October 05, 2007 (the date of publication in Russian)

Alexander Eliseev


The West is moving towards a new sociopolitical design


Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent President of France, is portrayed in Russian press as an unambiguously pro-American politician and a convinced proponent of Euro-Atlanticism. In principle, that is definitely true. Sarkozy had never concealed his sympathy towards the United States; after winning the elections, he firmly steered his country in the Atlanticist direction. The course of Charles de Gaulle seems to be completely abandoned, and France is envisaging a return to the commanding authorities of NATO (actually, this possibility was discussed already in the times of Jacques Chirac). Recently, Defense Minister Herve Morin declared in public that France may cardinally revise its military policy. This statement quite corresponds with Sarkozy's earlier remarks over the necessity to elevate his country's role in the North Atlantic Alliance.

The new President of France is ready to take a harsh stand vis-à-vis Iran. Unlike Chirac, who had significant reservations over Washington's anti-Iranian sanctions, Sarkozy does not display any disaccord with George W. Bush on this issue. Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign Affairs, already declared that Paris is ready for a war against Iran. Sarkozy disavowed the words of his colleague, making clear that the minister was too hasty. "No nuclear attack on Iran", he assured, "just a number of definite sanctions to reassure the Iranian authorities; negotiations, discussions, and commitment. I wouldn't like to listen of any means of influence but negotiations". This debate sounds somewhat artificial, as it is hard to believe that Mr. Kouchner expressed only his own view. His boss has just made clear that the time for so bold declarations has not yet come – as the United States is still treating Iran not only with sticks but also with carrots. As an example of tolerance, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was given the floor at the Columbia University. Still, the very fact of choice of such a kind of personality as Mr. Kouchner for the post of French Foreign Minister is very illustrative.

Certainly, Sarkozy's Atlanticist and pro-American posture is obvious. However, it would be incorrect to portray him as a simplistic marionette of Washington, ready to make France a province of the Euro-Atlantic. Our hero is not primitive; he intends to play a geopolitical game of his own, though in the framework of the general Euro-Atlanticist trend.



Many observers considered that Sarkozy's ascent would put an end to the celebrated French-German axis, which emerged as far back as in 1962 due to joint efforts of Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, or at least loosen this strategic link. Those expectations had serious grounds. "Sarko" himself declared quite unambiguously that "Europe can't rest upon French-German relations alone". As an alternative motor of European development, he considered a geopolitical combination of Italy, Spain, Great Britain, and Poland. This construction seemingly does not leave any space for Germany. However, these combinations remained in theory. Starting his practical policy, Sarkozy was to deal with a real Germany with the peculiarities of its current leadership.

Meeting with General Chancellor Angela Merkel, Sarkozy declared partnership under the motto of a "Strong Europe". (Some French media even spread a gossip that he has offered his German counterpart joint supervision of the French nuclear arsenal). He proposed to set up a new coordinating body entitled "The Council of Wise Men". Curiously, the concept is borrowed from Germany, where an entity under such a name is co-established by directors of five leading research institutions). It is also noteworthy that the new body does not quite correspond with the framework of Western democracy, representing rather an ideocratic leadership. Now, Sarkozy and Merkel are going to establish a "Council of Wise Men" already on the all-European level; its members are not supposed to play an active role in the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament.

Moreover, the leaders of the two European states are going to put forward an initiative of a resolute transformation of the global economic system. Recently, "Sarko" hailed criticism on the practice of large-scale financial speculations. To his opinion, speculators undermine not only the international financial mechanisms but the whole global system. "We can’t go on this way!" the President exclaimed, proposing a rather impressive motto: "Capitalism for enterprises, not for speculators!"



In any case, this reminds of something familiar, and quite European. In the first half of the XX century, some European leaders have already contraposed "correct" productive capital to "incorrect" speculative finances. Though this view was expressed by many politicians, this view was most characteristic in 1920s for the fascist movement in Italy. The fact that the Italian term was later extrapolated to a more general European phenomenon is probably explained with the fact that the Italian fascists were the first to gain power.

From the standpoint of political economy, the fascist trend was characterized with curtailment of democratic institutions Ц also in countries with a democratic background Ц with conservation of the basis of the capitalist system. Both in Italy and Germany, curtailment of democracy was followed with a rise of monopolies. In Germany, coercive cartelization wiped out over 700 manufacturing companies, while two thirds of the economic potential came under control of six major banks and 70 joint-stock companies. The new type of capitalism was described as more nationalistic, socially concerned, and productive.

Essentially, fascism emerged as a response of the capitalist system to the severe crisis of late 1920s. Roosevelt's "New Deal" represented an alternative response. Eventually, Roosevelt's model proved that state-controlled capitalism can meet broad social expectations, and function without dismantling the democratic institutions.

