Akhand Bharat: Greater India

India—to the surprise of many—now has the fastest growing economy. The country’s GDP grew by 8.4% in 2023. By 2027, it will become the world’s third largest economy. If this trend continues, India has a chance of overtaking the US and even China in the 2030s.

India is a leader in both demographics and the IT vector. The Indian diaspora now controls a significant segment of Silicon Valley, and Britain’s prime minister is an ethnic Indian, Rishi Sunak, albeit a liberal-globalist. Interestingly, Vivek Ramaswamy, an influential conservative politician in the American Republican Party, a staunch Trump supporter, also of Indian descent, is Sunak’s complete ideological antipode. In any case, Indians are making inroads.

We are dealing with a completely new phenomenon—the birth of a new center of the world before our eyes. India owes much of its success to the new turn in politics that came with the rise to power of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party. Actually, modern India was founded during decolonization by a different—leftist and progressive—party, the Indian National Congress. Of course, the highest value for Indians after independence was liberation from the effects of colonialism, but India remained a member of the post-colonial British-dominated Commonwealth of Nations and clung tightly to British-installed democracy, indeed, even boasted of being “the largest democracy in the world.” The Congress was content with the country’s political independence from its former masters, but agreed to imitate the socio-political, economic and cultural paradigm of the West.

The Congress’ monopoly on power in India was first undermined by the victory of an alternative right-conservative party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, in the 1996 elections to the lower house of parliament (Lok Sabha). This party itself was formed from the extreme conservative Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh movement in 1980.

In 2014, Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, from this party, and remains so till now. According to analysts, Modi has every reason to retain his post in the 2024 elections, which began on April 19 and will end on June 1.

The rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Modi’s personal political charisma have fundamentally changed India. By the way, the official name of India under Modi was changed to the Sanskrit name Bharat. The fact is that Modi is based on a completely different ideology than the Indian National Congress.

Initially, there were two directions in the Indian struggle for independence from the British: one mild and pacifist, embodied in the figure of Mahatma Gandhi, who relied on non-violent resistance, and the other more militant and uncompromising, represented by such figures as the Indian traditionalist Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the founder of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Keshav Hedgewar, and the nationalist Vinayak Savarkar.

The British, who were leaving the country, quietly entrusted power in India (having previously ceded a number of territories inhabited by Muslims—Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal) to the Congress, believing that this party would keep India in the zone of Anglo-Saxon influence and lead it along the path of modernization and westernization (with regional specifics), i.e., some form of colonial control would be retained.

In contrast, the main opponents of the Congress from the very beginning of the struggle for independence believed that India was not just a country or a former colony, but the territory of a powerful and distinctive civilization. Today we call it a state-civilization. This idea was first articulated by Kanaiyalal Munshi and was called “Akhand Bharat,” “Undivided India” or “Greater India.”

In 2022, Narendra Modi called the main goal the “decolonization of the Indian mind.” And before us appears an India we did not know at all—a right-wing conservative India, a Vedic state-civilization, a Greater India on the path of total sovereignty.

Of course, a superficial observer will notice a contradiction here: India is geopolitically getting closer and closer to the US and Israel; it is drawn into a growing border conflict with China (hence India’s participation in several regional anti-China blocs, such as QUAD, etc.), and relations with the Islamic world are aggravating, both within India and with respect to Pakistan. If Indian traditionalists are concerned with “decolonizing the Indian mind” and fighting Western material civilization, what do they have in common with the United States?

To resolve this ambiguity, we can look to the history of the rise of modern China. Representatives of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and especially Henry Kissinger himself, offered China a bilateral partnership against the USSR back in the late 1970s to finally break the socialist camp. China under Deng Xiaoping took advantage of this and gradually over the course of 40 years turned from an economic client of the US into a powerful independent pole with which the US has now entered into competition and, in fact, a trade war. The escalation of the problem around Taiwan makes it possible to predict the transition of this confrontation to a hot stage.

Now the same globalist forces in the West have decided to support India, this time against China. And Modi, given China’s experience, adopted this strategy. But just as China has used globalization for its own purposes, not losing but strengthening its sovereignty, Greater India intends to do the same. First, taking into account the objective realities of international politics, to maximize its power, raise the welfare of its huge population, the volume of the domestic market, military power, technological potential, and then at the right moment to act as a fully independent and sovereign pole.

This strategy is best understood by the globalists themselves. Thus, George Soros and his Open Society Foundation, banned in Russia, which openly set as its main goal the fight against tradition, sovereignty and independent cultures and societies, declared war on Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party. In doing so, he not only supported the opposition Congress, but also began to actively foment social and ethnic discord in India, in particular, calling on Dalits (a widespread caste of untouchables) to revolt against Modi. This is another version of the “color revolution” that the globalists are leading the charge towards.

Russia simply needs to realize the fundamental changes taking place in India. It is a very different country from the one with which we built up quite close relations during the Soviet period. Yes, Indians are still very sympathetic and nostalgic towards Russians. And this applies not only to the leftists in the Congress (where, by the way, under the influence of Soros, the voices of Russophobes are becoming louder and louder), but also to right-wing traditionalists. And in this case, the key role is played not by inertia, but by a clear understanding that Russia declares itself as a civilization state, is the most important force in the construction of a multipolar world, and is also undergoing a kind of “decolonization of consciousness.” While India has certain conflict issues—especially in the border areas—with China, another civilization state and another pole of the multipolar world, there is nothing like that with Russia, even in the distant future.

At the same time, we should not get closer to India in spite of our close strategic partnership with China. On the contrary, we have a vital interest in resolving relations between these two great powers, because if a conflict breaks out between them (which is exactly what the West is pushing for), the prospects for a multipolar world will be pushed back indefinitely. Russia is now standing up for its traditional values. In this case, we should better understand all those who have stood up for their own.

And then the energy partnership, strategic plans for the North-South transport corridor, Eurasian integration processes, cooperation in high-tech (and India is now one of the world leaders in IT) and the financial sphere will acquire a new ideological dimension: traditionalists interested in civilizational sovereignty and in stopping the expansion of the Western hegemon will understand each other much better than anyone else.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitika.

Featured: Map of Hindoostan, Farther India, China, and Tibet by Samuel Augustus Mitchell, printed in 1860.

Jared Kushner’s Great Game

Recently, Jared Kushner, came to his alma mater (Harvard) and gave a lengthy interview to Professor Tarek Masoud, in which he laid out his views on the Middle East.

This interview has been largely derided and thus dismissed or defended. But such attitudes are deceptive. Kushner wields much power and influence and will wield a lot more should Donald Trump again become president in November 2024—he is being touted as Trump’s Secretary of State. We need only recall that Kushner put in place the Abraham Accords, which were devastating for Palestine, but great for Israel.

Therefore, his words should be seriously studied, because they form a blueprint of what a new Trump administration will seek to accomplish in the Middle East—which in a nuthell will be to ensure that Israel is the sole master of the region. To bring this about, American effort will be to destroy Iran, ravage Russia and lay waste to China. These three countries are said to support actors hostile to Israel and thus to America. This is made clear by Kushner. The expected, larger outcome is the usual one—the world run by the USA, with Israel in its habitual role of “enforcer,” and Saudi Arabia ever the loyal lackey, with the various lapdog Gulf States in tow.

Over the course of his commentary, Kushner affirms that Israel indeed has nuclear weapons. Of course, Israel is not supposed to have them, but it is also an open secret that they do.

As for the Palestinians, Kushner reasons that it is hard to tell who is a terrorist among them and who is not. Therefore, they need a strong master to manage them; they are too childish to look after themselves. (Here Kushner’s “role” as a father is key). Kushner understands perfectly what is best for the Palestinians, because “father knows best.”

As for a Palestinian state, Kushner calls it a “super bad idea”—because that would be “rewarding” “bad behavior” (something that Kushner would never do as a Dad). Irresponsible children cannot run countries; more crucially, he sees a Palestinian state as a threat to Israel. That can never be allowed. Besides, if given such a state, the Palestinians would just blow it all up anyway. Better that they stay under the sure hand of Israel and somehow make lots of money. Making lots of money is the moral compass that governs Kushner’s International Relations. Genocide? What genocide? Despite being a father, he has nothing to say about the slaughter of children now being carried out by Israel. To further the cause of “Israel über alles,” the suffering of the Palestinian people can never be acknowledged. Kushner’s best suggestion is that the whole lot of them be transported out and put into some place “bulldozed” into the Negev desert. Out of sight, out of mind.

Behind Kushner’s boyish phraseology hides a grim program, in which the cheery wheeling and dealing is meant to destroy all of Israel’s perceived enemies, no matter who has to suffer in the process (the Palestinians, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, etc.). In other words, yet more of the master-slave “paradigm” (a word much used by Kushner). The Middle East must belong to Israel, and thereby the USA. It cannot belong to the majority of the people who actually live there.

In the interview, there is no awareness at all of BRICS and multipolarity, let alone the full aspirations of peoples and of nations. There is only the drive for dominance, all packaged as breezy arrogance which demands that the world be run the American way—or else. This is Kushner’s “deal;” it will be the new Great Game of International Relations, should Trump become president.

Thus, we thought that it important to provide a transcript of this interview that it might be the more thoroughly studied, since the written word allows for deeper reflection rather than a video.

Middle East Dialogues. February 15, 2024

Tarek Masoud: All right. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a great pleasure to welcome you this evening. My name is Tarek Masoud. I am a professor of public policy here at the Kennedy School, and I’m the faculty chair of our Middle East Initiative. It’s really my great pleasure to welcome you to this first in our spring series of what we are calling “Middle East Dialogues,” which are a series of conversations that I’m having with individuals whom I believe hold varied and vital perspectives, not just on the conflict in the region, but on the paths towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for the people of that part of the world.

Our guest this evening is one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t need an introduction, and that’s Mr. Jared Kushner. He was a senior advisor to President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2021, where he handled a number of vital portfolios from prison reform to trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to the reason that we are here tonight, which is peacemaking in the Middle East.

When I put together this series, Jared Kushner’s name was the very first name on my list, and that’s because he was the architect of the Abraham Accords, which I personally believe to be one of the most significant developments in the Middle East in recent memory. And he’s just generally a deal-maker par excellence. And if there’s any part of the world that I think needs really excellent deal-makers right now, I think it’s the Middle East. So I’m honored that he accepted my invitation to return to Harvard, his old stomping grounds, to have an open and candid conversation about some of the toughest issues on the planet right now.

So, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to talk for about 45 minutes, and then we’ll take questions from my students who I will call on. Those of you who know me know that you should never put a middle-aged Egyptian male in charge of timekeeping. So, I’m going to try to keep everything on time so that we can end at the appointed hour. So, first, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Jared Kushner.

Humanitarian Toll in Gaza and Views on Immediate Ceasefire

Jared, thank you so much for being with us. So, I just want to dive right into the war on Gaza.

We all know of the gruesome terrorist attack that happened on October 7th: more than 1,200 innocent Israelis brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists, more than 200 people taken hostages. Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed a fearsome military response, which was designed or intended to make sure that this never happens again. Now, today, four months later, more than 25,000 Palestinians are dead. I can’t tell you what percentage of them are Hamas terrorists, but we know that half of them are women and children. We know that more than a million Gazans are trying to shelter in the south of the country. They’re amassing on the border with Egypt. Many reports indicate that Gazans are now enduring a famine, and Israel is poised to begin a ground operation in Rafah that we think will take many more civilian lives. We know Israel’s being accused of genocide in front of the International Court of Justice, and even President Biden says that the Israeli operation has been over the top. But I’m guessing you don’t support calls for a ceasefire, and I wanted to ask why.

Jared Kushner: Jump right into it, so it’s good. First of all, it’s really great to be here, and thank you for putting on this dialogue on the Middle East. I think it’s a topic that I spent a lot of time, I spent four years working on, when I was in the White House. It wasn’t an issue that I had a lot of experience with, so I really came into it with a blank slate. I wish I’d been in some classes like this and gone to lectures like this when I was at Harvard. Maybe it would’ve actually given me a worse outcome, but…

Tarek Masoud: Wait a minute.

Jared Kushner: But I hope today I’ll share with you some of my experience and perspectives. But I will say that, throughout my time, I was always, a lot of the things that I would say, a lot of the things I would do were fairly heavily complained about or criticized from, I would say, the consensus thinking.

So, I think that, number one, when looking at the current situation, I try to look at everything kind of first principles and I try to say, “What’s going on? What should it be? What are the right actions?” And what I find is that there’s a lot of emotion with this issue. Some of it justified, some of it unjustified for a whole host of it. What I would say is this: I think that, number one, I take a step back and say, “Why are we here?” You go back to 2021, and when I was able to go back to my normal life after leaving office
or four years in service, we basically left the Middle East where it was very calm, right? It was calm, it had momentum. You think about ISIS, they were basically, the caliphate was gone. Syria, the Civil War had mostly stabilized in the sense that you didn’t have to think 500,000 people were killed.

When we started, Yemen was destabilized, Libya was destabilized. ISIS had a caliphate the size of Ohio, and Iran was flushed with cash. They were basically using that money to fund Hamas, to fund Hezbollah, to fund the Houthis, and they run a glide path to a nuclear weapon.

So, we inherited a really, really bad hand. And then with the JCPOA agreement, which was probably one of the dumbest agreements I think ever negotiated, just as anyone who studies agreements and deals, that really left us in a bad situation. So, we worked hard. We tried to regain trust. We did a lot of work. And we could talk about that later.
But the way we left the region was basically, we had six peace deals in the last six months that we were there, less, I think in the last maybe four or five months that we were there.

So, we took a different approach to the Palestinians. We were able to make peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and then with Bahrain than Sudan, then Kosovo was able to recognize Morocco. And then finally, we resolved the GCC dispute, which put everything on a pretty good glide path. Iran was basically broke. They were out of a foreign currency reserves, which meant that no money was going to any of these terrorist organizations.

And then in addition to that, the Palestinians basically were out of money too. We’d stopped funding UNRWA. We saw that UNRWA was basically taking the money that we were giving them to the United Nations. It was taxpayer dollars that we were giving to United Nations. We thought it was going to fund terrorists, to give them energy, to give them resources.

We saw a lot of their schools, and their mosques were basically where they would hide the bombs and the missiles and their munitions. And we thought the education that they were giving was really a very, very poor education that was radicalizing the next generation. So, we said, “Okay, there we go.”

So, basically, we thought that the right thing to do basically was to stop funding that, and that was the way that we wanted to kind of advance. So, we went forward, we were able to create the peace deals.

Then you kind of move forward in the region, three years, we thought that Saudi had the ability to do a normalization deal, and we had worked with the Biden administration in order to help them get that pathway, to follow the pathway that we were in.

So, now you forward three years, you have the attack, which was awful. Through not enforcing the sanctions on Iran, they were able to get funding, which they were able to then give to all these different groups. You saw a lot more rise up in the extremism. And I think that America not standing with Israel in the way that they should be led to a lot of this occurring. So, you have a situation now where Israel has the right to defend itself, right? They’re in a position where they had a brutal attack. I mean, imagine America, somebody coming over the border, brutally raping, killing civilians, doing all these different things. I mean, that’s something that I think would be quite horrific for a lot of us. And then I think the sentiment was basically, how do we put this in a position where we attack back? So, I think that what Israel’s done is they’re saying, “How do we secure ourselves this doesn’t happen again?”

Obviously one death is too many deaths. You don’t want any deaths in Israel. You don’t want deaths of Palestinians. But I think right now, the situation is a complex one. But I do hope that with the right leadership, they’ll be able to find the right way to get it to a better place.

Ideas for Ending the Crisis

Tarek Masoud: This was great, because you definitely preempted one question that I was going to ask you, which was, President Trump has been saying that this would never have happened on his watch. But before we get to that, I just want to think about this problem for a minute. One thing I associate Jared Kushner with is creative deal-making, thinking outside the box. Do you have a proposal or an idea or a sketch for how we end this crisis?

Jared Kushner: Sure. So, I think that the dilemma that Israeli leadership has right now is, do you do a short-term deal that leaves you more vulnerable in the future? Or do you take this current situation and try to figure out a way where you can create a paradigm, where your citizens will be safe and this will not happen again? So, it’s a very, very tough dilemma to be faced with if you are the leader of a country.

