that is the world. And it should be no surprise that what seems to explain things pretty well in one moment will fail to do so in the next. But Francis Fukuyama, the author of The End of History, is a man constitutionally determined to find the permanent theory of everything. It seems, however, that America at the Crossroads represents less a serious theoretical exegesis than a momentary crisis of confidence by one of the smartest observers around. It is a snapshot taken at a moment of maximum neoconservative despair stemming from confusion over the Iraq war and the nature of the Islamist threat. In a Huntington age, he is unwilling to relinquish the vision of a Fukuyama world. As such, this book offers useful insights into the internal contradictions within and among conservative policymakers, but ultimately it creates more bloomin’ buzzin’ confusion than it dispels.

Bron: National Review Online

zaterdag, juli 29, 2006

Interview met Guillaume Faye in France-Echos op, 27 juli 2006.

Origineel interview in het Frans op: Subversiv vertaald naar het Engels, onder voorbehoud van mogelijke vertaalfouten.

1 Franche-Echos: Mister Faye, what was your part in the founding of the New Right or GRECE?

Guillaume Faye: From 1970 to 1986 I was first an adherent, and then one of the directors of the association, GRECE, which was reputedly one of the intellectual centres of the "New Right" or the "extreme right" depending on the names given to it by the journalists involved, although I would prefer the term " European identitarian nationalism". I was even GRECE's number two, as "Secretary for Study and Research", at the time. Today, this so-called "New Right", and GRECE, are no more than the shadows of their former selves and have abandoned the identitarian struggle. They have abandoned any idea of defending the European identity and
become fake rebels, avid to be recognised by the system (though vainly so), totally aligned with the positions of the left wing and of Monde Diplomatique, positions such as : islamophile, pro-third-world, silence in radio broadcasts concerning immigration (the avoidance strategy - avoiding above all anything that might shock anyone), anti-capitalism, ineffective anti-americanism, hate-filled anti-zionism, etcetera.

2 France-Echos: Besides, you were a great humorous journalist, notably in the Filipacchi Group ... in the eighties, then you vanished. Is it true that your comrades in GRECE had something to do with your demonisation?

Guillaume Faye: It was a mixture of things ; between 1980 and 1986 I published a number of political and ideological books (1). The situation was quite different from what it is today and my ideas have evolved considerably. Then, from 1986 onwards, seized by what the Romans called the vis comica, I plunged into show business : radio, TV, cinema, music, specialist press, etc. I did all this under pseudonyms, obviously. I also wrote some rather light books (2). This period
taught me a lot, because, unlike the Paris intellectuals who see everything through their readers' clubs, I got into the habit of going to the heart of things. In 1998, driven by some internal demon ... I went back to the task of writing my ideological books and giving conferences. Then, in 1999, some little ill-wishers, who could only have come from the old milieu in which I had been previously, discreetly told my employers who I really was, purely out of jealousy. These latter then stopped giving me any work. One mustn't, after all, feed the Devil ... To get away from all this I founded my own review, I Have Understood All - which in its new format is now called Alarm Signal - and like a stakhanovite I multiplied my books, articles, and ideological conferences.

3 France-Echos: Since your return to the centre of debate in the circles of right wing thought you have not ceased denouncing the pro-Arab, anti-Semitic, pro-Islamist, even Third-World-ist, turn of the New Right and of your erstwhile friends in GRECE.
What is it all about?

Guillaume Faye: I parted company with GRECE and the New Right in 1986, because even then I could quite clearly perceive this ideological development. Since then polemic with them has never ceased. One important detail : most of the original guiding spirits of GRECE eventually came to the same conclusions as I had, and left the organisation, which is nowadays reconstituted solely around the writer Alain de Benoist and his court, whose positions are absolutely the same as those of Dieudonné and the insane Iranian Mullahs. I note that the aforementioned Alain de Benoist, forgetting all concepts of honour, has gone so far as to describe me in the Italian press as a "super-racist" (Area, Review, May 2000) ... He has chosen his camp, that of the politically correct, the vulgar herd, the poor man's analysis, the tactics of the courtesan (?) And the poor fellow doesn't even get invited to Paris salons or readers' clubs. It seems to me - and I shall return to this - that these people have the mentality of collaborators. As if they are anticipating the arrival of their future masters. They have the mentality of dhimmis, of "submitters".
Nowadays, I work in close association with the old members of the New Right who quit, like me, and who have created their own networks and circles of cultural and ideological influence, throughout Europe, in Russia, in Portugal, in the USA, and in Canada. And I work, of course, on new books.

4 France-Echos: Have you found, in these new circles with which you work, or in the Front National, which has invited you on various occasions to give speeches, any
hostility against the Jews, any remnants of anti-Semitism?

Guillaume Faye: No, that isn't really the problem. Anti-Judaism (to use a term I prefer to 'anti-Semitism') melts like snow in the sun across a great part of what is known as the "extreme right". Of course, there are significant pockets of resistance ; one cannot defeat the long anti-Jewish tradition in a day. And there is also a segment of this "extreme right", to which GRECE belongs, which has turned to a violent anti-zionism, coupled with an acute Palestinophilia (I shall return to this). However, this ideological current has become more and more isolated in the movement I am speaking of, quite simply because of the massive threat posed by immigration into France ... Under these conditions, anti-Judaism is forgotten, the Jew no longer seems like a menace at all. In the circles in which I move, I never hear any anti-Jewish invective. I even come across people (as one did in the sixties) who approve and support the "Israeli Right". I have tried to understand (and my conclusions regarding this are finally, little by little, becoming shared) that anti-Judaism is a politically obselete, useless, overtaken position, even when it is disguised as anti-zionism. We are no longer living in the times of the Dreyfuss Affair. Besides, the anti-Judaists have never escaped from their own terrible contradiction : they seem to despise the Jews, yet pretend that these latter control the world. So, does this mean that
they think the Jews are a superior race, or not? Anti-Judaism is a form of political schizophrenia, a sort of inverted philo-Semitism, the expression of a ressentiment [envy, inferiority complex - RB]. I don't judge anti-Judaism from a moral point of view ; after all, one can be frustrated and detest whomever one likes. I never mix the moral and the political. But my position is the same as Nietzsche's : hating the Jews serves no purpose, it is a politically stupid and unproductive passion.

5 France-Echos: A number of small extreme right groups who have read your work accuse you of being prejudicially pro-American and "neo-zionist". Why is that, do you think?

Guillaume Faye: Those people are hemiplegic, in addition to being professional liars. To begin with, I have never been "prejudicially pro-American" . One has only to read my essay "Global Coup d'État, an Essay on the New American Imperialism" (which deconstructs the ideology of the neo-conservatives) to see that. My position, being strategic rather than manichean, is incomprehensible to these fanatics. I am neither an anti-American nor a pro-American, but a European nationalist. The USA is in no way the Great Satan, the number one enemy, but, depending on circumstances and according to its strategy as a state, it may be an adversary,
a competitor, or even one day an ally. The anti-American dogma (which I call OHAA, "obsessional-hysterican anti-Americanism") is impolitic, like all dogmas. I'm sorry, but I prefer McDonalds' to mosques, pom-pom girls to shuttered, battered, violated women, American universities to obscurantist Islamist madrassas, etcetera.

Regarding zionism, these people who call me a "neo-zionist" are labelling me like this quite simply because I am not hysterically anti-zionist, as they are, and because I can feel no sympathy nor interest in the "Palestinian cause". How can I defend a Muslim people (who claim to be being "martyred", though I dispute this), at the very moment that Islam undertakes the conquest of Europe? In what way does the "zionism" of the Jewish state threaten Europe? It is my fierce, defensive opposition to Islam, and to the Arabo-Muslim strategy, which explains
why these people, who have become infatuated Arabophiles and Islamophiles, call me a "neo-zionist".

They cannot bear the fact that I refuse to give the requisite free passage to their "anti-zionism". How can I be a "zionist" when I am not Jewish? And how could I become an "anti-zionist" when at no time has the zionist ideology (unlike Islamism, communism, leftism, rights-of-man-ism, or masochistic post-conciliar christianism) attacked or threatened either directly or remotely
the idea I defend, which is the maintenance of European identity? In what way would the disappearance of Israel help my cause? To think of the Jewish state as an enemy is geopolitical idiocy for European identitarians.
The current GRECE of Alain de Benoist (which has nothing in common with the original GRECE) the little "national-revolutionary" groups inspired by the fanatical Christian Bouchet, and the camarilla of "extreme right" militants who have converted to Islam, all of these being closely interconnected, are really totally aligned to the positions of the Iranian government, which fascinates them as a snake fascinates sparrows. For them, I am obviously the absolute

This is how I interpret their tortured reasoning : to begin with, there is a visceral hatred (which needs psychoanalytic explanation) for everything Israeli, American, or zionist. (Note, I have not claimed that in every case this is a camouflaged form of neurotic anti-Judaism, analogous to the paranoic and dream like anti-Judaism of the Third Reich, but in the last analysis, in some cases,
it is so). Secondly, given their obsessional anti-zionism and anti-Americanism, they arrive through the force of passion and simplistic thinking at Islamophilia, Arabophilia, and pro-immigrationism. They finish up aligning themselves with the views of Dieudonné (whom they are actively courting), and in the circles of the pro-Arab extreme left. Add to this, a third-world-ist, anti-capitalist rhetoric, derived entirely from the neo-marxist vulgate, of which Alain de Benoist has been for a long time the exemplar on the "extreme right". What I find really tragic in these intellectual contortions, is that these pseudo-European identitarians, because of their anti-zionism (and in some cases, anti-Judaism) completely sacrifice their defense of the European identity and hurl themselves into the arms of Islam, pro-Arabism, and third-world-ism.
They focus all their fire on zionism, blinded by their hatred. The destruction, through immigration, of Europe? For them, this is inevitable anyway, and of secondary importance. The essential thing is the struggle against the hydra of zionism and the American Satan, shoulder to shoulder with militant Islam. They masturbate in ecstacy over the declarations of Ahmadinejad.

