Recent imprudent or ignorant public utterances serve only to confirm the pervasive presence of the Neo-Cons’ chief ideologue, Carl Schmitt, and beg the question: would it be the promotion of Carl Schmitt unleashing fascism? Or would the European fascists simply be reverting to type?
Although Papa Mendelssohn had been working on the subject for some months now, he has been prompted to rush to judgment following a chance remark uttered by the otherwise perfectly-respectable Colonel Xavier Moreau, in the course of his weekly strategic briefing from Moscow. To one’s surprise and horror, Colonel Moreau described the new Russian Diplomatic Concept as a “Schmittian moment.”
Of which more below.
To Germany’s greater misfortune, there was born at Plettenberg in 1888 one Carl Schmitt, who most regrettably, would go on to live nearly a century. Become a legal scholar, Schmitt was endowed with the academic’s typically admirable traits: savage ambition, vanity coupled with sour jealousy, impenetrable rhetoric, graphomania, connections in high places and pseudo-Catholicism.
Riding on the wave of the anger aroused by the scandalous Versailles and Saint-Germain treaties (1919) (Cf. Johann Chapoutot, “Les juristes nazis face au traité de Versailles“), early on Schmitt adopted as his own the mission devised for the Alldeutscher Verband by business circles envious of the British Empire dismantling the Weimar Republic (Cf. Renaud Baumert, “Carl Schmitt contre le parlementarisme weimarien“).
As the Republic fell, a triumphant Schmitt, aping Halford Mackinder, began to elaborate on the Grossraum concept as he clambered up the NSDAP totem pole. Alongside his friend Martin Heidegger, on May 1st, 1933 he joined the NSDAP, never to leave it, contrary to claims from his apologists.
At the Nuremberg trials, bizarrely, given his prominence in the NSDAP, he was apparently interrogated as a mere “witness.” Emboldened not to say enchanted by the worldwide publicity afforded him by the Nuremberg forum, Schmitt dared to suggest to his accusers that his rôle vis à vis Hitler’s direct entourage was like that of Plato, who in 366 B.C. , had sailed to Sicily to advise the tyrannos Dionysos (NB: Τύραννος did not mean “tyrant” in ancient Greek) (“Carl Schmitt plaide l’amnistie en termes platoniciens, by Branco Aleksic.
In any event, after a few months’ interment—the Carl Schmitt Society is at pains to distinguish the notion from that of imprisonment—during which Schmitt drafted an opuscule portraying himself as Christian Martyr (“Ex captivitate salus: Experiences, 1945-47—Out of Captivity cometh Salvation“), he swiftly became the academic cesspit from which the US Neo-Cons and notably Leo Strauss would drink, and deeply.
Such was Carl Schmitt.
A “Schittianm,” Moment—Minus the M
Back to Colonel Moreau. A graduate of the famed Saint-Cyr Military Academy, Moreau has been living for the past twenty years with his large Russian family in Moscow, where he works as a business consultant, part-time journalist and and hobby-historian. Inter alia, he founded Stratpol, a thinktank and on-line journal, and has a programme on Russia Today (L’Echiquier mondial). Originally confidential, Stratpol’s weekly video briefings on Russian weapons systems, strategic thinking etc., have gone from a few thousand views each a few years back, to tens, prhaps hundreds of thousands of views today. Despite this large following in the French-speaking world, Moreau has remained what the Russians call “an innocent”—never would he knowingly act against the best interests either of France, or of Russia.
That said, Colonel Moreau, who co-incidentally happens to be innocent of all specialised knowledge whether in law or philosophy, nonetheless baldly stated in his weekly video dated 6th April 2023, that Russia’s New Diplomatic Concept published on 31stMarch 2023 is a “Schmittian moment” (sic), as are Xi Jin Ping’s statements of a month ago (at 20 minutes).
Confounding in his naivety, the Colonel has crawled out onto a limb alongside the very Neo-Cons he abhors, as he rejoices at Carl Schmitt’s purported influence on Russia and refers us back to his May 2021 interview with the think-tanker Pierre-Antoine Plaquevent “Actualité de Carl Schmitt.”