So, what I would do right now if I was Israel is, I would try to say, number one, you want to get as many civilians out of Rafah as possible. I think that you want to try to clear that out. I know that with diplomacy, maybe you get them into Egypt. I know that that’s been refused. But with the right diplomacy, I think it would be possible.

But in addition to that, the thing that I would try to do if I was Israel right now is I would just bulldoze something in the Negev. I would try to move people in there. I know that won’t be the popular thing to do, but I think that that’s a better option to do so you can go in and finish the job.

I think there was one decision point they had. Do we go into Gaza? Do we not go into Gaza? They had the hostages. There really was, I think, no choice but to do that. I think that they were smart to go slowly and deliberately. Gaza is a booby trapped like crazy; they have over 400 miles of underground tunnels.

So, I think that they’ve taken some of the right steps in order to go there but you have to, again, I think Israel’s gone way more out of their way than a lot of other countries would to try to protect civilians from casualties. But I do think right now, opening up the Negev, creating a secure area there, moving the civilians out and then going in and finishing the job would be the right move.

Ideas for Sheltering Palestinians from Gaza Bombardment

Tarek Masoud: Is that something that they’re talking about in Israel? I mean, that’s the first I’ve really heard of somebody, aside from President Sisi suggesting that the Gazans who are trying to flee the fighting could take refuge in the Negev. Are people in Israel seriously talking about that possibility, about hosting Gazan refugees
in what is considered “Israel proper?”

Jared Kushner: I don’t know. I mean…

Tarek Masoud: But that would be something you would try to work on?

Jared Kushner: I’m sitting in Miami Beach right now, and I’m looking at this situation and I’m just thinking, what would I do if I was there? Again, you look at, I mean, with Israel it’s a different thing. In Syria when there’s refugees, Turkey took them, Europe took them, Jordan took them.

For whatever reason here in Gaza, there’s refugees from the fighting from an offensive attack that was staged from Gaza, Israel’s going in to do a long-term deterrence mission, and it’s unfortunate that nobody’s taking the refugees. Again, I think that the American government should probably have done a little bit of a better job to find a solution to that. As a broker, I think that there would’ve been a way, but if that’s not a viable option, I think from Israel’s perspective, it’s just something that should be strongly considered.

Fears that Netanyahu will not allow fleeing Gazans to return

Tarek Masoud: Yeah, yeah. I mean, obviously the reason they’re not, for example, the reason the Egyptians don’t want to take the refugees in addition to, of course, there being the domestic unrest that could result or the instability that could result, but also there are real fears on the part of Arabs, and I’m sure you talk to a lot of them who think once Gazans leave Gaza, Netanyahu’s never going to let them back in.

Jared Kushner: Maybe, but I’m not sure there’s much left of Gaza at this point. So, if you think about even the construct like Gaza, Gaza was not really a historical precedent. It was the result of a war. You had tribes that were in different places, but then Gaza became a thing. Egypt used to run it, and then over time you had different governments that came in different ways. So, you have another war. Usually when wars happen, borders are changed historically over time.

So, my sense is, is I would say, how do we deal with the terror threat that is there so that it cannot be a threat to Israel or to Egypt? I think that both sides are spending a fortune on military. I think neither side really wants to have a terrorist organization enclaved right between them.

Gaza’s waterfront property, it could be very valuable to, if people would focus on building up livelihoods. You think about all the money that’s gone into this tunnel network and into all the munitions. If that would’ve gone into education or innovation, what could have been done.

So, I think that it’s a little bit of an unfortunate situation there but I think from Israel’s perspective, I would do my best to move the people out and then clean it up.

But I don’t think that Israel has stated that they don’t want the people to move back there afterwards.

Should the US Recognize a Palestinian State

Tarek Masoud: Yeah, yeah. I mean, okay, there’s a lot to talk about there. The last thing I wanted to just get your reaction to on this is the… you saw Tom Friedman’s column on Tuesday about where he put forward a plan to get out of this, and it’s called, “Only MBS and Biden can Redirect the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” He says, “Biden should recognize the Palestinian authority unilaterally as a state, and MBS should go to Jerusalem like Egyptian President Anwar Sadat did in 1977. He should say, I’ll normalize with Israel. I’ll recognize West Jerusalem as your capital, and I’ll even pay to rebuild Gaza if you recognize a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.” What do you think? Good idea?

Jared Kushner: No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think that there’s certain elements of it that are correct. I think proactively recognizing a Palestinian state would essentially be rewarding an act of terror that was perpetrated to Israel. So, it’s a super bad idea in that regard.

The way that we did it was a little bit inverted from there. So, when we were working on the Palestinian issue, which we spent a lot of time on, and up until October 7th, the Biden administration really did not burn a lot of calories on it. They basically said, this is a lost effort, we shouldn’t spend time on it, but we spent a lot of time developing a plan.

You go online, go Google Peace to Prosperity, you’ll find the plan that we put out in the White House, about 180 pages, very detailed. We started out, I met with the Palestinian negotiators, the Israeli negotiators, and I asked them basically a form of simple questions.

First identify, what are these people actually fighting over for 70 years? It came down to a list of 11 issues, of which there were only really three of them. One was the land barrier. I looked down and I said, well, any outcome is arbitrary, to compromise between two positions. You have the religious sites where they threw in a lot of issues like sovereignty. Does sovereignty belong to God? Does it belong to this? You have basically two sites, one under the other that both religions think is very critical to them. But I said, well, what do we really want if we get all the technical people out of the room? What we want is people to have the ability to pray freely. If you think about Israel, Jerusalem was really controlled by Jordan until the 1967 war.

1967 War

Israel took over; it was a defensive war. Israel was attacked by Jordan. They basically came in, attacked by Egypt and Jordan.

Tarek Masoud: Preemptive.

Jared Kushner: Preemptive, but Egypt was amassing all of its planes on the border. Jordan had given over its military under the control of the Iraqis at the time. So, what they did is they did a preemptive attack, they knocked out the Egyptian Air Force. They sent message to the Jordanians saying, please do not attack us. The Jordanians started mortaring in.

They basically then went over; they took over Jerusalem. They were surprised they got so far, and they kept going and were able to go all the way to the sea. So, that was the history of where that was. But before then, no Jews were allowed to pray in Jerusalem.

Then you basically had a situation where a lot of the Jewish cemeteries, a lot of the religious sites were used as places to store animals. They were really desecrated in bad ways. Israel then wins the war. Israel’s a very, very poor country at the time. What did they do? The first thing they do is they pass something called the Protection of Holy Places Law, which basically took money that they really didn’t have at the time and said, we’re going to restore all of the religious sites. So, if you think about it, from 1967 until today, Israel’s been a fairly responsible steward of all these religious sites for Christians, Jews, Muslims.

Every now and then you have tussles when people try to take it. They’ve allowed King Abdullah to be the custodian of the mosque. If you think about that second issue, it’s really just about allowing people to live freely.

The third issue that I thought was critical was really just security. You think about it, I mean, we think about it with different countries, but imagine you’re the governor of New Jersey. Then there’s people in Pennsylvania who are trying to cross the border and kill your people. You have to make a deal where you’re making it less likely they’re going to be able to harm your people than more. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to win an election and it’s not a prudent thing to do. So, those are really only the three issues that mattered.

So, what we did is we basically went and we said, asked each side, if you were the other side, what would you accept?

I found we weren’t getting anywhere so I started giving them much more detailed plan to react to.

We started going back and forth. It ended up turning into a 50-page operational plan on how to run things. By the way, you’ll find most people in politics don’t want to put details out because details you get attacked, when I got attacked even for taking my job. So I, after the third day, stopped caring about being attacked.

So, I basically said, let me start putting things out and get people to react to it. So, that was the first part, which was the political part.

The second thing we put together was an economic plan because as I was progressing down that road, I said, okay, let’s say miraculously I get people to agree on borders. Let’s say I get them to agree on a security regime. Let’s say I get them to agree that we could all pray properly and respect each other. Then what happens the next day? A lot of the region, a lot of what Israel’s been used for has been a scapegoat, I believe, from leaders in the region to basically deflect from their own shortcomings at home. So, I felt like most human beings want the ability to live a better life, and if we can create an economic plan that would basically allow people to live a better life, then maybe that would give them an ability to actually start focusing on the future, how to make their kids’ lives better, instead of focusing on, how do we solve problems in the past? So, that was really what we put together, and so that was really a framework for how we thought we could make progress. So, what Tom’s talking about is basically saying, why don’t we recognize a Palestinian state?

When we were looking at a Palestinian state, the problem we saw there was basically that they didn’t have really institutions that can govern. I mean, the last person actually who did a good job governing there is actually here. It’s Salam Fayyad. He was doing such a good job, he wasn’t corrupt. People were making more money; the services were being delivered. He did such a good job that the leadership basically saw him as a threat and figured out how to run him out of town. I don’t know if I’m speaking for you, but it did.

Tarek Masoud: I think he might also say the Israelis didn’t help them either. But anyways, we’ll go.

Jared Kushner: These are also complicated. I mean, that’s true.

Tarek Masoud: That’s one word.

Jared Kushner: But what I would say here is that for a Palestinian state when we looked at it, you say, what are the prerequisites that people need to live a better life? Number one is you need a functioning judiciary. You need a business climate. You need property rights. You need reasons for people to invest capital in order to order to give people an opportunity to grow. So, those conditions really don’t exist. So, the Palestinian leadership really has not passed any of the tests over the last 30 years in order to, I think, qualify for it.

Now, I do think the notion of a Palestinian state that doesn’t have the ability to harm Israel from a security perspective is a worthy objective, but I think you need to figure out, how do you make them earn it? At least have a viable pathway towards creating the institutions that can make it thrive and viable, because if you call it a state and then people, their lives are less good in five years from now, people will be angry and that will lead to more violence and conflict.

How Did We Get to October 7th?

Tarek Masoud: Okay, so there’s a lot of threads to pull on here. So the first thread I just want to pull on is, you offered a diagnosis for how we got to October 7th, and your diagnosis is basically the Biden administration by allowing the Iranians to amass more wealth and spend it on their proxies, that’s how you get October 7th. If President Trump had been in charge, none of that would’ve happened; the Iranians would’ve continued to be starved of resources, et cetera. I’m correct on interpreting that hypothesis?

Jared Kushner: Yeah. I’ll add one more element, which is they squandered momentum. What I would say is whether it’s in business, whether it’s in politics, momentum is one of the most valuable things to try to seek. It’s funny, I was talking, I wrote about it in my book; actually, with Bibi, that I was with him after he lost an election, not a lost election, he was trying to form a coalition. Somebody put a knife in his back and he basically lost it.

I was with him the next day. We thought we were going to announce something and move forward, and he was pretty despondent. We met the next day, and he would basically, I figured, let me ask him questions about his history, his story. I mean, he’s a historic figure that’s been through so many different iterations, and he told me, “When I was a politician, I have bad patches. I would always try to get little wins because little wins lead to bigger wins and then bigger wins and momentum is a very hard thing to get.”

We left the region with momentum. Again, the last piece, so we got Bahrain to do the deal with Israel. Saudi was basically watching this all very closely. We got Saudi to allow us to put flights over Saudi Arabia between Israel and UAE.

Then in addition to that, they’ve said, we need you to solve the issue with us in Qatar. So, we went through, we got that negotiation done, which was very, very intense.

So, I finished that on January 5th and then flew back to the US, thinking I would have a very quiet last couple of weeks in office. That turned out to be the case. So, basically, everything was good. What they could have done was then said, let’s sit with Saudi. Let’s go finish the job. Let’s finish the momentum. So, they basically changed policy, and I think that led to a reversion of momentum. They waited two years to get started, and then get a stronger Iran, less trust, and I think that also contributed to it as well.

Was October 7th the Result of Neglect of the Palestinian Issue under Trump?

Tarek Masoud: Okay, so what would you say to the alternative hypothesis that says, actually, the reason we got October 7th is because the strategy that you had for peacemaking, which whose creativity I’m not going to question, it was quite creative, but by essentially neglecting the core of the issue, the Palestinians’ desire to determine their own fate, that you just created the circumstances where the rejectionists would have the upper hand. That this is basically not the result of Iran or whatever, it’s a result of the fact that the Trump administration spent four years completely ignoring, isolating, bypassing the Palestinians, handing them defeat after defeat after defeat. Then what do you expect? You’re surprised when they act out?

Jared Kushner: Right. So, what I would say to that is that whoever would say that, that we didn’t address the root cause of the situation, I don’t think truly understood what the root cause of the situation actually is. This is what was actually so intriguing to me and what made me very insecure about my job in the beginning was that I came into this with, like I said, no foreign policy experience.

Everyone who was criticizing was probably right, but I think my father-in-law, who’s the President, basically said, it can’t get any worse. He can’t do any worse than the last people who worked on it for 10 or 15 years and all failed, and then basically went and wrote books about how they didn’t fail.

It’s just that the problem was too hard, and then somehow, they move on and they are considered the experts on the situation, having had zero accomplishments on this file.

So, that’s the underlying function of what you’re talking about. I saw this very simple, and actually when I went to the United States, the UN Security Council, because always trying to condemn Israel on everything, it was very anti-Semitic, I think the way that they conduct their business there.

I basically made a PowerPoint presentation. I don’t know if anyone’s ever made them a PowerPoint presentation, but coming from the business world, I said, maybe I can try to explain to these people why this is a rational thing in a very realistic place. I actually put this slide in my book where I basically made a slide from Oslo Accords up until that day, where I showed two lines going this way. Then I had a dove for every time there was a peace talk that failed.

Then I had a tank for every time there was a war. The two lines represented the following things: One was the settlements; so, basically the land that Israel was taking. Then the other one represented money going to the Palestinians. So, what happened was, is every time a peace talk failed or a war occurred, the same two things occurred. The Palestinians got more money and the Israelis took more land. So, both sides essentially got what they wanted.

So, neither I thought had a really motivation to make the deal based on their own politics and their own interests. Then the second thing was, is I looked at it and I said, these issues actually are not that hard to solve. Which again, a lot of people laughed at me for saying that, but I basically said, we have to figure out how to just push this forward.

So, when I looked at the Palestinian leadership, I basically said it’s like… And there’s a lot of other situations of refugee groups; they just haven’t been able to internationalize their situation. The Palestinians were getting $3 or $4 billion a year in international aid. We had a meeting in Washington with Bibi Netanyahu. They have a $500 billion GDP economy; they’re a nuclear power, military superpower, a technology superpower.

He would fly in on an El-Al commercial plane with his team. We’d meet with the head of a refugee group, Mohammed Abbas, and he would fly into Washington on a $60 million Boeing business jet. I mean, the whole thing was strange. I went and I met with him one night.

We’re talking about different issues and he wants a cigarette. He puts a cigarette in his mouth. So, someone comes in and they light the cigarette for him. I’m saying to myself, is this guy run a refugee group or is he a king? So, the whole situation, I thought, was designed for them not to solve it.

Again, a lot of people were getting rich there, a lot of interests were being fed, and not a lot of people were doing it.

So, what we basically said is, we’re going to actually address the issue. We’re not going to deal with the systems of the issue, we’re going to try to address the issue. I think that was what we actually tried to do.

Why is Kushner’s Assessment of Mahmoud Abbas so Different from Trump’s?

Tarek Masoud: Okay, so there’s a lot to pull on here too, with respect to Mohammed Abbas. So, I’m going to just stipulate at the outset, some of my favorite bits of this book are your descriptions of conversations with Mohammed Abbas. I’m not on his list of fans, but let me quote somebody who is on his list of fans, your father-in-Law. So, he told Barak Ravid, “Abbas: I thought he was terrific. He was almost like a father. Couldn’t have been nicer. I thought he wanted to make a deal more than Netanyahu.”

What was your father-in-law getting wrong?

Jared Kushner: Well, I think he was saying relative.

Tarek Masoud: Okay, relative.

Jared Kushner: Relative, so.

Tarek Masoud: Okay, relative to Netanyahu though.

Jared Kushner: His view on Bibi was that Bibi was always working something. I think that he did not have faith that Bibi would come through, but I also think he was in his mind trying to challenge Bibi to say, you’re not going to come through, you’re not going to come through, to make Bibi prove to him that he was going to come through. That was the way we were setting the table. So, what we did is we did things that we wanted to do anyway.