The problem is that their new "friends" regard them as collaborators, and despise them as traitors. I do not envy their future lot. I suspect they look forward to the Islamisation of Europe, its "future". They want to be on the winning side. They would love to be cosseted dhimmis ("submitters"). But they won't be. Another thing, these people hope to conveniently forget their
politically incorrect pasts and to forge for themselves phony passports as "anti-racists" (they hope in vain, though) - they hope to appear as the greatest friends of Islam, of the Arabs, of the Palestinian cause, of the poor third world, oppressed by the "American-zionist capital bloc". All this isn't just intellectually bankrupt, it needs one term above all - cowardice.

6 France-Echos: What does zionism mean to you?

Guillaume Faye: Zionism is the affirmation of the re-installation of a people in a land which they consider to be their own. Zionism is also a highly composite ideology : it talks of aliya, which means the "return" of the dispersed Jews, but also, and right from its inception, it talks of a new form of society. I know this subject quite well because I am preparing a work, which will make a
certain amount of noise in the "milieu", which will be called "The New Jewish Question". Zionism, which is a very recent element in Jewish history, theorised at the end of the nineteenth century by Herzl and Buber (who did not arrive at the same positions, hence the "Israeli compromise") is the attempt (successful, uniquely in history) to reconstitute a Jewish state, in fact the mythical Kingdom of David, starting from the Diaspora, in order to escape from
persecution and renew the post-Mosaic tradition.
One should note that the religious Jews were against this project (and this opposition still exists) because it seemed to envisage the construction of a profane state entity. The zionist project is an absolutely unique case in the annals of "archeofuturism" (this is the name of one of my books,
"Archeofuturism"), that is to say, the reconstruction, the renaissance, the resurrection and the projection into the future of a political form past but not forgotten. The reconstitution of the national and state language, Hebrew, has no historical parallel. It is a major act of political voluntarism. The zionist movement has a "saga" which, from my point of view as a non-Jewish observer, corresponds to the values which I defend : attachment to a land, to the lineage
of one's people, to its traditions, to its historical perpetuation, to fidelity to one's lines of descent, to ethnic homogeneity and collective will. Zionism therefore constitutes an example of the creation of a political and state form for a people, which is new, and which should inspire the re-founders of European identitarianism. However, let it be understood, although I applaud its
principles, zionism is not my own cause, because I do not belong to the Jewish people. Quite simply, I cannot see what phantasm should cause me to oppose it...

Now, I think (and I take no pleasure at all in this) that the zionist project and the existence of Israel are menaced by the demographic balance, in favour of the Muslims, also by the extension of a terrorist war which might provoke the flight of the élites, and also probably a reduction in international support for Israel. The great mistake that was made, was to grant Israeli nationality to the Muslim minority which remained after 1948, instead of organising a clear and
thorough-going partition. This mistake was the result of the "humanistic" notions of Buber, and of his famous book "I and Thou". One last thing : people constantly parrot to me the official line, that the Jewish state has conducted itself in an ignoble, persecutory manner towards the unhappy "Palestinians".
Even if this were true, it isn't my problem. However, in addition, I think it is an extreme exaggeration. It is in the political interest of European identitarians that the state of Israel survives. I shall talk about this in my forthcoming book. My position will shock the retarded ones. So much the worse for them.

7 France-Echos: Is it true that you have spoken at Senate conferences, at the invitation of the very influential zionist club of Jean Mandelbaum, a circle which has also invited speeches from Chirac, Spiner, and most of the more famous French zionists?

Guillaume Faye: Absolutely true. In particular, I explained to them that the Jewish intellectuals and political men who have welcomed immigration and Islamisation, in the name of a delirious vision of "anti-racism", have been irresponsible. The public agrees with me. I respond to all the invitations I receive. I have spoken before the FN, the MNR, the Rotary Club, the PS branch of the 15th arrondissement, the Republican Party in Washington, the Rodina Party in the Moscow Duma, the Breton Party Adsav, the University of St Petersburg, and many French, Belgian, German, Italian, and Spanish cultural assocations, and other circles in France, Germany, Italy, etcetera. I am a free electron, I affirm my own ideas without any complexes. I have even been invited by certain Islamist circles, who wanted to know the thinking behind my anti-Islamist positions. I spoke alongside old friends from the "New Right" who had converted to Islam, and alongside obsessional anti-zionists. I sensed that the Muslims had a lot more respect for me than they had for these obsequious, cowardly converts. I explained to them that they were in the process of invading Europe, that I was not fooled by their strategy, that my duty was to fight them, and that - I am sorry to have to say - I have succeeded in completely cutting the threads of their propaganda for the "Palestinian cause" and their fable of "Islam, religion
of peace". I explained to them that my task was to oppose their Jihad, that I was not deceived by their Qur'anic hypocrisy, that they could do what they liked in their own homelands but not in mine, that they should not take me for an idiot by talking about the "zionist menace", etc. They heard me out very courteously, in complete silence, quite discomforted, attentive, and, at the end, an Algerian intellectual told me with a big grin, "Luckily for us, most of the French do not possess your lucidity, and don't know us the way you do."

8 France-Echos: Do you accept the label "extreme right", and how do you explain your sulphurous, extremist image?

Guillaume Faye: The expression "extreme right" is blurred and lacking in rigour, in terms of political semantics. My case is a bit special. I created my own ideology, which rather upsets everyone, because it offends the conformist Islamophiles and the prejudiced anti-zionists, both pro-US and the anti-US, even in the area of economics and geopolitics.
I have tried to create a new ideology. I wish people would read me, and study my texts, before leaping to conclusions. In fact, I discomfort all camps, I offend their senses of etiquette. I am above all myself, but the fact that people treat me as an "extreme right ideologist" doesn't bother me at all. I am not like those old crabs which try to hide themselves behind their own claws (?) So why my sulphurous "extremist" image? Quite simply, because I attack frontally, in my writings and my public conferences, the Islamisation of Europe, the invasive immigration, the neo-totalitarianism of the ruling ideology, the reduction in freedom of expression, and the general decadence of this end-of-cycle civilisation. And because all this has brought me certain lawsuits and condemnations, it is normal that the bien-pensants should consider me an
"extremist". The term "extremist" today means the same thing it meant in Stalin's USSR : a dissident who speaks the truth.

9 France-Echos: You have probably heard about the scandal unleashed by the astounding article written by an old GRECE member who has now apparently become politically correct, Joseph Macé-Scaron, now a journalist for Marianne, promoting a sulphurous, hate-filled book which calls all the thinkers of the right, like Alexandre del Valle and Guy Millière, who are allies of the Jewish community, or of rightist zionist Jews like Goldnagel or Kupfer (Likud) - "Fachos". What do you make of this, and what can you tell us about this astonishing accuser, Macé-Scaron?

Guillaume Faye: With regard to this article in Marianne signed by Mr. Joseph Macé-Scaron, one passage of which claims or suggests that Mr. Alexandre Del Valle belonged to the aforementioned movement or was ideologically close to it, I can state, quite independently of my opinions of Mr. Del Valle, and even given a certain disagreement with him, that he never belonged, either closely or even remotely, to the "New Right", or to GRECE, or to any "extreme right" organisation at all, nor did he ever take part in any of our meetings during the relevant period. I would have known of anything of this sort, since I was right at the centre of this family of thinkers, and I knew every one of its "intellectuals" perfectly.
Mr. Del Valle was never involved with us, nor was he ever asked to debate on our behalf, nor to write for us. On the contrary, at the conference cited by Macé-Scaron, he provoked some lively reactions in the chamber when he violently attacked the ideas put forward on behalf of GRECE by his opponent on the right, whose name as it happens was Champetier (a man who has himself, moreover, since left that organisation himself). I attest that, like Taguieff, who has since been lynched for similar reasons in Le Monde, del Valle argued against and not for the New Right, which changes the whole context, since debating against someone in no way suggests that one shares his ideas or solidarises with him.

Whenever Del Valle has appeared in debate against the intellectuals of the neo-pagan New Right, whether they are from GRECE or not, he has always vehemently attacked the "anti-semitism and anti-zionism" of the obsessional pro-Arabists in this movement, of whom I spoke earlier. I can attest to the truth of this, which is completely different to the allegations of this inferior journalist, Macé-Scaron - I take no positions on Mr. Del Valle himself.
On the other hand, the accuser, Joseph Macé-Scaron, who it seems, wants to make us forget his own past when he accuses certain others of having taken part in conferences with people supposedly close to the New Right, is in a very poor position to attack, especially, Goldnagel or Del Valle, since he himself was well and truly an adherent of, a partisan for, GRECE, and in fact one of its most fervent militants and directors between 1978 and 1985! Macé-Scaron worked
during this entire period (in a "permanent" capacity) in the "press corps" of the New Right (GRECE) after having been initiated, in the company of his friend the journalist Thierry Deransart, according to the pagano-christian right of chivalry (??? - RB), during a conclave at which I myself was present, along with various others. His sponsor and initiator, who is still one of my best friends and will certainly support my statement, is now a cadre of the MNR (ex-FN).
Another of my close friends, who was at the time secretary-general of GRECE (and who left the organisation for reasons similar to my own) could equally bear witness against the grave accusations of Mr. Macé-Scaron. There could be no more astonishing accuser than Mr. Macé-Scaron, who was himself a product of the "school of journalism" that we created within GRECE, which at the time allowed us to infiltrate Figaro Magazine, two of whose successive editors, Mssrs. Valla and Plunkett, were also members of the directorate of GRECE, and which employed in addition a significant number of other members of our association and our
movement. I recall perfectly how, within the framework of this "school of journalism", I helped to form the ideology, the writing skills, and the propagandist capacity of Mr. Macé-Scaron, who was a very apt pupil ; he started his virtuoso career in journalism by going to work for Figaro Magazine, entirely thanks to GRECE.

Subsequently, like many other journalists who, thanks to GRECE and the New Right, began their professional careers at Figaro, at Valeurs Actuelles, or elsewhere, he has tried to make us forget this inconvenient geneology and has - publicly - changed his views. This is human enough, who can blame him for it, in a time when one needs to show a white paw [this is a French idiom related to proverbs about rabbits - RB] to pursue one's career?