In the first five minutes of that interview, the thoroughly-disingenuous P.A. Plaquevent babbles such arrant nonsense as to call up a a berserker episode in the listener. For Plaquevent, Carl Schmitt was a resistance fighter (!), who supposedly quit the NSDAP in disgust in 1936.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
A Falling-Out amongst Thieves
Thieves DO fall out. Just as factional in-fighting led the Jungian gymnast Rudolf von Laban, who adopted the Lebensraum notion for his Choreutics, to leave for England in 1937 and there become a Saint and Martyr Himself(von Laban’s Wikipedia pages being regularly purged of all Unpleasantness, in 1936 the same sort of infighting led Schmitt to resign from his positions as Reichsfachgruppenleiter, chief editor of the Deutschen Juristenzeitung, DJZ, and the German Academy of Law.
On no account however, did Schmitt attempt to leave for a neutral country, challenge Reich policy, or denounce Operation Barbarossa. Never was he prevented from travelling to “friendly foreign countries,” as the Carl Schmitt Society reports, for example to Occupied France in 1941, where, invited by the Deutsches Institut (Cf. Eckward Michels, “Das Deutsche Institut in Paris 1940-1944: Ein Beitrag zu den deutsch-französischen Kulturbeziehungen und zur auswärtigen Kulturpolitik des Dritten Reiches”), he met with Luvverlies, such as Ernst Junger, Henri de Montherlant or Drieu de La Rochelle. Never was he asked to resign from his Chair at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University, or from his role on the Preußischen Staatsrat, thanks to Hermann Goering’s fraternal solicitude, all this with no interruption up to the bitter end in 1944.
Opportunist to the core, his attacks on the Jews were so vulgar as to raise eyebrows amongst some Party members. In 1936, the year that P.A. Plaquevent describes as that of his “disgrace” (!), Schmitt chaired the seminar Das Judentum in der Rechtswissenschaft (Jewry in the Legal Sciences), where he proposed that libraries henceforth classify works by Jews, rather than by discipline, on designated “Jewry” shelves. To Schmitt, the Nuremberg Racial Laws (1935) were Die Verfassung der Freiheit, i.e., Freedom’s Constitution, article published on 1st October 1935 in the DJZ.
Regardless, Plaquevent repeats the tall tale according to which Schmitt was “sidelined” (a very relative term here!), owing to his anti-semitism being of the “Conservative Catholic” (sic) rather than outright racialist stripe. As it happens, at a conference held on 28th November 1935 intitled “National Socialist Law and the Public Policy Reserve in International Private Law,” Schmitt seized the opportunity to insist that inter-racial marriages be strictly regulated, especially those that threatened Germany vitality, i.e. those involving Jews, since the latter cannot be assimilated.
Schmitt’s public utterances to that effect are so numerous as would weary the reader by listing them. Thus, to deny or ignore what lies as much in plain view as Jeffrey Epstein’s paeodophilia and blackmailing, spells either ignorance… or something more distasteful. To the reader objecting that Mendelssohn Moses is a Jew and therefore slanted, one should stress that Schmitt’s life and character would be every bit as repugnant had he taken issue with the Hottentots, Pygmees, Lesser-Vehicle Buddhists or Zoroastrians.
Schmitt Wriggles into the Ratline… and Rodents Scurry to Leave their Ratline Droppings in Russia’s Path
Freed from internment with suspicious haste in 1947, thanks to the Usual Suspects Carl Schmitt promptly joined the West German Ratline, a network of Nazis hastily woven into cover afforded by the US intelligence, propaganda and terrorism US underground.
Need evidence? Schmitt was neither indicted nor tried at Nuremberg; his internment was described as simple “witness detention” (witness to WHAT, pray tell?). Whilst in internment camp, a US medic slipped him contraband paper and ink, thus allowing him to draft an apologia or rather auto-hagiography Ex captivitate salus, while the camp’s priest, purportedly touched by Schmitt’s “return to the fold” smuggled his writings out of the camp. As for his 4,000-volume library, seized in 1944, the US authorities dutifully sent it back—at taxpayer expense, no doubt.
According to the Carl Schmitt Society, “in 1947 the interrogations by the prosecutor, Robert W. Kempner were more moral reproaches than preparations for a justiciable indictment.” Nor can the Society resist boasting of how Schmitt got the Ratline’s attention: “After Schmitt, at Kempner’s request, had written expert reports on Hitler’s Greater Region (sic, Grossraum/Lebensraum—editor’s note) policy and the internal power structure of the Nazi government, he was able to leave Nuremberg and arrived in Plettenberg as a free man on May 21.”
Although after 1945, the US bell-jar sucked all the air from Germany’s intellectual life, whether the daily press, publishing, academe, the music world, business management (university, science…), with US bases sprouting like weeds and US troops combing the country, one nevertheless finds Schmitt’s works being printed, reprinted, translated and soon taught everywhere above all in the USA.
