The School of Salamanca: Origins of Political Economy and International Law

At the beginning of the 16th century, Salamanca was a city of 20,000 to 24,000 inhabitants, with about 7,000 students (today there are 145,000, of whom 30,000 are students). Founded in 1243, the University of Salamanca is the third oldest university in Europe. In the Golden Age (1492-1681), Spain was the country with the largest number of university students in Europe.

The reputation of the University of Salamanca grew stronger from the 15th century onwards. It became a center of intellectual influence, the symbol of the Renaissance and of Spanish humanism. The great figures, such as Antonio de Nebrija, Fray Luis de Leon, St. John of the Cross, Luis de Gongora and many others studied there. Unlike the Universities of Valladolid and Alcala (the vanguard of Spanish Erasmism), which were mainly focused on theology, Salamanca was also oriented towards legal, political and economic studies. However, the School of Salamanca was above all a theological movement that had as its primary objective the renovation of theology.

[The two most complete works on the School of Salamanca are those of Juan Belda Plans, La Escuela de Salamanca y la renovación de la teología en el siglo XVI, and Miguel Anxo Pena González, La Escuela de Salamanca. De la Monarquía hispánica al Orbe católico].

The theological humanism of the School of Salamanca, and more broadly of the Hispanic Neo-Scholastic school (the scholastic tradition going back to the University of Paris founded around 1200), was an original synthesis of Thomism, Scotism and nominalism, enriched successively by Dominicans, Jesuits and Franciscans, but also by Augustinians, Mercedarians, Carmelites, secular priests, jurists and laymen. The period of its full flowering was from 1526 to 1604; thereafter, its influence declined and finally died out in 1753. At its peak, the trend in favor of Thomism as an orthodox line was very strong; but in the sixteenth century the intellectual atmosphere was open enough to allow the expression of very different concerns and visions. To illustrate this atmosphere, it is worth recalling that the universities of Salamanca, Alcala, Valladolid and Osuna were familiar with the work of Canon Copernicus, who defended heliocentrism with De Revolutionibus (1543). Its study was optional at the University of Salamanca in 1561 and its teaching was compulsory from 1594 onwards. This situation was not exceptional in sixteenth-century Spain, since the Casa de la Contratación de Indias, an institution created in 1503 to promote navigation, had a large team of royal astronomers and cosmographers fully aware of European astronomy.

[Eugenio Bustos, “La introducción de las ideas de Copérnico en la Universidad de Salamanca,” Revistas de la Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas naturales (67), pp. 235-253].

Francisco de Vitoria (1483-1546), the Master of Masters

It was the Dominican Francisco de Vitoria (1483-1546), who first contributed to the prestige of the School of Salamanca. Vitoria came from a family of converts. He first studied at the Universities of Burgos and La Sorbonne. He was thirty years old when he left Paris and returned to Spain. He first went to the University of Valladolid, then arrived in Salamanca in 1526, where he remained until his death.

[Since the 1980s, studies on Francisco de Vitoria have multiplied. In fifteen years (1980-1995), Ramón Hernández Martín (author of Francisco de Vitoria. Vida y pensamiento internacional) estimates no less than one hundred works have been published. See in particular, Francisco Castilla Urbano, El pensamiento de Francisco de Vitoria. Filosofía política e indio americano, and Simona Langella, Teología y ley natural. Estudio sobre las lecciones de Francisco de Vitoria].

The School of Salamanca, or “Hispanic School” (since there were many of its followers in Hispanic America), was not the result of a deliberate plan, or of a well-established project. It was a current of thought that was spontaneously created around a master. And this master-founder was Vitoria. For him, as for all his followers, if power is necessary for the State, its raison d’être and its finality can only be the common good. The Pauline idea that power comes from God was accepted by the whole of Christianity, but it gave rise to two opposing interpretations. For some, the monarch governs and imposes laws in an absolute manner, by direct delegation from God (a point of view later developed by James I of England and by Bossuet). In Spain, however, it was quite different, since the idea outlined by Isidore of Seville (560-636) at the time of the Hispano-Visigoths—that the monarch or the dominant oligarchy does not receive power directly from God, but indirectly through the people. This conception was theorized and concretized by the great masters of the School of Salamanca in the 16th and 17th centuries. In other words, for Vitoria, Francisco Suarez, Luis de Molina and so many other Neo-Scholastic authors, God does not grant power directly to the monarch, but only to the people, who freely transmit it to the king by means of a pact that can be modified. The power is “of human right;” it is not directly divine, and it can be more or less ample, according to a free pact. The king is not a mediator between the will of God and the people, but rather the people are.

Vitoria’s freedom of expression from his chair is astonishing. An example: the instrument that Spain brandished to exercise its dominion over the Indies was a bull of Pope Alexander VI, which gave the Crown of Castile a right over the lands and inhabitants of the Indies. However, in two of his famous re-readings (Relectiones) De Indis and De jure belli (1539) [Francisco de Vitoria, Leçons sur les Indiens et sur le droit de guerre. trans. Maurice Barbier, o.p., (Libraire Droz, 1966)], Vitoria simply asserts that the Emperor is not the master of the world and that the Pope is not the lord of the planet either. According to Vitoria, the papal bull does not legitimize either the conquest or the discovery. He asserts that the property of the Indians does not belong to the monarch, nor to the conquistadors, and that the Spaniards do not have the right to get their hands on the gold of America or to exploit the wealth of the continent against the will of the Indians. The emperor, he says, rules over a community of free peoples. Imperial laws are only just insofar as they serve to promote, conserve, and protect the indigenous people.

What are the illegitimate and legitimate titles of domination and conquest according to Vitoria? Illegitimate are the alleged powers of the Emperor or the Pope over the world; the right of discovery; the violation of natural law by the natives (anthropophagi, human sacrifices, incest, homosexuality, etc.); the acceptance of foreign domination by a minority of the rulers and the ruled; and finally, the alleged special gift of God. Legitimate only are: the right of people and the right of natural communication; the right to preach and to announce the Gospel freely; the tyranny of the native rulers, the agreement of the majority of the natives; the alliance and the call for help from friendly peoples; and finally, a point that seems to be debatable—the temporary incapacity of the natives to administer themselves. One sees that paradoxically the arguments that justify today the right of interference (the possibility for international actors to intervene in a State, even without its consent, in case of massive violation of human rights) are not so far from his own.

In short, according to Vitoria, the Indies should be considered a political protectorate. A protectorate justifiable only insofar as it serves the welfare of the indigenous peoples. On the other hand, Vitoria and his followers generally agree that individuals who have never been Christians should not be forced to become so.

The reaction of the Emperor, Charles V, was remarkably debonair and peaceful. He limited himself to sending a letter to the prior of the convent of San Esteban in Salamanca to urge his colleagues to show a little more restraint and caution in expressing doctrines that might offend the dignity of the Emperor and the Pope.

In his 13th lesson, De jure belli, Vitoria redefines the theory of just war, developed until then by Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas. He states his three principles: One should not seek the occasions and causes of war, but should live in peace with men; the rejection of the Gospel is not a reason for just war. War should not be waged for the loss of the enemy, but for the defense of one’s country and so that peace may result. It is necessary finally to have a just proportion between the violation of the right and the evils generated by the war, and to benefit from victory with measure and moderation.

If Francisco de Vitoria is often considered the founder of international law, it is not because he invented the notion of the law of nations, the jus gentium (the Greeks and the Romans already used, in the relations between States, elements of a true system of international law, later developed by Saint Augustine, Saint Isidore and Saint Thomas), but because Vitoria was able to discover the fundamental laws of relations between men. His genius was to consider the law of nations as a natural law, common to all men and to all States.

The Disciples of Vitoria

A whole group of scholars soon became part of Vitoria’s lineage. About twenty names are famous, but about 80 deserve to be studied. They soon became the moral conscience of the Empire. Among them: Domingo de Soto, known for his theory of money and his renovation of the law of nation /jus gentium; Melchor Cano, who advised King Philip II to resist the temporal claims of the Pope; Tomás de Mercado, who studied the commercial exchanges between Spain and the Indies; Martin de Azpilcueta, former rector of the University of Coimbra, who was the first economist to correctly analyze the process of inflation caused by the influx of precious metal from the Indies.

To these names should be added those of Juan Gil de Nava, Pedro de Sotomayor, Juan de la Peña, Mancio de Corpus Christi, Bartolomé de Medina, Domingo Bañez, Juan de Guevara, Luis Sarabia de la Calle, Fray Luis de León, Diego de Covarrubias y Leiva, Bartolomé de Medina and Juan de Maldonado. Then, the names of a second generation, to which belonged the Jesuits Luis de Molina (who taught in Madrid and Coimbra), Juan de Mariana, and especially Francisco Suarez (1548-1617). The economic thought of these authors was new and original. Domingo de Soto maintained that the wealth of nations came from exchange and not from the accumulation of precious metals. He was thus clearly opposed to mercantilism.

[Raoul de Scorraille, François Suárez de la Compagnie de Jésus, d’après ses lettres, ses autres écrits inédits et un grand nombre de documents nouveaux, 2 vols.; Joseph H. Fichter, Man of Spain: A Biography of Francis Suárez; José Manuel Gallegos Rocafull, La doctrina política del P. Francisco Suarez (Jus, 1948); Mateo Lanseros, La autoridad civil en Francisco Suarez (IEP, 1949); Reijo Wilenius, The Social and Political Theory of Francisco Suarez (Societas philosophica Fennica, 1963); Jean-François Courtine, Nature et empire de la loi. Études suaréziennes; and A. Couartou-Imatz, La souveraineté populaire chez Francisco Suarez (Faculté de droit de Bordeaux, 1974)].

Luis de Molina explained that the right price is the price of competition, of the game of supply and demand; that the value attributed to things is subjective and not objective, as Marx, and Ricardo before him, would later say. For Molina, the right price is the market price; it is the abundance or scarcity of goods that determines their price and not the costs of production, work or risk, as was believed in the Middle Ages (via Duns Scott).

The masters of the Salamanca school criticized excessive taxation and price controls. Price controls can and should only be exceptional. They also clearly defended property, which is necessary for social peace; to deny it, to refuse it, according to them, is a heresy (Domingo de Soto), but it is not absolute; it can never be detached from its social function.

The thinkers of Hispanic Neo-Scholasticism condemned usury, but accepted moderate interest. They were therefore attacked, on the one hand, by Protestants and Catholics who demanded a return to the purity of the Church’s doctrine and who reproached them for softening the prohibition, and, on the other hand, by secular authors who accused them of hypocrisy because they sought exceptions to the principle.

These thinkers also made a distinction between citizens and foreigners. Luis de Molina is the very example of the scholastic author who today offers arguments to defend restrictions on the international market and immigration.

After the Dominican Francisco de Vitoria, the most famous author of the School of Salamanca is the Jesuit Francisco Suarez (1548-1617). His work was known throughout Europe in his time. It consists of 27 volumes (unlike Vitoria who did not publish anything during his lifetime, his re-readings being notes taken by his students).

Suarez is an anti-absolutist thinker. In his Defensio fidei (1613), he states the fundamental axiom of Neo-Scholastic theology: “No king, no monarch, has or has had according to the ordinary law, the political principate immediately from God or by the act of a divine institution, but by means of human will or institution” [Cited by Couartou-Imatz, L’État et la communauté internationale dans la pensée de Vitoria (Faculté de droit de Bordeaux, 1972), p.16]. Public power always comes from God, but it is given to the people who place it in the hands of an individual or an institution for reasons of historical circumstances. This being the case, only the authority that does not lose sight of its mission is legitimate—that mission being, the attainment of the common good and the respect of human dignity. At the heart of the Neo-Scholastic approach is the integration of theology, ethics, politics and economics. The Dominicans and the Neo-Scholastic Jesuits cannot be described as individualistic thinkers in the contemporary sense, even though their work demonstrates a constant concern for human dignity.

It is only from the beginning of the nineteenth century that several Spanish and European jurists, all specialists in international law, began to recognize the influence of Vitoria and his followers on the Dutch Protestant jurists, Hugo Grotius, and the German, Samuel von Pufendorf, who were then considered the only precursors of international law. Their influence on the works of the Italian jurist, Alberico Gentili, the German philosopher, Johannes Althusius, the French political theorist, Jean Bodin, and indirectly on the group of Scottish economists, headed by Adam Smith, is equally undeniable.

The precursory character of the School of Salamanca was more and more admitted from the turn of the 20th century. In France alone, the pioneering work of Ernest Nys (1894), Alfred Vanderpol (1911), Hubert Beuve Méry (1928) and Louis Le Fur (1939) should be recalled.

In the field of economics, however, it was not until another century later that the thinkers of the School of Salamanca were recognized as the founders of modern economics. For a long time, they were confused with the most vulgar mercantilism (which defended the idea that the possession of precious metals made the wealth and power of nations). It had even been said that the thinkers of the School of Salamanca, guided by their religious principles, had been unable to understand the mechanisms of the market and prices. But this was not true!

The works of Pierre-André Sayous, Joseph Schumpeter, José Larraz Lopez, Luis Martínez Fernández, Andrés Martín Melquiades, José Barrientos, Juan Belda Plans, Murray Rothbard, Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, Jesús Huerta de Soto, Raymond de Roover, Alejandro Chafuen, to name but a few, have shown that the thinkers of Hispanic Neo-Scholasticism described and systematized, long before the economists of the 19th and 20th centuries, and in an almost complete way, the theory of subjective value, the theory of marginal utility, the theory of prices, the quantitative theory of money, the phenomenon of inflation and the mechanisms of exchange. What is most surprising is that modern economic science has confirmed the conclusions reached by the thinkers of the School of Salamanca through theological and ethical reasoning, as early as the 16th century.

Many ultraliberal supporters of the Austrian School have sought to see in the Salamanca School the origins of the liberal school of economic thought.

[See Alejandro A. Chafuen, Christians for Freedom. Late Scholastic Economics/ Raíces cristianas de la economía de libre mercado ( Buey Mudo, 2009); Thomas E. Woods, The Church and the Market. A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy/ La iglesia y la economía. Una defensa católica de la economía libre ( Buey Mudo, 2010); André Azevedo Alves and José Manuel Moreira, The Salamanca School. For the opposite view, see Daniel Martín Arribas, Destapando al liberalismo. La Escuela Austriaca no nació en Salamanca (SND Editores, 2018)].

Some of the most feverish supporters even went so far as to assert that “God is liberal/libertarian;” perhaps in order not to be outdone by those who, like Camilo Torres or Leonardo Boff, saw in Christ “the first communist.” But this is to forget that the Neo-Scholastic authors never separated the economy from morality, from natural law and from God. And this also forgets that the principles of a just Christian order, juridical, political, economic and social, are in direct opposition to those of a liberalism that idolizes freedom and private property.

The Influence on Power

What was the influence of the School of Salamanca in the 16th century? On the Church it was undoubtedly very important. Members of the School of Salamanca were omnipresent at the Council of Trent (1545-1563). During its three stages, the Spanish participation amounted to a total of almost a thousand people, of whom 245 are known among the most prestigious figures.

What about political power? It is impossible to overemphasize here the close and privileged relationship that existed between the thought of Vitoria and his followers and the Spanish Monarchy. On November 20, 1542, Charles V promulgated in Barcelona the New Laws of the Indies. His decree abolished slavery and the encomienda and ordered that the Indians be considered free vassals of the Crown of Castile. But obviously the ideal ran up against the realities and the interests of the men. The pressure of the Spanish authorities of the Indies and the various insurrections (in Peru) compelled the emperor to modify partially the contents of his decree. But the influence remained however tangible in the more than 3000 laws of the Indies enacted by the kings of Spain.

A word about the Valladolid controversy, which in 1550-1551 pitted the Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas against the humanist theologian, also a Dominican, Juan Ginés de Sepulveda. Sepulveda declared the domination of the Indians just in order to civilize them, to teach them religion without doing it by force and to have them respect natural law. Las Casas, on the contrary, was a pacifist. According to him, there was no legal title that could justify the Spanish presence in America. He proposed the restitution of lands, compensation for the Indians and peaceful evangelization. But his pacifism was perceived by the whole School of Salamanca as an unrealistic and irresponsible thought. In this, Vitoria was paradoxically closer to the realist or moderately Machiavellian (and not at all Machiavellic) Sepulveda, a fine connoisseur of Aristotle, than to the utopian Las Casas.

[Machiavellianism refers to a conception of politics that advocates the conquest and preservation of power by all means. The adjective “Machiavellic,” which has passed into common French parlance, refers to the dark and manipulative interpretation of Machiavelli’s best-known work, The Prince (1531). Thus “Machiavellic” is always sinister and nefarious. This is to be distinguished from the term “Machiavellian,” formed by contrast to designate the concepts stemming from Machiavelli’s political philosophy, without passing judgment. Thus, “Machiavellian” is realist philosophy in politics].

