The Return of the Iron Curtain

The United States extols the virtues of competition, but hates having competitors. It also hates the idea of a multipolar world. The United States emerged from World War II as the great victor, and its entire foreign policy for ages has been to thwart the emergence of rival powers that might threaten its hegemony. Europe having already been neutralized and vassalized, they are left with China and Russia, which they seek to weaken by all means.

In order to do this, they have a first-rate tool at their disposal with the NATO bases. NATO, which should have disappeared at the same time as the Warsaw Pact, has today become the “global NATO;” that is to say, an international police force, charged with protecting American interests all over the world, while exercising on its allies what General De Gaulle called its “heavy tutelage.”

By bringing the former Eastern Bloc countries into NATO, the United States sought to challenge and encircle Russia. High-ranking American political scientists, such as Henry Kissinger, John J. Mearsheimer, George Kennan, Paul Nitze, Robert McNamara and many others had already warned in the 1990s of the dramatic consequences of NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders, which Kennan called a “fateful mistake.” The Americans have never ceased to assert that Ukraine should also join NATO.

In The Grand Chessboard (1997), Zbigniew Brzezinski explained why: “America must absolutely seize Ukraine, because Ukraine is the pivot of Russian power in Europe. Once Ukraine is separated from Russia, Russia will no longer be a threat.”

The Least Concealed Coup d’état in History

Since Montesquieu, we know that there are those who start wars and those who make them inevitable. The United States and NATO have done everything to make war unavoidable. A war that did not start in February 2022, but in 2014, since 14,000 people were already dead in Donbass when the Russian army intervened.

The coup of February 22, 2014, the so-called Euro-Maidan, prepared, organized and financed by the United States (to the tune of 5 billion dollars)—”the least concealed coup in history,” said the American political scientist George Friedman—was not intended to make Ukraine more democratic, but to make it more Western; that is to say anti-Russian. It allowed the removal of President Yanukovych, legitimately elected in 2010, and to bring to power a team of pro-Westerners whose first legislative act was the abolition of the Russian language as an official language.

In 2019, they were succeeded by a puppet government, corrupt to the core, largely dominated by the underworld and headed by Volodymyr Zelensky, a former show business king. The Americans, during all this time, never ceased to threaten, ignore and humiliate Russia.

True to the Monroe Doctrine, the Americans have never allowed foreign intervention in their sphere of influence, while constantly intervening in those of others. Since the Cuba affair in 1962, it is well known that no American president would accept that Russian rockets be deployed in Canada or Mexico. Why should Putin accept that American rockets be deployed in Poland and at the gates of Russia?

Ukraine’s integration into NATO was an existential threat to the Russian Federation. In other words, a red line that must not be crossed. The West crossed it, leaving Vladimir Putin no choice but to resort to military action to satisfy demands that could never be met by political or diplomatic means. This is what happened on February 24.

The Russian People: The New Pariahs

Putin, who has no intention of recreating the old USSR (which in 2010 even more Ukrainians than Russians regretted: 62% against 45%) knows on the other hand that a country’s security depends largely on the notion of strategic depth, which implies a buffer state. Cutting short a new Ukrainian offensive to retake the Donbass by force, which was planned for late winter, Russia’s “special military operation” had three immediate causes: NATO’s willingness to push right up to Russia’s doorstep; the Kiev government’s stubborn refusal to implement the Minsk agreements of September 2014 and February 2015, which provided for both Ukraine’s territorial integrity and Donbass’ autonomy; and the continued atrocities against the Russian-speaking civilian populations of Donbass.

The Americans, who of course never bombed civilians (Hiroshima), nor attacked a sovereign country (Iraq), nor illegally crossed a sovereign’s country’s borders (Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia), and even less bombed a European capital (Belgrade), reacted according to the usual Anglo-Saxon tactics of sanctions and embargo (which are the modern version of the blockade) and of moral disqualification, accusatory inversion, the dumbing down of public opinion by emotional propaganda, media blitzing and the criminalization of the enemy (Putin mad dictator, paranoid war criminal, new Hitler, bloodthirsty butcher, etc. ). This tactic makes it impossible to return to peace through a negotiated settlement of the conflict, since one does not negotiate with a “criminal” or a “madman.”