Having said all that, the ideas circulating within GRECE today, I repeat, are not at all the strong identitarian positions (what the journalists call "extreme right" ideas) which it held when Mr. Macé-Scaron was a member and "young hopeful".
What is unacceptable is that Mr. Macé-Scaron, like a common informer, lyingly accuses others of being members of a movement in which he himself took part, and proceeds to demonise this family of thinkers, which itself put his foot on the stairway to success ... I should add that I am perfectly willing to give details to support my testimony, if need arises ... and other directing spirits from the GRECE of the period should be equally ready to confound Mr. Joseph Macé-Scaron.

10 France-Echos: Did Joseph Macé-Scaron maintain and secret relationships with the extreme rightists, neo-pagans, or New Right?

Guillaume Faye: How should I know? My guess would be, no. He must have needed to do everything possible to regain his political virginity and conceal his "traceability". Just like many others, now well ensconced in the media and in business, thanks to our movement, whose entryism, at the time (1975-1985), was extremely effective. But I don't reproach him for this break with his past, not at all, as I say again.
Everyone has the right to change. Ingratitude is blameworthy, but it is not unforgivable. On the other hand, Mr. Macé-Scaron has committed a very serious error (a stupidity?) in howling with the wolves and soiling the name of this family, which once was his, and which helped him so much.

You see, I know this scene by heart. I could give you a list of at least thirty people of both sexes who were deeply involved with the New Right and GRECE in its heyday (and even after that) whom we formed, helped, found places for, to a greater or lesser extent, or who were our militants, whom we regarded as permanent members. They are all kept nice and snug in my records, which are extremely well maintained. They all have splendid careers, some very celebrated by the media. But I shall never reveal their past lives, this would be a dishonourable betrayal. On the other hand ... if one (male) of them, or one (female) of them, starts spitting in the soup, spitting on our ideas, spitting on our movement and demonising us in public, or tries to harm us by any other means, I shall only be putting things back in their proper perspective if I
reveal their pasts. I do not ask of them courage, but merely silence. As for the struggle, I vow that I shall continue it.

11 France-Echos: Regarding the central question of revisionism : is it true that GRECE and the New Right in that period were by a large majority, revisionist, and/or anti-Semitic? This seems to have shocked Joseph Macé-Scaron at the time.

Guillaume Faye: I left GRECE in 1986. Revisionism was never the order of the day. In fact, no anti-Judaism could have been expressed then. Simply, from a sociological or socio-historical point of view, that whole milieu was saturated by an atmosphere which clearly was not favourable to the Jews, even though quite a few members of GRECE were of Jewish origin. One must recall that the Jewish-zionist right was very hostile to us. In 1979 at the Palais des Congrès de Paris our annual conference was attacked by the OJD, the Jewish Defense Organisation, which resulted in a great many injuries on both sides. This did not happen by accident. The ideology we were expressing (and the ideological climate was very different from today's) greatly displeased these Jewish circles, in particular Betar. The reasons for this hostility were not especially serious or coherent, but anyway this was the period in which Mr. Macé-Scaron belonged to GRECE, and he could hardly not know the grounds on which the Jewish circles opposed us.

12 France-Echos: There are rumours that Joseph Macé-Scaron, who never ceases to assert that his grand-mother was Jewish, made this genealogy up in order to offset the effects of his sulphurous past and his right wing "facho" friends like Deransard. What do you say to that?

Guillaume Faye: I never give any credence to "rumours". In any case, at the time that Mr. Macé-Scaron was a member of GRECE, he never mentioned this mysterious "Jewish grand-mother". Had he done so, this would have been no obstacle to his membership. In parenthesis, I find the term "facho" polemical and without any socio-political validity. Consider my own case : the body of ideological thought I have put together over the last thirty years has no relationship to "fascism", for the simple reason that I am not acquainted with fascist political doctrine, and thus cannot be inspired by the thought of the period. I build upon new and contemporary principles. To return to Mr. Macé-Scaron, one thing is certain : he is trying, like a hunted hare, to make us forget about his past involvements. He would do better to keep quiet. You know the Chinese proverb : "Don't pull the tail of a sleeping tiger."

13 France-Echos: On a related issue, can you confirm that a good many media personalities a lot more sulphurous than you have been favoured, even though they spent time in more right wing circles than you did? Is it true that not speaking of immigration, and not attacking Islam, are the secrets to this sort of favour? Could one single out Karl Zéro in this connection?

Guillaume Faye: This isn't the secret of getting ahead, but it helps. Karl Zéro was never a GRECE member, but he wrote some articles and did some comic strips which were politically incorrect in the satirical review "Jalons", run by his brother Bruno Thélène, in the '80s. [Jalons are poles used as landmarks - RB]. As it happens I also wrote for this review, which had an "ultra-rightist" editorial committee.
Now this media star never ceases denouncing his old friends and the "extreme right" in general, in order to clear himself. I suspect him of being one of those who tried to get me into trouble and get me fired from the "mainstream media". His case is similar to that of Macé-Scaron. He lost a court case against an old member of GRECE whom he had accused in the press of being what you call a "facho". I have all this in my files. In any case, Karl Zéro isn't a very luminous personality.

13 France-Echos: Karl Zéro wasn't a member of GRECE, then? Are there any other anti-semites or fachos who are now getting ahead, and who are they?

Guillaume Faye: I repeat, Karl Zéro was never a member, although he was part of the New Right "movement", the "outer circle" if you like. He came to informal gatherings, soirées. He rapidly realised he had to steer clear of us. Once again, I would not accuse anyone who was part of this movement at the time of having been an "anti-semite". The question simply never came up! Those (female) and those (male) who are now "singled out for stardom" are so because they have managed to "show the white paw" [see above - RB], to espouse the vulgate of the hegemonic ideology, and - above all - because they have carefully camouflaged their dissident pasts. This past will never be revealed to their masters, by either me or my friends, unless, obviously, the parties concerned give themselves up to campaigns and calumnies against us.

14 France-Echos: What do you think about Israel, its future, and the future of Europe in the face of islam?

Guillaume Faye: I have already answered these questions. Israel is principally endangered by its own demographic weakness in the face of the hostile Muslims - much more by this than by the projected Iranian atomic bomb. I do not consider the state of Israel to be hostile or dangerous and I think that "anti-Israelism" is a grave geostrategic error for European identitarians. One of the strengths of Israel, among others, is its very high level of science and research (4.9 % of its GDP is devoted to research and development, the highest percentage in the world).
For Europe, an "alliance with the Arabs" is a dramatic non-starter, and, like all "third-world-ism", supremely naïve. As for Islam, Europe is now facing the third attempt, historically, since the eighth century - and doubtless the most serious attempt - on the part of this "religion-civilisation" to conquer it and transform it into Eurabia. Europe is at the same time confronted by an uncontrolled wave of immigration which is practically exchanging its population for another. To divert one's attention onto a fantasmatic anti-zionism, and a primary anti-americanism, is the worst possible mistake one could make in politics, which Macchiavelli condemned : allowing oneself to be ruled by one's passions rather than by cold and clear reason.

15 France-Echos: Is the USA an adversary, or an enemy, or rather an ally, of Europe, in the face of this Islamic colonisation?

Guillaume Faye: The USA is not a single homogeneous entity, this is something neither the anti-Americans nor the pro-Americans seem to comprehend. Certain forces in Washington (the "neo-cons") have tried to play the Islamic card to weaken both Europe and Russia. Unhappily for them, they have stirred up and attracted Islamic terrorism and have allowed themselves to fall into the trap of Iraq.
Washington's current policies are stupid and unskillful. However, from their own point of view, the directing intelligences of Washington have always tried to obstruct the continental unity of Europe and Russia (what I call "Eurosiberia").
Meanwhile, there are new ideological forces in the USA, with which I am in close contact, who consider the restoration of European power indispensable, and who believe completely that we are at the onset of a clash of civilisations which will oppose the North to the South, globally (to put it schematically, and whether we welcome it or not) - even if this view shocks the intellectuals of the system, who mistake their wishes for realities. These new forces also
consider (even those who are anti-Jewish Americans) that a historic compromise and a fundamental alliance with the Jewish élites is necessary, to bring under control both uncontrolled immigration and Islamism. They are finally beginning to understand (like their counterparts in Europe) that the anti-Jewish aversion is a complete non-starter.

I have always written, and I write today, that the USA may be an adversary but it is not an enemy. It is essential to convince the American élites of the need for an ethno-political alliance of all the peoples of European origin. I should add that the arrogance and imperialism of American rulers has but one cause : the weakness, the renunciation, the softness, of the European rulers. As for the Jews, even if they are "a people apart", they manifestly constitute a people in their own right, and they should be members of this alliance. Clearly, they need to make efforts on their own behalf. I would use a term, which I repeat , "historic compromise".

16 France-Echos: You who made your mea culpa to have said Arab Europe-World formerly even combat, would you say Israel-Occident-Europe today even combat?

Guillaume Faye: Carl Schmitt, the famous German political scientist, whom Raymond Aron has made known and translated for the French, said that it is not you who choose your enemy, but it is your enemy who chooses you as his enemy, whether you like it or not. The fact that the Islamist ideology (which benefits from the enormous sensationalism of its approach to the masses and which does not trouble itself with the subtleties of the Parisian intelligentsia) talks of "Crusaders and Zionists" as its principal enemy, should make us reflect. I shall answer your
question and my answer will draw its inspiration from my master, Niccolo Macchiavelli. First off - I do not like the term, "the West", because it apparently excludes Russia, and because of its superficiality (why "the West"?) The realpolitik of the twenty first century will have to attempt to regroup all the peoples of European origin, whose interests are convergent and who confront
the same menaces, whatever their continent of settlement may be. The Jewish state should join this regrouping, and should place itself under its protection, integrated without being assimilated, but without pretending to a leading rôle - with an absolute guarantee that anti-Judaism is an obselete sentiment, and a counter-productive one, which will be allowed no further influence. In any case, to deny to the Jews their place within European civilisation (as understood in its large-scale, multi-continental sense) has always seemed to me to be the
purest delirium, a result of ignorance and of bad faith. In the twenty first century, Israel will no longer be at the centre of the world's preoccupations, because the world will be less and less "Western-centred". (The Chinese and the Indians have very little historical sense of a "Jewish Question"). Many Jews consider themselves to belong to a "central people", the famous "salt of the earth". This sentiment needs to be toned down a bit.