Today, scholars continue to argue about the position of the Salamanca School on individual rights. For some, the Salamanca masters represent a resurgence and development of an authentically Aristotelian and Thomistic framework centered on an organicist conception and objective natural law. For others, they are closer to the notion of subjective law centered on individual rights and liberties. For some, they are part of the most orthodox Catholic tradition; for others they break with it and anticipate modernity.

Are Vitoria and his followers at the origin of the modern conception of human rights? No, answers the philosopher of law Michel Villey. “Certainly, the Spanish scholastics had a great desire to impose their theology and their conception of a natural moral law on jurists; but to derive from it duties, obligations to be borne by the individual. They were agents of order. As for deducing from the dignity of nature the ‘rights’ of man, they were not ready for it, not having the taste for anarchy, because of their attachment to tradition.” According to Villey, human rights have their source in a deviated Christian theology; they are the product of modern philosophy, which emerged in the 17th century.

In any case, the legacy of the School of Salamanca is originality of thought, a combination of an organic conception of society, centered on the common good, with a prominent place given to the dignity of man and even to individual rights; a simultaneous defense of the right of the city and the right of individuals.


Arnaud Imatz, a Basque-French political scientist and historian, holds a State Doctorate (DrE) in political science and is a correspondent-member of the Royal Academy of History (Spain), and a former international civil servant at OECDHe is a specialist in the Spanish Civil War, European populism, and the political struggles of the Right and the Left – all subjects on which he has written several books. He has also published numerous articles on the political thought of the founder and theoretician of the Falange, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, as well as the Liberal philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset, and the Catholic traditionalist, Juan Donoso Cortés.


Featured: “Francisco de Vitoria,” by Daniel Vázquez Diaz; painted in 1957.

“Russia has Lost the War”

So says Western media… And if all we do is listen to what is published in the West and listen to what the various “strategists” say on all the talk-shows, we would come to the following conclusions:

  • Russia has lost the war, with the capture of Kherson by the Ukrainian army and its offensives in the north of the Donbass.
  • The casualties among the ranks of the Russian army are very considerable and it is demoralized, its generals are incompetent and are dying at the front, if they are not dismissed and arrested.
  • The Russian army has practically no more ammunition left to continue the war and its missiles are unable to reach their targets, thanks to the excellent Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense that intercepts them. And Russia is also running out of missiles.
  • The Ukrainian army has reconquered territory in the Kherson region and its offensives in the north of Donbass, as well as its resistance on the Donetsk front, augur a clear victory of its army which will lead them to reconquer all the territory annexed by Russia, including, of course, Crimea, forcing Russia to sign a peace which will lead its current president, Vladimir Putin, to be tried and sentenced and make recompense for all the expenses undertaken because of the conflict.
  • As for the Russian people, they do not want this war and hope for a quick replacement of their president by one of the opposition leaders, who will be much more liberal and supported by the United States and Europe.
  • Faced with this disaster, Putin and his generals have resorted to wild, indiscriminate shelling of the Ukrainian population, leaving these people without electricity, water and supplies. The Russians do not rule out the use of nuclear weapons, if things get even worse.

Such is the picture painted by the European and Anglo-American mass media, although it must be acknowledged that the latter are making an effort to provide other, more objective analyses in view of the latest developments in the conflict. The intellectual laziness of many information professionals, who limit themselves to reproducing the propaganda reports of Zelensky’s government, if not submitting to the doxa dictated by the media management bodies, as well as the censorship imposed by the authorities and pressure groups, prevent a more impartial knowledge of the real situation of the conflict.

To begin with, Russia cannot lose this war, nor can it give up the territories that since the referendums have been incorporated into the Russian Federation. First of all, it is a question of survival in the face of the Anglo-American world’s determination to put an end to the existence of a Russia that opposes its hegemonic domination and that, on the contrary, is committed to a multipolar world where a balance of forces coexists. Secondly, the Russian society, and even more so the recently annexed populations, and in particular the Donbass regions which have suffered a war for eight years, would never accept to stop being part of Russia.

As for the situation on the ground, if we look at the development of events from the information provided by objective military specialists and analysts, some even coming from armies committed to Ukrainian interests, since the appointment of General Surovikin as Commander-in-Chief of the Armies in the Ukrainian campaign, things have changed quite a lot. His appointment has meant a single command, subordinating the rest of the generals who earlier directed the operations in each of the territories where they acted independently and without coordination with the rest. Since his appointment, a reorganization of the troops assigned to the operation has been carried out, rotating them after the attrition suffered during these nine months of war and reinforcing their material, in particular with artillery pieces and armored vehicles, and massively incorporating observation and destruction drones.

From the tactical point of view, Russia has no need, as Surovikin himself stated, to expose its soldiers uselessly, when it has other means at its disposal to win this war. Russia, because of its demographic situation, cannot afford to send hundreds of thousands of young men to the front, as the Soviets did in World War II, with the result that that entailed. The use of tactical missiles directed against military installations and recently against strategic infrastructures, whose effectiveness is difficult to refute in view of the express acknowledgement by the Ukrainian authorities themselves, is bringing about a substantial change in the course of this conflict.

What some media have considered as a defeat and a withdrawal of the Russian army in Kherson, has been in reality a tactical withdrawal to avoid exposing a significant part of its troops who could have been surrounded in a compromising situation, and thus to better defend themselves. It has been sold that the Ukrainians had defeated the Russians and that this meant that they had practically won the war. The reality is that the Russians have temporarily ceded ground to regroup and organize themselves. They have abandoned the city, transforming it into a ghost town without electricity or water and with a population, albeit a very small one, which the Ukrainian troops will have to feed. At the same time, they have moved, in a successful operation, to the other bank of the Dnieper, turning the river into a natural line of defense very difficult to cross, since at this time, its width is about two kilometers.

So much so that in spite of the fact that the operation had been announced in advance by Surovikin himself, something surprising for a military commander, the Ukrainian forces did not give him credit and delayed their entry into the city until they were certain that it had been abandoned by the Russians, as they believed that it was all a trap. The withdrawal was made without loss of material or men and in an orderly manner, despite the fact that more than 20,000 men were mobilized. Previously, more than 150,000 civilians had been evacuated from the city to the other side, under Ukrainian artillery shelling. They even moved the remains of the founder of the city and mythical person in the history of Russia, Marshal Potemkin, so that his remains would not be desecrated by the Ukrainian troops. Clear proof of this is that we have not seen those images of casualties or destroyed materials that the Ukrainian propaganda media lavished so much on when, at the beginning, they confronted the Russian forces. What has been seen, on the contrary, is a deserted city whose population is trying to survive in hardship and which has been announced that it will be evacuated because of the impossibility of supplying it, while the repressive rearguard forces are engaged in arresting the Russians’ collaborators. In their military history, the Russians have a long experience of strategic retreats that have been successful.

Located on the other bank of the river, with the natural barrier of its width and the difficulty of crossing it under artillery fire, the Russian troops have a considerable advantage. So much so that part of the troops assigned at the time to this front have been transferred to the Donbass front to reinforce the offensive which is being carried out there and which, little by little, is gaining ground despite the difficulty of overcoming the lines of fortifications built by the Ukrainians more than eight years ago and which they have been defending with extraordinary courage and tenacity.

The mobilization of reservists decreed last September and the enlistment of volunteers means the incorporation of 318,000 soldiers and commanders directly on the front line. Unlike the mobilized Ukrainians, who are already in their seventh or eighth mobilization with hardly any training, these troops are undergoing intense military training by veterans of the operation, so that their incorporation will be carried out when they have completed their training and proven their operational capacity. As of today, about 80,000 of them have already joined the front lines, integrating into already hardened units. The rest will do so by mid-December. There has been no haste, and their training is being prioritized to avoid casualties and strengthen their effectiveness.

Meanwhile, on other fronts, Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian troops are advancing slowly, favoring artillery fire both when advancing and retreating, avoiding unnecessary exposure of men and material. The use of observation drones for the localization of enemy forces is being abundantly employed, with excellent results, as this allows for accurate and effective artillery fire. There is abundant filming that proves their use and effectiveness. The practical non-existence of Ukrainian aviation, because it was cancelled at the beginning, and the little effectiveness of its anti-aircraft defenses, in spite of receiving new Western materials, makes Russian aviation have control of the skies and intervene more and more in support of the troops on the ground. Although the equipment provided is not always of the latest generation, the technological complexity also requires trained servants when it comes to more modern systems, which is why the Russians are suspicious of the involvement of NATO troops who covertly handle such equipment.

The Russians are expected to carry out a major offensive when weather conditions permit, i.e., when the ground freezes, because now, with the heavy rains, it is impracticable. The Ukrainians are suffering to a greater extent, because much of the material sent by the Ottoman allies, replacing the Soviet material they had and have been losing, is wheeled, unlike the Russian material, in which tracks predominate. The priority will undoubtedly be focused on recovering the territories of the Donbass up to its territorial limits and, perhaps, on descending from above along the right bank of the Dnieper to recover the territories of Zaporiyia and Kherson. Who knows if they will not go on to Odessa. Nor can the Russians afford to delay their offensive too long, because the longer they delay, the more time the Ukrainian army will have to mobilize and train its levies.

On the other hand, the destruction, by means of tactical missiles, of energy infrastructures, especially power plants and sub-power plants, by the Russian forces, is having considerable effects on the deterioration of the supply on the material fronts, since it prevents their transfer from the borders, slowing down their offensives and weakening their defenses. Although its effects are being felt to a greater extent on the living conditions of civilians, depriving them of electricity and water, the destruction of these infrastructures was something that Russian military officials had been demanding for some time in view of the increase in military aid received by the Ukrainian army from its NATO allies.

Finally, as far as casualties are concerned, the number of deaths in the ranks of the Ukrainian army is staggering. According to American officials, there are about 100,000 dead, to which must be added the wounded in the proportion of three for every one dead. This means that, between the dead and the wounded, they are losing between 300 and 400 men a day on the various fronts. Russian losses are around 48,000 wounded and 16,000 dead, 8,000 of which belong to the Russian army and the rest to the territorial units, Chechen forces and the Wagner group. It should be borne in mind that the brunt of the war has so far been carried out by the territorial units of the Donbass and the special forces on their respective fronts. Initially, the Russian army have started the conflict with between 125,000 and 150,000 troops, to which were added about 60,000 mobilized between the territorial troops of the Donbass and the Chechen special forces and the Wagner Group, with 10,000 troops each. For its part, the Ukrainian army numbered about 600,000 men at the beginning of the conflict. According to UN data, more than 10,000 civilians were killed between the two sides during the eight months of the conflict.

We will probably soon witness a change in the situation, both on the ground and politically, although the media and talk show hosts with careers in the offices of Brussels or NATO headquarters tell us that the Ukrainian army is going to win this war and that they will force Russia to return the annexed territories. American officials have already suggested to Zelensky that he should reconsider negotiating with Russia, and we know that he who pays the piper calls the tune, and American governments have never been known for their unswerving loyalty to the leader of the day. Rather, they have been dedicated to defending their own interests.


Eugenio de Dobrynne writes for El Manifesto, through whose courtesy this article appears.

Professor Sucharit Bhakdi… Rabble-Rouser?

Professor Sucharit Bhakdi of Kiel, Germany, who has spearheaded the campaign against the “Covid” dictatorship and the MRNa “vaccines,” has recently been indicted on flimsy charges that boil down to rabble-rousing. What is more, a change to the German Criminal Code has just been waved through the Bundestag, one designed to facilitate a clamp-down on dissidents of every stripe, including those who do not buy the “Satanic Putin” tale. We review the issues here.


Since the 16th Century and the crusade waged by a certain ex-Augustinian and heavy feeder, unredeemed by his undeniable literary skills, and going by the initials ML, Germany’s enthusiasm for freedom of speech and freedom tout court, has been at best, lukewarm. Mendelssohn Moses, author of these lines, would merely remark that the views of that monk on the subject of my co-religionaries, though notoriously unflattering were perhaps less immediately disastrous than his views on the peasantry—8,000 murdered in the Peasant Wars of 1524 to 1526.

The fact remains that from the days of the bizarre ML, the German-speaking world, like England since the day of that other heavy feeder Henry VIII, has squirmed in fear of the authorities.

However, while in 2022, the entire German state apparatus is seen to fawn and simper before its NATO oppressors, Germany is not quite Sodom and Gomorrah: she has righteous men in her midst.

Such as Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, standing straight as a poplar. Although born a Thai, he has been a German citizen for decades, while his endless CV points to perhaps the most-decorated natural scientist in the contemporary German-speaking world:

1979 Justus Liebig University Giessen Prize
1980 Konstanz Medicine Prize
1987 German Society for Microbiology Prize
1988 Dr. Friedrich Sasse Prize
1989 Ludwig Schunk Prize for Medicine
1989 Robert-Koch-Förderpreis of Clausthal-Zellerfeld
1991 Gay-Lussac Humboldt Prize
2001 Aronson Prize
2005 H. W. Hauss Award
2005 Verdienstorden des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz
2009 Rudolf-Schönheimer Medal of the German Society for Arteriosclerosis Research

From the outset of the Scamdemic, Bhakdi spoke out on every occasion against the irrational “anti-Covid” measures, and then, well ahead of the curve, against the so-called MRNa-based anti-Covid “vaccines,” foreseeing precisely what forms of harm would likely arise. Suddenly, he and his wife Karina Reiss became international celebrities, and their books on the matter, best-sellers. (Separately, there is also an excellent dissection of the “Covid” scam networks by two intelligence specialists).

Where NATO Stalkers, Playing Goodie Two-Shoes, Make the “Law”

But in Germany, the hyena, not the bear, roams the wilds. The moment an intellectual pokes his head above the parapet, an army of hyena-like Goodie Two-Shoes pore over his every word, in hopes of finding a nano-particle of that catch-all substance, “anti-semitism.” (As an aside, allow me to add that Palestinians and “Arabs” are every bit as much the Semite as Papa Mendelssohn, save that anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and of course anti-Muslim sentiment is actively encouraged… one wonders why?)

Be that as it may, one day in April 2021, bursting out in disappointment at the lamb-to-the-slaughter attitude of Israel’s citizens in the face of the vaccine lobby, Professor Bhakdi exclaimed:

“Here we have a people who fled Germany, a Germany racked by outright Evil, and we find they have made (of their country) something worse even than was Germany then (…) What is disturbing with the Jews, is how quickly they learn. No other people learns so readily. But they have learnt what is Evil—and they have put it to work. Israel has become hell on earth.”—Die lebende Hölle.

On September 24, 2021, at an election meeting whilst campaigning for office on the Die Basis party ticket, Bhakdi declared that the “anti-Covid” injections were to be analysed in the context of an Endziel, a “final solution” or second holocaust.

If one can still speak of “law” in Germany’s current state of disarray, we are to believe that merely referring to a second holocaust would amount, in legal terms, to “relativising” that which struck the Jews in WWII. One fails to see how such a ludicrous argument might hold, but the point, of course, is to muzzle all opposition.

And so, in July 2021 we find the Public Prosecutor at Kiel, the town of Bhakdi’s residence, examining whether the Professor should be indicted for “relativisation” (sic) and “incitement to hatred” (Volksverhetzung), which roughly corresponds to that legal UFO known to the English-speaking world as “hate crime.” To the keen disappointment of some, in November 2021 the Prosecutor dropped the case for lack of suitable grounds.

The air resounded with relentless howling from the hyenas however, and by May 2022, Kiel’s superior, the Public Prosecutor for the State of Schleswig Holstein, had been got to file a complaint against Bhakdi for “incitement” to hatred and contempt, which was accepted by the Plön Circuit Court (Amtsgericht) in November, just in time for Bhakdi’s birthday. By the way, the legal position has been dealt with on several occasions and very competently, by a group of “dissident” Judges and Prosecutors, KriSTA.

In any event, assuming that poor Germany, littered with US bases and atomic weapons, may still exist in May 2023, the case will be tried in March 2023.

Bhakdi Attempts to Head Off the “Covid” Disaster

Allow me a digression here: Professor Bhakdi is a practising Buddhist, and something of a visionary, foreseeing the consequences of acts and events years, even decades in advance. For us Jews, Bhakdi is the very definition of a prophet. Like the vaccinologist Stefan Hockertz, who has had, literally, to flee Germany, or his colleagues Professors Vélot, Peronne or Toubiana in France, or the medical doctors Carlo Giraldi, Dario Giacomini and Giovanni Vanni Frajese in Italy, Bhakdi was right about “Covid,” right about the “anti-Covid” scam, right about masking, right about the D-dimer tests, right about the MRNa vaccines—while most of the Western world was hiding under the bed.

Fearing for the future of Man, and to crack us out of mass-hypnosis, Professor Bhakdi has a penchant for harsh, even ruthless language – prophetic if you prefer. Upon this being who suffers for Man and who is therefore vulnerable, unlike the grinning enforcers of this world, falls the latter’s rage, as they attempt to drive him to bankruptcy through legal fees, and to despair.

