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A Warning On Nationalism

Today, Ukraine is where methods of exerting influence from either side are put to the test. As propaganda becomes more sophisticated, the ways in which competing powers confront each other evolve as well. This much is certain: the protests on Kiev’s *Maidan* cannot be taken for face value.

Originally published at The Soul of the East

Three years ago I met Oleg Kalugin, the ex-KGB general whose well-known case of defection earned him the ire of the Russian authorities. In an interview, Kalugin once stated his belief that Vladimir Putin was “a temporary twist in history”, and perhaps this belief is why he found so much support among his American associates. I personally spoke with Kalugin on the future of Russia and its people, he told me it would be inevitable that Russia would collapse and break apart. Knowing the consternation that Americans often come to when dealing with the New Russia, is this the implicit goal of the Atlantic powers?

Even with the experience that Mr. Kalugin acquired in his time working for Soviet intelligence, he could not have not predicted Putin’s rise to power, describing the President as “a mere operative, one of the 3,000 who walked along our corridors”. It was twelve years ago that General Kalugin was found guilty in absentia for high treason. A known critic of the Putin administration, he became a naturalized citizen of the US and has remained there since. It seems like US government officials and turncoats alike are betting on the collapse of Russia, and it’s not uncommon to hear about a “crumbling” Russia from media commentary. But why does this mentality remain, and why are so many hopeful for the demise of the Russian state?

At the time of my meeting with Kalugin, before Ukraine and before Syria, I found no credence in spy’s forecast. Today the world has set its sights on Kiev as the cornerstone in determining who will take the lead in defining the century. Lines are being drawn and the terms of the game are being set. Make no mistake, a contest for hegemony is underway, and actions take precedence over ideology. Russia is not surrendering, and it is prepared to challenge the West in a way that perhaps only China has also done.

Today, Ukraine is where methods of exerting influence from either side are put to the test. As propaganda becomes more sophisticated, the ways in which competing powers confront each other evolve as well. This much is certain: the protests on Kiev’s Maidan cannot be taken for face value.

What can be said of the nationalists of Ukraine, whose employment of Nordic symbols and rhetoric runs directly opposed to some of the stated goals of the country’s new leadership? Although the Maidan riots began as the result of many groups participating, the breakthrough of Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) as the face of the Ukrainian uprising has attracted political fanatics of the right from other parts of the continent to join the protests. This was a deliberate move on the part of outside elements to lend them exposure and resources, knowing that European nationalists are usually on the side of Russia against the West. The matter is currently one of the most divisive topics among reactionary and nationalist political circles at the moment, and it has almost succeeded in undermining Putin’s most profound forms of overseas support. For all of the Russian media’s claims that the Ukrainian nationalists are the Wahhabists of Europe, the conclusion has solid premises, as unfortunate as that may sound. How is inviting foreign elements to fight in Kiev different from radical Islamists from the UK and US joining their brothers in Syria?

There is also the testimony of a former activist from Pravy Sektor, who admits the group’s cooperation with American military officials in (allegedly) trading looted documents for money, or the presence of Chechen militants side-by-side with the Pravy Sektor protestors on the Maidan. From a diplomatic perspective, even the Pravy Sektor’s meeting with Israeli officials wouldn’t have seemed so suspiscious if it wasn’t announced with enthusiasm from the group’s leadership. Respectable far-right organizations from other countries, such as Hungary’s Jobbik, have condemned them. But this is a sidenote in a time of soft power. Political extremists are now convenient tools of geopolitical influence, regardless of what they themselves might think.

The amount of attention vested in the situation in Ukraine, especially from the US government itself, suggests that there are more interests at stake than merely allowing Ukraine access to the European Union. In December, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland bragged that America invested five billion dollars over two decades toward a “democratic Ukraine” while urging the government to “listen to its people,” all while standing in front of the logos of Chevron and Exxonmobil. Her flagrant disregard for EU interests in relation to Ukraine, revealed in her now-notorious phone conversation with the US Ambassador in Kiev, confirms Washington’s own less-than-altruistic ambitions for the country.

But the US and its economic assets could never gain leverage in Ukraine simply on their own; even John Kerry’s promise of billions in future investments cannot happen immediately. This is why men like Oleg Kalugin are so highly valued – their use of politics as a tool of subversion is an alternative to outright war. Indeed, the predictions that Russia’s involvement in Crimea would not lead to war are so far correct, but the potential is building. The division of Ukraine shows what political factionalism is capable of: the coordinated efforts of Leftists, gay activists, EU businessmen, ultra-nationalists, Jewish organizations, various churches, Chechens, Tatars, and still others demonstrate how external forces manipulate affairs of state.

None of the aforementioned groups would normally have anything to do with each other, and while some of them may be conscious of their role as pawns in a global game of influence, they can do little about it but fight on. I am reminded about another former Soviet spy I knew of, one based at the University of California, Berkeley during the 1960s, whose efforts to agitate radical college students into social unrest enjoyed some success. He too, eventually defected. Nevertheless, the methodology was effective.

I once stood on the Maidan nearly half a decade before it became what it is today, before outside players were involved to the degree they are now. It’s sufficiently clear that the unrest in Kiev is an engineered uprising, the likes of which have been seen as recently as Syria and as far back as Guatemala. For all of the manufactured regime changes across the world since the Second World War, the US has relied on a single factor to achieve these revolutions – the uncertainty and desperation of a people faced with adjusting to a rapidly-changing market and global environment. But viewing the masses gathered in Odessa, Simferopol, Kharkov, Donetsk, Sevastopol, and elsewhere, we see this is not the case in Ukraine. As some journalists have remarked, it was the people, not the police, who took back government buildings from the Kiev-based opposition. These are not pro-government “titushki,” as the opposition would label them, but the people, and they have spoken. These are the citizens who believe the Russian and Ukrainian people are one, a more genuine assertion of identity as opposed to the arbitrary goals of a political party.

There is, however, an almost unanimous agreement on the corruption of Yanukovych’s presidency, something which is undisputed even by the Russian government. Why would the people of Ukraine ask to join the European Union now, anyway? The East has shown itself to be a formidable player in international politics while the other side faces endless scandals and crises. Furthermore, the relationship between many Ukrainians with Russia goes beyond short-term economic goals; it is cultural. Insult is added when the West supports the ultra-nationalists behind the violence and mends their reputation, considering the emphatic efforts of elites to ‘fight hate’ in their own countries while simultaneously supporting it elsewhere.

A genuine cause for concern must arise when two global superpowers are so closely opposed to each other. Recall that the presence of Russian soldiers securing key infrastructure in Crimea echoes the events of 1999 in Pristina, when Russian paratroopers took control of an airport, resulting in a standoff with NATO. But a war is too costly. Defeated presidential candidates Clinton, McCain, and Kerry (among other politicians) have spoken harshly about the Kremlin’s involvement in Ukraine, at times making stale and hypocritical comparisons to past historical events. Critics, meanwhile, have noted Washington’s relative impotence as a global leader and Obama’s inability to seriously confront Putin’s actions.

Should we be afraid? If my experiences with spies, defectors or otherwise say anything, then yes, we should be. The situation can be described as the Man in Berkeley’s activities on a grand scale. Consider how both the government and media outlets played to the liberal sentiment of the American people during the Sochi Olympics, to the point that any semblance of failure or shortcoming at the events was desperately sought after while violent illiberal political groups have been receiving support and aid from the West in Ukraine and elsewhere. Nothing is as it seems. Action trumps ideology, and in this instance, the critical mass of the Maidan was wielded by the Western powers. Military threats are a last resort for NATO and the US; the true goal of their designs is subversion.

Speaking on the events of the Maidan, Dmitry Dyomushkin, leader of the ethnopolitical movement ‘Russians’ and a noted supporter of Chechen independence, has urged other nationalists in Russia to support the Maidan protestors and encouraged the distancing of Ukraine from Russian affairs. This would seem odd for a man that stands behind the Russian Imperial flag, but his sentiment is shared by other figures in the nationalist sphere. Nationalism is a historic facet of the Russian mind, an inescapable fact, and today’s nationalists want their country to take an even more conservative turn than it already has. Yet this can be exploited, much as ethnic sentiment in Ukraine has been used against Ukrainians.

The nationalists are already willing to come out and stand with Leftists and Communists against Putin, as was the case in 2012. If proper scrutiny is not given to the development of nationalism in Russia, the politics of pride, once used to advance the interests of the state, will be used against it.
Radical Islam has been used against Islamic states, so it cannot be excluded that subversion in Russia will arise with the face of fierce nationalism or religious fanaticism, and in the case of Doku Umarov and Dmitro Yarosh, it already has.

