A Wider Perspective

From the outset, it was recognised that the review of global political systems might be biased to a ‘Western model’ of democracy, inclusive of capitalist free-markets, human rights and freedom of speech. Hence the possible need for a different or wider perspective.

However, it will be argued that the previous discussions under the section entitled ‘The State of Global Politics’ did attempt to outline potential problems with Western democratic principles and whether there were any better alternatives. For the purposes of this discussion, we might start with some of the question and issues already raised in connection with the idea of an expanding democracy:

Does global democracy require the consensus of a global majority?
Given the complexity of almost any process that is global in scope, it is unclear how a global majority comes to understand all the issues involved, let alone decides which solution is best for planet Earth as a whole.

So, given such a basic concern, is global democracy a realistic goal?
While, in principle, some proponents of global democracy may believe that individuals simply have the right to self-determination, the more pragmatic may require evidence as to how this approach will actually help solve the world's problems.

So, what is wrong with democracy?
In principle, nothing, but problems arise in practice, because a majority voting system, even when it works, does not necessarily lead to sensible or practical solutions. For democracy is built on a basic, but not necessarily correct, assumption that all votes should be equal and therefore all opinions count the same. As such, democracy conceptually puts the same value on the opinions of the educated and the ignorant, the selfless and the self-interested and the law-abiding and criminal. Of course, the complexity of any voting system in combination with powerful self-interests often ensures that the balance of power tips in favour of the incumbency of some form of political and economic elite.

Having highlighted some general issues with democracy, the discussions of economics also highlighted some of the potential problems with free-market capitalism – see Economics-1 and Economic-2 for more details. However, while these discussions provide no support for the historic failure of communist economies in both Russia and China, it does highlight the reservations of Adam Smith. Smith supported the idea that capitalist ‘free market’ are a ‘good thing’, in general, but with the caveat that self-interest has to be balanced against the collective-interests of society as a whole. In this respect, many societies have developed variant forms of capitalism, e.g. state-capitalism or social-capitalism, as opposed to pure free-market capitalism, which it is hoped might provide some protection for the weakest in society. However, the scope of protection these variants have provided to the ‘wider majority’ from the boom and bust dynamics linked to the excesses of free-market capitalism might still be debated.

OK, so what is the purpose of this discussion?

In order to gain some wider perspective, as suggested by the title of this discussion, a series of Caspian reports related to the geopolitical analysis of America, Europe, Russia and China are listed below for general review. While these reviews are not the specific focus of this discussion, they provide a reasonable starting point for anybody wishing to gain some general perspective of the ‘Western’ model in the form of American and European geopolitical goals in comparison to the geopolitical goals of Russia or China.

Note: Caspian Reports have been used as they appear to be a relatively reliable source of information, although the reader should always be careful in simply accepting any information at face value in today’s world. As far as it is known the videos are produced by Shirvan Neftchi and while the sources of his information is not directly revealed, possibly for understandable reasons, there is a suggestion that much comes from Strafor.com and Wikileaks.

While global geopolitics is not just about these four economic and military powers, it is clear that they have a considerable influence on political developments all around the world today. However, as indicated, while these videos may provide some very useful background information, they are not the real focus of this discussion, which will be a general review of a video entitled Michael Millerman: Who is Alexander Dugin?. While there is also a Caspian report on the work of Alexander Dugin, it is believed that the Michael Millerman interview might be more pertinent to this discussion. The ‘ wider perspective’ will hopefully become more obvious in the comments below.

Note: It is accepted that the views of Alexander Dugin may not necessarily represent those of the average Russian and that the extent of his relationship with Vladimir Putin might be contested. However, both men appear to be products of the former Soviet Union and regret its demise, at least, as a superpower. Over the years, Dugin appears to have articulated a geopolitical strategy, which Putin then appears to have followed.

  • One of the first statements by Millerman might appear questionable, in practical terms, when he suggests that the Russian constitution does not allow Russia to have an ideology. For most people, this might appear to contradict the history of 20th century Russia and its adherence to the ideology of communism – see Communism in Russia. However, Millerman then introduces Dugin as Russia’s ‘chief ideology mastermind’ .

  • · It is then suggested that many of Dugin’s strategic ideas appear to be reflected in Vladimir Putin’s actions on the world stage and, especially, in terms of the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The interviewer then questions the strategic role of the EEU within the Russian mindset that Millerman tries to explain in terms of a disconnect between the current economic and political ideology of the ‘Western’ model and the cultural traditions of Russia’s history.

  • Millerman then tries to explain that one of the fundamental conflicts Russia has with the ‘ Western World’ is the apparent assumption that Russia should simply accept western values and ignore its own 1000-year history of religious and cultural values. However, this explanation may be ignoring the possibility of Putin pursuing a present-day strategy simply based on his own self-interest, i.e. both political and economic, which might then be reviewed in terms of the history of Russian Politics and Putin’s role in this history according to another Caspian report.