Wailing and Teeth-Gnashing? The Rest of the World has had Enough

Before looking at the changes to German law on Volksverhetzung, voted up shortly before midnight on October 20, 2022, allow me to return to the allegedly unique character of what happened to European Jewry between 1939 and 1945, the incessant droning repetition of which is designed to keep Germans cowed and on the leash for eternity.

Most historians would put the figure for the dead amongst my co-religionaries at roughly six million. WHAT then shall we say of the 26 to 40 million Slavs, Hungarians and Gypsies of various nations “lost in death’s dateless night” during Operation Barbarossa? Entirely burnt up, sacrificed—that is what the Greek word “holocaust” means. For Russia alone, though the exact figure remains unknown, 20 million civilians at least are thought to have been lost, and well over ten million soldiers, as the Wehrmacht broke over her borders. What if Operation Barbarossa had succeeded? Would there yet remain a single Slav on earth? Bear in mind that we are meant to believe that the Western Ukraine is not “Slav”. Therefore, what of the current alliance between Germany, NATO and the Stepan-Banderites in the Ukraine—is this not Operation Barbarossa II?

Accordingly, Papa Mendelssohn has a message to his co-religionaries: Watch your step. The peoples of the rest of the world have had it up to here with our non-stop wailing and gnashing of teeth over the events of 1939-1945, used to justify the many and varied crimes perpetrated before our eyes—or, face it, by us. Get to work on the veterinarian Albert Bourla and his bosses first. Given the kill-rate in Israel from the vet’s injection campaign, saving what’s left of us Jews is going to be a tall order. So, deal with it. (As an aside—have we yet the right to call ourselves “Jews,” as we blithely ignore Yahve’s Sixth and most fundamental Order to Moses? Which is THOU SHALT NOT KILL).

Professor Bhakdi is Not, nor Ever Has Been, a Volksverhetzer

On no account whatsoever, neither in the ancient nor in the modern sense of the term, can Professor Sucharit Bhakdi be said to be a “Volksverhetzer.”

The term Volksverhetzung is an ancient one, referring to acts that deliberately cause disturbance amongst the people. It is made up of the term Volk (people), and the ancient verb hetzen or verhetzen, which means “to stir up” or “incite.” Might there be some sort of relation between the verb hexen, to cast an evil spell, and hetzen? Whatever—the fact remains that in modern times, the legal purview of such an offence must always be very narrow indeed, and restricted to those rare circumstances where an agitator willfully stirs the crowd to perpetrate a crime against persons or property. A very recent and telling example of Volksverhetzen and Hexerei (witchcraft) is when provocateurs excited the crowd to burn fifty Russian-speaking trade unionists alive in their offices at Odessa on May 2, 2014.

And so we have the latest wording (October 20, 2022) of Section 130 para. 5 of the German Penal Code:

“Whosoever shall approve of, deny or crassly downplay whether in public or at a demonstration, a gesture amongst those referred to at Sections 6 to 12 of the International Criminal Code directed at a group referred to at paragraph 1, point 1 (of the German Criminal Code), or against an individual on account of his belonging to that group, in such fashion as to incite to hatred or violence against such persons or group and to disturb the peace, may be sentenced to fines or to three years’ goal.”

As the Göttingen legal scholar Dr. Wolfgang Bittner observes, Sections 6 to 12 of the International Criminal Code concern genocide, crimes against Mankind, against persons, operations and humanitarian emblems, and war crimes that involve forbidden methods of means of war. That Section’s purview is so vast, that a Prosecutor or Magistrate will enjoy virtually unrestricted latitude faced with dissidents of any stripe. What of Demonstrator X marching down the street, whilst somewhere lost in the crowd Demonstrator Y, a hirsute fanatic or provocateur, waves about a sign with irresponsible scribblings? Might X be prosecuted for marching in the same crowd? With the new wording of Section 130, the answer may very well be Yes.

“Political convictions” and New Section 130

Neither is Colonel (Reserve) Edgar Siemund a happy camper—as one sees from his remarkable commentary, published on November 3rd in the on-line Austrian weekly Wochenblick.

Col. Siemund, a practising lawyer, notes that the German Government claims to have had new Section 130 para 5. voted up, only further to grievances raised by the EU, when Germany “failed” to implement EU Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JAH dated 28th November 2008 on various forms of racism and xenophobia. That Framework Decision however, dates from 2008, while the Bundestag was called upon to vote in October 2022—out of the blue and near midnight—on this rider, smack in the midst of NATO’s Operation Barbarossa II.

Secondly, Col. Siemund pointed to a fascinating little “Whereas” (N° 10) of that Framework decision, where one reads:

“This Framework Decision does not prevent a Member State from adopting provisions in national law which extend Article 1(1)(c) and (d) to crimes directed against a group of persons defined by other criteria than race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, such as social status or political convictions.”

Are we to understand that harsh critics of the Ukrainian Banderites such as Arno Klarsfeld, may henceforth be indicted for Volksverhetzung, having objected to the Banderites’ “political convictions?”

As one will readily perceive, like most of what passes for EU legislation, these self-proclaimed “legal” texts are so poorly drafted, as to admit of virtually any interpretation or rather, manipulation. That this is precisely the aim, is scarcely conjecture.

Following Col. Siemund’s lead, we shall skim through the all-purpose terminology offered up on a platter to Prosecutors, terminology for which the new German Section 130 does not trouble to propose a definition, whether linguistic or legal.

  • leugnet (to deny) : should a researcher express doubt as to a received “truth”, has he ipso facto become a “denier?”
  • gröblich verharmlosen (crassly relativise or minimise): who shall define the semantic field of the adverb “crassly”? What does “relativising” a murder mean? Merely placing it into a military or social context? Would a silly, vulgar joke brawled out at a drunken get-together suffice ?
  • zu Hass aufzustacheln (inciting to hatred) : what is “hatred”? Lack of respect for a Banderite? How does one “incite” third parties to hatred? Does that take years? Months? Minutes? Must the inciter hold sway and authority over the incited?

As an aside, it is my conviction that the notion of “hate crime” has no place, in any form, in any modern legal system. Either the hater undertakes an overt, criminal act against persons or property, or engages in an overt, criminal conspiracy to commit such acts. What he may think, whom he may hate, will always remain irrelevant to the law—unless actual harm be done. Or unless we intend to carry on policing Thought—a trend which cannot but lead to mass psychosis, outbreaks of rage and thus criminality on an unheard-of scale.

Surprise!—The Non-Existent “Russian” Lobby and Sundry “Dissidents”—The Law’s Real Target

On November 5th, 2022, Ulrich Heyden, a formerly mainstream and now “controversial”, Moscow-based reporter, observed in Rubikon Magazin
that the German Parliament, manifestly intent on setting up a legal grey-zone, expressly declined to restrict the notion of Volksverhetzen in criminal law, to those rare cases where a domestic or international Court had already found that some form of war crime or crime against humanity was indeed involved.

According to Heyden, a prominent Green Party MP, Canan Baryam, after expressing delight at the opportunities the new Section 130 might afford against the opposition party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), let the cat out of the bag to Legal Tribune: “one can full well imagine a state of affairs,” where the new Section 130 might be relied upon against those who fail to toe the NATO line on “Putin’s” war in the Ukraine. “For example”, she said “in the context of the Russian war of aggression, endorsing a war crime against the Ukrainians as a group via slogans or signs carried aloft at a demonstration, could become an indictable offence.”

New Section 130 Cunningly Interwoven with the G10 Act

As though the above were not enough, on to the hidden nasties. Like Dr. Hans-Georg Maassen, former head of the Bundesverfassungsschutz (domestic intelligence services) now considered to be a “dissident” and a “conspiracy theorist”, Col. Siemund has happened on another worm in the bud. Section § 3 para. 1 S. 1 Nr. 6A of the Act dealing with limits on the secrecy of private correspondence (Gesetz zur Beschränkung des Brief-, Post- und Fernmeldegeheimnisses)10, known as the G10 Act, refers back to the aforesaid Section 130.

Given the rarefied responsibilities Dr. Maassen held until very recently, it may not be found amiss to cite his Tweet from October 26th in full:

“Take a close look at the new wording of Section § 130… it’s an onslaught on freedom of opinion. Few realise that Section § 3 para. 1 S. 1 Nr. 6A of the G10 Act refers back to it. (…). The latter Section deals with monitoring telephones, WhatsApp, e-mails etc. and the post by the intelligence services, which monitoring may be set up as soon as someone even thinks of Volksverhetzung. Since we now have a broader purview of Section § 130 of the Criminal Code, Section § 3 of the G10 Act may be implemented without restriction. The law as it stands today, was already unworthy of a free democracy, since the intelligence services may listen in to someone on mere suspicion of Volksverhetzung (as opposed to some capital crime). With the broadened purview of the offence under Section § 130 and consequently, extension of Section § 3 of the G10 Act, not a shred remains of the secrecy of private correspondence.”

Just perhaps, writes Col. Siemund, those who live in glass houses might not want to throw stones – while 12 million Germans have been forced or coerced into taking the “anti-Covid” shots with the disastrous known effects, the unvaccinated have been ostracised and deprived of basic rights. One day rather sooner than one might imagine, these twisted laws may be twisted back against the perpetrators of these new forms of injustice … such as one Nils Dampz, who, from German public television’s ARD studios at Los Angeles, in an article attacking Elon Musk, went on to refer to non-conformists as “rats, racists or conspiracy theorists”.

Meanwhile, back at the Ramstein air base in Hessen, the earth trembles at the arrival of US bombers, whilst Foreign Minister “Miss Piggy” Baerbock baldly states that the Ukraine’s interests must prevail over those of Germany’s citizens. Behind the back of Chancellor Scholz, away in China attempting to patch up the broken crockery, Miss Piggy then receives US Secretaries Blinken and Vikki “Cookie Handout” Nuland.

Keep calm and carry on. As the Gauleiters winkle away at their work of death and destruction, a shadow government is arising in every nation of Europe, made up of those who like Sucharit Bhakdi, are Thomas Mores who will keep their head.

[On November 30, 2022, Professor Bhakdi spoke, via video, to a sold-out conference in Austria, to which Herbert Kickl head of the FPÖ, sent a message of greetings when he was unable to attend at the last minute].


Mendelssohn Moses is a Paris-based writer.

Agenda 2030: The Next Crisis in the West

Supposedly, “Goal 8” of the 2030 Agenda aims to combat inequality and promote sustained economic growth. The reference to this sustainable growth quickly ties in with the dogmas of the green and gender agenda.

Social and Inclusive Growth

Growth must be inclusive, i.e., positive discrimination of women (and LGTB collectives and the alphabet crew that follows) must preside over economic policy, because “Goal 5” states as a goal: “Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.” In Spain, the new Equality Plan, devised by Irene Montero and her troupe, will receive 20,319 million euros from the budget, which obviously comes out of the pockets of the middle classes. Despite the rhetorical boasts of more taxes for the rich, the harsh reality is that the largest body of taxpayers belongs to the middle class, which, according to data relating to the last decade, contributed 54.4% of the State’s total income. The rich, those who have more than 150,000 euros of declared income per year, are only 0.24% of the population, and it is the companies, together with the middle class, who bear the tax burden on which public spending is based.

Spain is the country that has increased its tax burden the most during 2020. Tax reforms and the impact of the coronavirus crisis have increased the indicator by 1.9%. We now have a tax burden of 36.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than three points above the average of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which remains at 33.5%. This increase in the tax burden is closely linked to the increase in public spending, but does not translate into a substantial improvement in public services. The ideological spending on gender policies sponsored by Agenda 2030 means the waste of 10% of tax revenue. A 10% that impoverishes the middle classes and reduces the competitiveness of Spanish companies.

The trompe l’oeil of feminism 2030, masks the harsh reality that today an ordinary household needs two salaries to be part of the middle class, while in the past it was enough with only one salary. This is the real wage gap. To sustain this set-up that puts capitalist production before the family, and prevents each household from having a comfortable and stable source of income, under the label of inclusive policies, abortion, low birth rates and alternative families are encouraged; which, as in Sweden, lead to growing old in utter loneliness. And these policies, as the communist Pasolini sourly criticized in his day, are the ones defended by the good little boys of the new left.

Sustainable Climate Development

Worse still are the climate policies that Agenda 2030 sponsors in its Goal 13. The apocalyptic discourse of the UN aims to intimidate the population into accepting its global governance policies without complaint: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development… The survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk.”

The UN has dared to use a hysterical teenager like Greta Thunberg to spread its climate sophistry: “We need drastic and immediate annual cuts in emissions as the world has never seen before… People in power can continue to live in their bubble full of fantasies, such as eternal growth.” The climate ideology serves to justify anything, as we have seen with the intervention of Gustavo Petro before the UN General Assembly this September: “Cocaine causes minimal deaths and coal and oil can extinguish humanity.” This is not the extravagance of an ultra-left-wing Ibero-American leader, the former member of the terrorist group Movimiento 19 de Abril, is merely endorsing the postulates of the UN, which, through its Secretary General António Guterres, warns us: “Either we stop our addiction to fossils or it will stop us. Stop brutalizing biodiversity, stop committing suicide with carbon, stop treating nature like a toilet.”

Well, under this umbrella of nonsense, a decarbonization policy has been imposed throughout Europe that has led us to the current energy disaster.

To begin with, there is no scientific consensus on the causes and consequences of climate change. In contrast to the IPCC, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which points to humans and their economic activity as directly responsible for climate change, there is another platform of scientists (ICSC, the International Climate Science Coalition) that denies that there is any empirical evidence to prove this hypothesis. And if there is no consensus on the causes, there is even less consensus on the consequences. The IPCC itself has changed its forecasts over the last few years. The truth is that predicting what the climate variation will be in 50 years and its effects on life on Earth is more of a guessing exercise than a scientific certainty, no matter how much the UN, large corporations and mass media sell the opposite to us.

What is undisputed is that the very expensive economic and environmental measures aimed at limiting CO2 emissions in Europe are absurd. The European Union as a whole emits 2,724 million tons of CO2 per year, while China emits 10,065 million tons, India 2,654 million tons and Russia 1,711 million tons. None of these three countries will sacrifice their economies to reduce their emissions. So, we Europeans are, in colloquial parlance, the hangers-on in this whole global warming racket. Reaching 2050 with an emissions cut of around 85 or 95% would cost us Europeans as a whole some 9,699 euros of annual per capita income. Naturally, the distribution of this drop in living standards would not affect everyone equally. Once again, the middle class would be the hardest hit.

It is clear that rising energy costs are putting many SMEs on the brink of being unable to maintain their businesses. But far from giving priority to the real crisis that we are suffering today, (last August 22nd, the market price of natural gas traded on the German THE (Trading Hub Europe) was quoted 1000% higher than a year ago)—the UN keeps insisting on the Race to Zero campaign to eliminate fossil fuels, justifying these measures in the supposed climate crisis of tomorrow. Ursula von der Leyen has just announced that the European Union will not rectify the mistake and will remain stubborn in following the goals of the Agenda 2030, because what we must do is “strive to accelerate the transition away from all imported fuels and develop self-sufficient green technology systems.” It matters little that the gas supply cut-off due to the sanctions imposed on Russia has put the truth on the table and shown that the technological development of renewable energies is still far from being able to produce cheap and sufficient energy to cover all the needs of homes and businesses.

We are not going to analyze the report of the Rand Corporation, the most powerful think tank in the United States, on the double purpose of harming Russia and the Europeans themselves with the economic sanctions imposed by the European Union as a result of the conflict with Ukraine. What is clear is that even the dimmest person is capable of understanding that when the cost of energy skyrockets due to its high cost, producing more at the cheapest possible price helps to reduce this price increase. But the recipe that the European Union is trying to give us is not to recover coal energy production due to the extraordinary circumstances we are going through (it is true that in Spain we could never do so because “smart” Sánchez has blown up the thermal power plants), or at least to give priority to nuclear energy with the same emphasis as renewable energies, rather than collecting “more than 140,000 million euros” in extra funds for governments to pass on to consumers with financial problems. In Germany, however, they have had to put up 8 billion euros to rescue the energy company Uniper. That is to say, the European Union’s stubborn stance on energy matters means higher tariffs for consumers and more taxes, which, of course, will end up being paid by the usual people, the middle classes and SMEs. Nor does it seem very adventurous to say that the famous ecological transition of Agenda 2030 has driven an energy policy that can only be described as a “real plague” for Europe.

Economic Degrowth

In view of the situation that exposes the scam of the green transition, which despite the fact that between 2009 and 2019, as recognized by the UN itself, has invested a whopping 2.6 trillion dollars in renewable energies, without having had the slightest capacity to alleviate the current energy crisis, a new doctrine is emerging to defraud public opinion and advance in the establishment of the new world governance.