President Trump campaigned that he was going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. His view was, is Israel’s a sovereign nation, America’s a sovereign nation, they have the right to determine their capital and we have the right to recognize their capital. Move the embassy to Jerusalem, Golan Heights. I mean, who are you taking it from? Syria barely existed at the time and Israel had occupied it for a long time.

Recognizing Golan wasn’t that big of a deal. So, we did all these things that built a lot of trust for us with the Israeli public.

What happened was, is because of that, the Israeli public trusted President Trump, he got out of the JCPOA, he was strong on Iran. He felt that he had the ability to say this is a fair deal, and push Bibi to that place. A boss would come and in the meetings he would say, “We’re going to do a deal with you. We’re going to do a special deal. I’m going to do things for you like I’ve never done for anybody else. We’re going to make a deal.
We really want to do it.”

I’d be like, oh, that’s amazing. So, that was my first meeting. I walked away and be like, that was incredible. This guy is great.

Then I went from my second meeting, I go all the way to Ramallah. I go in, it’s, I’m thinking to myself, how is a Jewish kid from New Jersey here in Ramallah?

I got all the security guards. Then I meet with him again and I say, “Okay, well, I’m ready to talk borders. What are we going to do? What’s your proposal? I want you to tell me what would you do that you think the Israelis would accept?”

“Jared, we’re going to make a deal. We’re going to make the best deal. I’m going to make a special deal for you.”

I’m saying myself, I really want to get into the details here.

My father-in-Law’s not a very patient person. What I found was it was like a broken record. What I realized, if you go back, what I did at some point, I read actually Jimmy Carter’s book, which was interesting. I really wanted to get the full-

Tarek Masoud: Peace, not Apartheid [Palestine: Peace not Apartheid], or something like that.

Jared Kushner: Peace, not Apartheid. Yeah, I tried to get everywhere from Dory Gold to Jimmy Carter. I really tried to get the spectrum of perspectives. In the back of it, he had in the annex, the Camp David Peace Agreement.

I was reading through the agreement. I was like, I actually should go read all the different drafts of agreements and let me go read some peace agreements to see what they actually are.

Everyone’s there trying to negotiate, but I said, let me go read some.

So, then as I pulled up all of the different agreements that have been done, I saw the Arab Peace Initiative, and that’s what Abbas said, “I want to align with the Arab Peace Initiative.” So, I pulled up the Arab Peace Initiative and it was 10 lines and it had no detail, and it was a concept, and it was generated in a different place.

One of the tenets of it was, we want a capital in East Jerusalem. So, I had a guy on my team who was awesome, a guy Scott Lith, he was a military guy, and I said, he worked for John Kerry. His whole life has been working on this issue, but he was from the State Department, which was a much more, a different perspective than say a former business guy who’s more of a pragmatist would have.

East Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital

I asked him, I said, “Well, where does the Palestinian claim for East Jerusalem come from?”

Tarek Masoud: You mean East Jerusalem as a capital?

Jared Kushner: As a capital, yes.

Tarek Masoud: Not as belonging to them.

Jared Kushner: Sorry, as a capital. I said, “Where does that come from?” He says, “I actually don’t know.” I said, “Okay, well, go research and get back to me.”

Normally he’d be back in my office in two hours. He didn’t come back for two days. He basically came back and he says, “You know what, Jared? This is very interesting.” He said, “Before the Palestinians said that they were in charge of the West Bank,” which basically was the declaration, which I think was in the late ’80s?

Tarek Masoud: Yeah, late ’88.

Jared Kushner: Late ’80s, right?

Tarek Masoud: ’88, I think.

Jared Kushner: So, until then, the Palestinian lands were basically territory of Jordan. Jordan, the Palestinians were basically fighting with the Jordanians causing problems there, and the Jordanians basically said, we’ve had enough of these people, let’s get them out of here. They basically exiled Yasser Arafat to Lebanon, where he went there, caused a lot of trouble, they exiled him to Tunisia.

So, during that time when the Palestinians were in the West Bank, their capital was Amman.

So, he’s saying, actually, it was just through this declaration of the Palestinians when they said, this is how we’re forming our charter. This is what our rights are. They just said, and we’re taking East Jerusalem as our capital. So, it was just one of these things that came down.

Tarek Masoud: Declaring East Jerusalem as their capital.

Jared Kushner: Declare, yeah.

Tarek Masoud: In other words, East Jerusalem was always going to be part of what a Palestinian state was because they had never ceded it.

Jared Kushner: Yeah, part, but what I would say about that, and this is also another notion, is that, again, because a lot of, you’ll hear people throw around a lot of words like they’ll throw apartheid or East Jerusalem [inaudible]. My view is, these words are always up here.

Then again, somebody who wasn’t part of the club of foreign policy experts, I said, well, explain this to me. East Jerusalem, the boundaries of East Jerusalem have changed eight times over the course of history as well.

So, when they were saying that, I said, oh, well, there’s new, maybe we could expand East Jerusalem, give them a different part of it. So, it’s one of these things that if you’re pragmatic about it, there’s ways to solve a lot of these different issues, if you want to do it.

What we found with Abbas was that there wasn’t a great desire to engage because he was protecting the status quo, which was leading to lots of inflows of money.

Challenging Kushner’s Assessment of Abbas

Tarek Masoud: Okay, so I do not want to be the guy defending Abbas to just make this interesting. Let me-

Jared Kushner: I like him, personally.

Tarek Masoud: Let me offer you the alternative argument. First of all, there’s a really amazing negotiator who said you always let the other guy go first. Who was that? Oh, it was Jared Kushner, it’s in this book. Okay. So, you go to Abbas and you say, Hey, draw a map for me. A smart negotiator is going to say, Hey, the map is resolution 242, the entire West Bank. If you’ve got an offer you want to make, go ahead, but I’m certainly not going to negotiate against myself. Why didn’t you recognize that that’s what he was doing?

Jared Kushner: Yeah, so that’s what I saw was this kid’s situation. So, what I did was, since both parties were doing that, I just went and started drawing my own map. I basically said, okay, I don’t really care what happened before, because if you think about the Middle East, a lot of it’s just arbitrary lines drawn by foreigners anyway. You go back to Sykes-Picot, and you could argue that there’s a lot of lines.

Again, as I started unraveling this history, I was realizing that a lot of this was not as logical or as sacrosanct as everyone thought it was. So, what I basically said is I said, okay, let me come up with a 2017 version.

What I’m basically going to do is look at, say, if you go back to 2006, Israel unilaterally withdrew all of their settlers from Gaza, and it was a political disaster. What did they get for it? They left all these greenhouses; they left all this industry. It was all destroyed. They ended up with a group, with a terrorist group took over, and then since then they’ve
been firing rockets into Israel and Israel’s been less safe because of their withdrawal, and October 7th proved that.

But this was even before that. I said, there is no way Israel’s uprooting any of these settlers. So, I said, let me just say if I want to give the Palestinians a state, let me figure out how can I draw a line and just take all the places where they’re settlers and just make a new line here, and then figure out, how do you swap land here and there?

Then make whatever’s not continuous, continuous today. You got tunnels, you got bridges, all these different things. How do you make it connectable so that it could be a functioning state? Then go from there. So, I started drawing a line, and then I figured I’d let each party react to it one way or the other.

We ended up putting it out. Again, I fought a lot with Bibi and his team, through showing him the map. You can’t have this; you can’t have that.

I said, okay, let’s move the line here and there, but that was how I started. I was never able to get the Palestinians to engage off of that map to say, we want this, but.

Did Kushner make Abbas an Offer He could not Accept?

Tarek Masoud: Yeah, so this is interesting. I mean, obviously you’re a great negotiator. I’m a fat professor who’s never even negotiated his salary properly, but-

Jared Kushner: That’s usually what the people who are doing well say, by the way.

Tarek Masoud: But the way you present, I did think it was, you really deserve a lot of credit for getting Benjamin Netanyahu to put down on paper the borders of a Palestinian state that he would accept. Okay, you’re the first person to really get them to do that.

Jared Kushner: Not just him; we got the opposition during a heated election to agree to them as well.

Tarek Masoud: To agree to it, to agree to it.

Jared Kushner: A massive step forward.

Tarek Masoud: Yeah, massive step forward. One of the great things that you say in this book, by the way, which I actually think is exculpatory of the Palestinians, is you say, everybody says, Camp David 2000, the Palestinians walked away from a really detailed agreement. There wasn’t a detailed agreement. So, that’s actually a little bit exculpatory for the Palestinians, but in any case, you finally get Benjamin Netanyahu to put down on paper, what he will accept.

Jared Kushner: Just from my research, I was not able to find any text of a deal that was anywhere near close to a negotiation. I also thought the power dynamics were different, where is what I was told is that Arafat was basically not being supported by the Arabs. The Arabs wanted to keep this thing alive and they didn’t want him to make a deal.

Whereas today, when we got in, I recognized the different dynamic, where the Arabs I felt wanted him to finish this, which gave me a lot more ability to lean into things.

Tarek Masoud: Yeah, that’s interesting, but the point is, so you’ve got now Benjamin Netanyahu’s drawn the map. Why do you not take this to Abbas or why do you not announce this as the American plan to which the Israelis have signed on? You are the American; you’ve got this position as the broker between these two parties. Why didn’t you go back to Abbas and say, okay, here’s what the Israeli position? Then let Abbas say, okay, no, I don’t like this border, I don’t like that. Then why didn’t you do it that way?
Why did you present it in such a way where it looked like what you were trying to do was to give him an offer he couldn’t accept, so that you could then say to the other Arabs, ah, this guy’s a rejectionist, I did my best. Can we now conclude some peace deals directly between you and the Israelis and leave these Palestinians on the side?

Jared Kushner: I’ll try to do this answer as short as possible, but it’s going to be a little one. So, number one, what I tried to do is set up the situation. So, when we moved the embassy to Jerusalem, Abbas and his team said, we’re not talking to you guys anymore. After a couple months, they came back. We kept the security cooperation going, but he broke ties with us diplomatically. I remember at the time, Rex Tillerson, who was the Secretary of State, said, “We’ve got to go do something. Let’s give East Jerusalem. Let’s do this because these guys are going to run away and we’re not going to hear from them again for another decade.”

I said, “Rex, we’re not doing it.” He said, “Why?” I said, “They’ve trained American negotiators over time to say, jump, and we say, how high?”

When have American negotiators bowed to Palestinian demands?

Tarek Masoud: I read that in the book, and I thought that was an extraordinary. Give me an example of where we said to the Palestinians, you told us jump and we did it.

Jared Kushner: Everything with me was a threat. “We’re going to withdraw from the negotiation.” I said, “Who cares? We give you guys $700 million a year. I don’t care.” My view is, if you’re going to come and do it, great. If not, we’re going to stop funding you guys. But that’s how we’re going to set the dynamic. So, then the second thing I did was I said, “We’re not going to allow you to control whether we can negotiate this or not.” So, because they withdrew, I said, “Okay, I could stop.” Now, the good news is I had other files to work on.

I wasn’t a sole person, but the reason why the U.S were trained to chase them is usually it was an envoy whose sole job it was to deal with the Israelis and the Palestinians. And the Palestinians said, “We’re not negotiating.” He had nothing to do. For me, I said, “Okay, I’ll work on other things. That’s okay. I have other jobs here.”

And so, what we basically did was we went and we started pushing forward with the plan.

And my thinking was, as I was speaking to the Arabs, they said, “Get an honest plan on paper from Israel and we will try to push the Palestinians to take it.”

Because they basically said, we want this thing resolved. So, they said, if you can put a credible offer, and they did not believe that we can get Bibi or United Israel to put forward a credible plan, I said, “Good, let’s do it.” Again, I was always willing to chase the crazy things and I kind of liked it.

And again, I felt like this was very important. So going after and trying to settle things I thought was critical.

So, we worked hard with Israel. We kept negotiating with them to get them more and more. I didn’t take them all the way to where I thought we could have gone. Security wise, I was in full agreement with everything we put in our plan. Again, I really was very sympathetic to Israel.

You can’t make a peace deal and then be less safe the next day. You do a deal so that you’re more safe. So that was number one.

The borders, I felt like we should just be super pragmatic about it. And there was a couple of things in there that I knew we could swap around. So, I left some meat on the bone for Abbas. I’m going to get to the answer to your question. So, I kind of left some meat on the bone.

Then when we announced the plan; so first of all, we surprised everyone by getting Israel to put out a very detailed plan.

We had a unified Israeli government supporting it. We got very positive statements from the Arab country saying, we encourage both sides to negotiate on the base of this plan, which diplomatically, was actually a very big step forward in the diplomatic world.

Then what I did is I had the CIA deliver to Abbas a copy of the plan with a note from us right beforehand, basically saying, this is the plan we’re putting out. We have built a lot of goodwill with Israel. We are willing to use that goodwill to try to make a fair deal that we think can resolve this.

Tarek Masoud: That’s the question I’m asking. So, why that framing? Why didn’t you say, here’s what the Israelis are offering. Give me your counteroffer. Why didn’t you do that?

Jared Kushner: That’s essentially what the letter said, right? The letter basically from the president said, we’re happy to chat. And basically we said, look, we’re happy to chat. We’re moving forward with this. We had to set the dynamic where the train was moving forward with or without him, and this is what I do believe, too. They were very isolated. They were basically running out of cash. Iran was running out of cash, and we had the only thing on the table. The Abraham Accords were now starting to collapse the pocket around them.

And so basically what we were doing is we were trying to eliminate all of his escape paths and build him a golden bridge. And then basically, at some point we figured he’d go over the bridge.

Did Kushner Prove Hamas and Others Right?

Tarek Masoud: I feel like the natural response to that is very clever deal making. I certainly would not want to be on the opposite side of a real estate transaction with you. But what you weren’t recognizing is that Abbas has people to his right, he’s got Hamas that he’s got to contend with, and you were just making it absolutely impossible for him to make a deal with you. And all you were doing here is just proving the rejectionist point and making the average Palestinian think, yeah, absolutely. America has no intention of actually being an honest broker or getting us a good deal.
Look what they’re doing to Abbas, who is their ally. So then, maybe the only path is the path of this violent resistance.

Jared Kushner: So, I hope you’re saying that in the context of being provocative or devil’s advocate-

Tarek Masoud: Yes, yes.

Jared Kushner: Because my sense is that’s the total conventional way of thinking about this. And again, I’m saying this openly. I was criticized by all of the conventional players on this because I did not approach this-

Tarek Masoud: But October 7th happened.

Jared Kushner: Right. But let me go back to that point. So, the point there is that the other version of what was said is that if you move the MC to Jerusalem, the Middle East is going to have a war. That was the US intelligence assessment. That was what Abbas said. That’s what every leader in the region said. If you get out of the JCPOA, the world’s going to end. If you move the embassy, the world’s going to end.

Well, every time we did one of those things, we worked to mitigate the risk. And what happened the next day? The sun rose in the morning and it set in the evening, and nothing happened. We had little things, we managed them. It was no big deal. So, our thinking was is that if you’re going to say that Abbas can’t engage with us and try to make a compromise because Hamas is to his other side, we thought the best way to empower him over Hamas was to make him the guy who delivered investment, upside, compromise, better life for the people. And that’s how we read the situation back in 2019, 2020.

And I still believe at that moment our assessment was correct.

Why did Kushner not Try to Build Capital with the Palestinians?

Tarek Masoud: Yeah. I want to move on to other issues, but I just want to, when I look at the way you negotiated with Bibi, okay, so you mentioned, for example, to move the embassy to Jerusalem, for example. Every time you made one of these decisions and President Trump would say, Hey, what am I getting for this? You want me to move the embassy to Jerusalem, what’s Bibi going to give me? Oh, you want me to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan? I’ve already done enough for Bibi. Why am I going to do this? And every time you would say to the president, Hey, hey, hey, we’re building capital with the Israelis. We’re building capital with Bibi. Why weren’t you trying to build capital with the Palestinians?

