Fourth. Taking into account these cultural and civilizational factors means turning to the philosophy of postmodernism (M. Foucault, J. Derrida, J. Baudrillard, J. Agamben, etc.). Not to mention the fact that they emerged on the American material and were a reaction of leftist European (mainly French) political thought to the disaster of Nazism, from which Europe was not protected by centuries-old culture (the basic proof of this: the commandant of a Nazi concentration camp read Goethe at his leisure). These concepts (“ecstasy”, “obscenity”, “deconstruction”, etc.) are quite applicable to the analysis of contemporary international relations.
Of particular importance in this regard is Baudrillard’s 1983 work “Fatal Strategies”. It contains the thesis that fatal strategies, rooted in the history and destinies of peoples and states, override banal strategies and the strategic rules of the game imposed by them (perfectly explains Russia’s victory over Napoleon and Nazi Germany). Baudrillard’s foresights have implications for practical policy, such as the “re-creation of the human space of war” in the shadow of nuclear confrontation (ignoring this has resulted in the West and NATO not being prepared for a “big war” in Europe using conventional weapons, as shown by the reaction to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine) and the arms race becoming a “technological mannerism”. They best describe the current geostrategic situation, its dilemmas and imperatives.
In general, it is about overcoming the postmodern/virtual existence of the West and the world and about the transition to the neo-modern, that is, to the ground of reality and facts. Russia and its politics serve as a powerful catalyst for this turning point in world development, and, in fact, for the emancipation of the world from the protracted and becoming a brake on the dominance of the US/West in world politics, economics and finance.
Fifth. The most important point is that it is liberalism with its uniformitarianism and equalization, rather than traditional conservatism that lies at the heart of totalitarianism, including fascism and Nazism. The U.S. Civil War of 1861-1865 is evidence of this. This is also evidenced by the crisis of modern liberalism, most vividly manifested in America. It is degenerating into an outright totalitarian dictatorship of liberal elites opposed to the majority of the electorate which professes common sense and traditional conservative values, including the family (despite the unbridled pressure of the LGBT community with the support of official circles). This is where Dostoyevsky’s brilliant foresight in his “The Possessed” and “The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor” comes in, which, like George Orwell’s warnings, have universal significance for European civilization, highlighting its fundamental, at the level of worldview and political culture, vices.
America was founded by Protestant fanatics (followers of Calvin) who had no place in the British Isles as part of the domestic settlement (after the English Revolution and the Restoration that followed) in the form of the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688-1689 which became nothing less than a coup d’état, with the calling of William of Orange and the occupation of London by his troops. These fanatics declared themselves to be God’s chosen people (though that place in Christianity is taken), passed off capital income and business success in general as grace, and denied the right to Salvation (and even life) to everyone else. Hence there is the idea that America is exceptional and that God’s kingdom on earth is possible – “a City on a Hall”. This goes against the claim, already in the postwar period, of the universality of its values and, accordingly, the imperialist policy of the United States outside North America since the late nineteenth century. This contradiction, which served as the driver of America’s postwar foreign policy, has in the past been resolved by a policy of isolationism more organic to the traditional American identity. It was championed by President Andrew Jackson who believed that America should influence the world only by its example.
His follower was D. Trump who focused on recreating the internal foundations of national competitiveness and considered the world a “world of strong sovereign states” competing with each other, which is close to the concept of multipolarity. In fact, it was about demilitarization of the national security doctrine itself as a legacy of the Cold War (experts were in favor of this yet under Obama). Thus, Admiral Mullen, Chief of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke of the need to engage in “nation-building at home”. Globalization was deemed wrong because, being driven by the interests of the investment classes, it led to the destruction of the middle class (or more precisely, the native white America). Its main beneficiary was China which used U.S./Western investment, technology and even markets for its “peaceful rise”. In the foreign policy tradition of the postwar period, it became “enemy number one” (plus an “evil empire”) which required its preventive containment according to the logic of “Thucydides’ trap”. The coronavirus pandemic only intensified the trend toward deglobalization into which Russia with its policy of sovereign self-sufficiency entered under sanctions pressure from the West.
Outside of this black-and-white vision of the world remained Russia, perceived by many in the conservative environment as a potential partner in the “triangular diplomacy” of the United States – Russia – China. In his time, Kissinger laid the foundations for such diplomacy when he achieved a settlement with Beijing on an anti-Soviet basis. Now we should talk about partnership with Russia.