Economic growth is incompatible with the already excessive consumption of resources, energy and waste generation, which especially in the higher income countries, i.e., in the West, is causing the problems of ecological unsustainability. This is the new movement to justify the impoverishment of Western societies that is causing the climate policy of Agenda 2030. In another turn of the screw, every day more and more voices are heard from the “progressives” in favor of what is already known as “post-growth,” the theory that tells us that the world must abandon the idea that economies must continue to grow, because growth in itself is harmful.

This theory uses two arguments to convince us that being poorer will make us happier. “You will own and you will be happy,” the Davos Forum announced at its annual meeting in 2020. Of course, as you can well imagine, those who preach this have no intention of getting poorer or seeing their standard of living decrease. As with the communists when it comes to distribution, it is the others who must decrease or have nothing to be happy.

The First Argument is Ecological

Unlimited economic growth is responsible for the planet becoming uninhabitable. “Resource depletion and pollution are starting to set limits, and we need to talk about it,” announced Richard Heinberg, American ecologist and university professor (how could we not). “Supplies are running out, and even if we didn’t have to address the problem of war, it would still happen.” Again, the apocalyptic threat. It is not new; since the 18th century, several variants and versions of Malthusianism have been telling us that the earth’s resources will not be enough to support the growing population. In the 1970s, using Hubbert’s peak theory, we were told that oil reserves would be exhausted by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, when that future has arrived, what is exhausting is the drumbeat to stop using fossil fuels.

Now it turns out that what is incompatible is living “within environmental limits” and maintaining the welfare state of advanced societies. The recipe of the ideologues of degrowth is that the richest countries should apply the Goals of the Agenda 2030 to the hilt and collect more taxes to invest in a greener economy, move forward without ley-up in the energy transition to stop using oil and coal, end carbon emissions and embark on a social engineering operation to change the “chip” of an excessively consumerist population to convince them that impoverishment is necessary to be happy. “Decrease to survive,” because in order to keep our economies growing we would be depleting resources and destroying nature.

Of course, it is a lie that there is a risk of depletion of our resource reserves. There are raw materials, energy sources and crops, which together with technological advances, are enough to keep humanity growing. The crisis we are experiencing, the energy shortages we are suffering, the inflation we are experiencing, have political causes, not eco-planetary ones. Nor is it true that economic growth is the enemy of the environment. It is precisely in those advanced economies of the West where there is more respect for the environment and more measures for the care of nature. The West is blamed, but if we look at the list of the 10 most polluting countries in the world, China appears as the most prominent, followed far behind by the United States, India and Russia. Among these 10 countries, only one European country appears, Germany, in seventh position.

The reality is that economic growth encourages concern for the environment; and, thanks to this growth, advanced societies are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly policies from their leaders. The fact that Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia and Afghanistan are among the most polluted countries in the world indicates that in developing countries, where economic growth is in deficit, there is no such concern for the environment. We are certainly not going to hide the fact that the extraction of raw materials in the third world to feed the growth of the most advanced economies leaves much to be desired in terms of labor rights and care for the environment, but the solution does not lie in the degrowth of advanced societies, but in the growth of backward societies, until a strong middle class is established in them, which, as has happened in the West, demands and promotes policies of stability, which first achieve social improvements and then restore and care for the environment in their production processes.

It is not precisely the same people who have largely caused the current energy crisis by their obsessive fight against carbon emissions, who should now be giving lessons, which, in the end, are nothing more than a flight forward in their hasty and irresponsible green energy transition policies.

The Second Argument is Social

The consumerism on which the Western growth model is based alienates the individual and exacerbates inequalities. The increase in economic wealth would not in itself guarantee an improvement in social objectives, a categorically false assertion that is often found among post-Marxist authors. The generation of wealth results in a higher standard of living for all social strata, as is shown by the per capita income figure, which has increased tenfold between 1750 and 2000. However, inequalities have also decreased, since if we look at the Gini index, which calculates the distribution of income among the entire population and ranges from zero (perfect equality of income between individuals) to one hundred (maximum inequality, in which all income is held by one individual), it has fallen by eight points worldwide. This is clearly not a spectacular advance; inequalities continue to be particularly glaring in the Third World; but also throughout the West and in many emerging countries, the decline is evident. Moreover, the poverty rate in the world has fallen by 80% from 1970 to the present day. No one will deny here that large capitalist corporations benefit from growth, ostensibly increasing their bottom line; but no one with a minimum of intellectual honesty can deny that it contributes significantly to the enlargement of the middle classes, progressively incorporating the poorest into their ranks. Authentic sustainable growth must guarantee this social mobility and promote economic, fiscal and labor policies that seek to expand the middle classes.

From the Great Reset to the Great Impoverishment

Maslow’s famous Pyramid theory defines a hierarchy of human needs and argues that as people satisfy their most basic needs, they develop higher needs and desires. In short, when growth is generated, when more wealth is made available to people and their lower subsistence needs are met, social progress is driven. On the contrary, degrowth is a regressive force that prevents the development of the individual and the satisfaction of his higher needs, pushing him to focus on satisfying his most basic needs.

This is the Great Reset they have in store for us. The pillar of prosperity in Western societies is the middle class. Its growth stagnated in Europe in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; and the pandemic coupled with the current inflationary crisis is reducing it by leaps and bounds. Middle-class households’ consumer spending, especially on energy, has risen much faster than their incomes. At the same time, their taxes and social contributions, far from decreasing, are increasing every day, because the policies of Agenda 2030 do not loosen spending, especially in the green transition, and demand more resources in social aid to cover the enormous damage they are causing to the lower classes.

The supporters of degrowth are in luck—the purchasing power of the Western middle classes, according to various economic analysts, will decrease by 25% due to the consequences of the pandemic, inflation and the energy crisis. It will be this reduction in demand that will succeed in curbing inflation over the next few years. The result will be a society with more inequality and less middle class—the globalist elites will achieve their desired degrowth and the dependence of large masses of population on the State. A State disconnected from the national community and dominated by large capitalist corporations and a socialist-style bureaucracy. In addition, technological advances will soon make possible a social control that Orwell or Huxley only vaguely dared imagine.

The Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 has just launched an institutional publicity campaign for Agenda 2030 under the slogan “Enough dystopias. Let’s re-imagine a better future.” That better future, thanks to the elimination of the middle classes with their critical spirit, their initiative and their freedom, will not only be a mass society, saturated with media messages that build an artificial narrative from above, as Jean Baudrillard denounced, but thanks to the virtual reality that will soon reach us, it will allow a daily life disconnected from the true reality, which will erase any threat of dissidence. A better future is certainly on the horizon… for the elites who aspire to world governance.


Mateo Requesens is a judge in Spain. [This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

What Ukraine Tells Us about the Coming War

At the end of 2021, Bernard Wicht published Vers l’autodéfense : le défi des guerres internes (Towards Self-Defense: The Challenge of Internal Wars). His reflections remain highly topical, despite the recent return—apparently—of “inter-state” conflicts. We asked him a few questions in order to better understand the new front lines.

In his review of this book, the philosopher Eric Werner stressed the most worrying aspect of war in the 21st century—its irruption into the internal space of societies, its transformation into a war of “all against all,” without limits and without rules. As a historian and strategist, Wicht “does not content himself with describing the transformations in question, but links them to the overall evolution of our societies, showing that they are the consequence of more profound upheavals.”

We are now direct witnesses of these deep-seated upheavals, on a daily basis. Since the publication of his book, events of tectonic proportions have occurred. We thought it would be useful to take stock of the spirit and modalities of self-defense at a time when “conventional” warfare between armed forces is returning. [This interview is conducted by Laurent Schang, who runs the publishing house Éditions Polémarque, in Nancy, France, and Swiss-based Slobodan Despot, who publishes the magazine Antipresse.

A huge thank-you to Arnaud Imatz and Jean-Cyrille Godefroy, who made it all possible.

In the current scientific literature on post-9/11 armed conflicts in general, and on the war against the Islamic State in particular, it is customary to draw a more or less explicit line between the protagonists involved. This principle of distinction is based on the presupposition that contemporary conflicts are between two sides, one of which is good and the other bad by default. This moralization of the study of conflicts, which is original on the scale of the history of war, or more precisely on the scale of the ways in which so-called “Western” nations think about war, nevertheless poses a number of theoretical problems. This tendency is detrimental to the study of war on the one hand, and to the development of an appropriate response on the other (Olivier Entraygues, Regards sur la guerre: L’école de la défaite—Views on the war: The School of Defeat).

Laurent Schang and Slobodan Despot (LS-SD): First, a necessary preliminary question. In a context of almost complete disinformation, on both sides, is it possible to think of deciphering the military operations in progress?

Bernard Wicht (BW): If one day we manage to arrive at the difference, the war in Ukraine will undoubtedly be taught first as the greatest maneuver of disinformation ever carried out in the history of the art of war. Let’s recall in this regard that since the First Iraq War (1990-1991), disinformation has been an integral part of the strategy implemented by the United States and its Western allies.

Bernard Wicht.

On that occasion, it was the case of the incubators of the maternity hospital in Kuwait City, which was given to the media. These incubators were allegedly disconnected by Iraqi soldiers when they invaded Kuwait, causing the death of the newborns who were in them. It was the post-conflict investigation of a team of Danish journalists that exposed the lie—the hospital in Kuwait City does not have a maternity ward and women do not go to give birth there. In addition, the young woman who denounced this apparent war crime before the UN authorities in New York turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, a student for several years at an American university. For Washington strategists, the aim of the maneuver was then to provoke an “emotional shock” within the international community, making it unavoidable to give a UN mandate for the military liberation of Kuwait.

Then, in 2002, before the outbreak of the Second Iraq War, the famous “proof” of the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein possessed was brandished before the same UN bodies, in the form of a small vial, by the American Secretary of State at the time, the former Chief of Staff of the American army, General Colin Powell. Again, the aim was to convince the world of the grave danger posed by Iraq to international stability. Up to now, these weapons of mass destruction have not yet been discovered.

This strategy of disinformation is currently being pursued on a global scale, mainly by the European and American media and a handful of experts close to NATO circles. This maneuver has so far succeeded in preventing any coherent analysis of the Ukraine conflict. The Ukrainians keep issuing victory communiqués, while the Russians are very discreet. In other words, in the words of the famous detective (created by Agatha Christie) Hercule Poirot, “in this case everyone is lying,” forcing our man to reconstruct events according to his experience of crime, common sense and basic questions (cui bono, motive, opportunity and means).

In this particular war, we find ourselves in a very similar situation to Poirot, and we are forced to try to reconstruct the course of operations according to some bits of reality and using knowledge of the art of war and military history. This is why we must ask ourselves, beyond the successive narratives that the United States and NATO have sought to impose since the beginning of the conflict (victorious resistance by Ukrainian forces; then Russian war crimes; and, more recently, a vast Ukrainian counter-offensive and retreat by the Russian army), what can be said with a minimum of certainty at this stage:

  • At the end of 2021, on the eve of the outbreak of war, the Ukrainian army was in a state of decay (See insert: “Ukraine, A Failed State?”).
  • In June 2022, senior Ukrainian officials acknowledged that their troops were suffering appalling losses in the face of the firepower of the Russian army, with around 100 dead and 500 wounded per day.
  • On the ground, since the end of the summer, we see a Russian army that does not seem to be in any hurry to end things, taking its time by advancing in some places and retreating in others. Although largely mechanized and with complete control of the sky, it does not launch the great decisive offensive aimed at the capitulation of the Zelensky government. On the contrary, it has allowed the Ukrainians to retake some towns and villages.

Should we therefore accept the official Western narrative of a decisive counter-offensive, thanks to the miracle weapons delivered by NATO (including the mercenaries to serve them) and the general withdrawal of Russian forces unable to react?

This version of the facts could be acceptable if we were facing the Russian army of the 1990s, the one that got bogged down in Chechnya and whose decay was then equivalent to that of the Ukrainian army on the eve of February 24, 2022. It took Vladimir Putin more than a decade to restore an effective and competent military whose qualities were seen during the intervention in Syria alongside Bashar al-Assad, starting in September 2015.

Ukraine, A Failed State?

In his 2017 study, Emmanuel Todd gave a pessimistic diagnosis of Ukraine. He considers it a nation “which has not been able to build itself in a state since its separation from Russia.” He adds that the country is dangerously empty of its population: “above a certain threshold of emigration… in Ukraine, for example… flows can destabilize societies… without being able to predict much more than the appearance of sociological black holes.” In this regard, he evokes “the appearance of a zone of anarchy” and recalls that the massive departure of the Ukrainian middle classes to Europe or Russia, makes it very unlikely that this country will be politically stabilized because, precisely, “the construction of a state is only the institutional crystallization of the supervision of society by its middle classes.”

Since 2014 (Euro Maidan), the Ukrainian political class has disintegrated into internal quarrels between the pro-Russian and the pro-European, leaving the field open to far-right paramilitary organizations.

LS-SD: How would you explain this “game of cat and mouse” that the Russian army is engaged in?

BW: I think that this expression itself gives us the “key” needed to decipher what is happening at the present time:

  • For the record, Russia’s objective is not primarily Ukraine, but to stun and unbalance the EU and NATO (energy crisis=> economic crisis=> inflation, recession. See insert: “The Legacy of Soviet Operational Thinking”).
  • On the other hand, under pressure from his Western mentors, President Zelensky withdrew his February-March peace proposals, so the war can continue until it is exhausted. This is most likely the game that the Russian cat is playing with the Ukrainian mouse. Since a negotiated solution seems impossible today, only the (demographic) exhaustion of Ukraine can guarantee Russia relative long-term “tranquility” on its southwestern border.
  • This cat-and-mouse dialectic could explain the Russian attitude of “not wanting to end it all.” Such a strategic posture is not unheard of in military history.

Let’s explain this with a historical example.

The case of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is particularly emblematic from this point of view. General Franco, commander-in-chief of the nationalist forces, was considered for a long time, certainly as a very shrewd politician, but as a poor strategist on the ground. Despite the military superiority at his disposal, he made poor operational choices, giving the Republicans the opportunity to carry out desperate counterattacks, prolonging, in this way, the war by at least two years.

Then recently, historical research revealed that these “wrong choices” were made knowingly in order to exhaust the human potential of Republicans in battles of annihilation, where the firepower of the nationalist army could reach its full potential. For example, even in September 1936, rather than seizing Madrid, then very little defended, and thus obtaining the capitulation of the Republican government and ending the war in two months, Franco opted for the capture of Toledo—a city certainly very symbolic, but whose strategic importance was limited. Franco wanted a long war to destroy the demographic pool of the Republicans and thus “cleanse” the conquered regions of populations favorable to the regime in place. He felt that he could not have the stability necessary to rebuild the country if a young and sufficiently large pro-Republican generation survived the war. He said it explicitly in an interview: “In a civil war, it is better to systematically occupy the territory, accompanied by the necessary cleansing, than a rapid rout of the enemy armies that would leave the country infested with adversaries.”

The Legacy of Soviet Operative Thought

Thinking in terms of the “Ukraine” objective is too narrow. It is important to bear in mind that, geographically speaking, Russia is a world country (in the Braudelian sense). Neither Western Europe nor the United States are. Russian strategic thinking unfolds at a macro-spatial and macro-cultural level. It takes up the achievements of its big sister, Soviet strategic thought, which developed and conceptualized what is called the operational level of war, which no longer primarily targets tactical military objectives (troops, equipment, infrastructure, etc.), but the adversary as a system.

Operative thought does not view the enemy from a strictly military angle, unlike the classical Clausewitzian doctrine of destroying enemy armed forces in a great battle of annihilation deemed as the key to victory. Soviet and then Russian operative thinking approaches the adversary from a systemic perspective—it aims at its collapse, not in a great decisive battle, but by actions in depth.

It should be noted that this notion covers different aspects: the term depth does not necessarily refer to the defensive device of the adversary (fortifications, logistics centers, communication networks), but to all political, socio-economic and cultural structures as well as the infrastructures which allow the enemy country to function. Therefore, from the perspective of Russian operative thought, the objective pursued is rarely specific; it is holistic.

Russia is not simply seeking to bring a recalcitrant neighbor to heel, it is the “systemic enemy” that it is aiming at by showing in concrete terms that it is not only ready, but above all capable of waging war, including nuclear war. This systemic enemy is obviously the EU and NATO. Russia was able to become aware at the latest with the war in Syria (from 2011 onwards) of the meagre capacities of Western intervention which, in this case, were limited to sending a few contingents of special forces to support the Kurdish militias. It was able to get a concrete idea of the severe operational limits and the inability of the Atlantic Alliance to conduct a large-scale military operation due to a lack of manpower and logistics.

After that, Vladimir Putin and his staff were able to plan their intervention in Ukraine. But Ukraine is not the main objective of the war; it is only a battlefield, i.e., a place where military operations take place. The Russians have other effects and targets.

As for the effects, Russia wants to demonstrate that it can declare a conventional war and bring it to an end. In the face of this show of force, it must be noted that NATO and the European Union (EU) are militarily “absent.”

LS-SD: Do you think that the Russians also want a long war? Do they really have an interest in it?