All the same, Israel is today one of the primary locations for the struggle against the common enemy. I consider the Internet texts of the neo-rightist pro-Islamist groups which exalt the "martyrdom" of a Belgian of European descent, who converted to Islam and blew herself up in Israel, taking various innocents with her, to be absolutely pathetic. In terms of first principles,
what do I have to do with this war between Jews and Muslims, between Israelis and Palestinians? Who is right, who is wrong? It is not my problem, except that ... yes, except that in my opinion the perpetuation and strengthening of the state of Israel is a vital priority for all Europeans. The destruction of Israel would present Islam with an open door to the conquest of the whole of Europe. In brief, I entirely support the state of Israel, while deploring the clumsiness and soft-heartedness of certain of its current rulers (contaminated by the
humanitarianism of Buber). If I were in their place, I wouldn't wait for American permission before hitting the Iranian nuclear sites.

17 France-Echos: The positions you express here may provoke an earthquake in your own circle? People might call you a "Jew-lover"?

Guillaume Faye: I am absolutely not a "Jew-lover". I think of the Jews as allies, as partakers
in European civilisation, with a very particular and original status as "people apart" (this does not mean "superior"), and all this is something very different from being a "Jew-lover". But I have always felt a certain repugnance for anti-Judaism ; not because it seems to me "immoral", but because it seems to me quite simply useless, debauched, infantile, politically self-contradictory, and out of date. My whole purpose is to cause earthquakes, to make people think, to dislodge their prejudices, and to make their minds evolve. To free my milieu from counter-productive anti-Judaism and anti-zionism - with which it is still imprinted - seems to me to be a strategic necessity. This fact should be taken into account, dispassionately. To me, the Jews are themselves, proud of their interior truth, guardians of their own secrets. The Jewish community ought to reflect actively on the pertinence of my theories, and ought to decide upon its own ideological evolution. My forthcoming essay, "The New Jewish Question" will clarify a lot of obscure aspects of all this. I am engaged in digging holes in the ground, in order to bring about the eruption of volcanoes.

Works written between 1980 and 1986 : "The System For Killing The Peoples" (translated into Italian), "The New Ideological Joys", "Organic Man", "The New Consumer Society", "Sex And Ideology", "The West As Decline", "New Discourse On The European Nation".

Works written between 1986 and 1999 : "The Guide To Invective", "The Abbreviated Guide To Seduction", "Extraterrestrials From A To Z".

donderdag, juli 27, 2006

Whither the WTO door William GREIDER in The Nation, 27 juli 2006.

The announcement from Geneva that the "Doha Round" negotiations for another global trade agreement is in "collapse" lacked high drama since impending failure was already clear to all but the most fervent cheerleaders for the World Trade Organization. Five years of sloganeering and media pep talks and clever maneuvering failed to persuade developing nations or even inspire much enthusiasm in advanced economies. This is very good news for peoples of the world, though you won't see the story played that way in the American press.

In round-about fashion, the WTO's failure represents belated vindication for the blue-green movement that arose in Seattle six years ago and the Global Social Forum launched later from Porto Alegre, Brazil. These bottom-up political mobilizations offered an alternative vision for globalization – not dominated by the desires and dictates of multinational corporations but by ideas of popular sovereignty and common human aspirations that are shared by people in vastly different trading nations. That promising movement was eclipsed by the drama of 9/11 and war in Iraq, but it was never really sidetracked. Many individual countries have already revolted against the "Washington Consensus" and even establishment experts are beginning to acknowledge its failures. Defeat for them in Geneva is an important marker of progress for those who can imagine a different world.

That assembly includes especially the poorer nations of the world, struggling to find their way in a complex game of economic diplomacy usually controlled by the corporate big boys. This time, the impoverished countries stood their ground. They did not take the bait and swallow the empty promises, though they were coaxed and bullied by the major industrial players, led by the US. That reflects both their courage and growing maturity.

The essential deal offered the poor was, if they would accept the expanded domination of the WTO and its multinational sponsors, the rich nations would slash their lush subsidies for global agribusiness, leaving more market space for agricultural producers in developing nations. Many gullible editorial writers bought the logic, but not the poorer nations themselves. To believe that promise, you had to believe George W. Bush was going to sell out Texas cotton and Florida sugar and Midwestern grain or that Paris intended to dump the prosperous farmers of Normandy.

The larger meaning of the Doha collapse is the growing rejection of the WTO itself as a trustworthy governing institution for the global system. It was created ten years ago and it's been down hill ever since, both for rich and poor nations. The activists of Global Trade Watch, arm in arm with other groups around the world, make this case persuasively in a new briefing paper. The demise of Doha, they argue, should restart the worldwide debate on new and more fundamental terms – more promising for people and less deferential to global capital.

"Instead of pinning blame on specific countries, the focus of energy should be on how the world's governments can develop a multilateral trade system that preserves the benefits of trade growth and development, while pruning away the many anti-democratic condstraints on domestic policy making in the existing WTO rules," Global Trade Watch explains. "Much of the backlash against coroporate globalization implemented by the WTO is aimed at the damage caused by the comprehensive one-size-fits-all, non-trade rules comprising the majority of the WTO text."

In blunt summary, the new approach means the following: Scale back the powers of the WTO so that human rights, environmental, labor and other public-interest standards can be adopted "as a floor of conduct for corporations seeking the benefits of global trade rules." In other words, bring other international organizations into the process, with power to enforce standards on everything from toxics to food security to worker rights.

The system, meanwhile, must loosen its grip on individual nations and governments so they can develop their own domestic priorities on non-trade issues. "Countries must be free to prioritize other values and goals above what are sometimes countervailing demands of multinational corporations," the briefing paper asserts.

This is an immense challenge and obviously difficult for brain-dead politicians to grasp and embrace. But it's also an exciting and promising new opening. Imagine that the collapse of the old order has occurred, though not yet acknowledged by its sponsors. "Another world is possible," as the activists like to say, and it has just become a bit more possible.

Bron: The Nation

dinsdag, juli 25, 2006

Het Verval van het Westen - Nominalisme en Conservatisme door Tom POTOMS op, 25 juli 2006.

Met het morele verval van het westen bevindt de belangrijkste filosofische stroming in het westen zich in een crisis. Deze crisis uit zich in ultra-individualisering en toenemende staatsmacht. Vanuit het traditionele conservatisme plaats ik hier enkele opmerkingen bij.

Wat is nominalisme? De grondlegger van het nominalisme, William van Oackham, geloofde niet in universele of algemeen geldende waarden. die de grondlegger was van het nominalisme. In het Engels valt, naar analogie met William van Oackham, het nominalisme als volgt samen te vatten: “Universals are not real, only particulars are real.”

Anders gezegd: nominalisten geloven niet in een algemeen moreel kader, waarin de mens kan bewegen (bijvoorbeeld: de kerk). Nominalisten staan echter voor een doorgedreven individueel moreel systeem; een systeem waarin elke mens zelf moet beslissen of iets goed of slecht is. Een vorm van extreem nominalisme kunnen we vinden in de zelfverklaarde ‘Antichrist’: Friedrich Nietzsche. In zijn denken bestaat er geen bindend moreel kader, want God is dood. En dus moeten wij zelfstandig, zonder bindend of omkaderend geheel beslissen over ons eigen goed.

Nominalisten zijn relativisten, aangezien ze elk begrip, elk kader en elke cultuur relativeren en terugdringen tot datgene wat rechtsstreeks waarneembaar is en wat vooral het individu aanvoelt of ervaart. Deze denkwijze is in de handen van gevaarlijke personen een handig wapen om te gebruiken. Dieven en moordenaars manipuleren op deze wijze, via onder meer hun advocaten en therapeuten, de rechtsspraak - of een algemeen geldende reglementering - door de nominalistische theorieën te gebruiken en deze toe te passen in hun voordeel. Want aangezien nominalisme zegt dat er geen universele, of algemene waarden of principes gelden, dan bestaan er in principe ook geen rechtsspraak en een grondwet. Nee, of iets een misdaad is of niet mag vanaf nu, volgens het nominalisme, bekeken worden door de ogen van de misdadigers, de drugsdealers en de pedofielen. Ik denk dan ook dat de aanhangers van de pedofielenpartij PNVD echte nominalisten zijn.

Begrippen, algemene wetten of principes - universele waarden – zijn echter wel realiteit en hebben daarom geldingskracht. In dit licht wil ik graag de beroemde Lord Acton citeren, die mijn gedachten hierover goed verwoort: “Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the tablets of eternity.”

Als alles individualistisch wordt, zelfs morele basisprincipes, dan kan dat niet anders uitlopen in anarchie en verval. De eerste stap in het verval van het Romeinse Rijk was immers ook het morele verval door de verloedering van algemeen geldende waarden die voorheen nog zorgden voor eenheid en kracht van de eigen cultuur. In feite is het Romeinse Rijk ten onder gegaan aan een nominalistisch ultra-individualisme. Dit ultra-individualisme leidde tot grote vormen van staatsterreur, waarin uiteindelijk zelfs de vijanden van het Rijk werden gebruikt tegen haar eigen burgers (door middel van de Germaanse foederatii).

Nominalisme is misschien niet volledig als oorzaak van het ultra-individualisme te noemen. Maar door te stellen dat algemene, universele wetten niet gelden of zelfs niet bestaan, heeft het wel de weg vrijgemaakt voor het latere verval van de ‘gemeenschappen’; dat wil zeggen van de intermediaire gemeenschap zoals kerk en gezin.

En met het verval van de bovenvermelde gemeenschap, is ook de weg vrij gemaakt voor een totalitaire, en bemoeizuchtige staat. Lees bijvoorbeeld maar eens De Tocqueville die ook duidelijk het verband zag tussen het individualiseringsproces na de Franse revolutie en de opkomst van de sterke, bijna tirranieke staat. In onze tijd zag iemand als Robert Nisbet dit ook en schreef zijn gedachten hierover neer in het standaardwerk voor elke traditionele (orthodoxe) conservatief: The Quest for Community.