At this point, it is necessary to understand how propaganda has changed over the last century, because many approach the concept with 20th-century conceptions. We should look beyond the flags and shields and try to ascertain the true ideology of the people actually running the uprising.
Mr. Kalugin knows things I do not, and was his prediction of Russian balkanization an informed warning or an angst-ridden reaction to his conviction for treason back in Moscow? The resurgence of Russia is a “temporary twist” perhaps in the eyes of the West, whose drive to exert influence across the entire globe is now impeded by this counterbalance. The example of how Pravy Sektor has been used for harmful ends is an unwelcome warning to many of its would-be supporters, but it is a warning nonetheless.

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True Grit

The Coen Brothers greatest film is No Country for Old Men.  In 2008, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences endorsed it as such.  I would go as far as saying that *No Country* is one of the most important films of recent history. So rare is it that a work of popular art explores the most consequential issues of our time: the spiritual, moral, and demographic crisis facing Americans and Europeans around the world.  Even its title loudly proclaims the central subtext of the film. 

You know, if you’d have told me 20 years ago. I’d see children walking the streets of our Texas towns … with green hair, bones in their noses … I just flat-out wouldn’t have believed you.
—El Paso Sheriff, No Country for Old Men

The Coen Brothers greatest film is No Country for Old Men. In 2008, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences endorsed it as such. I would go as far as saying that No Country is one of the most important films of recent history. So rare is it that a work of popular art explores the most consequential issues of our time: the spiritual, moral, and demographic crisis facing Americans and Europeans around the world. Even its title loudly proclaims the central subtext of the film.

Two Jews, ostensibly of the purest priestly stock according to their namesakes, and a Celt, who named himself after an Irish King, have given this treasure to us, and it is impossible to believe that either party acted unwittingly in sounding these powerful and disturbing themes.

Country Bumpkins

As is well known, the Coen brothers are virtuosos of directing performances, and satire is bred in their bones. Humanizing their protagonists is often contrary to their goals. And though the Coens’ satires run from the broad (O Brother, Where Art Thou) to the relatively more nuanced (Fargo, most often their characters are caricatures.

In fact, it’s hard not to discern a deep misanthropy in their depictions. Whereas a director like Scorsese is sympathetic towards his protagonists (no matter however reprehensible they might be), the Coen brothers seem largely to have contempt for the characters they bring to the screen (except for the humor they provide). At best, the Coen Brothers’ characters are “lovingly” patronized and demeaned.

There are some exceptions to this rule, of course, most notably Gabriel Bryne (Tom Reagan), the protagonist of Miller’s Crossing. But here, Reagan is a cipher and his performance relatively forgettable, as if the directors, irritated by an attractive personality not their own, insisted on blandness and a sort of silence.

More typically, their subjects are regionally accented philistines, quite lacking in the sentience of the urban centers of non-flyover states; at best, they are bestowed with a sort of corrupt slyness or, alternatively, an innocence owed to their utter vacuity. Even the ostensibly lovable and folksy Marge Gunderson of Fargo, played by Frances McDormand, is a glorified bumpkin; she’s “wise” only in the most politically correct, earth-motherly sense of that term.[1]

Indeed, if it were not for A Serious Man and Barton Fink—in which neurotic Jewish intellectuals are lambasted—one might be inclined to perceive a certain spirit of “anti-Gentilism” in the Coen Brothers’ work.[2]

Whatever the case, I’m sure we can relate to the Coens’ send-ups of our benighted brothers (even if we think it should be we who criticize them, constructively).

The Native and the Alien

No Country for Old Men, a neo-Western based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy and set in the Texas of 1980, represents a major departure for the brothers.

First, both protagonists, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), are patently rural types; yet they are far from venal, buffoonish, or one-dimensional. In fact, they are, in their folksy way, quite charismatic. To be certain, they are flawed, tragically so, but in ways that are instructive and not merely demeaning.[3]

Let us take Moss first. From the onset, he is depicted as a “man’s man”: ruggedly handsome and able to handle a gun. He is far from perfect, of course; at many points, he seems to be a 18-year-old in a 45-year-old’s body; and it is his inability to control his greed that leads to his downfall. Yet Moss is, at his core, “decent.” Indeed, one could say that “decency” is his fatal flaw.

While hunting antelope one day, Moss happens upon the grisly results of a drug-deal gone wrong: bullet-ridden bodies are strewn left and right (including, quite pathetically, that of a dog), and the ground is soaked with blood. Moss discovers a mound of narcotics and a briefcase containing some $2 million in cash. He also comes across a wounded man in a truck, clinging to life.

Moss can’t help himself and takes the bundle of cash. But at great risk, he returns to the crime scene later that night to bring water to the dying man. This is not only a man Moss doesn’t know, but a Mexican drug dealer—a foreigner in race, country, and tongue, who, in all likelihood, has committed crimes even graver than the transport of highly destructive drugs to millions of Moss’ vulnerable countrymen.

This act of kindness, which ends in Moss being shot by some drug dealers seeking to retrieve the treasure, is the first of many studies in contrast between Moss and his non-Anglo opponent—the demonic Anton Chigurh, who is sent after Moss and the money on a bounty.

Here, we should note that the Coen brothers alter the character of Anton Chigurh in important ways in their adaption of McCarthy’s novel, and arguably make this figure both more terrifying and more symbolic. In the novel, Chigurh’s ethnicity is made deliberately opaque: he is described as a dark haired man with eyes “as blue as lapis.” For the role, the Coens cast the then-relatively unknown Javier Bardem, an actor who is masterful in crafting diabolical and inscrutable characters.

The stranger The stranger

The native. The native.

The Coen brothers describe their reasons for casting Bardem quite innocently. In the interest of serving the spirit of McCarthy’s narrative, they found an actor who seems as though he could have been from “outer space.” However, it is impossible to believe that these ethnically conscious and detail-oriented filmmakers were unaware of the racial undercurrents of No Country—a tragic story set against a backdrop of Mexican criminality and drug running. Bardem, a heavily accented and darkly featured Spaniard, amplifies this unspoken racial drama.

The name “Chigurh” is of ambiguous origin and possibly invented by McCarthy. (A quick Internet search reveals a few occurrences worldwide.) With the first name Anton and McCarthy’s description, the reader might believe that he’s Eastern European, or Russian. Supportive of this thesis is the novel’s and film’s first “coin flipping” scene, in which Chigurh, quite oddly, begrudges a small-town store clerk owner for having “married into” his property.

Is Chigurh possessed by a Marxist ressentiment? Is Chigurh not only a “foreigner,” but one bringing with him an “Un-American creed?” Might this character be Jewish? Or is the name “Anton Chigurh” a kind of code or pseudo-anagram for “Anti-Christ?”

Much about Chigurh’s symbolic status is revealed in the brief, clipped conversation he has with the guileless clerk. Chigurh flips a coin and then demands that his adversary “call it”:

Proprietor: I didn’t put nothin’ up.
Chigurh: Yes, you did. You’ve been putting it up your whole life. You just didn’t know it. You know what date is on this coin?
Proprietor: No.
Chigurh: 1958. It’s been traveling 22 years to get here. And now it’s here. And it’s either heads or tails, and you have to say. Call it.
Proprietor: Well, look … I need to know what I stand to win.
Chigurh: Everything.

1958 fell right in the middle of the Civil Rights movement in the South, one year after Little Rock, Arkansas, integrated its school systems and one year after the death of a young Joseph McCarthy, marking the close of “McCarthyism.” It’s difficult to hear that year and not sense that it marked an endpoint of Anglo-White hegemony in America. Does the coin arrive as a form of vengeance for this period of American history? As in: what comes around, goes around? Is this simple clerk, now powerless, being held to account for the sins of his fathers?[4]

The narrative of the film is driven by Chigurh’s hunt for Moss and the money, which Chigurh engages in with a kind of fanaticism and dedication that reveals he’s something more than a mercenary. (As one rival describes him, “He has principles.”) The chase also allows McCarthy and the Coens to paint a study in contrast between the two men.

The first divergence that comes to the fore is Chigurh’s and Moss’s respective resilience, resourcefulness, and ruthlessness. When wounded by gunfire early in the film, Moss is obliged to go to a hospital to have his wounds treated; there he lays in public view, vulnerable, bedridden, and open to discovery by his tormenters. Chigurh, on the other hand, is able to stitch up a more grievous and painful wound himself, secretly, safe from vying criminals and detectives, and with the skill of a surgeon. Throughout the film, the viewer is filled with a sense of gloom and dread: No matter how tough Moss might be, he doesn’t stand a chance in a battle with Chigurh; he is mere prey.[5]

To a degree, Chigurh is a reprisal of the largely mute (and less interesting) Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) from Fargo (who’s famously feeds Steve Buscemi’s character into a wood chipper). But Chigurh is something much bigger than a Terminator for the literati—he is something as invincible and unstoppable as death himself. Moss had hoped to use the stash to build a new life with his wife Karla Jean—that is, to gain riches scot-free and without consequences—Chigurh comes to exact the price.