As for Carl Schmitt’s own person, never again did he come under scrutiny from the Occupying Forces.
In his home town of Plettenberg, where Schmitt returned at age 60 to a charmingly völkisch garden-cottage, furnished with thathuge library courtesy of the Occupation Forces, he became a Citizen of Honour and a Carl Schmitt Society was founded to celebrate him, the Carl Schmitt Gesellschaft E.v. Pilgrims freely wended their way to Plettenberg, while others kept up a sustained correspondence. Most especially, the Quislings tasked with moulding minds throughout the German-speaking world: Rudolf Augstein, who founded Der SPIEGEL, Ernst Jünger, Armin Mohler, the American George Schwab.
Should one be surprised at Schmitt’s cozying up to the Occupiers and their Quislings? Hardly: the Satanist’s True Love was ever to Self, nor was Schmitt an apprentice turncoat, the most striking illustration being his glee at the murder of his erstwhile “friend” General Kurt von Schleicher on30th June 1934. One month later, one finds Schmitt braying alongside the assassins (“The Führer stands up for the Law,” essay in Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung July 13th, 1934 edition).
As Prof. Dr. Renaud Baumert has shewn in his superb essay, “Carl Schmitt contre le Parlementarisme weimarien,” from the outset of his career Schmitt never wavered from onesingle aim: totalitarian rule. To Schmitt, the true enemy, is the people. ‘Twas a specific motive brought him to join forces with ex-Chancellor von Schleicher. While the latter viewed breach of the Weimar Constitution as the last resort to prevent the NSDAP’s seizing power, to Schmitt that manœuvre would ensure the Party’s de facto coup d’état.
To suggest that Carl Schmitt was “trapped” by the NSDAP in Germany is ludicrous. Dissidents of every ilk and religious belief, most of whom had scant funds, managed to flee Germany until the War broke out in 1939. As for Schmitt, perhaps the most prominent of German legal scholars, he had but to wink to slide straight into a lucrative academic position in Switzerland, Sweden or Down Under. That he stayed shows only that he found his perch high on the totem pole beside Hermann Goering both agreeable and advantageous.
Accordingly, when one hears P.A. Plaquevent assert that “it is only too easy to pass judgment on people’s commitments, at a moment in time when events moved so fast,” one might suggest that it’s only too easy to see Plaquevent lose his footing in shallow but stinking waters. In a word, it’s Spinach, and I don’t Like It. Either he’s not done his homework, or there are Things that Go Bump in the Dark.
Where Schmitt gives Hermann Göring a Leg Up
In a collective work, published under Prof. Y-Ch. Zarka in 2009, Jean-Pierre Fayet’s essay, “Carl Schmitt, Göring et l’État total” opens thusly:
“One reads here and there of Göring as Carl Schmitt’s protector, as though Göring were some sort of Renascence gold-shower or sponsor to up-and-coming youth.
“Perhaps they fail to realise that it was the other way round: it was Göring in political debt to Carl Schmitt. State power was delivered up into Hitlerian hands on January 30th, 1933, by President Hindenburg’s signature on a piece of paper, thanks to an apposite manoeuvre worked out by the group around ex-Chancellor von Papen. At the centre of the manoeuvre one finds Carl Schmitt, the fellow who had been von Papen’s public advocate at the Constitutional Court.” Cf. also, Prof. Dr. Johann Chapoutot.
Back to the Ratline; The Neo-Cons
A number of historians, including very recently Prof. Dr. Daniele Ganser, have documented the terrible harm wreaked on Western Europe after WWII by US (and British) intelligence agencies, trampling on the principles of the American Republic. A certain E. Beggin remarks the following on the Ratline:
“Given the extent of American cooperation with and support for former Nazi leadership, as well as other fascist organizations through Operation Gladio, we should consider that Stalin was not only correct in believing the Americans had attempted to secure a separate peace with parts of the Nazi government, but that they had actually done so. In this light, the Cold War was a continuation of World War II, with the United States allying with the remnants of the Third Reich who they reconstituted into a new, supranational form. The American military intelligence apparatus dismissed the doomed approach of Operation Unthinkable in favour of a long term Werewolf style war waged through clandestine means such as Operation Gladio and Operation Condor. The ideological fervour of Hitlerism might have died in 1945, but the pragmatic new Nazism lived on through the efforts of men like Dulles and Gehlen and finally triumphed over its eternal enemy in 1991. Today we live in the world created by that lingering Nazi victory: an Invisible Americanized Reich.”