Het nominalisme heeft ons in de loop der eeuwen opgezadeld met een doorgeschoten individualisering van de maatschappij en daarmee met een steeds maar weer versterkte staatsmacht. Om dit morele verval in het Westen te stoppen, is een revitalisering van de gemeenschap noodzakelijk. Gemeenschappen als het gezin en de kerk moeten weer centraal komen te staan in een cultuur die het nominalisme afzweert. Het individu moet weliswaar kunnen rekenen op bescherming tegen exessen binnen zijn groep (zoals mishandeling), maar het moet niet beschermd worden door de staat met als enige doel om het individu tegenover zijn gemeenschapsgroep te plaatsen en het daar zelfs van te vervreemden.

Vrijheid is kenmerkend voor de westerse cultuur. Maar vrijheid is niet alleen geënt op het individu, maar ook en vooral op de lokale en traditionele gemeenschappen - voornamelijk het gezin. Want zoals Nisbet zei: “Alle leden van het gezin zijn juist vrij omdat ze capabel zijn om elkaar te verdedigen tegen een te grote staatsbeïnvloeding.” Want de strijd tegen het nominalisme is de strijd tegen de toenemende staatsbeïnvloeding en vóór een gezonde maatschappelijke realiteit: die van een vrijheid in gezin, kerk en gemeenschap.

Tom Potoms

Bron: Open Orthodoxie

zondag, juli 23, 2006

Must It Be the Rest Against the West ? door Paul KENNEDY en Matthew CONNELY in The Atlantic Monthly, 2006.

Absent major changes in North-South relations, the wretched should inherit the earth by about 2025

"Now, stretching over that empty sea, aground some fifty yards out, [lay] the incredible fleet from the other side of the globe, the rusty, creaking fleet that the old professor had been eyeing since morning. . . . He pressed his eye to the glass, and the first things he saw were arms. . . . Then he started to count. Calm and unhurried. But it was like trying to count all the trees in the forest, those arms raised high in the air, waving and shaking together, all outstretched toward the nearby shore. Scraggy branches, brown and black, quickened by a breath of hope. All bare, those fleshless Gandhi-arms. . . . thirty thousand creatures on a single ship!" The Camp of the Saints

Welcome to the 300-page narrative of Jean Raspail's disturbing, chilling, futuristic novel The Camp of the Saints, first published in Paris twenty-one years ago and translated into English a short while later. Set at some vague time--perhaps fifteen or twenty years--in the future, the novel describes the pilgrimage of a million desperate Indians who, forsaking the ghastly conditions of downtown Calcutta and surrounding villages, commandeer an armada of decrepit ships and set off for the French Riviera. The catalyst for this irruption is simple enough. Moved by accounts of widespread famine across an Indian subcontinent collapsing under the sheer weight of its fast-growing population, the Belgian government has decided to admit and adopt a number of young children; but the policy is reversed when tens of thousands of mothers begin to push their babies against the Belgian consul general's gates in Calcutta. After mobbing the building in disgust at Belgium's change of mind, the crowd is further inflamed by a messianic speech from one of their number, an untouchable, a gaunt, eye-catching "turd eater," who calls for the poor and wretched of the world to advance upon the Western paradise: "The nations are rising from the four corners of the earth," Raspail has the man say, "and their number is like the sand of the sea. They will march up over the broad earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city. . . ." Storming on board every ship within range, the crowds force the crews to take them on a lengthy, horrific voyage, around Africa and through the Strait of Gibraltar to the southern shores of France.

But it is not the huddled mass of Indians, with their "fleshless Gandhi-arms," that is the focus of Raspail's attention so much as the varied responses of the French and the other privileged members of "the camp of the saints" as they debate how to deal with the inexorably advancing multitude. Raspail is particularly effective here in capturing the platitudes of official announcements, the voices of ordinary people, the tone of statements by concerned bishops, and so on. The book also seems realistic in its recounting of the crumbling away of resolve by French sailors and soldiers when they are given the order to repel physically--to shoot or torpedo--this armada of helpless yet menacing people. It would be much easier, clearly, to confront a military foe, such as a Warsaw Pact nation. The fifty-one (short) chapters are skillfully arranged so that the reader's attention is switched back and forth, within a two-month time frame, between the anxious debates in Paris and events attending the slow and grisly voyage of the Calcutta masses. The denouement, with the French population fleeing their southern regions and army units deserting in droves, is especially dramatic.

The Voyage of the Golden Venture
Why revisit this controversial and nowadays hard-to-obtain novel? The recovery of this neglected work helps us to call attention to the key global problem of the final years of the twentieth century: unbalanced wealth and resources, unbalanced demographic trends, and the relationship between the two. Many members of the more prosperous economies are beginning to agree with Raspail's vision: a world of two "camps," North and South, separate and unequal, in which the rich will have to fight and the poor will have to die if mass migration is not to overwhelm us all. Migration is the third part of the problem. If we do not act now to counteract tendencies toward global apartheid, they will only hurry the day when we may indeed see Raspail's vision made real.

One of us (Kennedy) first heard The Camp of the Saints referred to at various times during discussions of illegal migration. One such occasion was in the summer of 1991, following media reports about the thousands of desperate Albanians who commandeered ships to take them to the Italian ports of Bari and Brindisi, where they were locked in soccer stadiums by the local police before being forcibly returned to a homeland so poor that it is one of the few parts of Europe sometimes categorized as "developing" countries. Apparently, one reason for this exodus was that the Albanians had been watching Italian television--including commercials for consumer goods, cat food shown being served on a silver platter, and the like. More than a few colleagues mentioned that the incident struck them as a small-scale version of Raspail's grim scenario.

If a short trip across the Adriatic seems a far cry from a passage from Calcutta to Provence, the voyage of the Golden Venture was even more fantastic than anything imagined by Raspail. This 150-foot rust-streaked freighter left Bangkok, Thailand, in February of 1993 carrying ninety Chinese refugees, mostly from the impoverished Fujian province. Two hundred more Chinese boarded in Mombasa, Kenya. When they finally came ashore, on June 6, in the darkness and pounding surf off Rockaway, Queens, in New York City (eight drowned trying to swim to land), all had traveled a much greater distance than Raspail's fictional refugees.

What was remarkable about the Golden Venture was not that Chinese refugees tried to smuggle themselves into the United States--some experts estimate that 10,000 to 30,000 manage to do so each year--but that in traveling west rather than east, they were taking a new route to America. In the past most Chinese illegal immigrants came ashore on the West Coast or crossed into California after landing in Mexico. But the Golden Venture rounded the Cape of Good Hope and thus crossed some of the same waters as Raspail's imaginary armada.

The Camp of the Saints was also to some extent recalled in a special report of October 18, 1992, by the New York Times correspondent Alan Riding, about the remarkable increase in illegal immigration across the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrowest gap between Africa and Europe. The most startling fact in the report was not that ambitious, unemployed North Africans were heading to Europe to find jobs but that such traffic has now become pan-continental or even global. Of the 1,547 immigrants detained by the Spanish authorities in the first ten months of the year of Riding's report, 258 were from Ethiopia, 193 from Liberia, seventy-two from South Africa, and sixty-four from Somalia. Seventy-two from South Africa! Did they walk, hitchhike, or take buses across the entire continent? Even a journey that long pales beside Riding's further point that "word of the new route had spread far beyond Morocco, with not only Algerians and growing numbers of sub-Saharan Africans, but also Filipinos, Chinese and even the occasional Eastern Europeans among those detained." Take a look at an atlas and pose the question, Just how does a desperate citizen of, say, Bulgaria get to Morocco without going through western Europe?

The Doom of the White Race
Jean Raspail, born in 1925, has been writing works of travel and fiction since the 1950s. Many of his books recount his experiences in Alaska, the Caribbean, the Andes; he is not ignorant of foreign lands and cultures. Raspail won prizes from the Academie Francaise, and last year only narrowly failed to be elected to that august body. The Camp of the Saints is different from his other writings. In the preface, written a decade after the book, he states that one morning in 1972, at home by the shore of the Mediterranean, he had this vision: "A million poor wretches, armed only with their weakness and their numbers, overwhelmed by misery, encumbered with starving brown and black children, ready to disembark on our soil, the vanguard of the multitudes pressing hard against every part of the tired and overfed West. I literally saw them, saw the major problem they presented, a problem absolutely insoluble by our present moral standards. To let them in would destroy us. To reject them would destroy them."

"During the ten months I spent writing this book, the vision never left me. That is why The Camp of the Saints, with all its imperfections, was a kind of emotional outpouring."

Is this simply a work of imagination or, as Raspail's critics charge, a racist tract dressed up as fiction? In some parts of the novel Raspail appears to be resigned, fatalistic, not taking sides: "The Good are at war with the Bad, true enough," he says at one point. "But one man's 'Bad' is another man's 'Good,' and vice versa. It's a question of sides." And he has the President of France, puzzling over the question of inequality among races, attribute to the Grand Mufti of Paris the idea that it is "just a question of rotation," with "different ones on top at different times"--as if to imply that it is quite natural for Europe, having expanded outward for the past 500 years, to be overwhelmed in turn by non-Western peoples. Indeed, Raspail claims that in depicting the French armed forces fleeing from confrontation rather than bloodily repulsing the armada, he shows he is no racist, for "I denied to the white Occident, at least in my novel, its last chance for salvation."

Yet for much of the rest of the novel Raspail makes plain where his cultural and political preferences lie. Whereas the Europeans all have characters and identities, from the Belgian consul in Calcutta, trampled to death by the crowd, to the French politicians paralyzed by their impending fate, the peoples of the Third World, whether already laboring in the slums of Paris or advancing upon the high seas, are unrelentingly disparaged. "All the kinky-haired, swarthy-skinned, long-despised phantoms; all the teeming ants toiling for the white man's comfort; all the swill men and sweepers, the troglodytes, the stinking drudges, the swivel-hipped menials, the womanless wretches, the lung-spewing hackers; all the numberless, nameless, tortured, tormented, indispensable mass. . . . They don't say much. But they know their strength, and they'll never forget it. If they have an objection, they simply growl, and it soon becomes clear that their growls run the show. After all, five billion growling human beings, rising over the length and breadth of the earth, can make a lot of noise!"

Meanwhile, along with Josiane and Marcel, seven hundred million whites sit shutting their eyes and plugging their ears.