BW: Mutatis mutandis, this could be the calculation of the Russians in the face of the war (by proxy) that the United States and NATO are waging against them through the Ukrainians. This war will eventually end because of a lack of fighters. But we must hasten to add that, on the Russian side, everything is not simple either. The shock caused by the partial mobilization of the young generation does not bode well. Indeed, a part of the society of this great country has been tasting for more than twenty years the “delights” of the consumer society—possibility to travel abroad, a certain feeling of freedom linked to the consumerist way of life, etc. For all of them, suddenly, everything has changed. For all them, suddenly, everything has stopped and closed. The specter of war and death now haunts their daily lives—hence the question, is a war that is prolonged and begins to affect the young Russian generations themselves, still acceptable—and especially bearable?

Under these conditions, we can hypothesize that Russia and Ukraine are both at risk of a mutual collapse. A bit like the dialectic between Greece and Rome in antiquity, the antinomy between these two worlds being summarized by the famous formula— Captive Greece took captive her savage conqueror—expressing the fact that, militarily defeated, Greece nevertheless managed to completely Hellenize the Roman world. In this case, a militarily destroyed Ukraine would provoke, as a shock in return, a collapse of Russia because of the sacrifices required or, at least felt, by a part of the Russian people. The recent attacks perpetrated on the Russian soil could reinforce this feeling of sudden fragility?

LS-SD: What is the relevance of your study on self-defense when war is raging on our doorstep?

BW: As its title indicates, my latest little book is devoted to self-defense, which I consider to be the operational concept instead of that of “national defense,” which became obsolete with the decline of the nation-state (marked in particular by the concomitant and exponential return of mercenarism.

[Weberian sociology regarding the formation of the modern state (Max Weber, Norbert Elias, Otto Hintze, Charles Tilly, to name the main ones) focuses on the construction of the state monopoly of coercion—also called monopoly of legitimate violence. It thus highlights the evolution of the military apparatus and its progressive control by state authorities. From the point of view of this conception of state-building, the recourse to mercenaries represents an intermediate stage between the feudal age (characterized by the absence of the state as well as by an anarchic chivalry practicing private warfare—Faustrecht), and the contemporary period with the advent of national armies completely controlled by the state. The current return of mercenarism, via the recourse to private military companies, tends to signal a “return to the past,” and consequently a relative de-construction of the state monopoly. On this subject, see Yves Déloye, Sociologie historique du politique.]

That is why, when war broke out in Ukraine, I thought that my study had also ipso facto become obsolete, for the Russian attack seemed to indicate the great return of conventional war between states and that of regular armies. My working hypothesis, based on “molecular civil war” type threats, with a predominance of non-state actors, such as narco-gangs, narco-terrorists and Islamo-jihadists, seems therefore compromised. As my friend Laurent Schang said to me on the evening of February 24, “this time it’s the end of war 2.0” (referring to sub-war challenges).

LS-SD: Are the Western/European nation-states still capable of waging war?

BW: It is apparent that apart from a few scattered battalions, NATO no longer has any effective military power; that the German army is in an advanced state of decay; that the French army (although still very operational) has only seven days’ worth of ammunition in the event of a high-intensity confrontation, and it is the same with all the rest.

All this means that in Western Europe, the nation-state is no longer capable of “making war,” a function that was its main regalian attribute and the driving force behind its historical construction (according to Charles Tilly’s famous formula, “war makes the State.” (See insert “War as the Driving Force behind Nation-State Construction”).

Today, the nation-state is huddled over its sole penal-carcenary privilege. Moreover, the storm of media disinformation, orchestrated since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, shows that citizenship has lost all substance and that it is no longer important to inform free and responsible men and women, but to keep a populace, always on the verge of a riot or revolt, calm.

War as the Driving Force behind Nation-State Construction

In his approach to state-building, Charles Tilly highlights two factors that contribute to the formation of the state monopoly of legitimate violence—on the one hand, constraint (the capacity to impose order and, above all, to mobilize the human resources necessary to wage war); and, on the other hand, capital (the capacity to finance and equip armies through taxes and the profits of foreign trade).

Thus, Tilly demonstrates that it is the combination of these two factors (hence the title of his work) that determines the type of state organization in force, at a given historical moment—that is, the one capable of “making war.” In our case, from the 16th century onwards, the transformations in the art of war (systematization of the use of firearms, recourse to professional soldiers, exponential growth in the number of soldiers) led to the need for the existing political units in Europe to have sufficient financial resources to be able to “afford” this new military tool.

Hence the institutionalization of taxation, in place of the old local feudal dues. The foundations of the modern nation-state were thus laid (a bureaucracy in charge of levying taxes, a standing army). From then on, the constraint-capital dynamic was set in motion—the more wars succeeded one another in Europe, the more the above-mentioned nation-state phenomenon was strengthened in the geographical areas concerned (the Netherlands, France, Spain, and later on, Prussia and Sweden). And thus we come to the famous formula: war makes the State.

Today, this analysis remains fully relevant for understanding the evolution of military-political units. However, the dynamics described above have changed scale—with globalization, capital is no longer located at the national level. As a consequence, states are emptied of their substance and depend on global finance for their functioning.

Nowadays, at the junction of constraint (mobilization of human resources) and capital (mobilization of financial resources), we no longer find regular armies, but two types of non-state military organizations—on the one hand, mercenarism in the form of private military companies (PMCs), and, on the other hand, armed-paramilitary-criminal groups. The former are generally financed by global capitalism, the latter by the grey economy. On the one hand, there is the combination of Wall Street and PMCs, and on the other, the combination of drug trafficking and various irregular armed groups.

LS-SD: So, your analysis remains relevant?

BW: Vanitas vanitatis… Yes. It is that of a nation-state emptied of its substance by disaster capitalism, of post-national societies subjected to an internal violence that is no longer channeled by the now obsolete state monopoly. If it were still necessary, the war in Ukraine and the decisions it has generated (in particular the sanctions of which we are the first victims) demonstrate that European states are no longer concerned with the well-being of their peoples; that their political elites are sucked in by the dynamics of global capitalism and by those who hold the control levers.

Fernand Braudel said: “Capitalism only triumphs when it identifies itself with the State; when it is the State.” Moreover, its regulation no longer goes through the nation-state (welfare), but through war (welfare => warfare), whether it is internal or against an enemy, designated by the media apparatus (Russia in casu). It is important to keep this reality in mind and to make it the starting point of any effort to understand the mechanisms of the present world—in the framework of global capitalism, the empty-shell nation-state is no longer the subject of war; it is only the theater (the setting, one might say), the geographical space where the confrontations take place. If we try to study it beyond the media noise, the war in Ukraine reveals this new state of affairs.

LS-SD: Yet this conflict marks the return of war between nation-states. So, isn’t it contradictory to say that the nation-state is no longer the subject of war?

BW: No, and this question allows me to clarify my point. Roughly speaking, one can say that until February 24, 2022, many analysts (myself included) considered that infra-state warfare represented the major risk in Europe: 1) confrontations at the molecular level (suicide attacks, machete attacks, shootings); 2) taking place below the technological threshold; 3) involving armed groups, gangs and terrorist cells; 4) financed via drug trafficking and other channels of the grey economy. In other words, a representation that follows directly from Martin van Creveld’s observation: “Modern armaments have become so expensive, so fast, so indiscriminate, so impressive, so cumbersome, and so powerful that they are sure to drive contemporary warfare into dead ends, i.e., into environments where they do not work. (The Transformation of War, p. 52).

As I said at the beginning, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine has shattered this threat picture by making us think of a return to conventional warfare in Europe (battles between regular armies, tank engagements, artillery, aviation and long-range missiles, the specter of the use of tactical nuclear weapons). However, on closer inspection, the reality of combat is not so obvious. Certainly, conventional warfare is well and truly present on the Russian side, with a disciplined, well-equipped, well-commanded army practicing joint maneuver.

On the Ukrainian side, on the other hand, the situation is much more blurred, as the regular conscript army was already in disarray before the conflict broke out, thus forcing the Zelensky government to rely on paramilitary groups, in particular the sinister Azov battalions, whose abuses against the civilian population are now well known. Nevertheless, they are the only real fighting forces on which the “failing” Ukrainian state (let’s be honest and use this term) can rely to confront the Russian offensive. Let us specify that these units are not directly dependent on the Ukrainian state; they have their own mode of financing, based on trafficking and mafia racket of the local populations whom they do not hesitate to use as human shields. However, they were completely decimated in the fighting around Marioupol and the Azovstal steelworks. From that moment on, it must be considered that they ceased to exist as constituted troops.

[It would seem that since the outbreak of the conflict, the Ukrainian authorities have issued eight calls of mobilization to make up for the heavy losses suffered. It is therefore worth asking why the younger generation is still responding to these calls when they are almost certain to die on the battlefield. The following hypothesis can be evoked: Ukrainians from the working classes did not have the possibility to flee abroad for lack of means; in a destroyed country where the economy is exsanguinated, it is not unreasonable to think that a “nice” bonus for the commitment (financed by the dollar) can represent for them a sufficient motive, because the sum thus received makes it possible to guarantee the survival of the remainder of the family. As is often the case in military history, it is the poor who pay the blood tax.]

Today, after the frightening human losses suffered by Ukrainian troops, it is mercenaries who seem to bear the brunt of the fighting—but who, above all, are taking over the predatory role previously played by the Azov battalions. These mercenaries are obviously not paid by Ukraine, which does not have the means, but by the American-NATO military-media complex. Capitalism is at work! We can therefore already say that at the moment, a weakened (failing) state—Ukraine in this case—is no longer able to wage war with its own national forces. It is obliged to call upon external forces that it does not control. We are thus in line with our previous observation on the incapacity of the nation-state to wage war.

[According to the analysis of the available videos, they would be mercenaries of Latin American origin, probably recruited by the services of Erik Prince (founder of the infamous SMP Blackwater). The latter had been called, at the time of the Arab Spring, by the oil-rich monarchies of the Gulf, to provide them with military police battalions, composed of Colombian mercenaries. The latter had no qualms about firing on the crowd, whereas the Tunisian and Egyptian armies had refused to do so in their respective countries. Erik Prince has the necessary connections for this recruitment pool].

Let us digress a little to note how much we find here the scenario of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). This war is a perfect illustration of the above-mentioned developments: the confusion between internal and inter-state warfare; the relative weakness of the states involved; and, as a result, the exponential recourse to private military contractors (mercenaries). For the record, the young European kingdoms (France and Sweden) sought to take advantage of the temporary weakness of the Holy Roman Empire to increase their territory and their influence in Europe. For the latter was entangled in an internal struggle against the Protestant princes who were challenging the imperial power.

First France, then Sweden entered the war to take advantage of this momentary fragility of the Empire. But, neither the king of France nor the king of Sweden had the means for their policy. They did not have sufficient nation-state apparatus to maintain such a war over a long period of time and over vast territories; their bureaucracy, still in its infancy, did not allow them to raise taxes in an efficient and sustainable manner, nor to recruit the necessary troops from among the population.

The Holy Roman Emperor had the same limitations. This is why all of them called upon military entrepreneurs (Wallenstein, Tilly, Saxe-Weimar in particular). In addition to their skills as great captains, these military entrepreneurs were also talented businessmen with the appropriate networks to recruit soldiers and maintain their armies. From then on, and precisely because of the implementation of this business model, this war became a “commercial affair,” largely determined by the interests of these entrepreneurs and their financial backers. It was they who decided on the goals, not so much according to the politico-strategic priorities of the States, but rather according to the “commercial” interests of their respective companies (the armies of mercenaries made available to the European princes in struggle). To do this, and given the insufficiency of public funding, they relied on the first “transnational financial system”—the Bank of Amsterdam. However, no matter how clever the Batavian bankers were, the credits provided were never enough to cover all the needs, especially in terms of logistics. As a result, mercenary armies continued to “live on the land,” looting and pillaging almost all of Central Europe.

The duration of the conflict can also be explained by this reason—in a Europe emerging from feudal economy and entering the so-called “first capitalism,” military entrepreneurship brought really juicy profits.

In short, the Thirty Years’ War offers an example of a confrontation that can be described as “pre-Clausewitzian,” i.e., a confrontation in which, although initiated by states, war quickly ceased to be the continuation of politics by other means, for lack of adequate state resources. Mutatis mutandis, it is a similar situation that we find today in Europe with the war in Ukraine.

LS-SD: So, are we witnessing (or not) the return of conventional war in Europe?

BW: Certainly, but this statement requires some explanation, because if there is a return to conventional warfare, we must hasten to say that it is a conventional NG (new generation) war in which, on the Ukrainian side, the paramilitary and mercenary forces, charged with defending the country are proving to be more dangerous for the Ukrainians than the Russian army that is attacking them.

From this point on, the following parameters seem to be emerging concerning this “new generation conventional war”: 1) at the core level, a weakened (failing) nation-state which is no longer able to ensure its defense by means of its national armed forces; 2) which has to call upon irregular forces, paramilitary and mercenary; 3) these forces are “living off the country” through racketeering and predation; 4) and are massively financed and equipped by global capitalism. Moreover, it appears that Ukraine is by no means a precursor in this matter—at the beginning of the war in Syria (2011), it was the intervention of Lebanese Hezbollah irregulars that saved the weakened state of Bashar El Assad from collapse.

In the same way, the case of Azerbaijan points to a similar situation—it is thanks to the arms and mercenaries made available by Turkey, as well as to the contingents of Arab-Muslim fighters, all paid for by Azeri oil revenues, that this country manages to achieve the successes that we have seen in Nagorno-Karabakh.

But despite all their differences, Ukraine, Bashar’s Syria and Azerbaijan are not strong states. This is not the case in the United States, which is the only country in the world that has a strong social cohesion and a prosperous economy that benefits all its citizens. Nor do any of these countries have a genuine national political elite on which the nation-state apparatus can rely; power is held by clans or mafia-like cliques seeking above all to monopolize wealth for their own benefit.

LS-SD: As a result, for the Ukrainians, it is “a war within a war?”

BW: Yes, and this is not surprising, if we follow the grid of Hobbes’ Leviathan: in the absence of the State, it is the war of all against all—which, in the age of global capitalism, can last indefinitely because it represents a very lucrative business—hence the concept of “disaster capitalism.”

In other words, conducted by fighters from paramilitary and mercenary units, this NG belligerence is “limitless” and itself becomes the objective; civilians supposedly defended become the main objective of the aforementioned armed groups, and the war effort is financed by global capitalism in its “disaster” declination. Such a war does not respect the distinctions of civil/military, front/back, war/crime. It is mixed [I will not use the term “hybrid” because it is so overused and misunderstood]: conventional on the battlefield, criminal in its functioning, terrorist in its acts and targeting populations. Let me emphasize how we get to the characteristics of sub-state warfare described above.

LS-SD: From this vantage point, what further general perspective can be drawn from the Ukrainian situation?

BW: The Ukrainian case highlights the profound transformation of Europe and the Western world (in fact its disintegration) through two specific dimensions: one macro-economic and the other macro-geographic. The first reminds us of the relevance of the principle that war is waged in the same way as wealth is produced: the mode of economic production at a given time has a determining influence on both the type of war and the configuration of the military tool. Thus, wars between states in the 19th and 20th centuries were essentially based on a three-term equation: Nation + Industrial Revolution = mass armies. Industrial capitalism has formatted national spaces (nation-states) and increased competition between them in a paroxysmal way.

Today, the era of regular national armies financed and equipped, thanks to the progress of the Industrial Revolution, is definitively over. Capital has mutated; it has become entirely financialized and has migrated to the supranational level, leading to what is usually called globalization. It is at this level that wealth is now produced and the conduct of war is irrevocably modified. This means, as we have already said above in reference to the return of mercenarism, that states are no longer masters of their own defense. A regular army, even if it remains apparently financed by a state, has become de facto a tool at the service of global capital, as illustrated by the (almost surreal) eagerness of European governments to empty their meager arsenals, disarming their own armed forces to send weapons to Ukraine, some of which are already being sold on parallel markets. The analysis of this war reveals such a reality which was is both unprecedented and unimaginable before.

[In such circumstances, and following the announcement that the Bundeswehr (German army) had only a two-day supply of ammunition, a German commentator questioned this state of affairs and its official recognition by the authorities. He went so far as to formulate the hypothesis of a “de facto surrender,” explicitly admitted, in order to preserve Germany from destruction in the event of the war spreading westwards. According to him, by declaring itself “bankrupt” due to the liquidation of its very modest stocks of arms and ammunition in favour of Ukrainian forces, the country could avoid “becoming the next battlefield” once Ukraine is destroyed. While this may be a bit far-fetched, it does highlight the extent of Western European disarmament in the current conflict.]