Today, the Western democratic systems are repeatedly faced with a fundamental crisis caused by globalization, which has thrown out huge inflows of immigrants into Europe, which are more and more broadly perceived as a threat to European identity. Actually, Sarkozy has made his career on the wave of popular fears before immigration, gaining broad popularity when cracking upon the Arabic unrest of 2005 in his capacity of Minister of Interior.

As an educated person, Nicolas Sarkozy realizes that the real threat is emerging not from the immigrants but from the egocentric behavior of international Ц especially financial Ц corporate bosses (displayed most spectacularly in the practice of outsourcing of productive facilities to developing nations with cheap labor force). The European fascist strategists of 1920s also realized that proletarian unrest emerges not from a Communist conspiracy but from unbridled exploitation of labor force by plutocrats. For that reason, they imposed serious pressure on the bourgeois elite, forcing it to pursue a more socially acceptable labor policy.

Today's analogue of the "proletarians who have nothing to lose but their chains" is represented by immigrants from Africa and Asia. Therefore, many European political reasons are experiencing the same temptation to rein in the financial oligarchy and coerce it to behave in a more responsible way towards "third-world" nations. Under the present conditions, the easiest way to succeed in this effort is to curtail democratic mechanisms, which are too efficiently controlled by the same international financial oligarchy. This process is likely to spread across the West generally.

Not accidentally, Nicolas Sarcozy insisted to expand the membership of G-8, accepting the strongest of the new economies, including India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa. This gesture could be viewed as a curtsey addressed to the "new proletariat", which plays today the same role as the pauperized industrial workers did in the early XX century. At the same time, Sarkozy is committed to restrict inflow of this "proletariat" into France. His anti-immigrant initiatives (in particular, introducing a probation period for marriages of French nationals with immigrants) are hard to implement without curtailing democracy. In a similar way, Mussolini and Hitler gained political popularity through anti-immigrant policies, favoring domestic proletariat though not providing it any possibility of political self-expression, not speaking of protest.

This strategy in a whole may be identified as Euro-Atlanticist liberal "fascism" Ц certainly in quotes, as we are facing a new phenomenon, having only a number of similarities with the historical ancestor. Definitely, the fascists of the early XXI century, avoiding atrocities of Hitlerism, are likely to invent a humanistic package for their model of management (where the party-order-like ideocracy would be substituted with an "expertocracy" of "wise men"). It would be more correct to use the term "post-fascism". Still, the parallels with the past are useful at least to emphasize the significance of the imminent change.



A turn in the direction of fascism is obvious in the United States as well. Today, America has got too many haters in the "third world". Beside the notorious "Islamic radicalism" (which emerged with a weighty contribution from the CIA), those include the societies of South America, choosing the path of Bolivarian socialist integration. A large portion of the 35 millions of Hispanic Americans is likely to play the role of the "fifth column" of Chavez and Castro. This perspective is the more obvious the more expenses of the US federal budget are spent for military adventures across the globe. The tendency of curtailing democracy is already seen in George W. Bush's initiatives concerning control over private bank accounts, as well as correspondence.

Not only conspiracy theorists but renowned statesmen like Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in Ronald Reagan's administration, quite seriously warn that George W. Bush's team desperately needs some dramatic events (like a fire in the German Reichstag in 1938) in order to intimidate the US population and coerce the Congress to accept a military-police model of state.

Militarist movies like "300 Spartans" propagate a cult of brutal force, defying the notorious political correctness. Rep. Peter King Ц an advisor of Rudolf Giuliani, a major contender for the Presidential post from the Republican Party Ц recently claimed: "Unfortunately, we have got too many mosques and too many Islam-sympathizers in this country. We should watch them more closely, and be more aggressive in anti-terrorist policies". Though this remark was echoed with an uproar of protest, Giuliani only ridiculed the demands to dismiss his advisor, obviously believing that the views, expressed by him, are likely to gain broad compassion in the nearest time.

Thus, we have grounds to expect that a "renewed" authoritarian Euro-Atlantic, inheriting an array of the Third Reich's political technologies, emerge from both sides of the ocean. Its top political leaders are likely to raise the issue of "salvation of the white race". Eventually, the fate of this trans-Atlantic empire is going to be as miserable as the fate of Nazism, though with a far greater human and economic toll.

At the same time, the perspectives of a unified Euro-Atlantic are today unclear due to the unresolved question of leadership. Nicolas Sarkozy is as ambitious as George W. Bush but obviously more educated. Following the pro-American line, he naturally wishes to be perceived as an equal partner of the presently weakened Washington. In case this fight of ambitions, which is already obvious, results in a conflict, Sarkozy may turn towards Moscow Ц for tactical or, under some specific conditions, for a strategic partnership, preferring the Moscow-Berlin-Paris axis of the 2003 design. This option, though seeming almost improbable today, would be much more favorable for the mankind.

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