If anything, Raspail's contempt for sympathizers and fellow travelers in the West is even more extreme. The collection of churchmen who plead for tolerance of the approaching armada; the intellectuals and media stars who think this is a great event; the hippies, radicals, and counterculture people who swarm south to greet the Indians as the panic-stricken Provencois are rushing north--all these get their comeuppance in Raspail's bitter, powerful prose. In one of the most dramatic events, close to the book's end, the leader of the French radicals is portrayed as rushing forward to welcome the "surging mob" of Indians, only to find himself "swept up in turn, carried off by the horde. Struggling to breathe. All around him, the press of sweaty, clammy bodies, elbows nudging madly in a frantic push forward, every man for himself, in a scramble to reach the streams of milk and honey." The message is clear: race, not class or ideology, determines everything, and the wretched of the earth will see no distinction between unfriendly, fascistic Frenchmen on the one hand and liberal-minded bishops and yuppies on the other. All have enjoyed too large a share of the world's wealth for too long, and their common fate is now at hand.

It is not just the people of France who suffer that fate. Near the end of Raspail's novel the mayor of New York is made to share Gracie Mansion with three families from Harlem, the Queen of England must marry her son to a Pakistani, and just one drunken Russian general stands in the way of the Chinese as they swarm into Siberia. "In the Philippines, in all the stifling Third World ports--Jakarta, Karachi, Conakry, and again in Calcutta--other huge armadas were ready to weigh anchor, bound for Australia, New Zealand, Europe. . . . Many a civilization, victim of the selfsame fate, sits tucked in our museums, under glass, neatly labeled."

To describe The Camp of the Saints as an apocalyptic novel would be a truism. The very title of the book comes, of course, from Saint John's Apocalypse, the lines of which are uttered almost exactly by the messianic untouchable early on in the book. The work is studded with references to much earlier clashes between "the West" and "the Rest": to Charles Martel, to the fall of Constantinople, to Don John of Austria, to Kitchener at Omdurman--all to fortify the suggestion that what is unfolding is just part of a millennium-old international Kulturkampf that is always resolved by power and numbers. When Europe dominated the globe, the Caucasian race's relative share of world population achieved its high point; as the proportion shrinks, Raspail argues, so the race dooms itself. In his 1982 preface he spells it out again: "Our hypersensitive and totally blind West . . . has not yet understood that whites, in a world become too small for its inhabitants, are now a minority and that the proliferation of other races dooms our race, my race, irretrievably to extinction in the century to come, if we hold fast to our present moral principles."

"Not Since Genghis Khan"
When The Camp of the Saints first appeared, in 1973, it was, to put it mildly, not well received. Sixties radicalism still prevailed in Paris; a century of capitalist imperialism was blamed for the problems of the Third World, though the feeling was that Africans and Asians now at least had control of their own destinies; and French intellectuals and bureaucrats believed that they had a special rapport with non-European cultures, unlike the insensitive Anglo-Saxons. Besides being shocking in its contents, Raspail's book was also offensive: it insulted almost everything that Sorbonne professors held dear. The Camp was swiftly dismissed as a racist tract. As for Raspail, he went off to write other novels and travel books. But in late 1985 he offended again, by joining forces with the demographer Gerard Dumont to write an article in Le Figaro Magazine claiming that the fast-growing non-European immigrant component of France's population would endanger the survival of traditional French culture, values, and identity. By this time the immigration issue had become much more contentious in French politics, and only a year earlier Jacques Chirac, then the mayor of Paris, had publicly warned, "When you compare Europe with the other continents, it's terrifying. In demographic terms, Europe is disappearing. Twenty or so years from now our countries will be empty, and no matter what our technological power, we shall be incapable of putting it to use." The Raspail-Dumont article was highly embarrassing to the French Socialist government, which, though pledged to crack down on illegal immigrants, was deeply disturbed by the potential political fallout from such a controversial piece. No fewer than three Cabinet Ministers, including Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, attacked it as "racist propaganda" and "reminiscent of the wildest Nazi theories." It was no consolation to them that Jean-Marie Le Pen, the head of the fast-growing National Front, was making immigration the leading issue as he campaigned among the discontented French electorate.

Despite attempts by centrist politicians to ignore this touchy topic, it refuses to go away. For example, although the early 1990s were supposed to mark the culmination of the decades-long drive toward the European Union's integration, an increasing number of Europeans were looking over their shoulders, especially after the British Broadcasting Corporation raised the specter of a "march" on Europe in a 1990 made-for-TV movie of that name. In the program a band of Sudanese refugees decide to walk straight across the Sahara rather than slowly starve on the paltry rations of Western relief agencies. With timely assistance from the Libyan government, which calls them the "spirit of suffering Africa," a throng swollen to 250,000 finally arrives at the Strait of Gibraltar. "We've traveled almost as far as Columbus," says their leader, now called the Mahdi. "We have no power but this: to choose where we die," he proclaims before embarking for the European shore. "All we ask of you is, watch us die." On the advice of a media-savvy African-American congressman, the flotilla washes ashore in the glare of flashbulbs and prime-time TV broadcasts--and a large force of EU soldiers. The movie ends there, and what happens next is left to the viewer's imagination. But its production was enough to provoke Raspail to complain. The producers insisted that when they began the project they had been unaware of the earlier work--an insistence that only confirmed that the themes of The Camp continue to resonate. The March has itself become something of a cult classic. Though rejected by the Public Broadcasting System as "not suitable to their programming" (nobody actually said it was too hot to handle), after four years it continues to be shown to audiences throughout Europe.

All of which brings us to the present day. Raspail may have written the most politically incorrect book in France in the second half of the twentieth century, but the national mood concerning immigration is nowadays much less liberal than it was two decades ago. In fact, France's tough new Conservative government began this year by announcing a series of crackdowns on illegal immigrants, including mass deportation. "When we have sent home several planeloads, even boatloads and trainloads, the world will get the message," claimed Charles Pasqua, the hard-line Cabinet Minister in charge of security and immigration affairs. "We will close our frontiers." Last year he announced that France would become a "zero immigration" country, a stunning reversal of its 200-year-old policy of offering asylum to those in need. That Pasqua believed it was in fact possible to halt immigration was called into doubt when he later remarked, "The problems of immigration are ahead of us and not behind us." By the year 2000, he asserted, there will be 60 million people in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia under the age of twenty and "without a future." Where else to go but France, whose television programs they can view every evening, much as Albanians goggle at Italian cat-food commercials?

The Camp of the Saints is not well known in the United States, but it has attracted some attention in predictable circles. The only English-language edition we could find came from the American Immigration Control Foundation, which, as its name suggests, campaigns for stricter policies. That is an aim also expressed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in its recent publication Crowding Out the Future: World Population Growth, U.S. Immigration, and Pressures on Natural Resources, which presents the following argument very early on: "A traditional moralist may object, asserting, "I am my brother's keeper." We must ask him: "And what about your children? And your children's children? What about the children of your neighbor next door? Must we subdivide and distribute our patrimony among the children of all the world?" Americans are already outnumbered twenty-to-one by the rest of the world. Our grandchildren will be outnumbered even more. Must we condemn them to the poverty of an absolutely equal distribution? How would that benefit them or the descendants of other people?"

"Total poverty can be avoided only if people agree that the ancient admonition "Charity begins at home" is still the best guide to philanthropic action."

The Washington Times is also strongly in the "let's regain control of our borders" camp, and its staff writers and op-ed contributors find reference to Raspail particularly useful in attacking the United States' liberal immigration policy. Illegal immigrants caught coming by boat--Chinese, Haitians --make for especially neat comparisons, and nowadays the language is as blunt as Raspail's own. "Not since Genghis Khan rode out of the Asian steppes has the West--Europe as well as the United States--encountered such an alien invasion," the Washington Times columnist Samuel Francis has written. His fellow columnist Paul Craig Roberts predicts "a cataclysmic future." Roberts has written, "Not since the Roman Empire was overrun by illegal aliens in the fifth century has the world experienced the massive population movements of recent years." Both writers posit what others have called a growing "Third-World-ization" of America's cities, with a privileged minority increasingly besieged by a disgruntled, polyglot lumpenproletariat. (Raspail had carefully built such a situation into The Camp of the Saints: the night came when the "black tide," learning what had happened in Provence, rose up and overwhelmed the elegant apartments around Central Park.)

Readers made uncomfortable by all this nativist and racist opinion will no doubt find it easy to counterattack. Migrants are not usually the poorest of the poor--instead they are the ones best informed about opportunities elsewhere and able to act on them. Paul Craig Roberts's figure of an "estimated" three million illegal aliens who find their way into the United States each year is much higher than other guesses we've seen. And historically, the greatest population migrations of all consisted of the tens of millions of "illegal aliens" who sailed from Europe to the Americas, Africa, and Australasia during the past 250 years; in the face of them the aboriginal inhabitants could do little but submit or be annihilated. In pointing to the reversal of that flow, Raspail was at least willing to concede that "different ones [are] on top at different times." Moreover, many economists--Julian Simon, at the University of Maryland, is one--argue that immigration gives a net boost to the United States, a position also held by the free-market paper The Wall Street Journal. Those who predict that immigration will become one of the hottest political issues of the 1990s may be correct; what is less certain is that Fortress America attitudes will win the day. Yet if the United States maintains a liberal policy while every other rich nation decides, like France, to do the opposite, will that not simply increase the pressures on this country's borders?

Cornucopian Hopes
Let us now get to the heart of the matter. Readers may well find Raspail's vision uncomfortable and his language vicious and repulsive, but the central message is clear: we are heading into the twenty-first century in a world consisting for the most part of a relatively small number of rich, satiated, demographically stagnant societies and a large number of poverty-stricken, resource-depleted nations whose populations are doubling every twenty-five years or less. The demographic imbalances are exacerbated by grotesque disparities of wealth between rich and poor countries. Despite the easy references that are made to our common humanity, it is difficult to believe that Switzerland, with an annual average per capita income of about $35,000, and Mali, with an average per capita income of less than $300, are on the same planet--but Raspail's point is that they are, and that a combination of push and pull factors will entice desperate, ambitious Third World peasants to approach the portals of the First World in ever-increasing numbers. The pressures are now much greater than they were when Raspail wrote, not only because we've added 1.5 billion people to our planet since the early 1970s, but also, ironically, because of the global communications revolution, which projects images of Western lifestyles, consumer goods, and youth culture across the globe. Ambitious peasants no longer need a messianic untouchable to urge them to leave by boat for Europe; they see the inducements every day on their small black-and-white television sets.