  • Another issue of difference with the perceived political correctness of the West is considered in terms of homosexual rights. Millerman suggests that this issue might also be seen in terms of a propaganda war that the West wages on many traditional societies, not just Russia. In the context of a wider perspective, we might better understand the increasing support for nationalist groups, which seek to protect their own traditional and cultural values against globalist policies being imposed. In part, this might explain many of the problems now surfacing in the EU, where traditional and cultural values of some of its member nations appear threatened by its more liberal globalist policies, especially in connection with immigration.

  • There is a suggestion of another cultural distinction, although possibly somewhat conceptual in scope, by which it is implied that the West has become increasingly aligned to a scientific ideology, where God has no major role to play in the modern political world. In contrast, it is stated that Russia and many other countries retain a deep faith in religious belief that has to be accommodated in its society in parallel with rational logic.

  • Based on the different philosophical and religious worldviews being suggested above, we might now question both the nature and scope of globalism that might reasonably be achieved. At one level, a degree of globalism already exists in the world in terms of economic trade. However, this form of globalism may appear to have limited impact on the cultural lives of most ordinary people, although this position possibly ignores the issue of exploitation of people and resources in the pursuance of capitalist profit.

Note: It probably needs to be highlighted at this point that ‘capitalist exploitation’ is not just associated with the ‘western world’ as this appears to be more an issue of human nature. As such, exploitation driven by self-interest is not just confined to capitalism as it was equally apparent in the communist history of Russia and China. Equally, many in America now feel that they are no longer a beneficiary of the brave new world.

  • However, there is an aspect to globalism that appears to want to homologise many aspects of human activity, which can impact regional politics if political correctness is assumed to be a universal goal. In this respect, we might cite the many problems associated with mass immigration, where indigenous cultures feel threatened by a large influx of people with very different cultural norms. It is often unfortunate that the people facing these problems in society are often those least equipped to cope, while those arguing for the policies of political correctness invariably remain protected from the negative day-to-day impacts.

  • Another aspect of the Russian mindset, at least according to Dugin, is an interpretation of ‘reason and will’ that Millerman attempts to rationalise in terms of the need to integrate religious belief into the political process. However, this might simply appear to allow Russia to justify any of its actions on the basis of belief, which the more cynically minded might explain in terms of political self-interest. While people, and possibly cultures, may have a right to certain beliefs, this cannot be used as a political justification of any action. In many respects, the idea of secularism was a recognition of the problem and why it argues for a separation of the state from religious belief. Of course, in practical terms, we might understand how political elites throughout history might use religious belief as an excuse to wage war and expand influence and, as such, the history of USSR appears no different.

  • From a wider perspective, we might possibly need to question the scope of nationalism, if predicated on a religious ideology, if it demands or allows the suppression of others. As such, that we need to consider two arguments; first, is the right of a people for self-determination, and second a degree of self-interest for the individual, as long as it does not impinge on the collective welfare of a society. However, as outlined in previous discussions, there is nothing inherently wrong in nationalism if it only seeks to protect the cultural norms of an existing society from too much unwanted and disruptive change when supported by some form of majority-vote. In this respect, nationalism may have a legitimate right to resist a form of globalism that may only benefit a small section of society.

Note: It also has to be cognised that cultural, religious and national identity is invariably complicated by history and we might simply use Ireland as an example of a history mired in various cultural and religious traditions, which then led to conflicting national identities. The British Isles has been subject to various invasions throughout its history, e.g. Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Danes and Normans, which have all contributed to a mix of national identities. Christianity in Ireland was imported around the 5th century linked to earlier Roman conquests and the expansion of the Holy Roman Empire centred on Catholicism . In 1177, Prince John was made Lord of Ireland, but as early as the 16th century, some protestants were attempting to escape persecution in England and Scotland settled in Ireland. Later, after a bitter Irish Catholic rebellion and civil war, Oliver Cromwell re-conquered Ireland by invasion around 1650. The idea of a United Kingdom, inclusive of Ireland, was established by an Act of Union in 1800. The partition of Ireland took place in 1921, which was an attempt to recognise the cultural and religious difference in north and southern Ireland. Of course, within this long history many unjust and cruel acts of conquest and revenge were carried out, which we might deplore today, if we simply ignore the historic context of ‘winners and losers’ that has always existed.

  • While political correctness may want present-day politicians to apologise for almost any act of history, the real issue is how we might collectively move towards a better future. The historical complexity simply suggested above might be retold in terms of Russia’s long history and the expansion and contraction of its various empires over the centuries. In this respect, Millerman’s explanation of Dugin’s ‘rationale’ appears inadequate to justify his desire that Russia reclaims the ‘lost’ territory of the Soviet empire in the 20th century, especially when so much was built on the repressive political and economic ideology of Stalinism. While it is not clear whether the Russian people, i.e. the majority, necessarily share the political ideology of Dugin or the political ambition of Putin, we might still question whether they can simply justify almost any present-day action in terms of protecting the historic cultural identity of the Russian people.