In the USA, Dr Matthew Specter, an IR specialist,has been taking on Schmitt and the Schmittians’ disastrous influence on US policyfor over a decade. As Dr Specter puts it, referring to the Jim Jones cult in Guyana, he declines to “drink the Schmittian Kool-Aid” (sic) which appeals to so many academics.
A year ago, Dr Specter published, The Atlantic Realists. Empire and International Political Thought between Germany and the USA, outcome of his research on the continuity between US and European imperialism.
“In the run-up to the Second World War, geopolitics appears in the American public sphere as urdeutsch—a kind of Nazi superweapon that is essentialized and seen as something foreign, something to be feared. This ignored American political geographers like Bowman who had been in dialogue with the group around Haushofer’s Zeitschrift für Geopolitik. It also undersold the American inspiration for German geopolitics, especially since the circle surrounding Haushofer saw themselves as responding to Bowman’s book The New World: Problems in Political Geography (1921).
“…the implication that there is a clean break between the 1880s and 1930s discourses and those of the 1950s forward is not borne out. Not only are the discursive continuities more significant than the breaks but the temporality of imperial realism doesn’t conform to the moral narrative about 1945 as turning point.
“When you are socialized into the American foreign policy establishment or into the discipline of international relations by reading its founding fathers, you are being socialized into not just specific axioms or doctrines—but, more importantly, a way of seeing, a way of thinking and feeling. For me, it is, fundamentally, a way of thinking like an empire and as an imperial subject.
“… The Atlantic realists all shared a common imperial blind spot and democratic deficit. Both Kissinger and Morgenthau were committed to the idea of an elite statesman who would understand and develop the art of statecraft. This art was for the privileged few, as statecraft was not something they believed the democratic public could handle—it was too emotional, too plural, too divided, too fickle, what have you.”
In point of fact, the enthusiasm for Carl Schmitt expressed by the US Neo-Cons and their European hounds is perhaps the salient feature of political philosophy since the War. Dozens of articles both scholarly and for mass-circulation, point to the overweening impact of Schmitt’s ideas amongst those who did the thinking for Presidents Bush Sr and Jr and slammed down the Permanent State of Exception (“restraining chaos,” as Anastasia Colosimo chirps) which since 2001, has put paid to civilised life both in the USA and Europe. Cf. For example, Kim Lane Scheppele, “Law in a Time of Emergency: States of Exception and the Temptations of 9/11.”
As for France groaning under the Sarkozy-Hollande-Macron clique of Quislings, over the past 20 years she has become Schmitt’s waking dream: Parliament stripped of its prerogatives, zero separation of powers, myriad unaccountable agencies standing in for the civil service, privatisation of the public domain covered by executive action … Professor Johann Chapoutot is one of the few to have realised that at the end of the day, the Schmittian goal is to liquidate the modern Nation-State which emerged a thousand years ago in defence of the common weal, and replace it by smoke-and-mirrors agencies answerable solely to private interests—almost invariably foreign at that.
Schmitt’s Chiefest Enemy: The People
In Russia at the present time—as in China though doubtless for different reasons—there are clusters of individuals who dispute the policies of the Russian Presidency and General Staff for being insufficiently “authoritarian,” “ruthless,” and to be frank, “brutal,” Carl Schmitt being the reference; they would have a Schmittian Presidency wield the State of Exception and sweep all before it (Cf. Hans Koechler).
By God knows what stretch of the imagination, these persons believe, or wish to believe that the new Russian Diplomatic Concept affirms the friend-enemy opposition on which, so Schmitt claims, rests the State, conveniently forgetting that to Schmitt, the chiefest enemy is the people. Which makes Schmitt the chiefest enemy of the people.
Blithely disregarding the vast and irreversible changes in the structure of international relations provoked by the Government of Russia over the last year, of which the perfect anti-Schmittian Sergey Lavrov is a chief architect, these individuals apparently seek vindication of their theses in the annihilation of the Ukraine, Poland and the USA in a Götterdämmerung style firestorm. A mixed bag—some would like the universe to up-end at one fell swoop, others are British and Neo-Con agents, others are cobweb-covered Slavophiles stuck in the 1870s, while the bulk are well-meaning but impatient Russians as well as Western dissidents, angry at the Government’s previous overtures to the “West.”