Is all this gloom and doom justified? What about rosier visions of the future? What about the good news? The apocalyptic literature appears to be at odds with an equally large array of writings, chiefly by free-market economists and consultants, that proclaim a brave new world of ever-greater production, trade, wealth, and standards of living for all. In these portrayals of "the coming global boom," a combination of market forces, diminished government interference, ingenious technologies, and the creation of a truly universal customer base will allow our planet to double or treble its income levels during the next few decades. In the view of those who believe that the global technological and communications revolution is making the world more integrated, rather than more envious, the constant modernization of the world economy is leading to a steady convergence of standards of production and living. As more and more countries open up to a borderless world, the prospects for humankind--or, at least, for those able to adapt--are steadily improving.

Yet a closer look at this cornucopian literature reveals that its focus is overwhelmingly upon the world's winners--the well-educated lawyers, management consultants, software engineers, and other "symbolic analysts" analyzed by Secretary of Labor Robert Reich--who sell their expertise at handsome prices to clients in other rich societies. To the extent that they consider the situation in the Third World, the cornucopian writers typically point to the model minority of global politics--the East Asians. The techno-liberals pay hardly any attention to the mounting human distress in Calcutta or Nicaragua or Liberia, and no wonder: were they to consider the desperate plight of the poorest two billion beings on our planet, their upbeat messages would sound less plausible.

Our global optimists might consider Robert D. Kaplan's horrific analysis, in the February, 1994, Atlantic Monthly, of the collapse of entire societies across West Africa. With governments losing control of any areas they cannot intimidate through their armies and police, groups of unemployed young men plundering travelers, AIDS and tuberculosis joining malaria to kill people in their prime, forests cut down and topsoil washed away, the region increasingly looks like strife-torn, plague-ridden medieval Europe. Even The Economist, claiming to detect "a flicker of light" in Africa amid the gloom, admits that if the sub-Saharan countries did grow at the (overoptimistic) rates recently predicted by the World Bank, "Africans would have to wait another 40 years to clamber back to the incomes they had in the mid-1970s. Exclude Nigeria, and the wait would last a century." What The Economist did not ask was whether the more than a billion and a half Africans likely to be living in 2035 will be content to watch the Northern Hemisphere grow and prosper while they themselves struggle to attain the same standard of living their great-grandparents had.

It is often argued that Africa is a special case (the Third World's Third World, as the saying goes), although Kaplan's more general point is that the same combination of rapid population growth, mass unemployment among youth, environmental devastation, and social collapse is to be seen, in a less acute form, everywhere from central China to the Euphrates Valley. Reportedly the State Department has sent copies of Kaplan's article to many embassies and missions abroad; the Pentagon prefers Martin Van Creveld's grim portrayal of future chaos and ethnic conflict, The Transformation of War (1991)--to which Kaplan's article pays tribute--as recommended reading for its service officers. Perhaps the most significant thing about these writings is their assumption that the demographically driven breakdown of order will not be confined to one continent but will be global in its manifestations--precisely what Raspail sought to convey in his stark account of swarms of immigrants moving out of Jakarta, Karachi, and Conakry.

If the problem is global, it is not all of a piece. There is a world of difference between, say, Mexican immigrants searching for a better life and Rwandan refugees fleeing a grisly death. But the most relevant divide is not between migrants and refugees--we will be seeing a lot more of both--but rather between what they lack and what we have to offer. Regardless of whether it is in an increasingly resentful American labor market or an overcrowded relief camp, the West will be hard put to provide answers to this burgeoning problem.

The techno-liberals are right to draw attention to the fact that virtually all the factors of production--capital, assembly, knowledge, management--have become globalized, moving across national boundaries in the form of investments, consulting expertise, new plants, patents, and so on. What they ignore is that one factor of production has not been similarly liberated: labor. Even the most outre proponent of free-market principles shrinks from arguing that any number of people should be free to go anywhere they like on the planet. This irony--or, better, this double standard--is not unnoticed by the spokespeople of poorer countries, who charge that while the North presses for the unshackling of capital flows, assembly, goods, and services, it firmly resists the liberalization of the global labor market, and that behind the ostensible philanthropic concern about world demographic trends lies a deep fear that the white races of the world will be steadily overwhelmed by everyone else.

Numbers Count
It is impossible to isolate population growth from the economy, environment, politics, and culture of each country to prove that it causes external migration--though it is suggestive that Haiti and Rwanda have about the highest fertility rates in Latin America and Africa. What cannot be contested is that the sheer size of other countries that are "at risk" will make international migration a problem of ever greater magnitude. Similarly, in broad figures the future pattern of global population increases is not in dispute. At present the earth contains approximately 5.7 billion people and is adding to that total by approximately 93 million a year. It is possible to estimate the rough totals of world population as the next century unfolds: by 2025 the planet will contain approximately 8.5 billion people. The pace of growth is expected to taper off, so the total population may stabilize at around 10 or 11 billion people by perhaps 2050, although some estimates are much larger. By the second quarter of the coming century India may well rival China as the world's most populous country--with 1.4 billion to China's 1.5 billion inhabitants--and many other countries in the Third World are also expected to contain vastly expanded numbers of people: Indonesia 286 million, Nigeria 281 million, Pakistan 267 million, Brazil 246 million, Mexico 150 million, and so on.

Of the many implications of this global trend, four stand out--at least with respect to our inquiry. The first and most important is that 95 percent of the twofold increase in the world's population expected before the middle of the next century will occur in poor countries, especially those least equipped to take the strain. Second, although globally the relative share of human beings in poverty is expected to shrink, in absolute numbers there will be far more poor people on earth in the early twenty-first century than ever before, unless serious intervention occurs. Third, within the Third World a greater and greater percentage of the population is drifting from the countryside into gigantic shanty-cities. Even by the end of this decade Sao Paulo is expected to contain 22.6 million people, Bombay 18.1 million, Shanghai 17.4 million, Mexico City 16.2 million, and Calcutta 12.7 million--all cities that run the risk of becoming centers of mass poverty and social collapse. (Right now there are 143,000 people per square mile in Lagos and 130,000 per square mile in Jakarta, as compared with 23,700 per square mile in the five boroughs of New York.) And fourth, these societies are increasingly adolescent in composition--in Kenya in 1985, to take an extreme case, 52 percent of the population was under fifteen--and the chances that their resource-poor governments will be able to provide education and jobs for hundreds of millions of teenagers are remote. In many North African cities unemployment rates among youth range from 40 to 70 percent, providing highly combustible levels of frustration among young men who turn with interest to the anti-Northern messages of fundamentalist mullahs or, equally significant, to tempting televised portrayals of European lifestyles.

Regardless of the rosy prospects for East Asia, the gaps between rich and poor countries--between Europe and Africa, between North America and Central America--are widening, not closing; and, as Raspail bluntly put it, numbers do count. The southern European states of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece, whose combined populations, it is estimated, will increase by a mere 4.5 million between 1990 and 2025, lie close to North African countries--Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt--whose populations are expected to grow by 107 million in the same period. The population of the United States is expected to rise by 29 percent by 2025, while its southern neighbors Mexico and Guatemala may grow by 63 percent and 135 percent respectively. Together Europe and North America, which contained more than 22 percent of the world's population in 1950, will contain less than 10 percent by 2025.

In any case, even if tremendous economic progress were to be made over the next few decades in some of the poor regions of the globe, the result, ironically, would also challenge the West, as the economic and political balances of power swung toward countries that, on current evidence (the 1993 human-rights conference in Vienna, the Singapore caning), will actively resist cultural homogenization. Kishore Mahbubani, the deputy secretary of Singapore's Foreign Ministry, recently suggested as much when he pointed to a "siege mentality" in the West, affirming that "power is shifting among civilizations." "Simple arithmetic demonstrates Western folly," he wrote. "The West has 800 million people; the rest make up almost 4.7 billion. . . . no Western society would accept a situation where 15 percent of its population legislated for the remaining 85 percent." Westerners' "fatal flaw," according to Mahbubani, is "an inability to conceive that the West may have developed structural weaknesses in its core value systems and institutions." He added, "The West is bringing about its relative decline by its own hand." It is probably still premature to predict when China will overtake the United States as the world's largest economy, but it is undeniable that a shift in material power toward Asia is under way. Raspail's "seven hundred million whites" may well confront two very different challenges by early next century: Africa's collapse and Asia's rise.

Perhaps the global problem of the early twenty-first century is basically this: that across our planet a number of what might be termed demographic-technological fault lines are emerging, between fast-growing, adolescent, resource-poor, undercapitalized, and undereducated populations on one side and technologically inventive, demographically moribund, and increasingly nervous rich societies on the other. The fault line central to The Camp of the Saints lies along the Mediterranean, but it is easy to point to several others, from the Rio Grande to central Asia. One of the most interesting lines of all runs right through China, dividing most of the coastal provinces from the interior. How those on the two sides of these widening regional or intercontinental fissures are to relate to each other early in the next century dwarfs every other issue in global affairs.

If one accepts that this is our biggest long-term challenge, then the inadequacies of simplistic, knee-jerk responses assume great importance. The zero-immigration policies of France and Japan do nothing to affect tilting population balances and probably increase the resentment of these countries' poorer neighbors, but denying that migration is an international problem, as some American liberals do, invites the possibility that a continuing (and growing) flow of immigrants will place even greater strains on this country's social and cultural politics.

Yet what are the alternatives? Even if we wished to alter demographic balances, is there any acceptable prospect of doing so? When Raspail said, obliquely, that our "present moral principles" were dooming the West, was he really getting at the idea that rich societies could expect to preserve the status quo only if they were prepared to use any means necessary to cut global population? It is easy to see where that logic leads. To take but one of the more extreme examples, a Finnish philosopher has become a best-selling writer in his country by arguing that the world can continue to be habitable only if a few billion human beings are eliminated; another world war would therefore be "a happy occasion for the planet."