The Coens also contrast the ways in which Chigurh and Moss are perceived by Americans, in particular the old and the young. Moss is generally respected by older Whites. On the run from Chigurh, Moss ventures into Mexico to get medical care, afterwards returning to America to protect his wife and, he naively believes, to kill Chigurh. When crossing the border into the States, Moss is dressed only in a hospital gown. The border agent, a formidable gatekeeper, is hostile to this seemingly demented man, but then softens and allows him passage when he learns that Moss is a Vietnam veteran. “Wilson,” he calls to his assistant, “Get someone to help this man; he needs to get into town.”

Chigurh, on the other hand, is regarded with fear by older White Americans, who are confused and cowed by his cryptic and rude assertiveness. This is evident in the first “coin-flipping” scene, discussed above, and is perhaps best exemplified by Sheriff Bell, who is quietly terrified.

In the film’s Second Act, Moss arranges to meet his wife in a motel in El Paso, where he hopes to give the money over to her and send her out of harm’s way. But Chigurh catches up to Moss before his wife arrives… Cryptically, this final confrontation occurs off camera. All the viewer sees is Sheriff Bell driving up to the motel, as a Mexican drug gang flees the scene in a pickup truck. The viewer is left to imagine what exactly happened in this violent standoff between Moss, Chigurh, and the gang. All is known is that Moss lies dead in his room.

After this denouement, Sheriff Bell decides (much like Moss at the beginning of the film) to return to the scene of the crime. He walks slowly, deliberately, towards Moss’s motel room… and the viewer sees that Chigurh is crouched, patiently waiting, ready to make Sheriff Bell his next victim. But when Bell opens the door, Chigurh has vanished, and all that remains in the room is Bell’s shadow against the wall. What has just happened? Did Chigurh, inexplicably, decide to spare Bell and slip out of the room? Or was this actually one of Bell’s dreams, or nightmares, in which he glimpses something that he is not quite willing to confront?

Whatever the case, shortly after Moss’s death, Bell opts for retirement rather than taking his chances against such a fearsome opponent. Bell is, in his words, “overmatched.”

The younger generation of Americans reacts quite differently to both Moss and Chigurh. After Moss is wounded by Chigurh, and is staggering across the Mexican border in seek of a hospital, he crosses the path of a group of twenty-somethings, who are, apparently, returning from Mexico where they were bar-hopping. Moss asks one of the kids if he could purchase his coat; the young men are repelled and distrustful, insistent on seeing the money before they proffer the coat, even though Moss is obviously wounded and in need: “OK, give me the money,” the twenty-somethings insist. “It’s right here. Give me the clothes.” “Let him hold the money,” the young man insists. After the exchange is made, Moss asks for the beer that one of them is holding. “How much?” is the insolent reply.

This pathetic scene is contrasted, quite deliberately, with a parallel scene at the end of the film. Chigurh has just tracked down Moss’s wife, Carla Jean, who is living at the house of her recently deceased mother. There, Chigurh engages in another round of existential coin-flipping with a terrified and helpless woman:

Carla Jean Moss: You don’t have to do this.
Anton Chigurh: People always say the same thing.
Carla Jean Moss: What do they say?
Anton Chigurh: They say, “You don’t have to do this.”

The fates again are not kind.

After leaving the house and driving off, Chigurh’s car is struck by another when he runs a red light (perhaps killing the other driver). Having pulled himself from the totaled car, Chigurh rests on the roadside with a gruesome compound fracture in his arm. The crash has attracts the attention of concerned Anglo-American teenagers. Like Moss, Chigurh needs to dress his terrible wound.

Anton Chigurh: What will you take for the shirt?”
Boy: Well hell Mister I’ll give you my shirt.

The boy then helps Chirguh tie a sling for his arm. Chirguh extends to him a $100.

Teenager: Well hell mister, I don’t mind helping someone out.
Chigurh: Take it. Take it. You didn’t see me. I was already gone.

The earnest boy nods indicating that he will do as instructed.

The contrast between the two rivals is drawn sharply. Chigurh is the stronger, more ruthless man, seemingly devoid of any hint of empathy or remorse. Yet he is pitied and pampered by xenophiles, who will literally give him the shirts off their backs (and who are not above taking a bribe to cover for him). Moss, on the other hand, is a vet, self-sacrificing and with a sense of duty toward his fellow human beings. Yet he is distrusted and disrespected by the youth of his own country. Chigurh survives. Moss dies.

Sailing to Byzantium

The death of Llewelyn Moss could be chalked up as another good man brought low by greed, or as a victim (though not an altogether innocent one) of the drug craze. But for Sheriff Bell, Moss’s death begins to take on the significance of the end of era, the end of his people and folkways. Bell touches on this feeling when he shares a coffee with the local sheriff of El Paso (Roscoe Boyce):

Roscoe Boyce: If you’d a told me twenty years ago I’d see children walkin’ the streets of our Texas towns with green hair and bones in their noses … I just flat out wouldn’t of believed you.
Ed Tom Bell: Signs and wonders. But I think once you stop hearin’ sir and madam, the rest is soon to foller.
Roscoe Boyce: It’s the tide. It’s the dismal tide. It is not the one thing.

It’s a remarkable scene that may be without precedent (outside some of Disney’s Fables, W.D. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, or Gone with the Wind.) When was the last time a Hollywood character complained about the degeneracy of America (or the South) and was not depicted as a crackpot, crank, fascist, or religious nut?[6]

One truly tragic aspect of No Country is that Bell laments the decline of his people and civilization, yet is himself an expression of it—a fact of which he seems dimly aware. From the beginning of the film, Sheriff Bell is terrorized by the rise of what he describes as a new breed of criminal, one that is a product of the times: brutal, psychotic, and remorseless. But he does not rise up to confront and defeat this evil; he does not, like Ethan in John Ford’s The Searchers, hunt down bad men, no matter the cost. Instead, he submissively retires, and fails to try to bring Chigurh to justice.

It is not just the green hair, the breakdown of community cohesion, the loss of a healthy distrust of the stranger—it is also cowardice and forfeit that signal the end for America. At least Old America.

Harder to discern are the Coen Brothers’ feeling regarding the Decline that they poignantly explored in their film. For instance, is it not possible to detect a certain sublimated joy in the destruction of the dumb, fatted cattle of rural White America? Early in the film, Chigurh actually kills his prey with a captive bolt pistol, an instrument used to stun livestock for slaughter. Is it not possible to detect a joy in nature running its course, as a man might gain some sublimated satisfaction in seeing a powerful lion take down an impala, knowing, on some level, that this is how, long ago, his own species survived—by being strong and merciless?

In the minds of the Coen brothers, is No Country for Old Men something like Django Unchained or Machete for epicures, revenge porn for people who prefer a Pinot Gris to a Budweiser (or a joint)? Perhaps this is true to an extent. But there does seem to be, however improbably, a strong undercurrent of pity—even longing—for White America.

Perhaps we should ask how McCarthy views his Anglo subjects? After all, despite the clever affects brought to the film by the Coen brothers, McCarthy is the true and final weaver of this tale. Is the countrified dialect of his characters a sign of McCarthy’s affection for his subject, or of mockery or merely verisimilitude? One should consider his background in this matter—a southerner from childhood (though one with Catholic, Yankee parents). McCarthy’s political views are unknown, though he has offered up this gem: “I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea.” If by “improve” he means “improved to live in harmony,” as it seems he does in this passage, I imagine the RadixJournal readership finds little to disagree with.

But certainly one would have to weigh No Country against his earlier works, most saliently the novel that is widely consider his masterpiece, The Blood Meridian published in 1985. Here, the main part of the story is a depiction of a band of western outlaws hired by regional leaders to fight the Apache. They end up indiscriminately and brutally massacring Indians and Mexicans, even the peaceful ones. While it is certainly a layered and complex novel, Steven Shaviro’s gushing review characterizes the way that the novel has been received.

Both [Moby Dick and The Blood Meridian] savagely explode the American dream of manifest destiny (sic) of racial domination and endless imperial expansion.

We might consider two possibilities. First, men change, as, indeed, does the world around them. Conscientious men are especially mutable, as they might have a varying sense of who is gaining and losing power. The idealism of younger man is replaced by the experience of life. Did Cormac change? And has he revealed this, esoterically, to his audience?

The second, related possibility is that perhaps McCarthy— simply being a universalistic moralist, and with no particular sense of allegiance—has moved on to describe the destruction of another people, facing a similar fate as the American Indians. It is interesting to note that one of the few meaningful physical descriptions he includes in No Country For Old Men is of the Indian carvings that Moss encounters out in the desert.

The rocks there were etched with Pictographs perhaps a thousand years old. The men who drew them, hunters like himself. Of them, there was no other trace.

All these things considered, I believe that perhaps the final scene of this film, rendered faithfully from the book, may contain the answer. Here, Bell, now retired, describes a pair of dreams he’s had the evening before. The script is worth revisiting in its entirety:

All right, then. Two of ’em, both had my father in ’em. It’s peculiar. I’m older now than he ever was by 20 years. So, in a sense, he’s the younger man. Anyway, the first one I don’t remember too well … but it was about meeting him in town … somewheres, and he give me some money. I think I lost it.