STOP! First read the new Foreign Policy Concept for the Russian Federation:
“… the United States of America (USA) and its satellites have used the measures taken by the Russian Federation as regards Ukraine to protect its vital interests as a pretext to aggravate the long-standing anti-Russian policy and unleashed a new type of hybrid war. It is aimed at weakening Russia in every possible way, including at undermining her constructive civilizational role (…) (and) violating her territorial integrity. This Western policy has become comprehensive and is now enshrined at the doctrinal level. This was not the choice of the Russian Federation. Russia does not consider herself to be an enemy of the West (…) and has no hostile intentions with regard to it; Russia hopes that in future the states belonging to the Western community will realize that their policy of confrontation and hegemonic ambitions lacks prospects, will take into account the complex realities of a multipolar world and will resume pragmatic cooperation with Russia being guided by the principles of sovereign equality and respect for each other’s interests.”
Well, hello! Where in this new Russian Concept might there be any trace of the Schmittian “friend-enemy” construct, which, dixit Schmitt, the Sovereign must define in order to found his Sovereignty! Put otherwise, “No Enemy? Find one! Provoke someone!”
The Flash-Ball Gun to “Hold back Chaos”
Where does one find any trace of the notion of “holding back chaos” (“retenir le chaos”) as lisped by E. Macron’s new and juvenile diplomatic advisor Miss Anastasia Colosimo? The latter teaches Schmitt’s Political Theology (sic) at a Neo-con nursery known as the Institut de Sciences Politiques (“Carl Schmitt had SUCH a brilliant idea … the thing to do is hold back chaos. That’s how I see myself as an intellectual, my mission is to hold back chaos.”)
Were it not for the difficulty in reading with a glass eye, the 26 Yellow Jackets who lost an eye to flash-balls shot by French police “holding back” non-existent “chaos,” would doubtless be most impressed.
Where in the new Russian Diplomatic Concept does one find any trace of “major” and “minor” nations, with supremacy as by right resting with the first? Or any trace of the notion of Grossraumor/Lebensraum, or of the notion of State of Exception as the prerogative cum crowning glory of the Sovereign’s power?
Schmitt writes: “National-socialist law is not one that embraces the universe and mankind… it is not universal. Our law is völkisch… it refers solely to the principle of taking into account each people’s peculiarities. The right to define what is German, what is the German substance, what must be done to safeguard German blood, is and remains a matter for the German people alone.”
Perfectly clear, thank you. Whereas, the international law to which the new Russian Concept refers, is natural law, the right to life of all peoples and nations, rather than some völkisch Slavophile edifice. It is a reflection of Socratic thought, nor can it be a mere coincidence that the late Daria Platonova Dougina took as patronymic the name of Socrates’ scribe and disciple Plato rather than that of her father Alexander.
To conclude, hats off to Professor Baumert who has twigged onto Schmitt’s modus operandi:
“Rather than ‘an art of writing’, one should prefer the term ‘rhetoric’ so as to emphasise the very practical aim Schmitt had set himself. His legal doctrine was designed, not as a science, which would have meant attempting to bring forth knowledge valid for some length of time, but as a form of struggle aimed at redefining legal notions along with the mental categories which enable one to apprehend them. Far from being a mere intellectual exercise, that struggle represents a full-out political ‘investment’. With that in mind, redefining concepts is of the essence, since it will likely allow one to win over to the cause, from within as it were, those who would otherwise reject it. That idea appears in Schmitt’s 1947 Glossarium where, under interrogation at Nuremberg, Schmitt addressed the following notes to himself:
“Take the measure of the power-holder who has got you in his grasp; against his moves, put up no counter-moves at the same level but let his power beat against your own power to conceive. He will seize upon your concepts. Let him but do so. He will soon slash his paws.”
And so, whether a medical doctor from Bregenz might ring Minister Sergey Lavrov to propose changes to Russian foreign policy, or a violinist from Ferrara write to Minister Gerasimov with advice on the Special Military Operation, is a thing hardly to be conceived. Accordingly, might one suggest that observers such as P.A. Plaquevent or the amiable Colonel Moreau, skilled as they may be in their respective fields, refrain from rooting about on the terrain of eminent legal scholars, such as Prof. Baumert or Dr. Hans Köchler, and immediately remove themselves from the path so thoughtfully traced for them by the Neo-Cons—unless of course, they wish to dig Russia’s grave.
Mendelssohn Moses writes from France. (Revised and amended from the original French on Réseau International).