As regards the macro-geographic dimension, the Ukrainian case underlines the value of the analysis delivered by David Cosandey in his monumental study published in 1997 and entitled, Le secret de l’Occident: du miracle passé au marasme présent (The Secret of the West: From the Past Miracle to the Present Morass). In his quest to understand this “past miracle,” Cosandey focuses on the geographical factor as the decisive element of European dynamism. Europe being a priori only a promontory of Eurasia, it is its coastal perimeter, in the north as in the south, which is jagged, meandering and irregular, which allows for the establishment of very diverse socio-political entities, but intensively practicing commercial exchanges among these entities first, then with the rest of the world.

It is thus because of this specificity of the European geographical space that Cosandey proposes his explanation of “the” miracle based on two neologisms of his creation: “mereupory” and “thalassography.” The first term aims at explaining the scientific progress of Europe by its stable political division and its commercial dynamism. The second term specifies that the commercial dynamism as well as the diversity and the stability are favored by this very particular coastal contour, compared to the other continents. Therefore, based on this mereuporico-thalassographic articulation, Cosandey examines the contemporary evolution of our continent.

In casu, it is not a question of subjecting the theses of Cosandey to criticism, but to consider what they say to us of Europe in the framework of the war in Ukraine. Cosandey indeed thinks that the power of the armaments developed since the Second World War fundamentally questions the morphology of Europe. In other words, space is no longer sufficient to absorb military force. It is now too small to be able to form a stable geopolitical zone.

Consequently, Cosandey argues that the European geographical advantage is now obsolete because of the power of armaments: “Because of the progress of military technology, the thalassography of the European continent, however extraordinary it may be, no longer allows a system of states to establish itself there durably.” This insight obviously deserves some explanation.

The reference to the progress of military technology refers mainly to the continental and intercontinental reach of modern weapons (ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and long-range aircraft capable of striking any point on the continent). Faced with these capabilities of force projection over very long distances, the meteoric and thalassographic qualities of Europe become ineffective—the specificity of its coastline is no longer sufficient. The continent becomes once again a simple tongue of land, a Eurasian promontory, which can be crossed very easily, and in all directions (migratory flows seem to confirm this). Hence the impossibility, under such conditions, of maintaining a stable and dynamic chessboard of states, since these no longer have the capacity to protect themselves, and their geographical borders no longer fulfil a defense function.

Following Cosandey on this trajectory, the war in Ukraine seems to indicate that the future of Europe in terms of states can only be that of a large-scale disorder—a kind of new Middle Ages in which the Church is replaced by the dollar.

LS-SD: To conclude, let us return to the initial question. Is self-defense still relevant in such a state of chaos and disorder, of war without limits?

BW: Now more than ever—especially in a Western Europe incapable of defending itself, where the Ukrainian pattern is likely to be repeated. For, if the nation-state is no longer the subject of war, then it is the individual himself who becomes the subject of war (hence self-defense). Moreover, this individual is no longer a citizen, but a “naked man” stripped of all protection, without a city (a-polis) and liable to be put to death by the police as well as by the gangs or the aforementioned actors of the conventional NG war without limits. For this naked man, from now on, self-defense represents the only horizon in terms of residual freedom and security, the last means of preserving some snippets of the status of political animal that citizenship in arms (the hoplitic polis) previously conferred on him.

[Several factors argue not only for a prolongation of the war, but for its possible extension to the European region: the attitude of Russia, which is ready to continue the fighting as long as the Ukrainian government does not make a peace proposal; the possible involvement of Belarus; the clumsiness and blunders of the Poles and Lithuanians with regard to the enclave of Kaliningrad; the activism of the EU, the United Kingdom and the United States to prevent any end to the hostilities; and, last but not least, the blind eagerness of Germany to empty its arsenals and send their contents to Ukraine.]

Let us specify that the notion of self-defense understood here goes beyond the simple technique of fighting with bare hands. It represents the reverse side of self-defense because it is not a legal concept protecting the citizen, but a state of affairs, a defensive tactic, a survival reaction. In this sense, it constitutes the ultimate barrier of the banished and the proscribed against the violence they are subjected to. For them, it is the means to rebuild themselves, to become human persons again and not only bodies (homo sacer) that can be violated at will.

The philosopher Elsa Dorlin speaks in this respect of the construction of a “martial ethic of the self,” through practices that the disarmed individual, without citizenship, uses to protect himself physically from aggression. And, given the generalized chaos and the collapse looming on the horizon of European societies, in the wake of the war in Ukraine, it is important to insist on this reconstitutive function of self-defense. To defend oneself is to exist—the insurgents of the Warsaw ghetto are an emblematic example!

Let us also point out however that even in this scenario of re-empowerment, the margin of maneuver of homo sacer remains very narrow. This is why the putting into perspective of events (according to the method of long historical time), that is to say the narrative, occupies a strategic place. This allows for the definition of a space, an “alternative” reality to the narrative imposed by the military-media complex of global capitalism. The philosopher Eric Werner seeks to articulate this minority narrative with the triptych—autonomy-crisis-proximity—in response to that of the dominant discourse—insecurity-crisis-resilience. For the record, this last notion does not mean to resist, but “to meekly accept one’s fate, however bad it may be.”

Autonomy, proximity, self-defense, understood as “defense as close as possible,” will, in all likelihood, constitute the new reference points in a European world where the war in Ukraine marks the ultimate end of the Western historical cycle: “The time of revolutions is over. We are living in the time of extermination; and, by implication, the time of survival and self-defense. This is the era of pockets of autonomy.”

Having qualified the world-system by the state of insecure governance, we can begin by defining the new framework of war. It is part of the abatement of national sovereignties. The European nation-state no longer seems to be relevant to solve the security problems of its citizens. The latter, a historical legacy of the Westphalian state (1648), and theorized by Hobbes in Leviathan (1651), geographically delimited, is in decomposition… Moreover, the degradation of the nation-state model sees its military sovereignty put under the tutelage of another form of sovereignty, non-military, that is to say economic, carried by global capitalism (Olivier Entraygues, Regards sur la guerre: L’école de la défaite—Views on the war: The School of Defeat).

Bernard Wicht is a lecturer at the University of Lausanne, where he teaches strategy. He is a regular speaker at military institutions, including the Ecole de Guerre, and think-tanks abroad. He is the author of several books, including Vers l’autodéfense: Le défi des guerres internes (Towards Self-Defense: The Challenge of Internal Wars), Les loups et l’agneau-citoyen. Gangs militarisés, Etat policier et desarmement du peuple (The Wolves and the Citizen-Lamb: Militarized Gangs, the Police State and the Disarmament of the People); Citoyen-soldat 2.0, Mode d’emploi (Citizen-Soldier 2.0: A User’s Guide); Europe Mad Max demain ? retour à la défense citoyenne (Mad Max Europe Tomorrow? A Return to Citizen Defense); Une nouvelle Guerre de Trentre Ans ? Réflexion et hypothèse sur la crise actuelle (A New Thirty Years War: Reflections and Hypothesis on the Current Crisis); L’OTAN attaque : la nouvelle donne stratégique (NATO Attacks: the New Strategic Order); L’Idée de milice et le modèle suisse dans la pensée de Machiavel (The Idea of the Militia and the Swiss Model in Machiavelli’s Thought).


Featured: “Defenders of the Brest Fortress,” by Pyotr Krivonogov; painted in 1951.

A Letter to Professor Dugin from Poland

Dear Professor Dugin,

I am writing to you mostly because I am afraid that if I don’t write, no other Polish common folk will. I want to give you my sincerest condolences for the untimely death of your daughter, Darya. She was a beautiful young woman with a top-class education, who fell prey to the dark forces of modern-day Ukrainian Nazism. So, one can say that on that horrific day beauty, femininity and careful thought were killed by indiscriminate hate and a devilish murder imperative.

I actually thought about her assassination quite a lot, as I am unusually drawn into following this whole war on the web, even though Poland is still (as of yet) on the sidelines. You certainly know that there were voices in Ukraine and Poland which ostentatiously praised her killing—I can only say that I am deeply ashamed about those Polish people who had no decency, to the point that they expressed such inhuman views.

I also want to write that I was totally aghast at our Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, calling in May, in the British press, for an all-out NATO war on Russia, to force a regime change in the Kremlin. Only after a few weeks I realized that he wasn’t even serious about this idea, even though his text had an apocalyptic tone. His “call to arms” of May 10, 2022 also hatefully refers to your “Russkiy Mir” concept, which he equates, just like that, with Nazism and communism, both at the same time—well, perhaps he was at least a little shamed when he learned about the killing of Darya, as it obviously appears that he might have inspired this heinous act.

However, there are still some people in Poland who at least try to have a balanced view of the whole war situation, although I would say that the death of Darya certainly does not invite a “balanced view.” Not being sure about your familiarity with Polish circles, but I’ll give you the names of Leszek Sykulski and Jan Engelhardt—Sykulski is a specialist in geopolitics who has a very independent and level-headed way of seeing things, while Engelhardt publishes the Mysl Polska (Polish Thought) weekly; perhaps the only politics-related newspaper in Poland with a pro-Russian view, but still with a very small circulation.

Professor Dugin—if we are to avoid war between Poland and Russia, we need really cool thinking leaders which is now not the case on the Polish side. I would just like to turn your attention to the fact that a lot of current hate towards Russia in Poland was born after what we call “10/04/10”—the Polish presidential jet air disaster in Smolensk. Russian secret services have been blamed for 12 years now in Poland for pre-arranging this disaster, and about 30 – 40 percent of the Polish population firmly believes this assassination version, no matter how counterfactual it actually is. There is even a new official report which claims to have proved the so-called “explosions theory;” but actually it’s an exercise in fake science glossing over obvious questions. I know, because I have lost untold hours studying this disaster myself. The whole disaster and the following investigations are an unbelievable story, where both Polish and Russian sides have clearly contributed, but I’ll leave it for now.

I read so much of independent sources about the Russo-Ukrainian situation that since at least the purported Bucha killings I’ve been holding my fingers crossed for the Russian army. We have such a tornado of lies, manipulations, cherry-picking and all other disinformation tricks in Polish media that actually it makes me depressed, because I clearly see it all happening.

For about two months now I have been reading in Russian (I had this old socialist course at school, for 8 years), and now I can say that I can understand up to some 80 – 90 percent. I even began toying with the idea of somehow joining the Russian forces—if Konashenkov says that some 2,000 Poles went to fight for the Ukrainians, why is nobody going to fight for Russia? Shouldn’t it be a manifestation of one’s political views? And if so, are Polish views really so one-sided? It’s disheartening to realize that we’ve been emotionally programmed by the media so effectively. The problems with me are that I’m 53, overweight, highly short-sighted, zero shooting skills. Looks like I can only offer my thoughts in English!

Professor Dugin—I wish you all the best and that you may get over this horror as quickly as possible. The world is in dire need of your thinking.

Support and admiration,

Przemyslaw Abramowski

P.S. I wrote this on September 25th, but I am a procrastinator. The letter now flies off to you. In the meantime—Kerch Bridge, three more people blown to heavens. But now we have a tough Russian response. Professor Dugin—I imagine the spirit of Darya helped the Kremlin get their act together. Continued support. P.A.


Przemysław Abramowski lives in Szczecin, Poland. He is an engineer who also translates from English. He researches contemporary politics, the complexities of the modern world and the human mind, as well as war and military history.


Featured: “Henri Cordier,” by Gustave Caillebotte; painted in 1883.

The Last Monarchy

The German Empire (1871-1918) was an original and effective regime that sank with the continental monarchies in the defeat of 1918, marking the irretrievable end of the “world of yesterday” (Stefan Zweig).

Proclaimed on January 18, 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, the German Empire sealed the federal bond, uniting twenty-five states (twenty-two of which had a reigning dynasty and three republics: Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck), under the preponderance of the most active and powerful of them, the Prussia of the Bismarcks and the Moltkes—which alone covered 65% of the surface area of the new Reich and brought together sixty-two percent of its inhabitants. Moreover, since the emperor was at the same time the king of Prussia, head of the house of Hohenzollern, as in his function, the imperial chancellor, who was also the Prussian prime minister, enjoyed the assistance of his own government, as in the Bundesrat (where the plenipotentiaries, nominated by each of the princes and each of the three cities, sat and voted in their own right), the said Prussia, thanks to its blocking minority, had the leisure to neutralize decisions judged to be inopportune—one can indeed speak of a hegemonic influence.

But it is also necessary to be specific. Having lost their oft-illusory sovereignty, the medium and small federated states enjoyed a large degree of autonomy, kept their own constitutions and governments, and in short, preserved their distinctive features within the Reich—the latter having a constitution and a government common to all. Thus, in addition to the emperor and the chancellor, the Reichstag or Chamber of Deputies and the Bundesrat or Federal Council, there were assemblies which made the law and, like the chancellor, had authority. However, although elected by universal suffrage, the Reichstag could not overrule the chancellor, who was chosen by the emperor and was responsible only to him. As for the Bundesrat, which was charged with arbitrating as the supreme court in disputes between the Reich and the states, its approval was necessary to declare war and dissolve the Reichstag.

In any case, by force of circumstance, and although the princes were allies of the emperor, not subjects, the central government became more complicated, more substantial, and more and more powerful at the expense of the federated states. Initially embodying the entire ministry, Bismarck was led to recruit several senior civil servants from the pool of the senior administration, subordinate to his authority, to whom he entrusted the direction of offices (foreign affairs of the empire, justice, railways, post office, navy, etc.) outside of a close collegial structure. To sum up, as a result of the synchrony between the growing importance of Prussia in the Reich and the development of the latter’s competences, the Hohenzollern kingdom tempered unitarism wherever the maintenance of Prussian prerogative required it, while strengthening it by giving it the management of Germany (increased since May 10, 1871 by Alsace-Lorraine).

Social Advances

Wilhelm I died in his nineties on March 9, 1888, and his son and successor Frederick III, suffering from cancer of the larynx, died on June 15 of the same year, giving way to Wilhelm II. There followed, the presumptive young monarch on one side, Bismarck on the other, twenty-two months of increasingly difficult collaboration which, from January to March 1890, turned into a real crisis, resulting in the forced resignation of the old and illustrious chancellor. A struggle for power? From the very beginning. But it was the social question that was the cause of the rupture. At the Council of the Crown on January 24, Wilhelm, after a series of large strikes, presented two memoranda, forwarding an obligatory weekly day of rest, a number of measures in favor of women and children, the creation of works councils and savings banks, the construction of hospitals, orphanages, etc. Then on February 3, he signed two ordinances, without the chancellor’s countersignature, announcing the preparation of a labor law and the establishment of workers’ representatives to negotiate with employers and the administration. Indeed, the emperor, taking seriously his Christian duty to help the oppressed, dared to say of the bosses at that time that they only thought of squeezing the workers “like lemons” and that he wanted to be “the king of the beggars.”

Opposed to the prepotency of elective assemblies, Bismarck had basically paved the way for the “personal regime” of Wilhelm II, who was now, as he wrote to the princes, “the watch officer on the ship of state.” Significant words. Then, the emperor, “an instrument chosen by Heaven” and the supercilious leader of the army, appointed officers, decided on their promotion, punished them, and dismissed them. He was the active head of the military and of naval command, fond of beautiful uniforms, reviews and impressive parades (revenge for a disability—his left arm was too short and ankylosed—which humiliated him); and he was the comrade of soldiers. Nevertheless, despite noisy sorties on dry powder and sharpened sword, for twenty-six years, from 1888 to 1914, the Wilhelmine Reich, except for the expedition against the Boxers, remained at peace with the world.

A Tyranny?

But a tyranny, many have claimed, hidden under a constitutional veneer. Indeed, neither a flat parliamentary monarchy of the dualist type (or a regime with a decision-making body with a simple monarchic executive), nor, much worse, a spurious regime in monarchic form, an evanescent image, therefore negating royalty, but a system based on das monarchische Prinzip, alien to the recognition of a duality of principles and even more to the total sabotage of the royal function. One had thus, in this case, and distinct from the old absolute monarchy, which realized, with the theoretical unity of the State power, the permanent unity of the exercise of this power, a limited monarchy which, while ensuring the supremacy of the king (of Prussia) and the emperor (German) in the exercise of this power, subjected the said exercise (according to a gradation of techniques proper to the kingdom and proper to the empire), initially in the legislative area, to certain dependences likely to obstruct the ruler’s will—without ever, essential point, constraining it positively.

Blessed with a very good memory, great facility for learning, real qualities of an orator, Wilhelm II, until the war, had a great influence on his subjects. Proof of this magnetism—on June 15, 1913, during the silver jubilee of his reign, addresses, ceremonies, commemorative works, and erections of statues multiplied. Better than the primus inter pares of the Bismarckian era, than the first of all German princes, the emperor henceforth symbolized, in the eyes of the masses, the constancy of a Germanic nation in full development of its economy, in full demographic expansion (67 million inhabitants in 1914), maritime and industrial, almost without unemployment, and benefiting from laws on health insurance, on accident insurance, on old-age insurance, to which nothing in any other country came close (and certainly not in republican France, with its insignificantly low birth rate—41.5 million inhabitants in 1914—the red lantern in terms of social rights).