Some would argue that we must reverse the decline of Western populations, and that any people that falls below the replacement fertility rate (2.1 children per woman) is committing demographic suicide. This is a sensitive topic. Quite apart from environment-oriented objections to a rise in the birth rates of rich societies (the average American or European baby will consume in its lifetime hundreds of times as many resources as the average Chadian or Haitian baby), there are simply too many social and cultural obstacles to reversing a declining national birth rate. Japanese and American politicians who bemoan the failure of "bright, well-educated women" to bear enough children have been noticeably unsuccessful in their campaigns. Perhaps, then, we should just accept that the global demographic imbalances are so huge that nothing can be done to affect them, and, like the old professor in Raspail's book, simply hunker down and survey the impending invasion through a spyglass.

The only serious alternative, it seems to us, is simultaneously to persuade our political leaders to recognize the colossal, interconnected nature of our global problem and to strain every element of our human ingenuity, resourcefulness, and energy to slow down, or if possible reverse, the buildup of worldwide demographic and environmental pressures. Such an effort cannot rest upon a single policy, such as urging Third World countries to reduce their population growth; it must instead be part of a major North-South package wherein all parties, in accepting changes to their present policies, are persuaded to see that a comprehensive and coordinated response is the only way forward. If political leaders and their advisers cannot come up with some sort of win-win solution, in which every country can see benefits for itself, serious reforms are unlikely and humankind's prospects by 2025 may indeed be bleak.

A New (North-South) Deal
What elements should be included in such a package? In offering some answers to that question, it is important to stress that nothing that follows is either new or impossible. In theory, there are lots of things that the global community could do to improve its condition, and such ideas have been around for decades, if not longer. The real problem has been the lack of political commitment to change, or, to put it more charitably, the tendency of national leaders and delegates to see only the elements of the package that call for sacrifices on their part--the North to contribute more money, the South to accept environmental monitoring--and to ignore both the individual and the collective gains that could flow from a linked set of agreements between developed and developing countries. If that mind-set can be changed, so can everything else.

* What if, for example, the rich Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries actually fulfilled their quarter-century-old promise to allocate 0.7 percent of gross domestic product annually to development aid, instead of (for the most part) falling far short of that target? The United States, with one of the poorest records of all, now contributes less than 0.2 percent of GDP each year. What if the OECD countries were bold enough to contribute one percent of GDP each year? As a kind of global insurance premium--protecting not only poorer countries but also ourselves from the worst consequences of mismatched demographics and development--this is not very much. In fact, if viewed more positively, as an investment in the future of the people of our planet, it is a modest sum indeed.

* What if this money could actually be spent efficiently and appropriately, instead of falling into the wrong hands and being devoted to the wrong purposes? For the fact is that international-aid agencies have (again for the most part) acquired a reputation for investing in ambitious, technologically inappropriate schemes, channeling funds to highly paid consultants and local leaders and ignoring the ideas of indigenous inhabitants, while poor countries themselves have provided far too many examples of corrupt, oppressive, or simply inefficient regimes that have squandered their treasuries and their resources for years. Extra development aid has no chance of succeeding unless it is accompanied by vastly improved accounting and supervisory techniques. However, the failings of present regimes and of previous aid programs are no reason not to continue to try to assist development; if anything, these provide compelling reasons to redouble--and reform--our efforts.

* What if we were able to use some of this money to employ the tens of thousands of scientists and engineers now released from Cold War-related research to seek solutions to our global environmental problems? Such solutions might include a truly dramatic breakthrough in solar or photovoltaic energy production, achieving such a drop in the cost of sun-powered energy that it could be made available to the peoples of Asia and Africa, and could wean them from their reliance on wood, oil, coal, and other fossil fuels. The enhanced technology might also include the mass production of small solar ovens, sufficient to cook a village's meals without a daily search for firewood. The results of breakthroughs in biotech agriculture (new disease-resistant and heat-resistant crop strains) might be shared without requiring large patent and user fees from poor nations.

* What if it were possible to respond to the desire of hundreds of millions of women in Third World countries for access to safe and inexpensive contraceptives, to allow them to stabilize family size and concentrate on nurturing their existing children? The costs involved are not enormous--a few billions of dollars rather than hundreds of billions--and when such programs are administered through women's groups and supported by enlightened governments, they can have a dramatic effect on fertility rates, as has recently been demonstrated in Kenya and Egypt. (Such programs ought to be kept apart from the issue of abortion, which is much more problematic politically and which, in any case, is used disproportionately in many Third World countries to prevent the birth of girls.)

* Since order is the precondition of social betterment, what if, instead of the nations of the world having to respond to or rebuff the United Nations Secretary General's pleas to send troops for peacekeeping purposes to one crisis spot after another, some of the more useful schemes to improve the UN's capacities--from creating a military staff to establishing "ready-to-go" units--were agreed upon by the Security Council nations and implemented in the next year or two?

* And what if, as a separate yet parallel measure to reduce violence, a much more serious effort were made to stem the flow of arms (simple guns as well as sophisticated systems) into Third World countries--arms that are manufactured primarily by the five permanent members of the Security Council?

* What if, as a contribution to reducing the forecast clash of civilizations, the United Nations strove to promote agreement not just in the important sphere of human rights but also on the equally important issue of recognizing cultural diversity, both within countries and between technologically dominant cultures and the rest of the globe? This is not a call for a revival of the crude and ideologically inept UNESCO programs of the early 1980s. We would, however, argue that a genuine North-South entente is unlikely unless Third World countries grow less fearful that their cultures will be swallowed up by the technologies and material way of life of richer nations, especially the United States. Cultural arrogance bedevils our planet and gives rise to many conflicts and antagonisms, just as it suffuses The Camp of the Saints. If the relationship between North and South is to be improved significantly, a set of norms (and agreements to disagree) must be established that all or at least most nations can abide by.

Various other matters--from measures to enhance the status of women in Third World countries to improved coordination between UN agencies and the Bretton Woods institutions--might also be incorporated into a North-South package of linked agreements. As it is, any one of the aforementioned elements--more aid more efficiently allocated, appropriate and accessible technological advances, reduced fertility rates, enhanced peacekeeping powers, acceptance of cultural diversity--might by itself make all the difference, though we cannot know which one that might be.

Donne's Island
How likely are any of these changes to come about during the next few years? This is the critical period if we hope to change the socio-economic condition of humankind in the early decades of the twenty-first century. A global idealist could point to some promising indicators even in the midst of our present woes. There is a growing awareness in at least a few rich societies (the Scandinavian countries, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada) that a serious effort has to be made to improve the lot of poorer countries and protect their environments. There are the impressive economic successes of most of the nations of East Asia, which are raising the quality of life of hundreds of millions of people and which, provided that further environmental damage can be avoided (a big proviso, admittedly), offer a possible model to Third World countries. The end of the Cold War, while certainly not signaling the start of any new world order, has at least permitted the UN Security Council to function as it was designed to. International agencies, especially those within the UN but also innumerable nongovernmental ones, are actively pursuing policies that not only are more realistic than those of previous decades (for example, no more World Bank loans for giant dam projects) but also reveal a greater awareness of the interconnectedness of agendas for real improvement: economic growth, environmental protection, population control, the status of women, migration, jobs, investment, education, human rights, and democracy are all related considerations in any serious effort to improve the condition of the poorer half of humanity. And at least some commentators are openly arguing that the need for concerted action ought to be presented no longer in humanitarian-response terms (because, for example, after the fifth or sixth Ethiopian famine "aid fatigue" sets in) but in terms of a global ethic that recognizes our common human destiny and the necessity for shared stewardship of our delicate global ecosystem.

But can these sporadic signs of promise really prevail against the lack of effective political leadership, the turning inward of so many rich societies, the problem of global structural unemployment in an age of intensified modernization, the resistance to many programs to encourage the limitation of family size (even when the thorny issue of abortion is excluded), and the widespread lassitude and even downright hostility that exist in many quarters toward the idea of helping the world's two billion poorest? As Zaire, Rwanda, and Yemen follow Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, Georgia, and Tajikistan into bloody chaos and ethnic wars, while Boutros Boutros-Ghali finds fewer and fewer nations willing to contribute peacekeeping forces, can one seriously expect significant reforms soon? With the political leadership of the world's most powerful nation deeply divided over scandals and parochial issues, with its public evincing exhaustion in respect to international problems, and with irresponsible though powerful senators blaming the United Nations for every peacekeeping mishap (such as the deaths of U.S. Rangers in Somalia), is it not naive and unrealistic to hope for a North-South package of reforms along the lines suggested above?

Perhaps it is. Perhaps, as some observers fear, we shall have to observe truly awful and widespread societal destruction--the collapse of continents rather than single states; oceans of dead rather than mere rivers--with repercussions that significantly affect rich countries as well as poor before our public and our political leadership finally appreciate that an intelligent and far-reaching response is unavoidable, and that, tempting though it is to turn away from the world, too large a proportion of humankind is heading into the twenty-first century in too distressed a condition for any nation to imagine that it can avoid the larger consequences. We will have to convince a suspicious public and cynical politicians that a serious package of reform measures is not fuzzy liberal idealism but a truer form of realism. It is simply a matter of perspective--or of timing. Doing little or nothing at present seems the more practical course; yet given the pace and intensity of global change, the richer societies need to recognize that John Donne's reasoning applies on an international scale. "No man is an island, entire of itself"--with massacres, social collapse, and migrations occurring across our planet on a weekly basis, do not ask "for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

These are, of course, idealistic arguments, and just how many Americans, Europeans, and citizens of other privileged countries will heed the tocsin is unclear. For the remainder of this century, we suspect, the debate will rage over what and how much should be done to improve the condition of humankind in the face of the mounting pressures described here and in other analyses. One thing seems to us fairly certain. However the debate unfolds, it is, alas, likely that a large part of it--on issues of population, migration, rich versus poor, race against race--will have advanced little beyond the considerations and themes that are at the heart of one of the most disturbing novels of the late twentieth century, Jean Raspail's The Camp of the Saints. It will take more than talk to prove the prophet wrong.

Bron: The Atlantic Monthly