Second one, it was like we was both back in older times. And I was a-horseback, going through the mountains of a night. Going through this pass in the mountains. It was cold, and there was snow on the ground. And he rode past me and kept on going … never said nothing going by, just rode on past. He had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down. When he rode past, I seen he was carrying fire in a horn … the way people used to do, and I … I could see the horn from the light inside of it … ‘bout the color of the moon. And, in the dream, I knew that he was … going on ahead. He was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and cold. And I knew that whenever I got there, he’d be there. And then I woke up.

These dreams are best understood through an examination of their symbols.

What is the meaning of his father as a younger man? This, in my view, is emblematic of the healthier and vigorous generation that has passed. Bell’s generation—passive, permissive, and tolerant—is exhausted and senile. Thus, it is natural that he sees himself as an old, dying man, relative to his father who was of a younger, more robust, and healthier generation). In this context the meaning of the money is simple: Bell dreams of losing something bestowed to him, which expresses the anxiety of the prodigal son—or generation—who squanders the inheritance of his father.

In the second dream, I believe Bell is not merely encountering an ancestor but also a descendant, if not quite his own son. The young man is his prophetic dream is a “young man” of the future. What is the meaning of the moon-colored fire in the horn? There is a holy fire mentioned in the Yeats “Sailing to Byzantium,” the poem from which McCarthy’s book takes its name. (The first line goes: “That is no country for old men.”) Here, the Holy Fire represents a spiritual or magical force commanded by the “Sages” of Byzantium, a city that is the historical seat of Orthodox Christianity, the gate to the West, and the capital of the most abiding remnant of the Roman Empire.

The central anxiety of the poem is one of mortality and of Yeats’s concern that his art and impression in the world will not abide. Hence, he seeks Byzantium to gain the magic of its immortality. Here, in Bell’s dream, the moon-colored fire, I believe, can be taken to mean something similar. The father, who is emblematic of a descendent, goes ahead to rekindle the fire anew amid the cold and darkness. The civilization of Bell’s blood will come again. Hence, McCarthy does what his Irish kinsman Yeats desired in his poem:

Or set upon a golden bough to sing,
To Lords and Ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come

Therefore, the book and film are hopeful, if only wistfully so. Civilization will be rekindled amid the “darkness,” and the blood of Bell will survive by it. Arguably, one could say this dream is merely a vision of Bell’s personal afterlife; however, this seems unlikely given the attention paid to so specific a symbolism, as well as given Bell’s professed lack of faith in God, and given the broader themes of moral and cultural decline.

Let us consider the Coen Brothers intent with this ending. Are they also hopeful that such a civilization, rekindled by the blood of Bell, will be reborn?

Perhaps the relative ambiguity and esotericism of the scene is its guardian, and its true meaning, to the extent my deciphering is correct, is lost on the Coen Brothers? Yet I tend to give them more credit than this (especially since A Serious Man, with its suggestion of decline, seems inspired by themes in No Country for Old Men, only adapted to a Minnesotan Jewish community).

Certainly, there must be an instinct among sub-creators, like the Coen brothers, to attach themselves to art of great value and permanence, and to serve that art to the best of their ability, as its glow will invariably reflect on them. And one should remember the last line of Bell’s description: “And then I woke up.” Does this suggest that the prophetic dream is merely a fond illusion? The Coen Brothers, it seems, also have an alibi… Indeed, one could reasonably interpret the scene as a compassionate and sympathetic paean to a dangerous but dying beast, in much the way a New York Times columnist might laud the WASP Establishment for having the “goodness” and “virtue” to eventually relinquish its grasp on power. (One can have sympathy for a dangerous beast only when one is certain the beast is dying.) Or perhaps (who knows?) the Coen brothers are secretly onboard with us. After all, without a strong race and civilization, there would be no employment for its sarcastic critics!

In the category of “dark, unpleasant, and truthful,” No Country For Old Men may be the best film ever made. And by truthful, I also mean life-affirming. Hence, the Coen Brothers, as if interpreting the mysteries of a higher being, honor their priestly names.

Finally, if the famously evasive Cormac McCarthy ever denies this meaning I have put forth, be slow to believe him. The Irish are master liars (their kings, no less so). Perhaps Comac’s willingness to deceive is the only reason No Country became a film in the first place. So if you see him, be sure to thank him.[7]


  1. Outside of her traditionally male profession, and her success in uncovering the crime central to the film, Marge Gunderson’s relative sophistication and wisdom is indicated most saliently in her participation in a non-traditional relationship with her painter husband, where, it seems, she is the breadwinner. Hence, she becomes a sort of feminist hero set amid a landscape of venal, bumbling, and/or unsophisticated men.  ↩
  2. Using this logic, one is inclined to believe that the Coens’ ability for satire was probably encouraged by their early experiences growing up in Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis. Here, in a Midwestern and relatively less Judaized milieu, where many of the similarities and gradations that exist between Gentile and Jew in other urban areas are absent, Gentiles likely seem quite exotic to Jews (not to mention threatening)—and hence worthy of study. Perhaps the Coens’ childhood felt something like a wildlife safari? Certainly such a weaning would also heighten a self-awareness, present notably in A Serious Man. While Woody Allen describes a strongly Jewish milieu in most of his films, it is with greater affection and much less mockery. One should also consider that Minnesotan Jews are effectively “Jewish hicks” and can be lampooned for their lack of sophistication relative to say, New York Jews.  ↩
  3. Certainly, both characters also benefit from the Cowboy mythos, which 1950s Hollywood played a hand in bolstering, and for which Coen brothers clearly have a soft spot, as evinced by their other Western, True Grit (2010). Perhaps one day a Siegfried will be drawn from these Western Sagas (though certainly not by the hand of satirists like the Coen Brothers).  ↩
  4. The biblical demon Mammon is discussed toward the end of the novel in a scene where Bell and a Lawyer are both familiar with the name, through its reference in scripture, but have no sense of its meaning (doubtlessly indicating their distance from religion).  The coin, being a monetary unit, may be, in some ways, a reference to Mammon, who is the personification of wealth as an evil influence (as might also, more obviously, the satchel of money, which functions in this tragedy very much as the Nibelung Ring or the Cursed Golden Fleece).  ↩
  5. So invincible is Chigurh, early in the film he is picked up and hand cuffed by local police, suspicious of the captive bolt pistol he carries. Chigurh manages not merely to escape but also to kill his captor. (In the book, it is revealed that Chigurh allowed himself to be captured because he was intrigued by the potential challenge it proffered.) Chigurh evades and kills vying criminal and lawman alike, with cunning and impunity.  ↩
  6. Though perhaps the Coens were looking at Sheriff Bell and his companion somewhat askance. There seems to be a subtle “Church Lady” caricature occurring, a gentle mocking of two powerless, provincial men engaging in thoughts too big for their minds. Tommy Lee Jones—though perhaps I am imagining this—seems to struggle to keep a straight face when he says “the rest is soon to foller.” And what are Hollywood liberals to think of such lines? Can they really embody them? And are not these revelations unavoidably pathetic, coming from such impotent and outmoded men?  ↩
  7. There is an old Iranian saying: “It takes two Jews to cheat a Greek, two Greeks to cheat an Armenian, and two Armenians to cheat a Persian.” Perhaps this will have to be revised to include Irishmen somewhere along the hierarchy.  ↩

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Ukraine, Russia, and “Westernia”

There are Ukrainians and Western Ukrainians. These are two different social, national, ethnic, and cultural groups. Ukrainians are a West Russian *ethnos* which recognizes its historic unity with Eastern Slavs and *Velikorossy* (a historic term meaning “Great Russes,” often translated as “Great Russians”) as the core of the Eastern Slavs and the creators of an autonomous and powerful Eastern Slavic Orthodox State. Thus, Ukrainians are not simply “our people,” they are a part of us and, ultimately, they are we ourselves. They are not different, they are the same.

There are Ukrainians and Western Ukrainians. These are two different social, national, ethnic, and cultural groups. Ukrainians are a West Russian ethnos which recognizes its historic unity with Eastern Slavs and Velikorossy (a historic term meaning “Great Russes,” often translated as “Great Russians”) as the core of the Eastern Slavs and the creators of an autonomous and powerful Eastern Slavic Orthodox State. Thus, Ukrainians are not simply “our people,” they are a part of us and, ultimately, they are we ourselves. They are not different, they are the same.

Western Ukrainians are a sub-ethnos, which historically separated itself from the Western Russian population, formed in Volhynia and Galicia, having experienced significant Polonization and the influence of Catholicism (in the form of the Uniate—Eastern Catholic—Church). Western Ukrainians consider themselves an autonomous group, opposing themselves to other Eastern Slavs (first and foremost, these are Velikorossy, “moskali” (a derogatory term that means “Russians”)), Orthodox peoples, but also Poles and Austrians. Therefore, they have never had (and will never have) statehood, since it is impossible to build a State on the basis of hatred toward all surrounding peoples.