Jared Kushner: First of all, Israel was the much stronger party. And so, at the end of the day, we felt like getting the right pragmatic compromises out of them would take the capital and we would have to convince them that the compromises we were going to ask them to take, we genuinely believed were in their interests.

Keep in mind, all of the things we did for Bibi were things that we thought were the right things to do. So, he was a political beneficiary of them. He would tout them for his domestic and international popularity. But the reality is, we were doing things that we thought were the right things to do.

Why didn’t Kushner get Netanyahu to Freeze Settlements?

Tarek Masoud: Why didn’t you at least get him to freeze settlements? Say like, Hey, I’m going to give you Jerusalem. I’m going to recognize the Golan.

Jared Kushner: If you notice with us, the settlements were basically contained to areas. He did pro forma stuff, but nothing that was that radical. He didn’t go too crazy with us in the settlements.

Tarek Masoud: Okay.

Jared Kushner: But again, our strategy was basically have the tough conversations quietly, figure out how to mitigate. Again, you could have disagreement, but let’s focus on the big things. I remember I got a call from David Friedman, who’s our ambassador to Israel and said, “Oh, Jared, we have to deal with this. Two Israelis were [inaudible].” I said, “David, stop chasing rabbits.” I said, “Our job is not to solve every single domestic Israeli issue. Our job is to focus on the elephants. The elephants are slower, they’re bigger. Let’s focus on the root cause of this. If we solve the root causes of the disease, the symptoms all go away. If you spend all of your time chasing the symptoms, you’re going to wear yourself out, you’re not going to get anywhere.” And that’s what a lot of people did before us. So, we stayed very laser-focused on how do we make both sides uncomfortable to try and create an outcome.

And I’ll just say this too, Middle East peace is like a butt of jokes for many years. We actually did get some peace agreements done, which is pretty incredible. But you’re basically saying, Jared, go work on probably one of the most impossible, complex, emotionally charged problem sets in the history of the world. And so my view was, it wasn’t like you could look at it on one of your homework sets.

Okay, this is the right answer, the wrong answer. You have a million different wrong answers and maybe one or two potential answers that could work out well. And so like I said, we inherited the hand we got and we just played the cards as hard as we could. And I do think by the time we left, we left it in a very, very strong place. And we had more time, again, I don’t want to sound like one of these guys who leaves government saying this, but I did have a lot of track, my track record of success in the Middle East I do think is second to none over the last many years.

And so I do firmly believe that we put the situation in a paradigm where it was much closer to being solved than it had ever been before.

Why Does Kushner not See Netanyahu as an Obstacle to Peace?

Tarek Masoud: I’m going to just do one last question on Bibi because I started this by saying you and your father-in-law disagree about Abbas. You also disagree about Bibi. And I guess what I’m trying to understand, because I read your book, I don’t know why you still have a soft spot for Bibi. Like this is a guy who, Trump says, I don’t think he ever wanted to make peace.

You tell a story where Netanyahu acts incredibly dishonorably, where when you’re rolling out the peace plan, he gets up and just starts thanking the United States for agreeing to Israeli annexation of these bits of the West Bank that Israel, in your plan, would only get after the deal is agreed to by the other side.

And you even say, when you first started talking to Netanyahu about a deal, he says, no, thanks.

And you even note, he says to you, look, I’ve survived as Prime Minister for 11 years by opposing a Palestinian state. So, this, to me, he’s a guy who just purely, in your book, seems pretty sneaky, kind of like an obstructionist, a rejectionist. And yet, you talk about him in the book, towards the end you say he could be a powerful catalyst for change. And I’m thinking to myself, yeah, it seems to me he was more an obstacle to the kind of change that you wanted and the U.S wanted, which was to see a solution to the Palestinian issue. So, what am I and your father-in-law getting wrong about this guy?

Jared Kushner: So first of all, I think that there definitely is brilliance to him, and I think he’s definitely committed himself to Israel for a very long time.

Some would argue maybe now too long, but I think he’s done a lot of good in his time. And my general view is, I was able to find ways to work things through with him. He didn’t always make my life easy, but that wasn’t his job.

My job wasn’t to make his life easy either. So again, I understood his complications, I understood his flaws, and I understood his brilliance, and I was able, and I just found it, and again, maybe I’m more malleable. I’m able to work with complicated people very well, that’s maybe one of the things throughout all my different careers I’ve been good at. But I found that I was able to get the best out of him in order to accomplish the things that I thought were in the best interests of America and the region.

Tarek Masoud: So, in other words, just bottom line on this, you are not one of the people who sees Benjamin Netanyahu as an obstacle to peace?

Jared Kushner: I think that anyone who is a leader in the region can be both part of the problem and part of the solution. And I think that the job of those involved is to try to pull the best out of everyone to create the best possible outcome possible.

Tarek Masoud: I definitely…

Jared Kushner: I know I’m being a little evasive with that, but I think it really can depend on the day, and I think it depends on how you work with him to get the best out of him.

Tarek Masoud: No, I love that.

Jared Kushner: It’s in there. It’s in there. That is what I’m saying.

Tarek Masoud: I love that. I love that. It’s clear from the book you did that with Netanyahu, but you gave up on Abbas really quickly.

Jared Kushner: I didn’t give up. I was just taking a posture of, we’re not going to chase you. But I think, for him, I set a very delicious table where if he would’ve come and engaged, I had a couple goodies in my pocket that I could have done, and I think I set the table for him to make a deal, have some big victories in negotiation, have $50 billion of investment, create a million new jobs, double the GDP, reduce the poverty rate, create a real country. You know what I mean? So, I think I set him up to be a hero.

Look, there’s one book I read about him, which actually I had a different assessment of him than the CIA. And I actually bought this book and gave it to the CIA after I read it, which was called The Last Palestinian, which was really incredible. And throughout his life, again, this is my assessment as just somebody who ended up in this job, was that throughout his life, he actually was for peace. He was for nonviolence. He hung around a lot of bad characters and was always on that side. But I do think that after they lost Gaza to Hamas in 2006, you basically had two non-states with two non-governments. And I think after that, he just went inward and his whole focus moved to survival and staying in power and keeping the kleptocracy running. I think after that, it was more about how do I set this up to just survive. And he became afraid of making peace and taking the risks necessary. That was kind of my assessment, which made him a little bit of a harder character to deal with.

Why was Recognizing Israel’s Annexation of Golan the “Right Thing to Do?”

Tarek Masoud: We could probably talk about him for much longer, but we shouldn’t. You saw the Vanity Fair story that talks about you as a potential future Secretary of State. I don’t know if people saw the New York Sun story from January that proposed your name for president of Harvard. But so what I want to do is I kind of want to, I want to understand how you think about international relations. And the Golan story gives us a nice entry point into that.

So, March, 2019, you encouraged President Trump to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. And basically you say, acknowledging the reality that the Golan Heights belonged to Israel was the right thing to do. And I remember I read that thing and I thought, wow, Jared Kushner is talking about the right thing to do. I’m a realist in international relations. I would’ve guessed that you were as well. It’s like there’s no right or wrong. It’s like interests. So, what was the moral principle that was being satisfied by recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan?

Jared Kushner: Sure. So even with all these jobs, my number one job that I’m focused on right now is being dad to my kids. That’s something after four years of very intense time in government. That’s the most important job I have now.

Tarek Masoud: That’s your way of saying you don’t want to be Secretary of State?

Jared Kushner: That’s my job. That’s my way of saying I’m really liking the job I have right now. It’s really important.

So, what I would say is that the way that I kind of approach foreign policy, and again, this came from not really having any experience in foreign policy, was basically saying every problem set I got almost, I think my disadvantage was that I didn’t have any context, and my advantage was that I didn’t have any context. So, I would always try to take a first principles result-oriented approach with the goal of being, how do you maximize human potential? And in order to maximize human potential, you need to figure out how you can reduce conflict, most of the time. And I always looked at everything and I say through that lens, what are the interests of different parties?

One thing I was also very good at, I think because I didn’t come in lecturing people. There’s a story I tell in the book where I went to meet with Mohammed bin Zayed, who’s now the president of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler. And I spent the first two hours basically asking him different forms of a question, which is, “The US has so much power, again, we are a massive global superpower. If you were me, what would you do?”

And it took him about an hour to basically understand the question I was doing because he was so not programmed to actually meet with somebody from the US who wanted his opinion.

And after an amazing conversation, because he’s a very, very wise and brilliant person, he basically said to me, “Jared, I think you’re going to make peace here in the region.”

And I said to him, I said, “Well, why do you say that?” He says, “Well, the US usually sends one of three kinds of people to see us. The first are somebody who comes and they fall asleep in meetings.” He says, “The second type of person they send is somebody who comes and they read me notes or a message and has no authority or power to interact and have a dialogue.” He said, “The third person they send are people with real authority, but they only really send them to come and try to convince me to do things that are not in my interests.” He says, “You’re the first person from the US at a senior level that’s ever come here and actually asked questions and listened.”

And I said to him, “Well, that’s because I really don’t know how to do this, and this is a really hard problem.” And so I said, “I appreciate all of the wisdom you can give me.”

So, it’s kind of a long way of saying that every problem I kind of looked at fresh. I was able to build trust with people, build real personal relationships. I always answered the phone. People had issues. I always believed successful people answer their phone and so I was always available. I didn’t always tell them, yes.

And I wasn’t keeping a score saying, I’m going to do this for you, but you have to do this for me. My general view was, I’m going to do all the things you need and you’re going to do all the things I need, and hopefully at the end of this relationship, we both feel like we’re way ahead. And so I was able to build a lot of trust.

I was able to kind of see things from another side’s perspective. I worked very hard to understand both side’s interests and say, where can we find common interests? And then the areas where we disagreed, instead of condemning people publicly, you’ll notice I didn’t do a lot of public talking. I didn’t think it was that helpful. I’m not very big on being negative towards people or being critical.

And so what I basically did was we would find ways when we disagreed to disagree respectfully and quietly, and then find ways to move forward.

Tarek Masoud: So, sorry, recognizing Golan’s annexation was the right thing to do because…

Jared Kushner: Well, it’s just obvious. I mean, number one, Israel had had it now for how many years? I guess they got in the ’73 War.

Tarek Masoud: Yes.

Jared Kushner: I believe so.

Tarek Masoud: [inaudible] I don’t remember it.

Jared Kushner: They had it for a long time. The ’67 War.

Tarek Masoud: Yeah.

Jared Kushner: The ’67 War. So, they basically had it since the ’67 War. Clearly, strategically, it was a big military, important. They had it, they weren’t giving … And then they’re saying, okay, who does it belong to? Syria. Syria, at the time, barely existed.

So, it was a big thing where it said, A, they’re never giving it up. B, Syria doesn’t exist. Let’s just recognize it. It moves things forward. And my view is the more of these what I would call stupid conflicts that we allowed to exist, the more it would be there. What I would say too is the Middle East has a lot of natural negative inertia to it. It’s been created over so many years. Maybe it’s the mixture of so many customs and traditions.

But I would say in 2017, what was new to the situation was really two things. One was President Trump and myself as a proxy and then MBS. And so with those two dynamics, we were able to disrupt the inertia and then really change the paradigm of what was there.

Tarek Masoud: You have this other line in the book where you say, “Recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan was a powerful opportunity for America to stand for the truth.” But that felt like very moral language. For example, I don’t imagine you would say, oh, let’s also stand for the truth of the fact that the One China policy doesn’t make any sense, and there actually should be an independent country called Taiwan. You wouldn’t stand for that truth.

Jared Kushner: Well, I think that that was a truth that didn’t conflict with one of our strategic interests.

Tarek Masoud: Okay, fair enough. Okay, fair enough, fair enough.

Jared Kushner: But I’ll tell you where we did do that. We did that in the Western Sahara. We recognized the Western Sahara as being part of Morocco because, again, we thought that was in our interests and it was true. And so it was just like one of these, and again, that has not been undone, too.

One thing I’m proud of with a lot of the work I did in government, people talk about how it was a divided time. Abraham Accords have been bipartisan praised, and now the Biden administration has followed our policy.

After two years, they’ve reversed course; they’re embracing Saudi Arabia. All the things we are doing, they’re now trying to do, which is I think a great affirmation of the policy. And it’s good. The prison reform, we did; 87 votes in the Senate. You look at the USMCA trade deal, [inaudible]. So, my view is if you pursue the things in the right way and you build consensus, you actually can move forward big things. So, Western Sahara, we did the right thing and we were able to then work hard to convince everyone to come on board.

Kushner’s Relationship with MBS

Tarek Masoud: We’re coming to the time where I have to take questions from the students, otherwise I will not make it out of here alive. But I wanted to ask you, just one last issue I wanted to describe. You talk about yourself as trying to move big things forward. Another person trying to move big things forward, who is a friend of yours is Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and I think you and I are in agreement that he’s probably one of the most consequential people in the world right now in terms of the magnitude of what he’s trying to do and in terms of how important it is for the world that he succeed.

But I think when I look at him and what he’s trying to do, there are some things that just kind of give me pause. And I’m asking you as a friend of his to help me understand why these things shouldn’t give me pause. So, I’m totally going to overlook the Jamal Khashoggi thing or the detention of the Lebanese Prime Minister or the Ritz-Carlton. Just looking at some of the developmental plans like The Line, which is this a hundred-mile-long linear city. And you are a real estate guy, does The Line make sense to you?
I look at this and I think this seems to me like a guy who’s got a lot of testosterone, and nobody who wants to tell him, no. What am I getting wrong?

Jared Kushner: Got it. So, he definitely has very high RPMs from the first time I met him. So, I’ll give a little bit of context. So, Mohammed bin Salman is now the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

When we were in the campaign in 2016, Trump was very tough on Saudi.
And then, I write in my book, if you want to go through and read, I was very, very rough with them when they came in trying to speak. And I said, look, we want nothing to do with you guys. You guys fund terrorism, you treat women terribly. You’re not ascribing to Western values. You got to pay for your own defense. You got to recognize Israel. We’re done. This is going to be a very rough, rough go. And they did not get along with Obama because Obama basically went to Persia and did the deal with Iran, which made all of our allies feel very alienated. So, they basically came back and said, no, no, no, we really, really value the U.S relationship. It’s been our strongest relationship forever. And we have this young Deputy Crown Prince who really wants to go forward and make a difference here, and he wants to change things.

And so then basically, we had a big debate internally, and he sent me a whole proposal through his guys, [inaudible] and Dr. Mosaad Al-Aiban. And they basically brought a proposal that basically said, we’re going to do all these modernizations. We’re going to get rid of the custodianship laws. We’re going to start allowing women to drive. And by the way, we’re not doing this for you. We’re doing this because we want to do it. We’re going to be eliminating the role of the religious police. At the time we had the Pulse nightclub shooting, we had the San Bernardino shooting. The biggest problem in 2016, a big issue in the campaign was really radicalization. ISIS had a caliphate the size of Ohio.

And the whole talking point was we needed to defeat the territorial caliphate of ISIS, and then we need to win the long-term battle against extremism. There was a real fear that these extremists were basically using online mechanisms to radicalize people all over the world. We needed to stop the flow of funds to terrorists. So, they came with a proposal saying, Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the two holy mosques is going to lean into this and help you create a whole center where we’re going to now single-handedly lead the fight with you, to fight online extremism and radicalization. And by the way, they never called it modernizing Islam. He would always say, I want to restore Islam. He says, these people who were the terrorists, the ISIS, they don’t represent Islam. They are basically doing awful things in the name of Islam, and they are giving us Muslims a bad name, and we are just as aligned with you.

Again, we don’t think Trump is against Muslims. We think he’s against Islamic extremists who pervert our religion. So, they came with this whole proposal; look, we’re going to do hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the US. We’re going to start paying for a lot more of our defense.

And it was like a dream come true from everything I thought Trump would like. They bring the proposal. Again, me knowing absolutely nothing about Saudi Arabia, nothing about foreign policy. I bring it to the national security team and I say, well, this is a proposal we got from Saudi. Is this interesting? This is, Jared. One of these things would be revolutionary. I say, well, they’re saying they’re going to do all of it if we kind of lean into the relationship.