In the manner of Cancel Culture, the prevailing Russophobia now discredits everything that is Russian, from Dostoyevsky to Solzhenitsyn, through Gagarin, all victims of the same reductio ad Putinum. Tennis players, musicians, disabled people and even Russian cats are excluded from shows, museums or competitions.

The aim is to turn the Russian people into a new pariah. Hate speech, once decried, is now even allowed on social networks, if it is anti-Russian speech.

The objective is clear. If Russia cannot be vaporized, it is a question of putting it in the dock of nations, of stigmatizing it for eternity, of cutting it off definitively from Germany, France and Western Europe, thanks to a cordon sanitaire that would isolate it from the rest of the world. From this point of view, it is in the interest of the Americans to ensure that the war lasts as long as possible. In Washington, we are ready to fight to the last Ukrainian. In 1956, the Budapest insurgents had no such support.

A New Iron Curtain

It is obviously impossible to say that “we are not waging war on Russia” and at the same time to decree against it sanctions of unprecedented magnitude, to publicly advocate a “total economic and financial war on Russia” (Bruno Le Maire) and to supply arms to the Ukrainians.

The Europeans have obediently accepted to undertake sanctions against Russia, of which they will be the first victims because these sanctions are contrary to their own interests, especially in terms of energy and industry (Russia is more self-sufficient than Europe).

By delivering heavy weapons and airplanes to Ukraine, not to restore peace but to prolong the war, the Western countries have taken the serious risk of being considered as cobelligerents.

We have thus left the post-Cold War era. A new Iron Curtain has been set up; this time at the initiative of the West. The Eurasian continent is again cut in two. Finland and Sweden want to join NATO, Switzerland is abandoning its neutrality, Germany is contributing 100 billion euros, and the European Union is taking on the role of arms supplier, while those who yesterday militated for the abolition of all borders are proclaiming that those of Ukraine are inviolable. A historic turn. The consequences of which will also be historic.

The former Czech president, Václav Klaus, said it bluntly—taken hostage by NATO, Ukraine is from the beginning “only a pawn on the chessboard of a larger game.” The first loser of this affair is indeed the unfortunate Ukrainian people, today bombed by the Russians after having been cynically used as a pawn on the American strategic chessboard.

The other big losers are the Europeans who, by aligning themselves almost unanimously with the American positions, have demonstrated once again that they count for nothing. An independent and non-aligned Europe could have worked for a political settlement of the conflict, for a negotiated agreement, as well as for the reconstruction of a new space of collective security on a continental scale, respecting the interests of Europeans as much as those of Russians. It could also have had the equivalent of the Monroe Doctrine.

But this is not what happened. By flatly aligning itself with Anglo-Saxon diktats and adopting measures that are as much oil on the fire, the European Union has lost all credibility.

We are not Westerners, but Europeans

There are in fact two distinct wars going on at the moment. The first one is a fratricidal war, since it opposes two countries coming from the same historical matrix and which remained associated for centuries—but it is not a civil war. It is not a war between two nationalisms, Russian and Ukrainian; but rather a war between the logic of the nation-state and that of the empire (which has never had an ethnic dimension in Russia).

But it is also a proxy war, a war by proxy of Washington against the Kremlin through Ukraine. This also reveals the deep nature of the second war, that of the United States against Russia.

A war that goes far beyond Ukraine, since it is a war of the worlds—a war for or against liberal hegemony, a war of civilizational states against rootless universalism, of peoples concerned with their historical continuity against “open societies,” of the forces of rootedness against the forces of dissolution, of continental powers against “maritime democracies” (United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada). A war of global significance. A war for world power.

This means that the appeals to “Western solidarity” of Joseph Robinette Biden, the living dead man in the White House, leave us cold—for the excellent reason that we are not Westerners, but Europeans.

Alain de Benoit is the well-known thinker and philosopher of what is known as the New Right. He is the author of numerous books and articles. This article appears through the kind courtesy of the journal Éléments and Sylvette Imatz.

Featured: “Iron Curtain,” by Lyle Brown, dated 2011.