Modern-day Ukraine houses people with a Ukrainian identity and a Western Ukrainian identity. Making peace between them was the goal of the Ukrainian state that existed between 1991 and 2014. Ukraine’s political elite failed to do so. The Western Ukrainian minority insisted that the entire modern-day Ukraine must possess a single—Western—identity, thereby opposing the rest of the Ukrainians. Thus, it was they who ultimately destroyed contemporary Ukraine. Thanks to them, that Ukraine is already dead. And the more they scream that it has not died, the faster and more irreversibly it continues to die.

Ahead of us is the final schism of the Ukrainian space into two halves: the Western part headed by Kiev (Pravoberezhie, the Right River Bank) and the South-East, which is dominated by the Ukrainian (Orthodox East Slavic) identity. Crimea has been reunited with Russia, so what is left is the appearance of a new essentially Ukrainian (but not Western Ukrainian) State—Novorossiya (literally, “New Russia”). It will both be independent and friendly toward Russia.

This State may, indeed, form, but this is not a guarantee. It is over this area that the real struggle begins.

What is left for Western Ukrainians is the construction of their Galician-Volhynian State, “Westernia,” on the Right River Bank. Most likely, this project is doomed to failure. The reasons are as follows:

First of all, Western Ukrainians will never abandon their claims to control South-Eastern Ukraine (Novorossiya). Therefore, this is where the conflict lines will be drawn.

Second, the Western Ukrainian identity is strictly anti-Polish, whereas Poland considers its former possessions in the Volhynia region to be historically justified, nor have the Poles forgotten about the ethnic cleansing of their ancestors by the so-called Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Third, “Westernia” is exclusively oriented toward the U.S., not continental Europe, which will create tensions with the European Union.

Fourth, Galician ultra-nationalism will become obvious to the West sooner or later, and it is doubtful that anyone would want to deal with this kind of a regime on serious terms.

And, finally, this kind of ultra-nationalism will create tensions with Rusyns in the South-West (Carpathian Rus), Hungarians, and other ethnic minorities.

Therefore, the Right River Bank State will collapse, proving one truth: that which was never part of history cannot last for long.

It is obvious that there will be no dialogue between Russia and Western Ukrainians. Each time they crawl out, they will strictly and deservingly get “kicked in the teeth.” In contrast, history and fate themselves dictate not only a dialogue but brotherly unity between Ukrainians and Russians. And here we face a very important moment: Russia must act not as an enemy, but as a friend and patron of the Ukrainian identity. The Ukrainian ethnos, language, culture are all part of our spiritual and historic wealth. If Western Ukrainians, with their current negative identity, only deserve a “kick in the jaw” from us, then Ukrainians are worthy of love, friendship, and the most gentle and attentive kind of a relationship. We must not insist on the Russification of Ukrainians, but instead act as the guarantors of safekeeping and developing their culture, language, and identity.

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The War on Russia

The war against Russia is currently the most discussed issue in the West. At this point it is only a suggestion and a possibility, but it can become a reality depending on the decisions taken by all parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict – Moscow, Washington, Kiev, and Brussels.

This article was originally published at Open Revolt; it was edited by John Morgan. 


The coming war as concept

The war against Russia is currently the most discussed issue in the West. At this point it is only a suggestion and a possibility, but it can become a reality depending on the decisions taken by all parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict – Moscow, Washington, Kiev, and Brussels.

I don’t want to discuss all the aspects and history of this conflict here. Instead I propose to analyze its deep ideological roots. My conception of the most relevant events is based on the Fourth Political Theory, whose principles I have described in my book under the same name that was published in English by Arktos Media in 2012.

Therefore I will not examine the war of the West on Russia in terms of its risks, dangers, issues, costs or consequences, but rather in an ideological sense as seen from the global perspective. I will instead meditate on the sense of such a war, and not on the war itself (which may be either real or virtual).

Essence of liberalism

In the modern West, there is one ruling, dominant ideology – liberalism. It may appear in many shades, versions and forms, but the essence is always the same. Liberalism contains an inner, fundamental structure which follows axiomatic principles:

  • anthropological individualism (the individual is the measure of all things);
  • belief in progress (the world is heading toward a better future, and the past is always worse than the present);
  • technocracy (technical development and its execution are taken as the most important criteria by which to judge the nature of a society);
  • eurocentrism (Euro-American societies are accepted as the standard of measure for the rest of humanity);
  • economy as destiny (the free market economy is the only normative economic system – all the other types are to either be reformed or destroyed);
  • democracy is the rule of minorities (defending themselves from the majority, which is always prone to degenerate into totalitarianism or “populism”);
  • the middle class is the only really existing social actor and universal norm (independent from the fact of whether or not an individual has already reached this status or is on the way to becoming actually middle class, representing for the moment only a would-be middle class);
  • one-world globalism (human beings are all essentially the same with only one distinction, namely that of their individual nature – the world should be integrated on the basis of the individual and cosmopolitism; in other words, world citizenship).

These are the core values of liberalism, and they are a manifestation of one of the three tendencies that originated in the Enlightenment alongside Communism and fascism, which collectively proposed varying interpretations of the spirit of modernity. During the twentieth century, liberalism defeated its rivals, and since 1991 has become the sole, dominant ideology of the world.

The only freedom of choice in the kingdom of global liberalism is that between Right liberalism, Left liberalism or radical liberalism, including far-Right liberalism, far-Left liberalism and extremely radical liberalism. As a consequence, liberalism has been installed as the operational system of Western civilization and of all other societies that find themselves in the zone of Western influence. It has become the common denominator for any politically correct discourse, and the distinguishing mark which determines who is accepted by mainstream politics and who is marginalized and rejected. Conventional wisdom itself became liberal.

Geopolitically, liberalism was inscribed in the America-centered model in which Anglo-Saxons formed the ethnical core, based upon the Atlanticist Euro-American partnership, NATO, which represents the strategic core of the system of global security. Global security has come to be seen as being synonymous with the security of the West, and in the last instance with American security. So liberalism is not only an ideological power but also a political, military and strategic power. NATO is liberal in its roots. It defends liberal societies, and it fights to extend liberalism to new areas.

Liberalism as nihilism

There is one point in liberal ideology that has brought about a crisis within it: liberalism is profoundly nihilistic at its core. The set of values defended by liberalism is essentially linked to its main thesis: the primacy of liberty. But liberty in the liberal vision is an essentially negative category: it claims to be free from (as per John Stuart Mill), not to be free for something. It is not secondary; it is the essence of the problem.

Liberalism fights against all forms of collective identity, and against all types of values, projects, strategies, goals, methods and so on that are collectivist, or at least non-individualist. That is the reason why one of the most important theorists of liberalism, Karl Popper (following Friedrich von Hayek), held in his important book, The Open Society and Its Enemies, that liberals should fight against any ideology or political philosophy (ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Marx and Hegel) that suggests that human society should have some common goal, common value, or common meaning. (It should be noted that George Soros regards this book as his personal bible.) Any goal, any value, and any meaning in liberal society, or the open society, should be strictly based upon the individual. So the enemies of the open society, which is synonymous with Western society post-1991, and which has become the norm for the rest of the world, are concrete. Its primary enemies are Communism and fascism, both ideologies which emerged from the same Enlightenment philosophy, and which contained central, non-individualistic concepts – class in Marxism, race in National Socialism, and the national State in fascism). So the source of liberalism’s conflict with the existing alternatives of modernity, fascism or Communism, is quite obvious. Liberals claim to liberate society from fascism and Communism, or from the two major permutations of explicitly non-individualistic modern totalitarianism. Liberalism’s struggle, when viewed as a part of the process of the liquidation of non-liberal societies, is quite meaningful: it acquires its meaning from the fact of the very existence of ideologies that explicitly deny the individual as society’s highest value. It is quite clear what the struggle is attempting to achieve: liberation from its opposite. But the fact that liberty, as it is conceived by liberals, is an essentially negative category is not clearly perceived here. The enemy is present and is concrete. That very fact gives liberalism its solid content. Something other than the open society exists, and the fact of its existence is enough to justify the process of liberation.

Unipolar period: threat of implosion

In 1991, when the Soviet Union as the last opponent of Western liberalism fell, some Westerners, such as Francis Fukuyama, proclaimed the end of history. This was quite logical: as there was no longer an explicit enemy of the open society, therefore there was no more history as had occurred during the modern period, which was defined by the struggle between three political ideologies (liberalism, Communism and fascism) for the heritage of the Enlightenment. That was, strategically speaking, the moment when the “unipolar moment” was realized (Charles Krauthammer). The period between 1991 and 2014, at the midpoint of which Bin Laden’s attack against the World Trade Center occurred, was the period of the global domination of liberalism. The axioms of liberalism were accepted by all the main geopolitical actors, including China (in economic terms) and Russia (in its ideology, economy, and political system). There were liberals and would-be liberals, not-yet liberals, not-liberal-enough liberals and so on. The real and explicit exceptions were few (such as Iran and North Korea). So the world became axiomatically liberal  according to its ideology.