So, then we go into the situation room to kind of assess what do we do with this? And I’m sitting with Secretary of Defense Mattis, Tillerson, John Kelly, Homeland Security. And, and Tillerson’s saying, “I’ve dealt with the Saudis all my life. I ran ExxonMobil. I know the Saudis. They never keep their word and they never come through. Jared, it’s a nice thing, but you’re a young, naive guy and it’s not going to go anywhere.”

I said, “Look, they’re putting it all in writing.” I said, “Why should we predetermine them to a future where nothing happens? If they’re saying they want to make these changes, let’s give them a little bit of rope.” So, we take it to the president and he’s doing a call with King Salman, and before the call, we’re having this debate. They say, “You’re going to deal with King Salman. We deal with his brother Mohammed bin Nayef, who’s the intelligence chief, and he’s a great ally for the U.S.”

And I said, “Well, if he’s such a good ally to the U.S, why do we have all these terrorist concerns with Saudi that you guys keep complaining about?”

And I said, “Look, I just want you to know I have a proposal from another guy there who’s the deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and he’s saying he wants to do all these things to really change, really big things, that will really make a difference.”

The call gets on the line. President Trump takes the call, speaks to King Salman. It was a pretty rough call because Trump, as you know, it can be very blunt. He basically says, “We want to see changes and we want to see them fast.”

And what King Salman basically says to him is, “We’re ready to lean in. We want to really strengthen the relationship with America. We did not like how it went before and we’re ready to do it.”

And so President Trump says, “Who should my team deal with?” And he says, “Deal with my son, the Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.”

So, then he says, “Let him deal with Jared.” And the reason why he chose me for is because he knew the other guys weren’t believers, and they’d probably sabotage.

So, I get back to my desk and I have a note from him. We worked basically for 90 days straight to set up this trip. He sent his top guys to Washington. I got every single thing in writing. I couldn’t get people in the White House to come to the meetings to plan on the trip because they basically said, “This is going to be a disaster. We are all going to be embarrassed, and we want Jared to take the blame.”

We’re taking off for the trip. And I’m thinking to myself, why do I always do this to myself? We could have just gone to Mexico and cut a ribbon. What do I have to do this for? So, we go there, and I actually would encourage you to read or watch President Trump’s speech from Riyadh because he basically said, you’ll excuse my French. He says, “Look, I’m not going there to kiss ass.” He says, “I’m going there to kind of lay down markers and say, this is what needs to change and this is what we need to do.” He went there with a very tough, realistic speech, and he basically said, “This is not your problem. This is not our problem. This is all of our problems. We want to get these terrorists out of our homes. Get them out of our mosques. Let’s get them out of this world.” And it was very, very rough. And the king of Saudi Arabia gets up there and says, “There is no glory in death”, which also was a big statement.

So, I’m giving a long lead up to say, this is where we are. Over that visit, I had dinner with the Crown Prince, then the Deputy Crown Prince. I remember he said something to me, which was amazing, which he said, “My father’s generation, they were kind of in the desert. They really didn’t have a lot. And they look at the city of Riyadh today with airports and military, and they got so much further than they ever dreamed they could.” Or it’s in military and they got so much further than they ever dreamed they could. He says, “My generation, we look at all of the potential that our country has that’s not being sought after, and we see it as a big wasted opportunity. We want go to much, much higher heights. We believe in Saudi. I always say, there’s a reason why Saudi is such a big territory. They were amazing warriors back in the day. So, it’s an incredible people that have been very repressed through bad leadership for a long time. So, again, people were very surprised, the first reform, the second reform.

And keep in mind you had the religious police. People thought if he tried this stuff, they would kill him. And he was able to move so quickly on so many reforms that he’s freed that next generation.

When we did our conference in Bahrain in 2019, one of the challenges we had was finding role models for young Middle Eastern kids, young Palestinian kids, say, who are the new tech entrepreneurs? Who’s the Mark Zuckerberg or the Elon Musk that these kids should look up to? Now, I was in Saudi Arabia probably five months ago and I had a meeting with 30 tech entrepreneurs and this guy’s building the X of Saudi, the Y of Saudi, they’re building all these great startups and he’s unleashed a whole new generation of that.

He once said to me as well, something which was amazing where he said, because I was saying to him, “You’ve got all these ambitious projects.” I said, “Are you sure it’s a good thing to be doing all this?” Again, we’re friends and we’re able to have honest discussions with each other. We’ve had some tough discussions; we’ve had some fun discussions. But he basically looked at me and he said, “Jared,” he said, “Look, the way I view this is we have a country with amazing potential. As a leader, most leaders will say, let me do two or three things, and then you set low expectations and you achieve it and you declare success.” And he says, “That’s not my approach.” He says, “My approach is I want to take on a hundred things, and if I fail at 50 things, instead of looking back in five years and saying I accomplished three things, I’ll say I accomplished 50 things.”

And so I think he’s going forward in that way. So, if you want to look at the significance of him, and I’ll say this, the Khashoggi thing was an absolutely terrible situation, but I think the American media got very fixated on it. And it’s funny, I had a journalist, somebody who’s an editor of a magazine calls me because she was moderating a panel with some Saudi ministers and said, “Can you give me some advice on what I should ask him about?” And I said, “Well, let’s go away from the conventional stuff. Why don’t you talk about what it’s like to run a KPI driven government?” I said, “That would be a very interesting conversation.” It was a business conference.

Tarek Masoud: Key performance indicator [KPI].

Jared Kushner: Yeah. So, I said, “Look, you should go there and see what’s happening. It is one of the most exciting places now in the world.” And she says, “Oh, I can’t go there. My colleagues will kill me.” And so I’m saying to myself, well, that’s not curiosity and journalism. So, one of the biggest misperceptions I believe right now in America is the American journalists are not paying attention to what’s happening there, and it’s one of the most exciting transformations in the world.

And if you think about why I am a believer that in Gaza or in the West Bank, there’s hope to transform those societies and take the people who right now, people say, oh, they’re all radicalized. How can we transform them? Look what’s happened in Saudi Arabia over five years.

So, if you think about him in the context of the 21st century and how we’ll look at it, I think that I put half of it in the context of the amount of extremism and radicalization that we are not having to deal with because of the way that he’s taken Saudi Arabia in a different direction.

It’s funny, in politics, again, I look at some of the things we’re talking about saying, oh, well we’re going in and we’re solving a problem. We’re going and solving the border crisis that we basically created, right? Here, he’s spending a lot of time and effort and risk to have avoided what I think are massive potentially unovercomeable problems.

The other side of it is the contributions, and so there we’re kind of in the middle phase. I think he’s already accomplished, to be honest with you, from when I met him the first time and he told me about a lot of these dreams, I think he’s accomplished way more than I think anyone could have expected. And I think the cool thing is he’s just getting warmed up. And so now you think about these projects, he’s a very out of the box thinker. I see that he’s getting better and better. The ministers around him, again, they all sit around. It’s like sitting with the leadership team of a startup. They’re getting better and better. They’re competitive with each other, but in a friendly way. And I think that there’s a real ambition and an appetite for risk there that you don’t see in a lot of countries, and they have the resources and you think about the location. They have access to, in the Gulf right now, one of the reasons I’m so bullish there is you have access to the European market and to the US market, but then you have access to the Asian market where there’s massive, massive growth.

So, you look at the circumference around them, you have like 4 billion people and you have established markets, emerging markets, they have net surpluses because of their oil trade. They’re making massive investments in renewables. They’re being a true leader in a lot of fronts, and I think that’s very exciting.

So, again, I was very… Without him, I don’t think we would’ve been able to turn the tide in the region. I’m still very optimistic. I think now, it’s funny, they’re talking about with Israel; it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when and how and for what. Right? And so those negotiations are ongoing. I think they could conclude a week from now, they could conclude a year from now. But they’re going to happen, and that’s all because of the effort that he’s bringing. And I think that you’re going to see a different Middle East, a different world because of the work he’s done. So, I think it’s very exciting.

Tarek Masoud: You’re definitely clearly bullish on MBS and on Saudi. Are you so bullish on them that you’d invest there?

Jared Kushner: Yeah.

Tarek Masoud: Okay.

Jared Kushner: Yeah. Look, one of the challenges of investing there is that they’re doing so much investment internally. I’ve looked at several things.

We made one great investment in the UAE in an online classified business, which is basically correlated to the growth in real estate. But UAE in this last conflict really said, we want to take the role of Switzerland. And so, they basically said, we’re not getting involved, we’ve been in the middle of too many things. And so, they’ve had an explosion in their market and that’s been a massively successful investment for us. That business is going into Saudi as well. And we have another couple of businesses we’re looking in Saudi and I definitely would invest in the right way. Again, you have to get comfortable; it’s like every market has its insiders and its local customs; so we’ve gone slowly, but I am very bullish there.

Tarek Masoud: All right, so when we started here, I told you, you should never count on a middle-aged Egyptian man to keep time, particularly when you’re talking to somebody as interesting as Jared Kushner. So, can we take maybe two questions?

Jared Kushner: Yeah, of course.

Tarek Masoud: Is that cool?

Jared Kushner: Of course.

Tarek Masoud: So, I want to call on students in my class, IJ655, and the first person I have is Zantana Efrem, who’s right over here? Yep.

Zantana Efrem: Hi Jared. Thank you for being here with us today. So, the question I had submitted to Professor Masoud is this. As you’re undoubtedly aware, there have been numerous significant discussions across the country surrounding the campus culture in higher education, particularly in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These conversations often touch upon anti-Palestinian sentiments, Islamophobia and antisemitism. I assume your presence here today suggests that you recognize the necessity of what the Harvard Kennedy School calls candid conversations, particularly within institutions of higher education. In light of this, could you share your perspective on areas where you believe Harvard University, its donors, or students, may have faltered or faced missteps in addressing the complexities of the conflict on our campus?

Jared Kushner: Sure. So, I’ll be honest. When I got reached out from Tarek, it was at a time where a lot of my friends were getting very, very negative on Harvard. And I’ve always been somebody, I’m not big into condemnation, I’m big in engagement. Every now and then you got to do condemnation. But they say you don’t make peace with your friends, you have to go out there and go into places that are uncomfortable. I will say that… and by the way, I’ll say one of the pretexts, which is I got here about an hour before this and I was walking around campus and you guys are all so lucky to be here. This place is absolutely amazing. It is so special. It survived for a long time and it’s always been a beacon of excellence, and like all great institutions perhaps maybe it lost it’s way a little bit. I’m sure that’s happened in the past. I have not studied the history of Harvard as much as I have some of these other topics, but…

Tarek Masoud: It’s much harder, the history of Harvard.

Jared Kushner: But what I would say is this, is that I’m more interested in tomorrow and the future. I think that what we’ve been through has been a very interesting time for the country. I think it’s been an interesting time in the world. I think there’s been a lot of emotions. I think I would just encourage people, no matter what your persuasion is, to figure out how to engage. I saw this when I was in New York, before I went into the political world, I only had one friend who was a Republican. I remember sitting here at Harvard and the things that we would say about George Bush and how certain and how arrogant we were about his policies. And by the way, I’m not a fan of him as a president. I don’t think he was a good president. But it was such a self-righteousness about the thought that now I look back on reflection and I see.

I saw the same thing in New York where the echo chamber I was in, which I thought was a very worldly echo chamber, I was with the heads of the banks, the heads of the hedge funds, the heads of the fashion companies, the heads of the technology companies. We’d be at our house, we’d have artists over, I’d have journalists. I thought I was just with this very eclectic, worldly diverse group. It turned out I was just in a massive echo chamber. And what I would say for all of you is, I would say try to pursue independent thought. When people are screaming, I’m not sure that that’s necessarily the most productive way. I would try to do your research. I would try to meet with people on both sides and I would try to engage.

This place has a very special history; it has a lot of that’s special to it. And I think that if each of you say, how can we try to contribute to make this a comfortable place for everyone, let’s learn, let’s continue to grow and evolve, I think that it’s possible that this place can hopefully come back to where it has the potential to be.

Tarek Masoud: Great. Okay. We’ll take one more. I have Barak Sella over here.

Barak Sella: Hi, my name is Barak Sella. I’m a student in Tarek’s class. So, let’s pretend that in a year from now you are a Secretary of State. And looking at sort of the situation of foreign policy in the US, a lot of dissatisfaction on the right and the left and post-October 7th, knowing that we can’t go back, you’re always talking about going forward. How should America’s foreign policy in the Middle East change regarding the challenges that are now facing the Middle East, Israel, the Arab world after October 7th? What has changed? How has it changed fundamentally, how the United States needs to approach this foreign policy?

Jared Kushner: So first of all, I’m just going to say all this is as a hypothetical, which is always dangerous to do. But what I would say is that if you go back for, I think… look, when President Clinton left office, America was an [inaudible] superpower in the world, and it was mostly peaceful. You think about through both the Bush and Obama administrations, I think the foreign policy of both administrations did not achieve great results and made the world a lot less safe, allowed China to rise, got us into war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, led to a big instability in the region, which again, when President Trump got in 2017, we had to deal with literally a decade and a half of massive mismanagement. Again, I think we spent the whole time trying to fix a lot of problems that we inherited, and I think at the end we left it with a lot of good momentum. How do you go back to where we had it and then build upon it in that regard?

I think there’s a couple things, and I wish everything was black and white, but I found in foreign policy, like in most things in life, there’s always a thousand shades of gray and you need to figure out how everything connects to everything else. So, number one is that you need to impose a penalty on Iran and you need them to feel like there is a risk to keep the trouble they’re making, right?

So, what President Trump used to say about Iran is that they’ve never won a war, but they’ve never lost a negotiation. So, they’re always going around feeling, trying. In 2016, Iran, after the JCPOA, when Obama left office, was selling about 2.7 million barrels a day of oil. By the end of the Trump administration, they were selling 100,000 barrels of oil a day on the illicit market. So, basically we totally dissected their economy; they were out of foreign currency reserves and they were dead broke. I mean, they’re pretty good with ballistic missiles, but they’re air force is from the 1970s. So, they had no capabilities. Wars are expensive; they had no capabilities to withstand war, and we had the world pretty united in enforcing the sanctions against them. And that was a very tough battle with Europe and with China and with Russia and a lot of others; but we were able to create enough issues everywhere else. We were able to really kind of put them in a box and make them fear us.

So, I would say number one is you have to focus on Iran and they have to feel, first of all, start cramping down on their resources.

And number two, you need to create some kind of fear that this behavior is not going to be treated lightly. I also think there’s an issue where you need to figure out how to reset the relationship with China, and I think you need to figure out an end to the Russia/ Ukraine war. I don’t think there’s much there that’s happening. I think that Russia wants to see us now more distracted, so I do think that they’re incentivized to be against whatever position the US is in the Middle East. So, let’s say the US came out tomorrow and said, we’re against Israel, Russia would then go back Israel. I think that there’s a dynamic there where they want to see us distracted so that we focus less on them. And so I think that that conflict strategically is not good for us. I think you need a resolution there.

So, I think number one is contain Iran.

Number two is we took a little bit of a different approach than the administrations before us and after us with Hamas.

So, if you go back with Hamas, they had the same business plan from basically 2006 up until 2017. They would fire rockets into Israel. Israel would overreact. The world would then reflexively condemn Israel because every one of their military targets is underneath a school or a residential area. Israel sends out leaflets saying, “Please, civilians move, we’re about to bomb,” which really eliminates the element of surprise. But they basically would fire rockets into Israel. Israel would overreact. The world would condemn Israel. Then there’d be a conference; they’d raise money, Hamas would get cash. They’d be good for a couple of years. They’d run out of money. They’d say, what should we do? Oh, I’ve got an idea. Let’s fire rockets into Israel. Israel will overreact. The world would condemn Israel. They’ll hold the conference, we’ll get some more money, we’ll be good for a couple of years. When Hamas did that the first time with us, what the State department was saying is we urge both sides to show restraint.

We basically did something different. We said, Israel has the right to defend itself. We support that. Israel went in, bombed the crowd. We said, no more money. We’re not putting more money in until they stop bombing. We’re not putting good money after bad, if you guys actually show us a paradigm.

The thing with Gaza that was different from the West Bank is there was no religious sites. So, there’s no border disputes and there’s no religious sites. So, it was kind of like a very simple concept of like, you guys stop being terrorists and we’ll figure out how to rebuild the place. And so, the notion there was, show them that there’s going to be a real… they’re not going to be rewarded for their bad actions. Now, giving them a Palestinian state is basically a reinforcement of we are going to reward you for bad actions, right?