Against the West: Exiting The Liberal-Libertarian Empire

We are so very pleased to provide this translation of the Prologue to the recent book by Jesús Sebastián-Lorente, entitled, Contra Occidente. Salir del imperio liberal-libertario (Against the West: Exiting The Liberal-Libertarian Empire). The Prologue is by Alain de Benoist, the well-known thinker and philosopher of what is known as the New Right.

The subject of the book itself is an intriguing one in that it calls into question the commonly used terms, “the West” and “Europe.” This excerpt comes through the generous courtesy of El Manifesto.

The title of this book, Contra Occidente (Against the West), published by EAS, will undoubtedly surprise some readers, accustomed to thinking that the terms “Europe” and “the West” are more or less synonymous. However, one of this book’s great merits is precisely to demonstrate that these terms, far from being synonyms, refer today to totally opposite realities.

Raymond Abellio observed that “Europe is fixed in space, that is, in geography,” while the West is “mobile.” In fact, “the West” has not stopped traveling and changing direction. Initially, the term referred only to the land of the setting sun (Abendland), as opposed to the land of the rising sun (Morgenland).

From the reign of Diocletian, at the end of the 3rd century AD, the opposition between East and West was reduced to the distinction between the Western Roman Empire (whose capital was Milan, later Ravenna) and the Eastern Roman Empire established in Constantinople. The West and Europe then became permanently and lastingly confused. However, from the 18th century onwards, the adjective “Western” was also used in maritime cartography to refer to the New World, also called the “American system,” as opposed to the “European system” or the “Eastern Hemisphere” (which then included Europe as well as Africa and Asia).

In the interwar period, the West, always assimilated to Europe (e.g., Spengler), was globally opposed to the East, which became, at the same time, an object of fascination (René Guénon) or a counterpoint (Henri Massis). During the Cold War, the West regrouped Western Europe and its Anglo-Saxon allies, England and the United States, to oppose, in this case, the “Eastern bloc” dominated by Soviet Russia. This understanding, which allowed the United States to legitimize its hegemony, survived the fall of the Soviet system, as can be seen in those who always try to mobilize the “Western bloc” against Russia (and also against China).

Today, the West has changed direction once again. Sometimes, it is given a purely economic definition: all developed, modernized, industrialized countries are called “Western,” including Japan and South Korea, as well as Australia, former countries of the East, North America and a part of Latin America. “Ex Oriente lux, ex Occidente luxus,” as the Polish writer Stanislaw Jerzy Lec jocularly put it. The West thus loses all its spatial content to become confused with the notion of modernity. At other times, it is globally opposed to the latest incarnation to date of the furor orientalis in the eyes of Westerners: Islamism. In this vision, an essential fracture opposes the “Judeo-Christian West” to the “Arab-Muslim East.” Since there is no longer a unitary “West,” just as there is no homogeneous “East.” This is a new source of misunderstanding.

But more importantly, above all, the notion of the “West,” as it is understood today, is a geopolitical aberration. Europe belongs to the “land power,” while the United States represents the “sea power.” History, said Carl Schmitt, is first and foremost a history of the struggle between continental powers and maritime powers. Despite all that is repeated in Brussels and Washington, the interests of Europeans and Americans are not convergent, but opposed. As for the notion of the “Christian West,” which for too long has made us forget the universal (and universalist) dimension of the Christian religion, it has lost all meaning since religion has become a private affair and, above all, since the majority of believers are located in the Third World. Europe and the West are, today, totally separated—to the point that defending Europe means, quite often, fighting the West. As it no longer relates to any particular geographical or even cultural area, the word “West” should be abandoned.

Since its conversion to universalism, the West has always considered its specific values as “universal” values, and has since then been legitimized to impose them on the whole world. In the Third World, attempts were first made to make people worship the “true God” (the only one, of course), then to bring “civilization,” “progress,” “democracy,” and, finally, “development” to the Third World. The ideology of human rights does not escape the rule. Although it is historically and geographically perfectly situated, it seeks to reshape the planet in the name of an “abstract man,” a man from everywhere and nowhere. The United States is, naturally, the first champion of this ideology, because, for them, Africans are nothing more than black-skinned Westerners, and Europeans are “Americanizable” populations speaking (provisionally) a foreign language. This explains their disappointments in international politics. The world will only be comprehensible to them when it has been totally Americanized.