Sixth. Washington’s anti-Russian course, resulting in its Ukrainian project and current escalation, cannot be understood outside the context of the internal state of modern America. After a brief conservative “Trump Revolution” (a future that casts a shadow before it arrives?), liberal elites, led by the Democratic Party, have prevailed. It was under Barack Obama’s administration that Washington staked on the aggressive-nationalist transformation and even Nazification of Ukraine as a means to threaten Russia on the level of identity and history, to undermine the spiritual and moral foundation of modern Russia, which is the victory in the Great Patriotic War, and to retroactively rehabilitate Nazism as a specific product of Western civilization, equating the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany. Accordingly, this course was activated after the 2020 U.S. presidential election which was won by Democrats.
Since the late 1970s, there has been stagnation in average household income in the United States. Since the early 1980s, U.S. elites set out to deregulate, or rather to recreate under new conditions the capitalism of the pre-Great Depression model of the 1930s. By 2000, the Glass-Steagall Act, which regulated the financial sector, was finally dismantled. Globalization exacerbated the situation. As a result, the U.S., and with it to a large extent the European Union received a financialization of the economy, an erosion of the middle class, and a stagnation of consumer demand. All this culminated in the global financial crisis of 2008 which is still going on, having practically exhausted the traditional resources of macroeconomic regulation. In a sense, the ruling cosmopolitan elites have become disconnected from the national ground and the interests of the majority of the population. On the political level, the courses of the two main political parties have been averaged, politics has become essentially non-alternative with an emphasis on political technology, undermining the confidence of the electorate in the elites, who, in turn, under the slogan of political correctness have engaged in crackdown on freedom of speech and suppression of dissent, acting primarily through the controlled traditional media.
The 2020 election was a watershed episode in the domestic political development of the United States. Liberal elites, having learned the lessons of Trump, who appealed to his electorate bypassing traditional media through social networks, acted with blatant fraud and falsification (primarily through massive postal voting and reliance on marginalized populations – African Americans and other ethnic minorities). The “cancel culture”, “critical race theory” and other ideological products served the interests of the new regime and its social base at the expense of the interests of white, native America, which was invited to accept the new values as a “progressive development” of traditional conservative values.
In essence, there was a new, ultra-liberal American revolution, similar in its radicalism and methods to the Bolshevik revolution. As in Russia 100 years ago, in the U.S., the marginalized strata were led by the “progressive intelligentsia”. Of course, in relation to “Trump’s revolution” we are talking about a counter-revolution and a conservative process launched by elites to save a clear overreach of liberalism which can only be achieved through the reformatting of national identity and the rewriting of history, that is, the breaking of the link of time and the rejection of historical continuity.
We are talking about a new and, presumably, decisive stage of what American political scientists themselves define as a “cultural revolution” and “non-civil war”, the beginning of which goes back to the presidency of B. Clinton (1992-2000). The most important factor of the current situation is the loss by the white, mostly Anglo-Saxon and Protestant population of their majority in America in the foreseeable future. Circumstances clearly require decisive measures inside the country, including censorship of social networks, and the legitimization of domestic politics through its presentation as part of a global trend, that is, its ultraliberal “world revolution” (it is worth remembering that the Bolsheviks initially did not believe that they could hold power in one country outside the context of the coming “world revolution”). In the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, Fukuyama came up with the idea of “social liberalism” as a possibility of liberalism taking root on national soil which strongly resembles Nazism in its modern guise and an attempt to rehabilitate Nazism/neo-Nazism in Ukraine and in modern Europe as a whole.
The problem of identity and history is acute for the West because of the highly contradictory results of globalization and neoliberal economic policies, which, according to independent political scientists, can be seen as a “counterrevolution” to the post-war “social contract” with its socially oriented economy. This is also evidenced by the contradictions between cosmopolitan elites and the majority rooted in their countries and regions: these contradictions are exacerbated as immigration grows with the current labor surplus.
At the same time, traditionalism retains its influence at the level of elites and their foreign policy philosophy and instincts. These are essentially remnants of imperial thinking, whether it is a desire to maintain the status of nuclear powers (Britain and France) and to obtain permanent residence in the UN Security Council (Germany and Japan) or borrowing from ancient China a sense of its “middle ground” in the world architecture (the United States). As British broadcaster J. Paxman aptly noted, the same Britain seeks to remain what it was in the era of empire, “only in a reduced form”. American elites are probably experiencing something similar, although they have an alternative – the tradition of isolationism. In any case, the factor of history plays a role, albeit to different degrees for different countries. Thus, a leading political columnist of the Financial Times G. Ruckman, trying to draw lessons from Brexit, unites Britain and Russia in the category of “historical powers” which must be treated accordingly: either to integrate into the international system on decent terms, or to be prepared to contain or oppose them. It is the latter choice that Washington has made with regard to Russia.