Tarek Masoud: We’re not giving Hamas a Palestinian state. You’re giving Palestinians a Palestinian state.

Jared Kushner: What do you think that will do for the popularity of Hamas and for people? If you’re a young person and you have two people trying to influence you, and you have Muhammad Abbas saying, my way of being peaceful has what brought us a state. By the way, they all think he’s corrupt. They don’t like when you criticize their government. But he says, my way of being peaceful, or you have Hamas saying, the only way we ever got anything was by going in and killing and raping and murdering, and we showed them that we can be tough and they feared us and the world rewarded us for it.

So, my sense is it’s an unbelievably awful precedent to do. You have to show terrorists that they will not be tolerated and that we’ll take strong action.

So, number one, you’ve got to put some cramps on Iran. Number two, you have to be very tough at going after the terrorists.

Number three, you have to work with everyone. There was a lot of trust eroded in the region since we left. UAE was shot from the Houthis. By the way… Anyway, it doesn’t matter. But bottom line is then I would focus on how do you get the deal with Saudi done. And those talks continued to evolve.

And I did an interview with Lex Friedman basically two days after. And he asked me, “Is the Saudi deal dead with Israel?” I said, “No, no, no. The industrial logic is still strong there. It’s just now Israel’s going to have to do what they’re going to do, and then when it’s done, it’s in the interest of all sides.”

So, Israel still wants that deal, the Biden administration still wants that deal and Saudi still wants that deal. So that deal is still very much alive. And it’s interesting too, the dynamics. The Biden guys initially said they’re going to make Saudi a pariah, and now they’re basically running over there begging them for help to try to figure out how to get this resolved.

So, the long answer is, I think that’s really how you have to do it. You have to stand with Israel. I think it’s very, very important. We deterred a lot of threats because we stood with Israel.

I think the north right now is combustible. I am nervous. I think the US did the right move sending the carriers over initially. But think about it like a woods with a lot of dry leaves. It just takes a little spark and that thing can conflate. There, it’s a pretty tough situation. You need a long-term plan to try to diffuse that situation, but you have to figure out how to hope.

But it’s about being strong, being strong with Israel, containing Iran, showing the terrorists they’re not going to be rewarded for their actions, and working closely with your partners in Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf to try to figure out how to continue the economic project that we started.

Isn’t the Most Important Arab-Israeli Peace Deal the one with the Palestinians?

Tarek Masoud: But Jared, you’ve got to agree with me and then we’ll have to end, you’ve got to agree with me that ultimately, at the end of the day, the real deal with Arabs that matters for Israel is with Palestinians.

Jared Kushner: So, I’ll just say this, as I think that for Israel, and actually for the Jewish people, having a proper resolution to that is very important, right? Because I do think that that’s been an excuse for a lot of global antisemitism to hide behind this conflict. And I think that that’s been… It’s definitely within the interest of Israel and the Jewish people to find a resolution to the issue. But, and this is the most important, but, it has to be a solution that’s sustainable.

And when you ask me what’s my biggest fear? My biggest fear is that you have a lot of people who are chasing a deal for the sake of a deal and not looking to make a deal that will really leave this in a position where it makes future conflict less likely.

And the way you do that is by creating a paradigm where you don’t reward bad behavior. You need the right institutions to allow the Palestinian people to live a better life. You said something to me when we were talking, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, or I could just say, I heard this from a friend.

And I actually thought it was really smart, it had me thinking, and it’s absolutely true, that Oslo has been a total failure. And again, we’ve all worked in the constructs of that. But if you think about it, for all these years in the Middle East, again, before you had all these countries and all these arbitrary lines that we spoke about with Sykes-Picot, you basically had a situation where you had the tribal system, and there’s still form of governance in the different cities and towns in the tribal system. Oslo, I went before about how Arafat was in Jordan, he tried to assassinate the king. They had black Saturday…

Tarek Masoud: Black September.

Jared Kushner: Black September. They got these guys out. They went up to Lebanon, they caused some problems in Lebanon, they kicked them out of Lebanon. They went to your favorite place, Tunisia, they’re in Tunisia, sitting in villas on the beach, basically broke and there. And then the US and Israel had this great idea of say, we’re going to take this former terrorist who’s sitting in a villa in Tunisia and we’re going to put him in charge of the Palestinians. And then all of a sudden, you’ve got this tribal system that’s been working there for a long time. They’re like, why the hell is this guy in charge of us?

And then for 30 years, we’ve had nothing but failure; the people’s lives have not gotten better and that hasn’t worked. So again, my fear is that I’m seeing a lot of conventional thinking with the same people who have failed. Again, you go to Abas, he’s like a broken record. He said the same thing, and his record of non-achieving is not good.

And my fear is really for the people because I think that they’ve been pawns in this situation. And the one thing I’ll say strongly, people who are pro… I always say this. There’s four categories in this conflict. You have pro-Israel, that’s acceptable. You have indifferent, that’s acceptable. You have pro-Palestinian, that’s acceptable. You have pro-Hamas, that is not acceptable.

You think about if you want to be pro-Palestinian. The best thing you can do is, say the people who have been holding these people back is their leadership. When we held a conference in Bahrain… Sorry, I’ll do this part very quickly, then we’ll wrap.

We held a conference in Bahrain. Again, go to my Peace to Prosperity, Google it. You’ll go through, I have a full business plan that I built. It’s 100, and I think, 83-page document that goes through all the different changes you need and every investment that we would make in order to build a functioning society.

We had every businessman from around the world, Steve Schwartzman came, [inaudible] AT&T; had all the leading Arab businessmen. And they all said, we want to do things to make the lives of the Palestinian people better, and we will invest there.

But the reason we’re not going to invest there, again, you can’t have jobs in prosperity without investment. They still teach capitalism at Harvard, I think.

Tarek Masoud: Secretly.

Jared Kushner: Secretly, right? And capitalism is a very powerful force towards improving people’s lives. And that’s been proven time and time again. And so, what they all said is, the reason we’re not investing has nothing to do with Israel, it has to do with there’s no rule of law. We don’t want to go build a factory or a power plant, then have it blown up by terrorism. There’s no property rights. How are we going to go do something, then it’s expropriated by these thugs.

And so what I would say is that without the proper Palestinian leadership, and again, you can’t just say, oh, we’re going to do a reinvigorated Palestinian authority. It’s not going to work. It’s not going to work. You need a new idea that’s actually going to work. Because if you’re Israel, yes, I think, and a lot of Israelis at their core, they want the Palestinians to live a better life. They want a Palestinians… The state right now, the state means a lot of things.

So, it’s a very controversial word, even though it shouldn’t be, because it means different things to different people. But the fundamental underlying part of it that’s essential is, is there a governing structure in this area for the Palestinian people that will not threaten Israel security wise, and that will give the Palestinian people the opportunity to live a better life. Without those two things, nothing is acceptable. You can call it whatever the hell you want.

How can Palestinians Build their Institutions while under Bombardment?

Tarek Masoud: Yeah. So, I think this is a really important note to end on though, because I think anybody who leaves here would think, well, the tune that Jared Kushner really wants us to hum is that the number one most important thing that we’ve got to do is invest in the building of Palestinian institutions. And I don’t know how you do that while a big chunk of Palestine is under this massive bombing campaign.

Jared Kushner: So, what I would say this… that’s one of the cool things…

Tarek Masoud: I’ll give you the last word.

Jared Kushner: Okay, cool. Yeah. So, one of the things I learned also in government is that especially in the Middle East, the number one rule you should follow when doing it is that if they’re not screaming at you, you’re not on the right path because all of…

Tarek Masoud: That must mean I’m always on the right path.

Jared Kushner: Exactly. Yeah. So, the conventional thinking in that region has just the track record of everyone who’s going to be talking is just wrong. So, think about it, again; we go back to, how do I look at it, first principles, results-oriented, results outcome, and how do you advance human prosperity? How do you advance human potential? How do you give people the chance to live safe, have better life? If it doesn’t fit in those criteria and you put patchwork on it, then you’re doing what politicians do, which again, Trump coming from the business world, myself coming from the business world, a problem’s either solved or it’s not.

You can’t put a band-aid on something and call it solved because it’s going to go back. I think the psychology right now of Israel is very much, we can never let this happen again. And so, I think what they’re doing is they’re hoping that a solution will develop. And again, I think this is the burden now that the Biden administration carries.

I think the Arab countries want to see this happen as well. But I do think there’s a very big desire to come up with a solution that will make everyone more prosperous and more safe in the long-term. And that’s what it’s about, right?

Again, I have friends now who are Muslims, who are Christians, who are Jews. When I would go sit with people, they knew I was Jewish; I was an envoy from America. We’re all the same people. We have the same blood in our veins. And when we recognize that, we all kind of want to make things better, whether you’re a Democrat, you’re a Republican, Israeli, Palestinian; and if you kind of come with that framing, then there’s a lot of progress that you can make. But you can’t do stupid things short term that you’ll pay the price for long term.


Tarek Masoud: Okay. This is a good note to end on. First of all, I want to thank you, Jared, for coming to Harvard. I know it’s your old stomping grounds, but one could be forgiven for thinking it’s like going to enemy territory. Hopefully you feel that this was a welcoming environment, and we can get you to come back so we can argue some more with a bunch of things that you said that I still want to argue with, but we don’t have time for. And I want to thank all of you for coming and just being an exemplary Harvard audience. And so please join me in thanking Jared Kushner. Jared Kushner: Thank you. Thank you very much.

On Eating Insects, or Disgusting Globalization

For some time now, the EU has been pushing for Europeans to willingly accept larvae and insects, worms and flies in their diet—the gastronomically correct single dish, a variant of the politically correct single thought. This is a decisive moment in the deconstruction of European identities, starting from the table.

It can be affirmed that the entomophagic gesture is not only not part of the table traditions of the European peoples, but has historically almost always been the object of social repugnance. The reasons must be identified in the symbolic sphere. To tell the truth, from a purely material point of view, there are no reasons that prevent eating insects, larvae or crickets. In a “technical” sense, they are perfectly “edible.”

In terms of nutritional properties, for example, insect meat, which is very rich in micronutrients (protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids), is equivalent to red meat and poultry. And, as Harris reminds us in Good to Eat (2011), one hundred grams of African termites contain 610 calories, 38 grams of protein and 46 grams of fat. Furthermore, Franz Bodenheimer, in his study Insects as Human Food (1950), documented the existence of human “insectivores” on all major continents.

Even in terms of environmental impact, the reasons for eating insects would be “acceptable”: the “feed conversion ratio,” which establishes how many kilograms of feed are needed to produce 1 kilo of meat, is 10:1 for cattle, while for insects it is 1:1. Therefore, from ecological parameters, the advantage would be appreciable.

The same objection according to which insects, being covered by a hard substance, chitin, could be difficult for man to digest, would not be convincing: for the same reason one should not eat shrimps or some other shellfish. Even the argument that insects should not be eaten because they could transmit diseases falls apart easily, if one considers that, without proper care, also sheep, pigs, cattle and chickens can transmit them, and that, above all, through cooking and proper “cooking” (roasting, frying, baking, etc.) the problem can be solved in one case as well as in the others. In short, as paradoxical as it may seem, insects are not “dirtier” or more “infectious” than many of the animals we usually eat.

Why, then, has there always existed in Europe a deep-rooted suspicion, usually deriving in repugnance, towards entomophagy? Harris’s materialism in his Good to Eat (Op. cit.) and, in particular, his theory of “residual utility” may provide a possible hermeneutical key. In his view, it does not seem appropriate to eat those animals that are most useful when alive. This is the case, for example, of the cow in India. But also the dog of Westerners, used to carry out functions of companionship and vigilance. However, animals that are counterproductive to raise, such as the pig for Jews and Muslims, are not eaten either. If the animal not consumed does not even produce utility, then it becomes an “abomination” (as we have just said, this is the case with the pig for Jews and Muslims, unlike the cow for Indians, which, on the contrary, is considered “sacred” for its utility).

Following Harris’s reasoning, entomophagy is not among the tastes of Europeans because the advantage to be gained from the capture and preparation of insects is decidedly limited compared to that of large mammals or fish. In accordance with his theory of the “maximum profitability of food research,” Harris explains that hunters or gatherers were only interested in species that allowed them to obtain the maximum caloric return in relation to the time spent foraging. For this reason, in the tropical forest, where few large animals are found, entomophagy is profitable, in contrast to what historically occurs in Europe, where goats and sheep, pigs and poultry, fish and cows abound.

This would be another reason—Harris concludes—why entomophagy is alien to the customs rooted in the history of the Old Continent. It should be added that, not being part of European food consumption habits, insects and larvae become strictly useless and also cause harmful effects: they destroy crops (think of locusts, traditionally understood as “divine punishment”), eat our food, sting us, bite and prick. And this tidy sum of causes brings as a consequence that, even, they come to be perceived as more “abominable” than the pig can be for Muslims and Jews. In the syntax of Lévi-Strauss, they are not “good for thinking” and, moreover, only generate bad thoughts.

So why does the EU insist on making us eat something that is outside our culture, using insistent advertising campaigns and such tenacious propaganda?

We propose two interpretations, reciprocally innervated. On the one hand, there is the Social Question: from the point of view of the dominant groups (the turbo-capitalist power elite), worms and larvae, crickets and insects of various kinds could guarantee the possibility of having food at low cost for the increasingly precarious masses, offering them this resource, however fragile, to alleviate hunger. And this, for the neoliberal oligarchic bloc, from a paternalistic perspective, could prove to be of vital importance, in order to contain the explosion of conflicts and antagonisms difficult to tame that would derive from new and possible waves of hunger in the pole of the losers (hunger, as we know, is historically the first vector of insurrections).

On the other hand, there is the Identity Question: the spread of entomophagy, directed from above and ingeniously presented as a fashion spontaneously generated from below, seems to represent the non plus ultra of the processes of disidentification at the table and, if you will, also the fundamental moment of the dynamics of that deconstruction of identities and cultures, of traditions and tastes that is functional to the unlimited expansion of the commodity form and its expressive functions. The memory of the macabre coprophagous banquet staged in Pasolini’s Saló (1975) is once again prophetically instructive.

The disidentification of gastronomy strongly contributes to the more general disidentification of man in the time of his technical reproducibility, which I have dealt with extensively in Difendere chi siamo. Le ragioni dell’identità italiana (Ed. 2020).

Capitalist production gradually deprives local communities of their crop varieties, which are the result of their own intelligence developed over time to solve the problem of hunger, and replaces them with varieties dictated by the market order. It thus deconstructs food sovereignty and imposes forms of consumption that promote the industrialization of agriculture, instead of the protection of local producers and biodiversity, of traditions and typical products. The result is an accelerated degradation of the environment, a planetary homologation, a barbarization of public life, an increasingly marked asymmetry in the access to resources between the Center and the Periphery of the world.

The topic was pioneered by Jack Goody in his Cooking, Cuisine and Class (2017), where he devotes ample space to the epochal change implemented on food production after the Industrial Revolution. The genesis of an “industrial cuisine” has produced an irreversible impact on the culinary style at a global level: the progressive mechanization of production processes and the continuous technological development—explains Goody—have determined a homologation of the food diet, which has initially focused only on the West, to then proceed to run across, in cascade, the rest of the planet.

In this sense, “food de-sovereignization” does not only mean the cosmopolitization of food production and consumption, more and more detached from territories and nations, identities and cultures; it also alludes to the growing subtraction of control over food and its production from local communities and peoples.

This contributes to the loss of the relational and communal function of food and gastronomy, which is redefined as a succession of mere unstable forms for perennially isolated individuals in perpetual movement. And, at the same time, the cultural and symbolic value of the different dishes is annihilated in the name of their purely nutritional character.

“Modern man,” wrote Heidegger, “no longer needs any symbol (Sinnbild),” since everything is reabsorbed in the power of production as the only source of meaning (hence the theologomenon “the market demands it of us”). The level of enticity survives only as a background of production and traffic and, for this very reason, “all possibility and all need for a symbol disappears.” The pantoclastic fanaticism of the freemarket economy accepts no symbols other than the icons of merchandise, of gadgets and, in general, of any tautological reference to the entropic order of the civilization of markets.