It is because of their universalism that Westerners find it so difficult to understand (and admit) otherness. Their deep conviction is that differences between cultures and peoples are transitory, secondary, soluble in folklore, even downright harmful. In other words, they admit the Other only to the extent that they believe they can demonstrate that the Other is “like everyone else;” that is, the Same. The ideal of the society of individuals is a society where all men are interchangeable, substitutable for one another, all equally committed to the compulsive model of happiness through consumption. A certain egalitarianism, which makes equality a synonym for “sameness,” pushes in this same direction. It is another form of racism: in the absence of being able to make those who are different disappear, differences (between peoples and between the sexes) are devalued as illusory or insignificant. Political universalism, the demand for a “right to indifference” and gender ideology converge in this same aspiration to indifferentization, which is, at bottom, nothing more than a “death wish.”

So far, slightly more than 200 books and academic works have been published, in various languages, entirely devoted to the French New Right and to my writings. Their quality is obviously uneven. Favorable or hostile, some are quite serious, or at least scientific in appearance; some are even quite good. However, the truth demands to say that the vast majority are properly miserable.

Reading this infra-literature, one finds that the procedures employed are always the same. The most common method consists of coldly copying what other authors have previously written, without bothering for a moment to investigate whether or not it corresponds to reality. Ten previous books are taken and summarized to make the eleventh. This is how the same factually false information, invented quotations of all kinds, the same amalgamations, the same judgments of intention, travel from one writing to another, as if the indefinitely repeated lies became many truths.

Another common procedure is that of selective reading: the conclusion to be reached is already established beforehand, everything that can serve to prove the thesis is retained, discarding everything that could contradict it. There is also the “anti-historical” or anachronistic method, which does not understand the need to periodize the history of a school of thought that is already more than half a century old: quotations are never dated, which makes it possible to unearth phrases that are forty or fifty years old, while pretending to keep them as contemporary or as representative of what the same author is writing today, as if in half a century his thought had never evolved. In other cases, phrases are cut, mutilated, extracted from their context, or even sent back, not to what this or that author may have said, but to a comment made by a hostile author.

Speculations on the “unsaid” are equally fruitful. Failing to find in an author’s writings what we would like to find there, we try to “decode” his discourse, to “read between the lines.” Rather than being interested in what is actually written, the main concern is to know “from where it is inspired,” in the hope of establishing imaginary connections, fantastic organizational charts that allow us to conclude what the Anglo-Saxons call “guilt by association,” the eternal resource of low-level conspiracy theorists.

In all cases, the underlying idea is that what is written does not correspond to what is really thought, and may even mean the opposite. The idea that an intellectual or theorist would immediately discredit himself by saying something different from what he thinks (in which precisely he differs from the politician) is not even taken into account. The practice of suspicion is widespread. If something is written it is done only for “strategy,” to “make believe that,” to “play into the hands of” this or that. Those who engage in these contortions are, of course, in a better position than anyone else to know what everyone really thinks. And, of course, any denial is taken as confirmation! One can immediately see the policing nature of this way of doing things. The policing of the (supposed) ulterior motives of thought is added to the policing of thought, for whatever one does, one is always guilty. The work of thought is simply ignored.

Another thing that has always struck me is that many foreign authors who have written on the French New Right are obviously incapable of reading French, which at first sight is surprising. At best, they have only been able to have access to a few books published in their language, which is completely insufficient to acquire an overview of the issue. Rather than a major book that has not been translated, they will cite a minor book that has. Otherwise, they are reduced to relying on more or less trusted secondary sources.

Of course, they could try to verify some claims, but apparently that does not seem to suit them. One revealing fact: I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of authors who have written books about my work and who have taken the trouble to contact me, in one way or another, to ask me some questions, to try to clarify some problematic points, etc. The rest obviously had no need, or even any desire, to meet in vivo with the supposed subject of their studies. It is a way of “working” that says a lot about such authors.

This is not how Jesús Sebastián-Lorente works. He works with method, with honesty, with passion. We will see this by reading this book, in which his multiple references to the works of the New Right do not prevent him from expressing personal thought. In general, I agree with everything he writes, with a few exceptions perhaps, but this is just a detail! I am convinced that his book will be a landmark in Spain.

Featured image: “Leaving the Studio,” by William McGregor Paxton, painted in 1912.