This has been the most important moment in the history of liberalism. It has defeated its enemies, but at the same time it has lost them. Liberalism is essentially the liberation from and the fight against all that is not liberal (at present or in what has the potential to become such). Liberalism acquired its real meaning and its content from its enemies. When the choice is presented as being between not-freedom (as represented by concrete totalitarian societies) or freedom, many choose freedom, not understanding it in terms of freedom for what, or freedom to do what… When there is an illiberal society, liberalism is positive. It only begins to show its negative essence after victory.

After the victory of 1991, liberalism stepped into its implosive phase. After having defeated Communism as well as fascism, it stood alone, with no enemy to fight. And that was the moment when inner conflicts emerged, when liberal societies began to attempt to purge themselves of their last remaining non-liberal elements: sexism, political incorrectness, inequality between the sexes, any remnants of the non-individualistic dimensions of institutions such as the State and the Church, and so on. Liberalism always needs an enemy to liberate from. Otherwise it loses its purpose, and its implicit nihilism becomes too salient. The absolute triumph of liberalism is its death.

That is the ideological meaning of the financial crises of 2000 and of 2008. The successes and not the failures of the new, entirely profit-based economy (of turbocapitalism, according to Edward Luttwak) are responsible for its collapse.

The liberty to do anything you want, but restricted to the individual scale, provokes an implosion of the personality. The human passes to the infra-human realm, and to sub-individual domains. And here he encounters virtuality, as a dream of sub-individuality, the freedom from anything. This is the evaporation of the human, and brings about the Empire of nothingness as the last word in the total victory of liberalism. Postmodernism prepares the terrain for that post-historic, self-referential recycling of non-sense.

The West is in need of an enemy

You may ask now, what the Hell does all of this have to do with the (presumable) coming war with Russia? I am ready to answer that now.

Liberalism has continued to gain momentum on a global scale. Since 1991, it has been an inescapable fact. And it has now begun to implode. It has arrived at its terminal point and started to liquidate itself. Mass immigration, the clash of cultures and civilizations, the financial crisis, terrorism, and the growth of ethnic nationalism are indicators of approaching chaos. This chaos endangers the established order: any kind of order, including the liberal order itself. The more liberalism succeeds, the faster it approaches its end and the end of the present world. Here we are dealing with the nihilistic essence of liberal philosophy, with nothingness as the inner (me)ontological principle of freedom-from. The German anthropologist Arnold Gehlen justly defined the human as a “deprived being,” or Mangelwesen. Man in himself is nothing. It takes all that comprises its identity from society, history, people, and politics. So if he returns to his pure essence, he can no longer recognize anything. The abyss is hidden behind the fragmented debris of feelings, vague thoughts, and dim desires. The virtuality of sub-human emotions is a thin veil; behind it there is pure darkness. So the explicit discovery of this nihilistic basis of human nature is the last achievement of liberalism. But that is the end, and the end also for those who use liberalism for their own purposes and who are beneficiaries of liberal expansion; in other words, the masters of globalization. Any and all order collapses in such an emergency of nihilism: the liberal order, too.

In order to rescue the rule of this liberal elite, they need to take a certain step back. Liberalism will reacquire its meaning only when it is confronted once more with non-liberal society. This step back is the only way to save what remains of order, and to save liberalism from itself. Therefore, Putin’s Russia appears on its horizon. Modern Russia is not anti-liberal, not totalitarian, not nationalist, and not Communist, nor is it yet too liberal, fully liberal-democrat, sufficiently cosmopolite, or so radically anti-Communist. It is rather on the way to becoming liberal, step by step, within the process of a Gramscian adjustment to global hegemony and the subsequent transformation this entails (transformismo in Gramscian language).

However, in the global agenda of liberalism as represented by the United States and NATO, there is a need for another actor, for another Russia that would justify the order of the liberal camp, and help to mobilize the West as it threatens to break apart from inner strife. This will delay the irruption of liberalism’s inner nihilism and thus save it from its inevitable end. That is why they badly need Putin, Russia, and war. It is the only way to prevent chaos in the West and to save what remains of its global and domestic order. In this ideological play, Russia would justify liberalism’s existence, because that is the enemy which would give a meaning to the struggle of the open society, and which would help it to consolidate and continue to affirm itself globally. Radical Islam, such as represented by al-Qaeda, was another candidate for this role, but it lacked sufficient stature to become a real enemy. It was used, but only on a local scale. It justified the intervention in Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq, the overthrow of Gaddafi, and started a civil war in Syria, but it was too weak and ideologically primitive to represent the real challenge that is needed by liberals.

Russia, the traditional geopolitical enemy of Anglo-Saxons, is much more serious as an opponent. It fits the needed role extremely well – the memory of the Cold War is still fresh in many minds. Hate for Russia is an easy thing to provoke by relatively simple means. This is why I think that war with Russia is possible. It is ideologically necessary as the last means to postpone the final implosion of the liberal West. It is the needed “one step back.”

To save the liberal order

Considering the different layers of this concept of a possible war with Russia, I suggest a few points:

  1. A war with Russia will help to delay the coming disorder on a global scale. The majority of the countries that are involved in the liberal economy, and which share the axioms and institutions of liberal democracy, and which are either dependent upon or directly controlled by the United States and NATO, will forge a common front once more behind the cause of the liberal West in its quest to oppose the anti-liberal Putin. This will serve to reaffirm liberalism as a positive identity when this identity is beginning to dissolve as a result of the manifestation of its nihilistic essence.
  2. A war with Russia would strengthen NATO and above all its European members, who will be obliged once more to regard American hyperpower as something positive and useful, and the old Cold War stance will no longer seem obsolete. Out of a fear of the coming of the “evil Russians,” Europeans will again feel loyal to the Unite
    d States as their protector and savior. As a result, the leading role of the U.S. in NATO will be reaffirmed.
  3. The EU is falling apart. The supposed “common threat” of the Russians could prevent it from an eventual split, mobilizing these societies and making their peoples once again eager to defend their liberties and values under the threat of Putin’s “imperial ambitions.”
  4. The Ukraine junta in Kiev needs this war to justify and conceal all the misdeeds they carried out during the Maidan protests on both the juridical and constitutional levels, thus allowing them to suspend democracy that would impede their rule in the southeastern, mostly pro-Russian districts and would enable them to establish their authority and nationalistic order through extra-parliamentary means.

The only country that doesn’t want war now is Russia. But Putin cannot let the radically anti-Russian government in Ukraine dominate a country that has a population that is half-Russian and which contains many pro-Russian regions. If he allows this, he will be finished on the international and domestic levels. So, reluctantly, he accepts war. And once he begins on this course, there will be no other solution for Russia but to win it.

I don’t like to speculate regarding the strategic aspects of this coming war. I leave that to other, more qualified analysts. Instead I would like to formulate some ideas concerning the ideological dimension of this war.

Framing Putin

The meaning of this war on Russia is in essence the last effort of globalist liberalism to save itself from implosion. As such, liberals need to define Putin’s Russia ideologically – and obviously identify it with the enemy of the open society. But in the dictionary of modern ideologies there are only three primary iterations: liberalism, Communism and fascism. It is quite clear that liberalism is represented by all the nations involved in this conflict except for Russia (the United States, the NATO member states, and Euromaidan/the Kiev junta). This leaves only Communism and fascism. Therefore Putin is made out to be a “neo-Soviet revanchist” and a “return of the KGB.” This is the picture that is being sold to the most stupid sort of Western public. But some aspects of the patriotic reaction emanating from the pro-Russian and anti-Banderite population (i.e., the defense of Lenin’s monuments, Stalin portraits and memorials to the Soviet involvement in the Second World War) could confirm this idea in the minds of this public. Nazism and fascism are too far removed from Putin and the reality of modern Russia, but Russian nationalism and Russian imperialism will be evoked within the image of the Great Evil that is being drawn. Therefore Putin is being made out to be a “radical nationalist,” a “fascist” and an “imperialist.” This will work on many Westerners. Under this logic, Putin can be both Communist and fascist at the same time, so he will be depicted as a National Bolshevik (although this is a little bit too complicated for the postmodern Western public). It is obvious that in reality, Putin is neither – he is not a Communist nor a fascist, nor both simultaneously. He is a political pragmatist in the realm of international relations – this is why he admires Kissinger, and why Kissinger likes him in return. He has no ideology whatsoever. But he will be obliged to embrace the ideological frame that he has been assigned. It is not his choice. But such are the rules of the game. In the course of this war on Russia, Putin will be framed in this way, and that is the most interesting and important aspect of this situation.