From this derives the gray monotony of the indistinct, which is presented as a consumerist homologation of identities and, in turn, as the planetary triumph of the single thought as the only admitted thought. The different, who does not accept to disidentify himself and become homogeneous to the other of himself, is declared sic et simpliciter illegitimate and dangerous, violent and terrorist.

This is the essential characteristic of technocapitalism as coercion to the equal. In Heidegger’s words, “the im-posed (Gestell) puts everything with a view to the equal (das Gleiche) of the orderable, so that it constantly re-presents itself in the same way in the Equal of orderability.” In this sense, das Gleiche, “the equal” or, better still, “the homologated,” is the uniform, the disidentified, the quantitative indistinct which, serially substitutable, figures as the only profile admitted by the unlimitedly self-empowered will to power. By virtue of the processes of technocapitalist “uprooting” (Entwurzelung) and planetary homologation, everything becomes serially indistinct and usable: nothing is itself anymore, when everything is interchangeable in the form of the universal equivalent proper to alienation without borders.

Liberal-globalist nihilism first neutralizes cultures and identities (the moment of Disidentification). Then, once they have lost the capacity to resist through neutralization, it includes the disidentified in the model of global market homologation: and redefines them according to consumer micro-identities, produced ad hoc to be functional to the New World Order (moment of homologated Re-identification). This is what I have called “Neutralizing Inclusion.”

From this derives the image of the current tribe of the last men, confined in the borderless techno-space of the cosmopolis in integral reification: a single uprooted multitude, a single vision of the world, a single deculturalized culture, a single forward-looking perspective, a single falsely plural mass monologue. And, therefore, a single uniform and alienated way of eating. And also repugnant. To paraphrase Chairman Mao, Globalization is not “a gala dinner,” either.

Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns. This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.

Featured: Grangers vs Hoppers, cartoon by Henry Worrall, ca. 1874-1875.

The Civilizational Approach

To effectively confront the West in the war of civilizations that Russia is already waging, we must take into account the hierarchy of plans.

The highest level is identity:

  • what is the identity of the enemy (who are we basically at war with?);
  • what is our own identity;
  • what is the identity of the other civilizational actors?

We have to start with such a civilizational map. And already at this level we encounter a problem: the enemy has penetrated so deeply into our own civilization that he has partially hijacked the control of meanings, mental structures to determine who is who—not only from outside Russia, but also from within it. Therefore, we need to start with clearing the mental field, the sovereignization of consciousness.

Here is the next problem: the so-called civilizational approach. The enemy has managed to impose on Russian socio-humanitarian science that the civilizational approach is either wrong, marginal, or optional. But. The rejection of the civilizational approach automatically means only one thing: full recognition of the universality of the paradigm of Western civilization and consent to external control of the consciousness of Russian society by those with whom we are at war.

In other words, anyone who questions the civilizational approach automatically becomes a foreign agent—in the truest sense. It does not matter whether this is intentional, foolish or out of inertia. But now it is only thus and no other way. Only a civilizational approach allows us to talk about a sovereign public consciousness, and thus about sovereign science and sovereign education.

This is the last call for Russian humanitarian science: either we rapidly move to the positions of the civilizational approach (Russia = sovereign civilization), or we write a letter of resignation. Sometimes the increase of scientific knowledge is achieved by subtraction, not addition—if we subtract nonsense, toxic algorithms, subversive epistemological strategies, in a word, the liberal virus of Westernism.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitika.

Featured: The Triumph of Civilization, by Jacques Reattu; painted ca. 1794-1798.

Vladimir Putin and Tucker Carlson: The Geopolitics of Dialogue

Why is Tucker Carlson’s interview momentous for both the West and Russia?

Let us start with the simpler part—Russia. Here, Tucker Carlson has become a focal point of convergence for two different—polar—segments of Russian society: the ideological patriots and the elite Westernizers who nevertheless remain loyal to Putin and the Special Military Operation (SMO). For the patriots, Tucker Carlson is simply ours. He is a traditionalist, a right-wing conservative, a staunch opponent of liberalism. This is what walking to the Russian Tsar looks like in the 21st century.

Putin does not often interact with the brightest representatives of the fundamentally conservative camp. And the attention that the Kremlin pays him kindles the heart of a patriot, inspiring him to continue the conservative-traditionalist course in Russia itself. Now it is possible and necessary to do so: the Russian authorities have decided on an ideology. We have taken this path and we will not turn away from it. But patriots are always afraid that we will turn back. No.

On the other hand, the Westernizers have also breathed a sigh of relief: “Well, everything is not so bad in the West, and there are good and objective people there; we told you! Let’s be friends at least with such a West, Westernizers think, even though the rest of the globalist liberal West does not want to be friends, but only bombards us with sanctions and missiles and cluster bombs, killing our women, children and the elderly. We are at war with the liberal West; let there be friendship with the conservative West.
Thus, in the person of Tucker Carlson, Russian patriots and Russian Westernizers (already more and more Russian and less Western) have come to a consensus.

In the West itself, the situation is even more fundamental. Tucker Carlson is a symbolic figure. He is now the main symbol of an America that hates Biden, liberals and globalists and is preparing to vote for Trump. Trump, Carlson and Musk, and Texas Governor Abbott, are the faces of the impending American Revolution, this time the Conservative Revolution. And now Russia is tapping into this already quite powerful resource. No, it is not about Putin’s support for Trump; that could easily be minimized in a war with the United States. Carlson’s visit is about something else: about the fact that Biden and his maniacs have actually attacked a great nuclear power with the hands of Kiev terrorists, and humanity is about to be destroyed. Nothing more, nothing less.

And the world globalist media continues to spin Marvel-series for the infantile, in which the spider-man Zelensky magically defeats the Kremlin’s “Dr. Evil” with the help of superpowers and magic piglets. But that is just a cheap, silly TV series. And in reality, it is all about the use of nuclear weapons and possibly the destruction of mankind. Tucker Carlson has offered a reality check: does the West realize what it is doing, pushing the world towards the Apocalypse? There is a real Putin and a real Russia, not these staged characters and sets from Marvel. Look at what the globalists have done and what we are standing right up to! And it is not the content of the Putin interview; it is the very fact that a man like Tucker Carlson visited a country like Russia and a politician like Putin at a time like this.

Tucker Carlson’s arrival in Moscow may be the last chance to stop the extinction of humanity. And the gigantic billion-dollar attention to this momentous interview on the part of humanity itself, as well as the frenzied inhuman rage of Biden, the globalists, and the world’s decay-addled philistines, is evidence that this humanity is aware of the seriousness of what is happening. The only way to save the world is to stop now. And to do that, America must elect Trump. And choose Tucker Carlson. And Ilon Musk. And Abbott. And we get a chance to stand on the edge of the abyss. And compared to that, everything else is secondary. Liberalism and its agenda have brought humanity to a dead end.

Now the choice is: either liberals or humanity. Tucker Carlson chooses humanity, and that is why he came to Moscow to see Putin. And everyone in the world realized what he came for and how important it was.

The content of the interview was not sensational. Much more important is its very fact. And the photo of President Vladimir Putin talking to the hero of American patriotism, the indomitable Tucker Carlson. Conservatives of all countries united. In a multipolar world, the West, too, must have its share. But Western civilization will be the last to join BRICS.

Sleepy Joe then came to, and having watched with horror Putin’s conversation with Tucker Carlson, decided to interfere in world affairs. At first, Blinken and Nuland advised him to just declare that no such interview had even happened, that it was fake news, readily “disproved” by fact-checkers, and anyone who claims that there was an interview was a bellowing conspiracy theorist. But that initial plan was rejected, and Biden decided to honestly state that, contrary to the findings of the prosecutors’ probe, he is not a senile old madman out of his mind. “That’s not true, I’m not a senile old madman,” Biden indignantly denied the prosecutors’ findings…. And then forgot what he wanted to say next.

President Putin has spoken clearly about our Old Lands. It is important. The West will not get them. And Ukrainians live on them and will live on them, if Zelensky, Umerov and Syrsky, who have the most distant relation to the Malorussians, do not destroy all Malorussians and Malorussian women in the near future. Then there will be no Ukrainians left. And the Old Lands will have to be populated by someone else. God forbid we live to see that. On the agenda is the revolt of the Malorussians against the anti-Ukrainian puppet government, which has subjected Ukrainians to a real genocide by its policy.

The interview of Putin with Tucker Carlson is the most successful move by the Russian media strategy during the entire time of the SMO. Of course, the initiative clearly came from the brilliant American journalist himself, but responding to it and supporting it was a creative, brilliant decision by the Kremlin. Carlson hacks into the system of globalist propaganda by telling the truth of the people, of society, in spite of the systematized lies of the elites. A win-win, but difficult, a heroic move: the truth of the people against the lies of the elites. Putin has something to say to both the West and the East. And they want to hear his speech, his arguments, to know his picture of the world, his views on the future of Russia and humanity. On this depends, in many respects, whether this humanity itself will exist or not. Ask honestly, you will get an honest answer.

The number of views of Putin’s interview with Tucker Carlson on social network X has far exceeded 100 million [as of this article]. I think cumulatively the interview will be viewed by a billion.

Let us emphasize once again: Tucker Carlson is not just a journalist and not even just a non-conformist journalist, he is a well-established and consistent (paleo) conservative with a clear and well-thought-out ideology, value system and world picture. And his visit to Russia is not a pursuit of sensation, but part of an ideological program. It is a political visit. With Tucker Carlson’s visit, the conservative wing of American society (at least half of it) will come to define its attitude toward Russia and Putin. Tucker Carlson is a conservative politician, traditionalist and public figure. In his person, conservative America asked the President of Russia the questions it was really interested in and got answers. This is a double blow to the globalist liberal lobby in the US—external from Putin and internal from Tucker Carlson (read Trump). Interestingly, there is also such a thing as MAGA communism in the US—Jackson Hinkle, Infrared, etc. These are friends of conservative Tucker Carlson, yet Marxists who support Trump and call for Make America Great Again (MAGA). Thus, there are also normal leftists. And together they are determined to crush liberal hegemony.
Vladimir Putin’s interview with Tucker Carlson has already led to Biden’s unseating in the presidential race and essentially Trump’s victory in the US election. That is what real soft-power is—just one thing, and history now flows in a different direction.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitika.

Gastronomically Correct: McDonald’s and Globalization of the Table

Gastronomic identity is declared in the plural, since there are many traditions at the table and each one exists in the constant nexus of mixture and hybridization with the others. Each identity exists, in itself, as a never definitive result of a process by which it intertwines or—to remain in the field of culinary metaphors—mixes with the others.

It is true that in the past, if we were to venture into the “archeology of taste,” this rich cultural plurality linked to food traditions tended, in some cases, to degenerate into forms of culinary nationalism, whereby each people considered itself to be the bearer of a sort of eno-gastronomic primacy. In this regard, some have coined the category of “gastronomic nationalism,” although in truth, even if cuisine is fundamental for drawing the political and cultural boundaries of national identities, culinary traditions never existed, originally, in a national form, being instead regional inheritances, as Mintz has shown. In any case, gastronationalist policies have also manifested themselves because of the tendency of States to use the recognition of their own food heritage as an instrument for their own politics, for their own recognition in the international arena and in the sphere of what is usually defined as “gastro-diplomacy,” thus alluding to the practice that takes advantage of the relational nature of food and seeks to consolidate and strengthen ties at the political level.

In the apotheosis of a sort of “boria delle nazioni,” as Giambattista Vico’s New Science might have labeled it, the English thought they were superior because of their roast beef, the French because of their grande cuisine—Camembert, in particular, became a Gallic “national myth”—or the Italians because of their variety, unique in the world. Very often, this plurality encouraged a fruitful desire to experience and know what was different, and thus an intercultural dialogue mediated by the food heritage of each people.

In this sense, Mennell’s study of the gastronomic difference between the English and the French, an emblem of the diversity of the two peoples, is still essential. Montanari, for his part, ventured to support the suggestive thesis according to which the identity of Italy was born at the table long before the political unification of the country took place. Moreover, Ortensio Lando, in his Commentario delle più notabili e mostruose e cose d’Italia ed altri luoghi (1548), describes with an abundance of particularities and details the gastronomic and oenological specialties of the various Italian cities and regions. And the most famous Italian cook of the 15th century, Maestro Martino, listed in his recipe book Romanesco cabbage and Bolognese cake, Florentine eggs and so many other local specialties that, in fact, were forging the Italian identity at the table.

Coherent with its ideology, global-capitalist de-imbolization finds in the suppression of enogastronomic identities and in the removal of their historical roots a fundamental moment of its own. Even the table is overwhelmed by the processes of post-identitarian and homologous redefinition essential to the rhythm of turbo-capitalist globalization.

For this reason, very often we witness the substitution of the foods in which the spirit of the peoples and of the civilization of which we are the children—red meats, cheeses, wines, local and village foods— with substitutes created ad hoc. and, more precisely, by food produced by faceless and rootless multinationals, the same ones that regularly finance the operators and agencies that “scientifically” decide what is healthy and what is not, prolonging the hegemonic connection between capitalist market and the techno-scientific system.

In this way, within the framework of the new and “indigestible” gastronomically correct order, tastes tend to become increasingly horizontal on a planetary scale, annihilating the plurality and enogastronomic richness in which the identities of peoples are rooted: if the current trend is not counteracted, a single homologated way of eating, deprived of variety and diversity, will be created, or, if preferred, a global sentire idem which will be presented as the gastronomic variant of mass consensus. Foods historically rooted in the identity heritage and traditional roots of peoples—there is, in fact, a genius gustus as well as a genius loci—will be replaced by foods without identity and without culture, integrally desymbolized, the same in all corners of the planet, as is already happening in part. This allows us to maintain that the gastronomically correct is the dietetic variant of the politically correct, just as the “single dish” becomes the equivalent of the single thought. The dominant economic order produces, in its own image and likeness, the corresponding symbolic and gastronomic orders.

Their common denominator is the destruction of the plurality of cultures, sacrificed on the altar of the monotheism of the market and the model of the individualized and homologated consumer, submissive to that “big cart” which is the successor of the Orwellian Big Brother. The pedagogues of globalism and the architects of neocapitalism, with an unprecedented dietary paternalism founded on the order of medical-scientific discourse, seek to reeducate peoples and individuals in the new gastronomically correct program, that is, in the new globalized menu that, composed of approved foods, often incompatible with the identities of the people, is presented by the administrators of the consensus as optimal for the environment and health, unlike traditional dishes, ostracized as “harmful” in all respects.

This supports, also on the food level, the thesis of the “Marxian-Engelsian” Manifesto: Capital “has stamped a cosmopolitan imprint on the production and consumption of all nations,” pushing them towards that homologation which is the negation of internationalist pluralism. Food de-sovereignization, directed in the name of gastronomically correct globalism and multinational interests, is piloted by the cynical stateless lords of profit-making, thanks also to the use of specific biological tools, such as pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, as well as recourse to the practices of genetic engineering. Thus, exempli gratia, one can explain the use of “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs), which genetically contaminate natural species, sabotage conventional agriculture and deprive peoples of their food sovereignty. They thus force them to depend on multinationals, which supply them with patented seeds and substances, protecting in the abstract, at the level of ideological propaganda, the health of all and, in concrete terms, the profit of a few.

According to what has been explained above, food has historically always been a fundamental cultural and, specifically, intercultural vehicle, revealing itself as the simplest and most immediate way of decoding the language of another culture, in order to enter into contact with it and its customs. The elimination of local food specificities is, for this very reason, consistent with the ongoing disintegration of any authentically intercultural relationship, replaced by the monoculturalism of consumption: the historical multiplicity of tastes rooted in tradition is replaced by the unity of ahistorical and aprospective tastes of the globalized menu. After the limitation of “what can be said and thought” through the imposition of the new politically correct symbolic order, the new regulation of “what can be eaten and drunk” is now imposed, more and more furiously, according to the hegemonic global-elitist order of the neoliberal oligarchic bloc.