  • However, Millerman also explains that some of the comments above possibly need to be put into better context. For Millerman highlights that neither Dugin or Putin support a return to communism as either a political or economic ideology, simply an ambition to return to the geopolitical position prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this respect, there is some more obvious rationale in Russia’s current position towards the West, or possibly more accurately the US, which we might characterise in terms of two quotes taken from Dugin’s book ‘The Fourth Political Theory’ published in 2012.

“American values pretend to be universal ones. In reality, it is a new form of ideological aggression against the multiplicity of cultures and traditions still existing in the rest of the world. Therefore, all traditionalist should be against the West and globalist, as well as the imperialist politics of the United States.”

“The future world should be characterised by multiplicity; diversity should be taken as its richness and its treasure, and not as a reason for inevitable conflict: many civilisations, many poles, many centres, many sets of values on one planet and in one humanity. Many worlds.”

  • WeWe might perceive a parallel in these words with a nationalist ideology that seeks to protect is cultural tradition from the imposition of globalist ideas, which some might interpret as being biased towards Western cultures. Therefore, we might realise why Russia has favoured the development of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) rather than pursuing the historic possibility of joining an enlarged European Union (EU), where its political and cultural ideology might be questioned on the grounds of human rights plus political and economic corruption. We might also question whether Dugin’s wider cultural epiphany, as outlined above, only developed after the repression of other cultural traditions by the Soviet Union ceased after its collapse, which in geopolitical terms, Dugin still apparently mourns.

So what might this discussion conclude about gin’s

InIn the context of a wider perspective, it will be stated that this review is not a subliminal endorsement of the ‘American Way’, which in many respects, no longer exists in the 21st century as it appears to be tearing itself apart along left-right divides. Some might also criticise American culture for the many ‘innovations’ of capitalism, which might be seen as the root-cause of so much destruction of the natural world. However, if we accept that America, and the West in general, is not blameless and without fault, it might still be argued Dugin’s philosophy is flawed, especially as a blueprint for future development, not only for Russia, but the world at large.

What reasons might be forwarded in support of this conclusions?

The first reason is somewhat speculative and based purely on Alexander Dugin’s background, who was born in 1962, possibly at a high-point of the military power of the Soviet Union. Therefore, Dugin is a product of an earlier time and place, whose career as a Russian philosopher, political analyst and strategist has always been closely linked to the politics of the Kremlin and the Russian military. As such, many of Dugin’s ideas appear anchored in 20th century history rather than a 21st century future, which might be highlighted in the following terms.

Note: During the conflict with Ukraine, Dugin lost his post at the Moscow State University due to his comments as to how to deal with the Ukrainians: "Kill them, kill them, kill them. There should not be any more conversations. As a professor, I consider it so."

His assessment of history might also be questioned in terms of him blaming America and the West for all the problems of the world and specifically Russia, which ignores the issue of human nature as the real common denominator of a ‘universal’ v value of concern. Equally, the two quotes taken from Dugin’s book ‘The Fourth Political Theory’, as cited above, also appears to ignore the parallels of Russia’s own form of ‘imperialist politics’ that have been self-evident throughout much of its history. However, possibly the most fundamental criticism of Dugin’s apparent philosophy is that there appears to be no optimism or ambition in terms of the future evolution of human society, either as a nation-state or globally.

So, should all of Dugin’s work simply be ignored?

This might be a mistake for a number of reasons. First, it appears that Dugin’s ideas on Russia’s geopolitical strategy might still be an influence, at least in terms of some of Vladimir Putin’s actions. Second, and possibly more strategic in scope is that some of Dugin’s criticism of the West might still have some validity in terms of the scope and pace by which some have attempted to push neoliberalism as a global solution for all. However, there is a dichotomy within this latter issue in terms of the plethora of human cultures, many of which are at very different stages of development. For while Dugin may have a point about recognising the multiplicity of human cultures, it does not necessarily mean that the developed world has to, or will, move at the pace of the least developed. For it might be argued that the brave new world of the future is accelerating towards humanity, whether we like it or not, which will undoubtedly lead to a new generation of ‘winners and losers’ . As such, we might have to recognise that some cultures may simply get left behind if it is their preference to retain a more traditional culture assuming that they can secure a majority-vote and create a degree of self-sufficient independence from the world developing around them.

Note: While many cultures around the world are rooted in historic traditions or religious beliefs, it does not necessarily mean that they will reject technology developments analogous to the Amish. As such, a form of nationalism, which may reject many aspects of a neoliberal philosophy might still compete in a global economy. This point is raised because irrespective of any idealism, be it nationalist of globalist, people’s survival needs will depend on a degree of economic prosperity. However, the discussion of this issue will be deferred – see Economic Politics.