The War

Unfortunately, then came that terrible conflict, announced on June 28, 1914 by the criminal act of Sarajevo, consequence of the Balkan crises of 1908 and 1912-1913. After that, on July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia; Russia was mobilized from July 29; and on August 1, in the evening, Germany declared war on Serbia, then on August 3 on France. And on August 4 it was Britain’s turn to declare war on Germany. Of course, Wilhelm immediately became the prominent figure of the Burgfriedenspolitik, cheered on with his wife, as they drove through the Brandenburg Gate on July 31. The next day, August 1, he was cheered on the balcony of the Berlin castle, and his words were reproduced on postcards with his image, which were widely distributed.

But in November 1918 came the defeat. The Emperor and King of Prussia had to abdicate. And so did the kings of Bavaria, Saxony, Württemberg, the grand dukes of Baden, Oldenburg, etc.—in a word, all the crowned heads of Germania. Final catastrophe, according to the Italian historian Guglielmo Ferrero, for the principle of authority that dominated the greater part of Europe—for the principle “already shaken by incredulity, rationalism, egalitarian doctrines” and “uprooted completely by the world war.”


Michael Toda is a historian and author of Henri Massis, un témoin de la droite intellectuelle, Louis de Bonald, théoricien de la Contre-Révolution, Parcours français. De Corneille à Jean Guitton. This article appears through the kind courtesy of La Nef.


Featured: “Inauguration of the Reichstag, June 25, 1888,” by Anton von Werner; painted in 1893.

The Emergence of Conservative Populism in Europe: Possibilities and Limitations

The recent victory of Giorgia Meloni and her party, Fratelli d’Italia, leading a coalition described as “conservative,” in Italy, is the latest episode of the advance in the nations of Europe of parties and movements that we qualify as “conservative populism.” Obviously, in Spain, the reference of this type of party is Vox. In this article we intend to analyze the possibilities and limitations of these political forces from the ideological perspective of a radical and sovereignist Hispanism, with a reasoned and reasonable criticism.

First of all, we will shred the stupid accusation, repeated ad nauseam by both the champagne Left and the liberal Right, that these parties are “fascist.” To do so, we will analyze what fascism really was, and bearing in mind that this term can have two real meanings: Mussolini’s regime in Italy, which ended with the defeat of that nation in World War II; or also, in a much more generic way, a set of political movements that occurred in Europe and Latin America in the interwar period and that, with some exceptions, also disappeared after World War II.

Regarding the accusation, also repeated ad nauseam, of being “ultra-right” or “extreme right,” we are not going to bother, since these terms are authentic “flatus vocis,” without any real content. In the usual political chatter we have heard how the PP, C,s, ETA, Catalan separatists, judges and the sumsum corda were accused of being “extreme right”. For the sake of mental clarity, we will not enter into this debate.

Italian fascism, from which comes the generic name given to other similar movements, was born as a split on the left of the Italian Socialist Party, of which Mussolini was a prominent leader. The main point of belligerence was Italy’s intervention in World War I, a thesis defended by Mussolini and his supporters against the “pacifism” of the Socialist International. Once the war was over, and Italy was among the victorious powers, the interventionists considered that it had not received, on the part of the other victorious powers, the economic and territorial compensation to which it was entitled.

All this ended up provoking the split, and the formation of the “fascios di combatimento” first, and later of the National Fascist Party, absorbing a good part of the so-called “national syndicalism,” of Sorelian inspiration, and also the nationalists of Corradini, of a more conservative tendency. In the images of the famous “March on Rome,” all the Fascist leaders accompanying Mussolini were people who came from Sorelian syndicalism.

Italian fascism always perceived itself as a revolutionary movement, opposed to liberalism, and which differed from Soviet communism by opposing the Nation as a political subject to the social class. Although on coming to power the movement became more moderate and “right-wing,” to the point of tolerating the monarchy, these revolutionary premises were always present, and re-emerged with force in the proclamation of the Italian Social Republic, even in the midst of the World War and with the Allied invasion of Italy.

The fundamental characteristics of this regime were:

  1. Single Party: the National Fascist Party.
  2. Corporate economic regime. Although there were state enterprises, private ownership of the means of production was admitted, but with rigid state control. Corporations brought together unions and employers with state presence and control.
  3. Secularism. The regime was NOT confessional, although it respected Catholicism as the majority religion. This secularism was not an obstacle for the signing of the first Concordat with the Holy See, with the recognition of the Vatican State.
  4. Expansionism. The regime was in favor of colonial expansion in Africa, hence its intervention in Abyssinia.
  5. Vague appeals to the heritage of Rome, and affirmation of the Mediterranean against the Anglo-Saxon.

Curiously, the only major movement outside Italy to claim the term “fascist” was Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, which was also born out of a split in the Labor Party.

It is evident that none of these elements, beyond vague appeals to national sovereignty, is present either in Giorgia Meloni’s party, or that of Salvini, nor, much less in Vox. We can only find echoes of state interventionism in Le Pen’s Rassemblent National. And this is so for two reasons—first because their ideological sources have nothing to do with each other (none of these parties comes from the left); but, above all, because the political, economic and geopolitical conditions of today’s Europe have nothing to do with the Europe of the interwar period.

Let us first analyze the conditions in which these political forces have emerged. We will then look at their successes and limitations, and finally, the possible positions of dissident movements in the face of the emergence of these forces.

From our point of view there is a fundamental event, which completely changed the political paradigm, which is the collapse of the USSR, and which opened the doors to ideological post-modernity, and which gave wing to the project of a unipolar world, with the USA as the hegemonic power, and the “end of history” as an aureole myth.

However, before this fundamental event, there are a series of issues to comment on, of events that mark the path in some way. The first was the appearance of the so-called Frankfurt School, which began to take shape in the years prior to World War II in the Weimar Republic, but which reached its maximum influence in the 1960s, and whose most paradigmatic representative was Herbert Marcuse.

The thinkers of this school were all of Marxist formation, although most of them militated in the German social democracy and not in the communist party; but they made such a deep criticism of Marxism that they emptied it of content. Their thesis was that the working class had become bourgeois and lost its revolutionary potential; and, consequently, it was necessary to look for new revolutionary “subjects” in the oppressed minorities and/or those who, because of their way of life, questioned the “status quo”: women, homosexuals, immigrants, students. In fact, the path of abandoning the class struggle and the beginning of the so-called “partial struggles” began.

These ideas were the theoretical basis of the so-called “May ’68” student revolts in many universities in Europe and the United States. Although the movement arose in “progressive” American universities, such as Berkley, it had special repercussions in France. It should be noted that, in France, the movement was driven by situationists (anarchists), Trotskyists and Maoists, but never had the support of the PCF loyal to Moscow.

This movement was hardly revolutionary. It responded to the demands of capitalism to generate new consumer habits, and to combat traditional morality, which had become an obstacle to mass hyper-consumption. The foundations for the consumerism, hedonism and nihilism that characterize postmodernity began to be consolidated in this movement.

Another fundamental event occurred in the 1980s, with the emergence of political neoliberalism under Ronald Reagan in the USA and Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom. Neoliberalism, as a reform of classical liberalism, had been incubating since the 1940s (Walter Lippmann Colloquium, Montpelegrin Society), Hayek being one of its most important theoreticians. Its political subject is to be found in the individual, but not in the rational-Cartesian individual of classical liberalism, but in the post-individual consumer. Contrary to classical liberalism, neoliberalism considered that the market was not a spontaneous phenomenon, and advocated an “interventionist” state, in the sense of acting to create these market conditions.

On the other hand, this neoliberalism advocated abandoning all Keynesian and social protection policies, since it conceived social life as a struggle of “all against all,” and considered that social protection policies encouraged laziness and irresponsibility.

The fall of the USSR opened up an excellent scenario for these proposals. Capitalist states no longer needed to prove that their workers lived better than those in socialist countries. Liberalism, mutated into neoliberalism, had been left alone when the main referent of socialism collapsed; it no longer had to present itself as a political theory or justify itself.

The collapse of the USSR meant the end of the Cold War, and gave rise to the United States to cherish the idea of a unipolar world, subject to its empire. As a consequence, we had a series of phenomena:

  • The increasing pressure of international organizations, which were nothing more than tentacles of the Anglo-Empire, on the sovereignty of states and peoples.
  • The increase of immigrationism, whose function, apart from providing cheap labor and creating social dumping, is to dilute the identities of nations and peoples.
  • The domination of globalism and its vicarious ideologies (Agenda 2030) over the media, educational programs, universities, cinema, television series, in an increasingly suffocating proportion. Globalism is a sort of synthesis between neoliberalism, social democracy and the champagne left, which allows it to present and perceive itself as left-wing and “progressive,” but it is nothing more than a tentacle of the Anglo-empire.
  • The consolidation of the EU as a political-economic branch of the Anglo-empire for the control and submission of Europe and NATO as a military branch of the same.
  • Economic sanctions, isolation and destructive war against any state that tried to oppose globalism: aggression against Iraq, Serbia, Syria, Libya by the USA and its allies/vassals. Economic sanctions against Poland and Hungary. “Warnings” from van Der Leyden to the Italians of what can happen to them if they do not vote “correctly.” Humiliation of Greece, etc. The current war against Russia is part of these processes.

All this has generated in many European nations significant pockets of discontent in large sectors of the population. The destruction of the middle classes, the conversion of the proletariat into the “precariat,” the growing fiscal pressure that does not translate into improved services, the feeling of conservative sectors of the population that their values are constantly criminalized, the problems generated by uncontrolled immigration, insecurity and delinquency, the growth of the squatting phenomenon—and the inability of the left, social democrats or champagne lefists to channel this discontent, as they are part of the System that has provoked it.

In this context, the conservative and populist parties and movements have had the ability to capitalize on this discontent. With all their differences, which they have, parties such as Meloni’s, Salvini’s, Le Pen’s, Vox or Alternative for Germany (AfD0 have ridden their electoral successes on these sectors of the population that felt orphaned of representation.

However, it is one thing to channel discontent and quite another to have the capacity to act on its causes. This capacity depends on the real power that one has; but also, and above all, on the proposed objectives.

In political action we must distinguish between what we want to do and what we can do. It must be understood that, many times, the deficiencies and the distance between proposals and realities respond to this lack of power; but if what has been achieved is in line with what is desired, the political action is correct. A sovereigntist government, such as the Hungarian government, confronted with the European Commission, may have to give in on some things, but this is not due to a lack of will, but to a lack of power. We cannot deduce that this government has betrayed its objectives, but simply that it has not been able to fulfill them.

Now, in this case, my concern is not about the distance between objectives and achievements, but about the objectives themselves. All these parties agree in demanding from the EU more sovereignty for the states and less interference in their internal policies. This differentiates them from the liberal-conservative parties, such as the PP, which are absolutely surrendering national sovereignty to the Eurocrats. This is a very laudable objective, even if it is not entirely achieved, since it is to put a spoke in the wheels of globalism. Another objective is the development of a “cultural war” against the ideologies of the 2030 Agenda, and it is also very laudable, even if it is not 100 percent achieved.

However, none of these parties has clearly and distinctly demanded that the EU develop policies of its own outside of U.S. interests. None of these parties has viewed NATO as a threat to sovereignty equal to or greater than the EU itself. And, consequently, none of these parties has called for NATO’s exit from the nation in which they operate. And this is what is worrying.

The current situation, the war in Ukraine, the sanctions against Russia, the energy crisis, the sabotage of NS2, lowers many masks and has turned the cards upside down. Meloni rushed to affirm her support to Zelensky. Le Pen is silent. Vox, through the mouth of Rocio Monasterio, has accused Russia (against all logic) of sabotaging the NS2, while Santiago Abascal in a tweet (unless it is a fake) claimed that “the climate lobbies were financed by Russia.” It is best not to talk about the Poles. The only ones who have taken dignified positions, against sanctions against Russia, have been Orban and Alternative for Germany.

I insist. The worrying thing is not that they are not able to get their respective countries out of NATO; the worrying thing is that they do not even propose it—that they do not consider NATO a threat to sovereignty; that they do not see, or do not want to see, that all the ideological garbage of the 2030 Agenda, which they fight, comes from the USA; that it is an instrument of globalism, and that this globalism is nothing more than the ideological alibi of the Anglo-empire.

Having said all this, I am now going to focus on the Spanish case, that is, on Vox. There is a very interesting book by Pedro Carlos González Cuevas, Vox, entre el liberalismo conservador y la derecha identitaria, in which he advances the theory of “las dos almas de Vox” (the two souls of Vox). According to this theory, there would exist in Vox a liberal sector (sometimes extreme liberal), Atlantist, close to the American “neocon,” and another more sovereigntist sector, more interventionist in economy and closer to the identitarian approaches. I agree with this theory, but with an addition: it is evident that the liberal sector is the one that controls the party.

This duplicity, which in the future may generate crucial tensions, with an evident predominance of the liberal sector, not only affects ideological and international positions, but also national political action and strategic alliances.

A Hispanist and identity-based policy, for example, would be incompatible with being the crutch of the PP, since in the designation of the main enemy, fundamental in all political action, the PP-PSOE tandem, the two-party system and in general the 78 Regime, would be pointed out, and an alliance with the PP would be as unthinkable as with the PSOE. On the other hand, if we start from the extreme liberal premises, the designation of the enemy is different—the left and the nationalists are pointed out, and the PP is considered as a natural ally, to be “right-winged.”

It is evident that Vox’s strategy is the latter, which shows the absolute predominance of the liberal sector. This could end up having dire consequences from the electoral point of view, because if the electorate ends up seeing Vox as a simple crutch of the PP, it will end up transferring votes to the major party. The worst thing that could happen to Vox is a PP-Vox coalition government, since experience shows that in these cases the big party eats the little one.

But it must also be recognized that there are militants, middle managers and even deputies in Vox who are not on this line. If in the future their influence in the party were to increase, the party could change some of its positions in a notable way. I would also like to clarify that these ideological tensions have nothing to do with the Macarena-Olona affair. The tensions that this lady has provoked are framed in a matter of “ego” and personal ambitions, without any ideological dimension.


José Alsina Calvés is a historian and philosopher who specializes in political biography, the history of science and the history of ideas and edits the journal Nihil Obstat. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Posmodernia.

Teenage Secessions: The New Mutineers of Panurge

If there is one place where everyone can observe the numerous and diverse rebellions that are taking place in France, it is the school. Every teacher is aware of this—school is no longer the civic and cultural mold that used to “make” the French. On the contrary, it is now up to the educational institution and academic knowledge to adapt to the “French archipelago,” to use Jérôme Fourquet’s expression.

In all classrooms, the new cultural and ethnic cleavages are now evident. Sociologists have long been analyzing the various adolescent tribes that have populated the playgrounds of high schools and colleges since May 1968: “goths,” “geeks,” “riffraff,” “rockers,” and so many other possible affiliations for adolescents in search of an identity that is both gregarious and rebellious. These clans once formed a set of counter-cultures opposed to the official culture condemned since Bourdieu as “bourgeois” by a whole section of the teaching profession itself. However, the current situation offers the attentive teacher some new features.

School Cultures and Counter-Cultures

Classical culture no longer exists, at least as a reference culture, either among the students or in the content of teaching. With the exception of a few large inner-city high schools, most students have no idea of its importance. Their own civilization is now essentially foreign to them, since it is assimilated to a simple collection of meaningless old things—what good is Moliere or Descartes when their understanding requires an effort that the tyranny of immediacy has abolished? Everything converges towards a simplification of the language. This phenomenon explains the collapse of the mastery of the French language, the mother of all school secessions. In this respect, one can refer to the precious indictment of Professor René Chiche in La désinstruction nationale (2019). He has the courage to speak of “quasi-illiteracy” to designate this implosion of the common language observed during the correction of hundreds of copies of the baccalaureate “written in a gibberish that borrows vaguely from French as from a foreign language.”

As for the teachers, either they no longer know this culture of reference, or they are ashamed of it, or are forced to admit defeat by the spirit of the age—self-censorship and the simplification of knowledge triumph, even if it is at the cost of yet another renunciation. Certainly, there are still a few chains of transmission that work, a few students who are attentive to this legacy of the past; but these students only survive in a universe that is now hostile to the idea of a cultural hierarchy. This is the great seesaw: the former reference culture has become a minority counter-culture in the school, one of the many islands in the school archipelago—and this among students and teachers. This is the first condition of secession, when the norm becomes the exception and the exception the norm.

Among all these counter-cultures that face each other, is there not one that does not tend to dominate the others? It would be naive not to believe this, for nature abhors a vacuum. In most establishments, demographic evolution has made the difference—it is now Islam, even if it is not well known and because it is not well known, as well as rap culture that dominates mentalities. As far as Islam is concerned, most students grant the Muslim religion the prestige that the Catholic religion once held—in biology and philosophy classes, the new norm of the sacred is indeed Islamic. How many teachers have faced widespread disbelief in evolutionism? And because it is authentically sacred in the eyes of most students, Muslim or not, it is a norm that one must necessarily deal with, as a student on the playground and as a teacher in the classroom.