The main idea that liberals will try to advance to define Putin ideologically will be as the shadow of the past, as a vampire: “Sometimes they come back.” That is the rationale behind this attempt to prevent the final implosion of liberalism. The primary message is that liberalism is still alive and vital because there is something in the world that we all must be liberated from. Russia will become the object from which it must be liberated. The goal is first to liberate Ukraine, and by extension Europe and the rest of humanity, who will likewise be depicted as being under threat, from Russia, and in the end Russia itself will be said to be in need of rescue from its own non-liberal identity. So now we have an enemy. Such an enemy once more gives liberalism its raison d’être. So Russia is being made out to be a challenger from the pre-liberal past thrown into the liberal present. Without such a challenge there is no more life in liberalism, no more order in the world, and everything associated with them will dissolve and implode. With this challenge, the falling giant of globalism acquires new vigor. Russia is here to save the liberals.

But in order for this to happen, Russia is being ideologically framed as something pre-liberal. She must be either Communist, fascist or perhaps National Bolshevist. That is the ideological rule. Therefore, in fighting with Russia, or in considering to fight her, or in not fighting her, there is a deeper task – to frame Russia ideologically. It will be done from both the inside and the outside. They will try to force Russia to accept either Communism or extreme nationalism, or else they will simply treat Russia as if it were these things. It is a framing game.

Post-liberal Russia: The first war of the Fourth Political Theory

In conclusion, what I propose is the following:

We need to consciously counter any provocation to frame Russia as a pre-liberal power. We need to refuse to allow the liberals to save themselves from their fast-approaching end. Rather than helping them to delay it, we need to accelerate it. In order to do this, we need to present Russia not as a pre-liberal entity but as a post-liberal revolutionary force that struggles for an alternative future for all the peoples of the planet. The Russian war will not only be for Russian national interests, but will be in the cause of a just multipolar world, for real dignity and for real, positive freedom – not (nihilistic) freedom from but freedom for. In this war, Russia will set an example as the defender of Tradition, conservative organic values, and will represent real liberation from the open society and its beneficiaries – the global financial oligarchy. This war is not against Ukrainians or even against part of the Ukrainian populace. Nor is it against Europe. It is against the liberal world (dis)order. We are not going to save liberalism, per their designs. We are going to kill it once and for all. Modernity was always essentially wrong, and we are now at the terminal point of modernity. For those who rendered modernity and their own destiny synonymous, or who let that occur unconsciously, this will mean the end. But for those who are on the side of eternal truth and of Tradition, of faith, and of the spiritual and immortal human essence, it will be a new beginning, an Absolute Beginning.

The most important fight at present is the fight for the Fourth Political Theory. It is our weapon, and with it we are going to prevent the liberals from realizing their wish of framing Putin and Russia in their own manner, and in so doing we will reaffirm Russia as the first post-liberal ideological power struggling against nihilistic liberalism for the sake of an open, multipolar and genuinely free future.

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The “Risk of Becoming a Multicultural Hellhole” Index

“The UK will go down before the other countries because it has much less space.” So sayeth Michael Anissimov. Geopolitically speaking, the UK’s historical fortunes will not be determined by its land area, so I knew he meant it would ‘go down’ culturally and demographically i.e. it would be swamped in a grunting tidal wave of non-Europeans facilitated by traitorous European bureaucrats and their ilk.

 

“The UK will go down before the other countries because it has much less space.” So sayeth Michael Anissimov. Geopolitically speaking, the UK’s historical fortunes will not be determined by its land area, so I knew he meant it would ‘go down’ culturally and demographically i.e. it would be swamped in a grunting tidal wave of non-Europeans facilitated by traitorous European bureaucrats and their ilk.

However, I couldn’t agree with the statement. Land area is useful in playing with demographic statistics, but the United Kingdom is not the population-densest European country suffering from a steady stream of third-world immigration. The Netherlands and Belgium have even less space and possibly more immigration, so why wouldn’t they be the first to go down?

My instant response was to suggest a better metric using urbanization rates and immigration rates, since those are the most reliable indicators for whether a country is ‘going down’ culturally and demographically or not. High urbanization typically means less children, more irreligion, social isolation, technological dependence, nihilism, leftism and the normalization of a myriad of social and sexual deviancies. High immigration means egalitarian-universalist politicians, an apathetic population or pathological altruism and itself results in societal degradation: crime, rioting, ‘Zones Urbaines Sensibles,’ usw.

I figured by combining the urbanization rate for a European country with the level of non-European immigration, we could get a pretty good idea of the country’s risk of ‘going down,’ and becoming a no-holds-barred multicultural hellhole. With that in mind, I have devised a simple metric for determining the chances that a country will be ‘going down’ sometime soon. I present, ladies and gentlemen, Mark Yuray’s “Risk of Becoming a Multicultural Hellhole” Index:

Index = ((% of population of non-European ancestry / 2) + (Urbanization rate / 2)) * 0.01

A very simple formula. But what can it tell us? Here’s the data.

(Percentage of population of non-European ancestry was collected, estimated or calculated by yours truly primarily using government statistics websites. Urbanization rates are from the UN World Urbanization Prospects 2011 revision.)

Risk of a European Country Becoming a Multicultural Hellhole:

Darker red indicate a higher risk of becoming a multicultural hellhole. Pink indicates lower risk.  

Darker red indicate a higher risk of becoming a multicultural hellhole. Pink indicates lower risk.  

Some highlights (excluding Greenland, Russia and Kosovo*):

Country most at risk: Belgium

Country least at risk: Liechtenstein

Average risk: 0.37 (Approx. Italy or Austria)

Top 10 most at risk:

  1. Belgium
  2. France
  3. Cyprus
  4. Sweden
  5. The Netherlands
  6. Iceland
  7. San Marino
  8. Andorra
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Denmark

Top 10 least at risk:

  1. Liechtenstein
  2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Slovenia
  4. Moldova
  5. Albania
  6. Romania
  7. Slovakia
  8. Croatia
  9. Serbia
  10. Poland

You’ll notice that the United Kingdom is only the 9th most likely to become a multicultural hellhole. Eight other European states are more at risk.

Some may ask how Bosnia, Moldova or Albania could be ranked so lowly for becoming multicultural hellholes — aren’t they already multicultural hellholes? Yes, but they are intra-European hellholes. The ethnic conflicts that erupt there are between native European peoples. I guarantee you that neither Bosnia nor Moldova will be have gay parades, ‘human rights’ crusaders, ‘social justice,’ or a long list of Congolese asylum-seekers waiting to loot the country sooner than the countries ranked above them.

Finally, you may notice some countries have nearly non-existent non-European minorities (Iceland, San Marino, Andorra) but are still ranked quite highly. This is because of their abnormally high rates of urbanization. Iceland, San Marino and Andorra are all essentially city-states, which makes them extremely vulnerable to large migrations of poor third-worlders. One-tenth of the immigration France or Britain receives each year would devastate any of these countries, and all the countries tend to share the same cosmopolitan urban elite predicted by the urbanization rate: hence, the risk of becoming a multi-culti hellhole.

The last interesting bit is Cyprus. For those who are unaware, approximately one-third of Cyprus is Turkish, and they currently run the northern half of the island under the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In some regards, Cyprus already is an international, multicultural hellhole; one where a non-European minority has seceded from European rule. There is a lesson here for other highly-ranked countries.

N.B. :

  1. I did not include Russia due to its historically large non-European minorities. Greenland was excluded since it’s a historically non-European nation. Kosovo was excluded to due a lack of data at the current moment.
  2. Here is the data in excel format, if anyone cares to play with it themselves.

This article was originally published at Mark Yuray’s blog, Aramaxima.

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Being Who We Are

Russia is capable of ceasing to be the world’s gas station (there are more suitable candidates for this purpose) and gaining self-respect:

  • If it becomes a Pan-Slavic country ready to defend its brothers in blood, language, and faith even if only against the Euro-bureaucratic pink-Liberal dictatorship, even if only against extreme Islamism;
  • If it becomes a Eurasian country restoring the great continental project, defending its peoples against the West (in its neo-Liberal and “Euro-Communist” versions) and the East (in its Chinese and Saudi-Caliphate versions);
  • If it becomes a nationalist country capable of taking care of millions of Russians left behind the post-Soviet cordon, from Sevastopol in Ukraine to Ust-Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan, capable of becoming the “Great Bear” ready to tear apart anyone who comes in between her and her cubs.

Is there anything that Russia can offer the world other than oil of the “Ural” brand?

Russian journalist Mikhail Moshkin analyzes the current instability in Ukraine with a special focus on the meaning of traditional Russian identity and statehood. This translation was originally published at The Soul of the East.


The state is the actuality of the ethical Idea. It is ethical mind qua the substantial will manifest and revealed to itself, knowing and thinking itself, accomplishing what it knows and in so far as it knows it.

G. W. F. Hegel

Ukraine: Two Alternatives of Returning to One and the Same

A well-known formula, “the patient is either alive or dead,” encapsulates the Ukrainian situation in its entirety for those looking from the outside (and, most likely, the participants themselves). Either the Maidan finally topples Viktor Yanukovich over, or, a more likely scenario in light of the current events is that Yanukovich will give up everything he possibly can, handing out status positions in the government to the Maidan triumvirate, which is rapidly losing popularity for collaborating with “zlochinna vlada”—“criminal authorities” (offending Oleg Tyagnibok to top it off!). And, considering that it is impossible to return to the pre-Maidan status quo, Yanokovich will become a “lame duck,” with the 2004 Constitution in his beak and the omnipotence of the Verkhovna Rada. In a country that just collapsed into yet another economic and political pit.

Given the prospect of Vitali Klitschko’s presidency (yet how can the boxer become president if Yulia Tymoshenko is released?), the prospect of a “white-and-blue” regional separatism, the secession of Crimea, etc., are all real possibilities. We are seeing the signs thereof already. At the same time, all our political scientists and analysts should not get overly excited about “redrawing the new underdeveloped countries on the map.” The specter of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Fronde haunted Ukraine as early as 2004 as well, but even then, with Viktor Yushchenko’s victory (does anyone still remember this political figure?), the southeastern autonomous region did not come to fruition, whereas Yevgeniy Kushnarev, the chief ideologue of separatism, got off lightly. Most likely, despite the ever-present antagonism between Galicia and the Southeast, there won’t be a “divorce.”

It looks like we might end up with bad infinity. Either, after the Maidan’svictory, we return to the “orange-ism” of ten years ago, or, after Maidan is pacified, we go back to the status quo from six months ago. The Eternal Return of one and the same, one and the same, one and the same.

In other words, this is obvious.

RussiaLacking Meaningful Alternatives

More central to this question, in response to the challenge of the Maidan—a gauntlet had been thrown down without any doubt—is what Russia can say or, more importantly, do. Let us attempt to be honest with ourselves and answer the following question: why is it that we, as we stand now, have the right to restore the Eurasian space, the triune Slavic union, and so on?

Critics of “gathering the lands of Russia” are, sadly, correct that our “Babylonian” spirit is still strong. And we have yet (do we?) to transform from the New Babylon into the Third Rome. Is it the Russia of mindless celebrities that is the beacon for all those discontent with “Euro-Sodom” and globalist Americanism?

Yes, we can become the focus of hope, but only if we ourselves find meaning in our own existence throughout history.

The author of this text is neither a Communist nor a fan of the USSR, “USSR v. 2.0″ or futuristic modernist projects in general. Therefore, he can only comment distantly: Russia of the 1920-30s (even if it were thrice Soviet and socialist, it remained Russia) was a realized possibility of a different world order and a different future. Antonio Gramsci and Georgi Dimitrov were pro-Soviet Communists not because of grant money, whereas Romain Rolland and Lion Feuchtwanger composed panegyrics without any exchange for thirty pieces of silver.

Being Who We Are

Russia is capable of ceasing to be the world’s gas station (there are more suitable candidates for this purpose) and gaining self-respect:

  • If it becomes a Pan-Slavic country ready to defend its brothers in blood, language, and faith even if only against the Euro-bureaucratic pink-Liberal dictatorship, even if only against extreme Islamism;
  • If it becomes a Eurasian country restoring the great continental project, defending its peoples against the West (in its neo-Liberal and “Euro-Communist” versions) and the East (in its Chinese and Saudi-Caliphate versions);
  • If it becomes a nationalist country capable of taking care of millions of Russians left behind the post-Soviet cordon, from Sevastopol in Ukraine to Ust-Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan, capable of becoming the “Great Bear” ready to tear apart anyone who comes in between her and her cubs.

Is there anything that Russia can offer the world other than oil of the “Ural” brand?

Something does emerge as a sketch: this is a country that remains the bastion of Right-wing conservative Christian value, and, in general, a sort of a stronghold of the “global Right” force, ready to pick up J.B. Fichte, Alexander Hamilton, and Yamamoto Tsunetomo, ejected from the steamship of Modernity. What remains to be done is small: transferring this from the sphere of declarations (they are very much at odds with reality) into the sphere of political action.

We will also have to examine our recent past, since we were considered a stronghold of the “global Left” in the 20th century. It would be most logical to treat the Soviet era precisely as a period in history. Otherwise, there is the impression that Lenin and Stalin are still alive ruling our lives on a daily basis. It is time to leave necropolitics behind.

The latter will help us stop looking for cravings toward Tradition, faith, and hierarchy in the Communist Party’s congresses and speeches of leaders. We must stop looking for traces of Rurikid and Romanov Empires in the “Red Empire,” or, conversely, we must stop searching for crypto-Communists among the likes of Alexei Kudrin, Oleg Deripaska, and Viktor Yanukovich. Without bias or wrath, we must choose all that will be useful to us (that same socially-oriented economy with, as mentioned hundreds of times, Right-wing politics), leaving Vladimir Ilyich and Iosif Vissarionovich for the historians.

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On the Bridge Between Two Interesting Years

“What we will likely see in 2014 will be an even more complete alignment of the mainstream Right on the Left, which will leave a bigger and bigger space for us.”

2013 In Retrospect, And My Predictions For 2014

All clichés aside, the world has become too unstable to make precise predictions for a whole year. Looking back at the one that has just finished, it seems that at any point of it, it was close to impossible to foresee what would happen a month or sometimes even a week from then.

Not only because history is, by essence, the realm of the unexpected— Edward Snowden’s confessions were sudden and unforeseen, but they nevertheless strongly affected the relations between the United States, its European satrapies, and the other world’s powers, chiefly Russia and China.

But even for phenomena that had begun much before, 2013 has been full of surprises. Take Syria. Western chancellories had been pushing since 2011 for a war on Damascus’s legitimate government, and 2013 looked like the “right time” for yet another war in the Middle East.

Bashar al Assad was promised to a fate similar to those of Saddam or Gaddafi, but Syria’s strongest ally, Moscow, managed to overturn the moral advantage in favour of the opponents of a war. The official —Western — narrative was that a brutal, oppressive Syrian military junta was massacring innocent “freedom fighters” by the thousands along with their wives and children. The truth — that if there had to be a “good side,” it was al Assad’s government and not the cannibal, Christian-slaughtering terrorists fighting on behalf of foreign governments — played a role in Putin’s moral victory against the pro-war coalition.

By the time when Putin published his decisive letter in the New York Times, the knowledge of the atrocities committed by the so-called “Free Syrian Army” was too widespread in the West for Western governments to gain wide enough support for a new Near Eastern entanglement. In that propagation of the truth, the Internet’s role was important, though not predominant.

Still, what a difference it made with much more evident manipulations that have occurred since the end of the Second World War. While the Western media and political elite were praising Mao when he died in 1976, those in the West who were questioning the official narrative were inevitably depicted as “conspiracy theorists.” Though the mainstream media keeps being dominant, its hegemony has begun eroding somehow.

Which brings me to the rough predictions I would like to make for 2014. If political repression against dissidents — even benign ones — is an indication, we will likely witness a worsening of the situation in the West. 2013 was an instructive year in that respect. In America, two important political purges occurred on the mainstream Right. Jason Richwine’s firing from the Heritage Foundation for daring to discuss the cognitive level of Hispanic immigrants to the United States proved to those who were still deluded about the Republican establishment that “Conservatism” will be of no help against the subversion operated by the egalitarian Left.

Jack Hunter’s resignation and vain apology after a media campaign revealing his “racist” past also proved that “Libertarianism” will, likewise, align itself with the Left on the selective “freedoms” it advocates: issues like gay marriage, cannabis legalization, mass abortion and euthanasia will be fine, but the disturbing questions raised by Murray Rothbard on the banking system or Hans-Hermann Hoppe on state-enforced third-world immigration and integration will somehow remain unanswered. For good.

As grim as these developments are, they offer an opportunity to our movement. The utter inability of mainstream “conservatism” to challenge the liberal Left’s intellectual and cultural domination means that increasingly, the only force standing in the way of the egalitarians will be us, and only us. Hence the growing interest of the mass media for White nationalism and traditionalism, as was illustrated last year by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s report on the National Policy Institute and Richard Spencer.

What we will likely see in 2014 will be an even more complete alignment of the mainstream Right on the Left, which will leave a bigger and bigger space for us. As I had noted in an article entitled “Rearguard Action and Vanguard Politics” last year, which was dealing with the anti-gay marriage demonstrations in France, these obviously history-losing events led to the creation of more radical movements, especially since the more mainstream personalities dropped out as soon as they were attacked. Eventually, only the more radical were standing.

Here at RadixJournal.com, we’ll ensure that those right-wingers who have become uninterested in tepid publications like the National Review will find a new voice, eager to really deal with the issues of our age.

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