On the Koran, Ma!

The philosophy course on religion often turns into an insurmountable challenge. It is impossible to stay within the Christian theological framework, even though it is perfectly adapted to Greek rationality, since these references seemingly exclude students of the Muslim faith, and all students, including non-Muslims, find fault with these references. It is also impossible to discuss Muslim dogmas and texts, since the teacher would dare to interfere in the sphere of the sacred shared by most students—the new bigotry is of Koranic origin but internalized by all. The “wallah” and “on the Koran” are the backdrop of recesses as well as of interclass periods. More surprisingly, teachers discover to what extent some Christian students in the minority proudly claim the practice of Lent, unconsciously copying that of a Ramadan that has become predominant in many schools. It is therefore deference to Islam that serves as a common reference point.

As for rap culture, which it is now absurd to call a “counter” culture, its hegemony is undeniable, including in the more bourgeois high schools where tracksuits and rap have been crushing the competition for several years. The lyrics and the imagination of this musical genre now grant it a monopoly on subversion, vehemence and virility. Victory has thus gone to the most aggressive tribe. But in the peripheral high schools, exhibiting this obedience is not only a sign of good adolescent taste, it is above all a means of integration, even of social survival. For boys, adopting the social codes of the dominant group gives them hope of immunity from harassment. The girls themselves are not mistaken—adopting the codes of the “street” is a very effective defense mechanism to make themselves respected.

The Colony of our Colonies

Obviously, this new dominant culture, halfway between Mecca and the United States, has a common ground—the massive immigration of the last decades. “Conquered Greece has conquered her fierce conqueror,” said Horace (Epistles, II)—by one of those dialectical reversals that history possesses the secret of, the descendants of the formerly colonized populations are now consciously and unconsciously imposing their spirituality and aesthetics on the natives, who are obliged to pay allegiance. Nomadic identity has replaced the sedentary culture of the former majority, since it is now shameful not to have origins—when one is a “little white boy,” one comes to dig up Italian or Polish ancestors to cultivate one’s extraterritoriality.

Thus, at school, minorities that have become the majority are now capable of tyrannizing the majority that has become the minority. This secessionist matrix, to which everyone seems to be resigned, has many repercussions, including for the rare families who still seem to escape it—bypassing the school map, private schools, private lessons. It is then multilateral tribalism that emerges to compensate for cultural disaffiliation, as Michel Maffesoli already noted in Le temps des tribus (1988): “Tribalism reminds us of the importance of the feeling of belonging to a place, to a group, as the essential foundation of all social life.” And in the average high school, teenage tribes are about to be overwhelmed by the most proselytizing and most fertile of them. Michel Maffesoli’s world is thus answered by Philippe Muray’s world of prison-guards and mutineers of Panurge.

The school and the world of tomorrow will not be the paradise of intersectionality but the hell of incommensurability—a conflicting space without true culture; that is to say, without any common measure capable of transcending the particular tribes.


Paul-Élie Aengler writes for the revue Éléments.


Kharkov and Mobilization

The recapture of the Kharkov region at the beginning of September appears to be a success for Ukrainian forces. Our media exulted and relayed Ukrainian propaganda to give us a picture that is not entirely accurate. A closer look at the operations might have prompted Ukraine to be more cautious.

From a military point of view, this operation is a tactical victory for the Ukrainians and an operational/strategic victory for the Russian coalition.

On the Ukrainian side, Kiev was under pressure to achieve some success on the battlefield. Volodymyr Zelensky was afraid of a fatigue from the West and that its support would stop. This is why the Americans and the British pressed him to carry out offensives in the Kherson sector. These offensives, undertaken in a disorganised manner, with disproportionate casualties and without success, created tensions between Zelensky and his military staff.

For several weeks now, Western experts have been questioning the presence of the Russians in the Kharkov area, as they clearly had no intention to fight in the city. In reality, their presence in this area was only aimed at affixing the Ukrainian troops so that they would not go to the Donbass, which is the real operational objective of the Russians.

In August, indications suggested that the Russians had planned to leave the area well before the start of the Ukrainian offensive. They therefore withdrew in good order, together with some civilians who could have been the subject of retaliation. As evidence of this, the huge ammunition depot at Balaklaya was empty when the Ukrainians found it, demonstrating that the Russians had evacuated all sensitive personnel and equipment in good order several days earlier. The Russians had even left areas that Ukraine had not attacked. Only a few Russian National Guard and Donbass militia troops remained as the Ukrainians entered the area.

At this point, the Ukrainians were busy launching multiple attacks in the Kherson region, which had resulted in repeated setbacks and huge losses for their army since August. When US intelligence detected the Russians’ departure from the Kharkov region, they saw an opportunity for the Ukrainians to achieve an operational success and passed on the information. Ukraine thus abruptly decided to attack the Kharkov area that was already virtually empty of Russian troops.

Apparently, the Russians anticipated the organisation of referenda in Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe and Kherson oblasts. They realised that the territory of Kharkov was not directly relevant to their objectives, and that they were in the same situation as with Snake Island in June: the energy to defend this territory was greater than its strategic importance.

By withdrawing from Kharkov, the Russian coalition was able to consolidate its defence line behind the Oskoll River and strengthen its presence in the north of the Donbass. It was thus able to make a significant advance in the Bakhmut area, a key point in the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk sector, which is the real operational objective of the Russian coalition.

As there were no longer any troops in Kharkov to “pin down” the Ukrainian army, the Russians had to attack the electrical infrastructure to prevent Ukrainian reinforcements by train to the Donbass.

As a result, today, all Russian coalition forces are located within what may become the new borders of Russia after the referenda in the four southern Ukrainian oblasts.

For the Ukrainians, it is a Pyrrhic victory. They advanced into Kharkov without encountering any resistance and there was hardly any fighting. Instead, the area became a huge “killing zone” (“зона поражения”), where Russian artillery would destroy an estimated number of 4,000-5,000 Ukrainians (about 2 brigades), while the Russian coalition suffered only marginal losses as there was no fighting.
These losses come on top of those from the Kherson offensives. According to Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defence Minister, the Ukrainians lost about 7,000 men in the first three weeks of September. Although these figures cannot be verified, their order of magnitude matches the estimates of some Western experts. In other words, it seems that the Ukrainians have lost about 25% of the 10 brigades that were created and equipped in recent months with Western help. This is a far cry from the million-man army mentioned by the Ukrainian leaders.

From a political point of view, it is a strategic victory for the Ukrainians, and a tactical loss for the Russians. It is the first time that the Ukrainians have taken back so much territory since 2014, and the Russians seem to be losing. The Ukrainians were able to use this opportunity to communicate about their final victory, undoubtedly triggering exaggerated hopes and making them even less willing to engage in negotiation.

This is why Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, declared that the moment “is not one for appeasement.” This Pyrrhic victory is therefore a poisoned gift for Ukraine. It has led the West to overestimate the capabilities of the Ukrainian forces and to push them to engage in further offensives, instead of negotiating.

The words “victory” and “defeat” need to be carefully used. Vladimir Putin’s stated objectives of “demilitarisation” and “denazification” are not about gaining territory, but about destroying the threat to the Donbass. In other words, the Ukrainians are fighting for territory, while the Russians seek to destroy capabilities. In a way, by holding on to territory, the Ukrainians are making the Russians’ job easier. You can always regain territory—you cannot regain human lives.

In the belief that they are weakening Russia, our media are promoting the gradual disappearance of Ukrainian society. It seems like a paradox, but this is consistent with the way our leaders view Ukraine. They did not react to the massacres of Russian-speaking Ukrainian civilians in the Donbass between 2014 and 2022, nor do they mention Ukraine’s losses today. In fact, for our media and authorities, Ukrainians are a kind of “Untermenschen” whose life is only meant to satisfy the goals of our politicians.

Between 23 and 27 September, there were four referendums in progress, and the local populations have to answer different questions depending on their region. In the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which are officially independent, the question is whether the population wants to join Russia. In the oblasts of Kherson and Zaporozhe, which are still officially part of Ukraine, the question is whether the population wants to remain within Ukraine, whether they want to be independent, or whether they want to be part of Russia.

However, there are still some unknowns at this stage, such as what will be the borders of the entities that will be attached to Russia. Will they be the borders of the areas occupied by the Russian coalition today or the borders of the Ukrainian regions? If it is the second solution, then we could still have Russian offensives to seize the rest of the regions (oblasts).

It is hard to estimate the outcome of these referenda, although one can assume the Russian-speaking Ukrainians will most probably want to leave Ukraine. Polls, whose reliability cannot be assessed, suggest that 80-90% are in favour of joining Russia. This seems realistic due to several factors.

Firstly, since 2014, linguistic minorities in Ukraine have been subject to restrictions that have made them 2nd class citizens. As a result, the Ukrainian policy has caused Russian-speaking citizens to no longer feel Ukrainian. This was even emphasised by the Law on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in July 2021, which is somewhat equivalent to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which give different rights to citizens depending on their ethnic origin. This is why Vladimir Putin wrote an article on 12 July 2021 calling on Ukraine to consider Russian speakers as part of the Ukrainian nation and not to discriminate against them as proposed by the new law.

Of course, no Western country protested against this law, which is a continuation of the abolition of the law on official languages in February 2014, which was the reason for the secession of Crimea and Donbass.

Secondly, in their fight against the secession of Donbass, the Ukrainians never tried to win the “hearts and minds” of the insurgents. On the contrary, they have done everything to drive them further away by bombing them, by mining their roads, by cutting off drinking water, by stopping the payment of pensions and salaries, or by stopping all banking services. This is the exact opposite of an effective counter-insurgency strategy.

Finally, the artillery and missile strikes against the population of Donetsk and other cities in the Zaporozhe and Kherson region in order to intimidate the population and prevent them from going to the polls is further alienating the local population from Kiev. Today, the Russian-speaking population is afraid of Ukrainian reprisals if the referenda are not accepted.

So, we have a situation where the Western countries announce that they will not recognise these referenda, but on the other hand they have done absolutely nothing to encourage Ukraine to have a more inclusive policy with their minorities. Ultimately, what these referenda could reveal is that there has never really been an inclusive Ukrainian nation.

Moreover, these referenda will freeze a situation and make Russia’s conquests irreversible. Interestingly, if the West had let Zelensky continue with the proposal he made to Russia at the end of March 2022, Ukraine would more or less retained its pre-February 2022 configuration. As a reminder, Zelensky had made a first request for negotiation on 25 February, which the Russians had accepted, but which the European Union refused by providing a first package of €450 million in arms. In March, Zelensky made another offer that Russia welcomed and was ready to discuss, but the European Union once again came to prevent this with a second package of €500 million for arms.

As explained by Ukraïnskaya Pravda, Boris Johnson called Zelensky on 2 April and asked him to withdraw his proposal, otherwise the West would stop its support. Then, on 9 April, during his visit to Kiev, “BoJo” repeated the same thing to the Ukrainian president. Ukraine was therefore ready to negotiate with Russia, but the West does not want negotiations, as “BoJo” made clear again on his last visit to Ukraine in August.

It is certainly the prospect that there will be no negotiations that have prompted Russia to engage in referenda. It should be remembered that until now, Vladimir Putin had always rejected the idea of integrating the territories of southern Ukraine into Russia.

It should also be remembered that if the West were so committed to Ukraine and its territorial integrity, France and Germany would certainly have fulfilled their obligations under the Minsk Agreements before February 2022. Moreover, they would have let Zelensky proceed with his proposed agreement with Russia in March 2022. The problem is that the West is not looking for Ukraine’s interest, but to weaken Russia.

Partial Mobilization

Regarding Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilisation, it should be recalled that Russia has intervened in Ukraine with considerably fewer troops than the West considers necessary to conduct an offensive campaign. There are two reasons for this. First, the Russians rely on their mastery of the “operative art” and play with their operational modules on the theatre of operations like a chess player. This is what allows them to be effective with reduced manpower. In other words, they know how to conduct operations efficiently.

The second reason that our media deliberately ignore is that the vast majority of the combat actions in Ukraine is carried out by the Donbass militias. Instead of saying “the Russians,” they should (if they were honest) say “the Russian coalition” or “the Russian-speaking coalition.” In other words, the number of Russian troops in Ukraine is relatively small. Moreover, the Russian practice is to keep troops only for a limited period in the area of operations. This means that they tend to rotate troops more frequently than the West.

In addition to these general considerations, there are the possible consequences of the referenda in southern Ukraine, which are likely to extend the Russian border by almost 1000 kilometres. This will require additional capabilities to build a more robust defence system, to construct facilities for troops, etc. In that sense, this partial mobilisation is a good idea. In this sense, this partial mobilisation is a logical consequence of what we have seen above.

Much has been made in the West about those who have sought to leave Russia to avoid mobilisation. They certainly exist, like the thousands of Ukrainians who sought to escape conscription and can be seen in the streets of Brussels driving powerful and expensive German sports cars! Much less publicity has been given to the long queues of young people outside military recruitment offices and the popular demonstrations in favour of the decision to mobilise!

Nuclear Threats

As to the nuclear threats, in his speech on 21 September , Vladimir Putin mentioned the risk of nuclear escalation. Naturally, the conspiratorial media (i.e., those that construct narratives from unrelated information) immediately spoke of “nuclear threats.”

In reality, this is not true. If we read the wording of Putin’s speech, we can see that he did not threaten to use nuclear weapons. In fact, he has never done so since the beginning of this conflict in 2014. However, he has warned the West against the use of such weapons. I will remind you that on 24 August, Liz Truss declared that it was acceptable to strike Russia with nuclear weapons, and that she was ready to do so, even if it would lead to a “global annihilation!” This is not the first time that the current British Prime Minister has made such a statement, which had already prompted warnings from the Kremlin in February. Moreover, I would like to remind you that in April of this year, Joe Biden decided to depart from the US “no-first use” policy and thus reserves the right to use nuclear weapons first.

So clearly, Vladimir Putin does not trust Western behaviour that is totally irrational and irresponsible, and which is ready to sacrifice its own citizens in order to achieve objectives guided by dogmatism and ideology. This is what is happening in the field of energy and sanctions at the moment, and this is what Liz Truss is ready to do with nuclear weapons. Putin is certainly worried about the reactions of our leaders who are in increasingly uncomfortable situations because of the catastrophic economic and social situation they have created by their incompetence. This pressure on our leaders could lead them to escalate the conflict just to avoid losing face.

In his speech, Vladimir Putin does not threaten to use nuclear weapons, but other types of weapons. He is of course thinking of hypersonic weapons, which do not need to be nuclear to be effective and which can thwart Western defences. Moreover, contrary to what our media say, the use of tactical nuclear weapons is no longer in the Russian employment doctrine for many years. Moreover, unlike the United States, Russia has a no-first-use policy.

In other words, it is the Westerners and their erratic behaviour that are the real factors of insecurity.

I am not sure that our politicians have a clear and objective view of the situation. Ignazio Cassis’ recent tweets show that his level of information is low. First of all, when he mentions Switzerland’s role and neutrality in offering its good offices, he is a bit out of touch with geography. In Russia’s mind, Switzerland has abandoned its neutrality status and if it wants to play a constructive role in this conflict, it will have to demonstrate its neutrality. We are a long, long way from that.

Secondly, when Cassis expressed his concern about the use of nuclear weapons to Lavrov, he clearly did not understand Vladimir Putin’s message. The problem with today’s Western leaders is that none of them currently has the intellectual capacity to deal with the challenges that they themselves have created through their own foolishness. Cassis would probably have been better advised to express his concerns to Truss and Biden!

The Russians—and Vladimir Putin in particular—have always been very clear in their statements and have consistently and methodically done what they said they would do. No more, no less. One can of course disagree with what he says, but it is a major and probably even criminal mistake not to listen to what he says. For if we had listened, we could have prevented the situation becoming what it is.

It is also interesting to compare the current general situation with what was described in the RAND Corporation reports published in 2019 as the blueprint for trying to destabilise Russia.

Figure 1—From the RAND Corporation’s 2019 paper on how to destabilise Russia. This document shows that the US was aiming for a campaign of subversion against Russia, in which Ukraine was only an unfortunate instrument.

As we can see, what we are witnessing is the result of a carefully planned scenario. It is very likely that the Russians were able to anticipate what the West was planning against them. Russia was thus able to prepare itself politically and diplomatically for the crisis that was to be created. It is this capacity for strategic anticipation that shows that Russia is more stable, more effective and more efficient than the West. This is why I think that if this conflict is going to escalate, it will be more because of Western incompetence than because of a Russian calculation.


Jacques Baud is a widely respected geopolitical expert whose publications include many articles and books, including Poutine: Maître du jeu? Gouverner avec les fake news, and L’Affaire Navalny. His most recent book is on the war in Uktraine, entitled, Operation Z.