If in the past, cuisine also determined cultural identities, today, especially since 1989, it tends to cancel them out. Traditional foods rooted in the history of peoples are more and more frequently replaced—because they are no longer considered “suitable”—by those delocalized and “global fusion” foods that, devoid of identity and history, give rise to an artificial and nomadic diet, uprooted and culturally vacuous, that homogenizes both palates and heads; a diet that, however—the strategists of consensus assure us—respects the environment and health.

With the unsurpassed immediate power of the image, a scene from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò (1975)—a film conceived ad hoc to be horrible and obscene, just as horrible and obscene is the consumer civilization it photographs—can be worth more than any articulate conceptual description. The scene is set in one of the most macabre “infernal circles” of which the film is composed and which, in turn, is meant to be an allegory of consumer civilization and its errors: the inmates of the Villa dei Suporti are condemned to eat excrement.

The coprophagic act thus becomes the very symbol of the market society, which daily condemns its docile and unconscious ergostuli to eat the shit connected to the commodity form, a simple and apparently banal object, which nevertheless crystallizes in itself all the contradictions of capitalist society, beginning with the one linked to the antithesis between use-value and exchange-value. Dragging Pasolini “beyond Pasolini,” that macabre and scandalous scene seems to find its further confirmation in the new gastronomically correct tendencies of the global market society that, without any violence other than the glamour of manipulation, forces its own servants to the coprophagic gesture.

Food in the age of global-capitalism is usually managed by multinationals and offshore companies, which manipulate taste and control the abandonment of everything that is plural and not modeled ex profeso by the new uprooted and flexible lifestyle. In this context, McDonald’s (the unsurpassable paradigm of “non-place,” called into question by Marc Augé—and one might also add, of “non-food”) represents the quintessential figure of gastronomic globalization and of the culinary imperialism of the single plate triumphant after 1989: a single way of eating and thinking about food, of distributing and presenting it, of producing it and organizing work, naturalizing a gesture and its conditions of opportunity in something as evident and obvious as the air we breathe.

But McDonald’s itself embodies the profound meaning of globalization also from another point of view, identified by Ritzer and expressed in his consideration that “it has become more important than the United States of America itself.” McDonald’s, in fact, represents the overwhelming power of supranational capital, today—by power and specific strength, by recognition and by attractive capacity—above the traditional national powers which, precisely for this reason, are unable to govern it and, not infrequently, are strongly conditioned by it.

That the well-known globalist fast food represents the figure par excellence of capitalist globalization seems to be supported, moreover, by the fact that the two yellow arches that form the stylized “M” of its logo are today, in all probability, more famous and better known than the Christian cross, the Islamic crescent and the American flag itself. Universal merchandising is confirmed, even iconographically, as the great religion of our present in terms of diffusion, number of proselytes and ability to conquer souls even before bodies. That is why the yellow McDonald’s arches, no less than the contoured Coca-Cola bottle, represent the symbol of globalization as “bad universalism” and, at the same time, the privileged target of gastronomic anti-imperialism.

As Marco D’Eramo emphasizes, biting into a McDonald’s hamburger may, at first glance, seem an obvious and natural gesture. With its standardized flavors, its mustard and ketchup, its pickles and onions, the same from Seattle to Singapore, from Genoa to Madrid, served in the same way and by waiters dressed in identical uniforms, the hamburger seems always and everywhere the same, almost as if, anywhere in the world and at any time, it were ready to materialize at the customer’s request; almost as if it were the natural way of eating and, for that very reason, it generated everywhere identification and a sense of familiarity.

Like the table Marx wrote about in the opening sections of Capital, the McDonald’s hamburger also now appears as an obvious and trivial object that, however, if analyzed from the point of view of “exchange value” and sociality, of the division of labor and the standardization of the way of eating, is revealing of the whole volume of meanings and contradictions that innervate the capitalist mode of production in the era of neoliberal globalization.

In this regard, the advertising slogan chosen by McDonald’s in Italy a few years ago deserves some consideration, albeit telegraphic: “It only happens at McDonald’s.” The formula promised a unique and unrepeatable experience, which is still offered, always the same as itself, in all McDonald’s around the world. Moreover, it augurs an out-of-the-ordinary experience that, in fact, coincides in everything and for everything with the increasingly widespread standardized experience of food consumption in this time of gastro-anomic globalization.

It would be quite right to identify the McDonald’s hamburger as the very effigy of globalization from any perspective from which it is observed: whether it be that of the homologation of knowledge and flavors, or that of the capitalist rationalization of the way of managing production and the social organization of labor, McDonald’s perfectly embodies the new spirit of capitalism, its combined disposition of uniformity and alienation, of reification and exploitation which, instead of receding in the name of dreams of better freedoms, become as vast as the space of the world, becoming the image of reified and low-cost happiness.

Proof of this is that, a few months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first McDonald’s fast-food restaurant opened in East Germany, in Plauen, where the first mass demonstration against the communist government had taken place. Such an event, on a symbolic level even before the material one, marked with strong impact the sudden transition from real socialism to capitalist globalism, from communism to consumerism.

Two typical examples of flexible globalization are intertwined in the McDonald’s diet. On the one hand, we have the presence of standardized foods, without cultural roots and accessible to all. And on the other hand, the flexible organization: a) of very fast dishes, consumed at the most diverse times of the day, b) of places conceived as non-lieux, as mere uninhabitable passing points, and c) of workers, subject to contracts with a very high rate of flexibility and low qualification.

Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.

O, Sister! On The Nature Of Tyranny & The Resistance Of Schoolmen

Besides conveying personal sentiments to a most precious person, this letter is a pivot between my memoir, An Excess Of Love, and the finale of this triptych concerning nudism, family rearing, and education, Pearls Before Swine. It is a distillation of dynamics which attend The Problem, namely the lateness of the hour, the appropriate response of the republic to the occupation, and the sexual shift which must immediately attend the resistance if the good seeds yet sown are to bear fruit.

Introduction: Rumbles From The Goldfish

Spring ‘24

O, Sister!, Ya, Shaqiqa!,

The time of the hobbyist has passed. There is much work to do and the hour is late.

Any number of people have followed and follow the development of Apocatastasis Institute this decade of glory. I see the statistics on the school’s website and newsletters, I read the correspondence we get, I am flagged down by men about town – most of whom believe I am mad – to speak about the Institute.

The numbers of these things are healthy enough and regular enough to know that if my work is lonely, it is the loneliness of a goldfish in a bowl. But for all the eyeballs the Institute draws, I don’t know how many of the yoes I am still on speaking terms with. I did not make this cold situation, their women did, but that is besides the point.

As you know, I’ve two works out this spring; one on my time in ‘Rounds About Danbury on Holy Saturday, An Excess Of Love, and the other concerning naturism and child rearing on St. Anthony’s Day, Pearls Before Swine. Those are polemical works as soon as they are artistic; they are meant to provoke as soon as they are meant to inform. Patrick Pearse asked Thomas Clarke how to speak at Glasnevin. “Make it hot as hell,” the old jailbird said. “Throw discretion to the winds.” So have I, though even on a good day you’d never say I was the prudent sort. Before these two literary clouds burst, however, a rumble of thunder. I thought it worthwhile here to sketch in miniature the situation and principles which background both coming works; and I thought to do so to those who have been so patient to one so odd: to the Chosen Lady and to her children.

In this we walk a tightrope. Herein we must comprehend a tyranny of massive dimensions and subtle complexity, make allowances for people’s duty of state and ignorant complicity in The Problem, critique us putzers for our incompetence heretofore, and for all these handicaps we must sketch the appropriate response; and we must do all this in brief.

Dead Cthulhu Waits Dreaming: The Problem

The enormity of The Problem is a daunting thing. Its mass invites one to say with John The Revelator, “Who can make war on the beast?” The vanquishing of this thing has been my sole professional and personal focus for twenty years.

We might bog down in an hundred places when trying to comprehend what exactly is The Problem. It is really quite simple, though. “The Problem” is a catchall for the parasitic social combinations which have arisen in each and all areas of society (i.e., educational, economical, religious, political, telephonic, artistic, etc). These combinations prey on their hosts to the misery and impoverishment of their victims. This situation has obtained because a queer perpetual motion machine has developed. It has been made to develop by wicked men with wicked ends.

The Problem has engineered a system with two lines which meet in a node. On the one it has finessed a culture of child rearing and formal education which primes a man to be a lifelong victim – perhaps a sucker – for The Problem. On the other node, as The Problem is energetic (or “spiritual”), The Problem has equally finessed a culture where the most promising of its chattel – for we are all but livestock for this system – will be enlisted to be the arms and ears and eyes of this selfsame oppression.

The node where these things meet is the child. It is the education of the child which will largely decide if he will be a saint or a parasite in later years. The soul and heart and the mind of the child is the battlefield. The Problem knows this. Do we?

The Nature of the Occupation

Tyranny is but a spirit. If it is to hove into men it needs arms and legs. What is different with our tyranny is that it has so successfully made those it has conquered believe they are free. Nothing in my historical knowledge offers a parallel to this success, to convince a nation of shackled surfs they are the freest beings in the history of Man. We walk down the street and see a society whose each storefront, bank, and civil office sits upon the republic as a conquering army – and this isn’t polemical, their own legal system is clear on this point (you may start with the Lieber Code) – and we are bid believe these enemy combinations mean us well and are us.

The nature of the occupation is such that decade by decade it takes millions of little boys and girls and turns them into its pining servants. It is hard to believe, Ya Shaqiqa, but banks turn couples out of the home they raised their families in, the state sends CPS agents to scare young mothers to vaccinate their babbies, and police pigs pull over women and children to shake them down on the side of the road. Astaghfirullah! I cannot imagine such things, but I am told they happen very close to home.

Now it is true that all decent mankind would gladly disembowel themselves before being found in the costume of a banker, a CPS lackey, or a police pig, but we are faced with the reality that The Problem hasn’t the slightest difficulty enlisting willing accomplices into their tyranny by the millions each year. How has The Problem done this? By subtly inclining each and every aspect of pedagogy in its favor.

It is the bounden duty of parents and teachers to instill such an ethic into youth that they would never entertain going over to the enemy to staff their systems of oppression. The republic fails every time a youth grows up to become a landlord, police pig, ghost writer, attorney, AMA doctor, or CPS eunuch; every time any of the offices of oppression are staffed with those who were once little boys and girls.

Every work in the class, and every moment with the family, must build the contrary spirit; the spirit of holiness, charity, and freedom.

Iron Sobriety

The months contemporary to this letter’s composition have seen the savaging of the Palestinians in the worst fitna in eighty years of crimes done them. I saw a bombed up little girl in hospital; she only had one arm. She said her limbs had gone to heaven before her. I saw a father amputate the leg of his maiden daughter on their kitchen table. I’ve seen again and again the Yahudi telling refugees to flee to “safe zones” only for their AI targeting system – named “The Gospel” – to blow the families to smithereens. And I’ve watched this happen while American Christians have snickered, and yawned, and egged on the colonists and their rabbis.

Mark my words, this level of violence will be used on all non-hackers the world over in due course. Palestine is but one open air testing ground of the archons. This violence is the natural conclusion of The Problem if left unchecked. Always does this reality background my every word and work; and when you wonder why I do strange things and say hard words, O Sister, it is because I know the iron sobriety of what is coming.

In the face of this overwhelming tyranny we must be patient in our daily duty. Our trials are nothing compared to what the Palestinians have known, but we ought to be prepared to feel their chains in due course. Part of the tyranny is provoking the helpless. I have seen the Yahudi stealing the bicycles of children only to throw them in dumpsters, and I have seen them dacking old men in front of their grandkids. There is nothing the abused can do in their slavery but move on. We must always brace ourselves for the patience of such a situation. Sabr, sabr, sabr; patience, patience, patience.

Our sorts are not serious people. We dick around with half-baked ideas and slogans, and flake out the first time drama or fear is dangled before our nose. (B’Zeus, look at how the Connecticut munafiqun have treated me all these years, and me the best friend they ever had.) When our children are double and triple amputees, and when we haven’t eaten in five days, and when white phosphorus is sprinkling down, and burning our faces and flesh down to the bone, perhaps our sorts will stop playing games. When that day comes, Apocatastasis Institute will not seem so strange to people; on that day they will see what I was trying to head off. And should it not come, is there not wisdom in living each day as if it’s your last?

The Solution

Some years ago I wrote in The Trotsky Train, “Only when there’s stability to society, when men own their capital, when they memorize the poetry of the land, when local musical compositions and books proliferate, when the churches are packed each morning, standing room only, for Lauds, and the same twice over for Sunday Mass, then the scholar can take a cigarette break, but only for a minute before he’s back at it again. It is your work, it is my work. There is your end [telos] to education, there is your wealth, there is your success.” Strangely enough, it was rather favorable religious sentiments like this which caused the church rats of ‘Round Abouts Danbury to run me out on a rail. This has always been the program of Apocatastasis Institute.

The hope to scotch The Problem is, as it has always been, the youth. Here we do not praise them as The World does, for their vapid qualities, their vices, and the ease with which they can be separated from their money. We praise the youth for what God saw in Daniel and Apostle John, St. Lawrence and Claire Crockett; we praise them for their gaiety and idealism, their passion and their purity. God has given the talents, it merely remains for pedagoges to keep these virtues from being strangled out of them.

The Headwinds

Four gales and five roar in the face of educational and social reform. In no particular order they are the dominance of visual media over written/oral culture, the absence of living examples to model our efforts on, our double-minded mien, the nesting of present Christianity within the bourgeoisie, and the feminine spirit out of order.

The shift in the last hundred years from a text-based to a visual society has brought with it many social changes. One of these is that abstract ideas become increasingly difficult for people to comprehend. It’s tangential to this letter, but more than anything else this is why there has been such a falling away from conventional religion since World War II; people literally cannot imagine abstract ideas like grace, God, or salvation any longer. Or look at that naked lecture I gave; people were so caught up with the visual novelty they never stopped to hear what I was talking about. What was it I was talking about?

Anyway, this difficulty to grasp abstraction isn’t a matter of native intelligence but of mental muscles which have been left go to seed. All that has kept school attendance so robust these last decades was social-cum-economic pressure to do so. Now that that economic incentive has been found wanting, we see interest in formal education rapidly recede. And into this declining interest and rising suspicion of high schools and colleges comes Apocatastasis Institute. What timing! B’Moses, if it was raining soup John Coleman’d be out there with a fork.

Next we see that, having grasped The Problem, the lot of us have no living models to form our response on. We are trying to revive familial, religious, social, and economic cultures from books and blogs. This necessarily produces clunky and incomplete results.

Another headwind we breast is our double-minded mien. We both hate this system, or at least we comprehend certain failures of the present order, and we want to fit into it. Do you remember that panel you so kindly invited me to? As the event was winding down I raised the question as to what society homeschooling was forming. I’ll never forget the looks on the women’s faces; it was clear the question had never occurred to them. They had no concept of the social aspect of formal learning.

This raises the next theme which will be so prominent in my coming writings, the futility of Christianity nesting in the middle class. Here there is very much an overlap with the previous point about our being double-minded, for the principles of Christ are diametrically opposed to those of the bourgeoisie. The split of affections between those who want grace and respectability, those who want God and mammon, those who want the Beatitudes and barratry, are the reason why St. Esau’s high school failed, and the reason which has fundamentally recessed each parental tantrum I have weathered these twenty years.

We finally get to the most furious gale and the metatrend of An Excess Of Love and Pearls Before Swine, the feminine energy out of line. This is the gorilla in the room. However it is we describe our worldviews – different on a thousand particulars, O Kind One, but marvelously the same – our people are really just as afflicted by the same dominant feminine energy we associate with other sectors of society. Until this is put into line no social reform will last.

Duties Of State

Like all competent criminal and parasitic enterprises, The Problem has carefully fostered our complicity in our slavery. The vampire will have his prey invite him in; the street gang will compromise each new member in criminality; prions will hijack a host for its own ends. We have put the noose around our neck because everything from the cradle has suggested it to us.

Attending any invention of this complicity is overwhelming guilt. It is a spurious guilt for it is the “guilt” of a duped man. There is in fact no guilt, but The Problem must make their victim believe there is. There is in truth only one way a man can be guilty after learning he has been taken in by The Problem: that he continues the ways and days of Jahiliyyah after he knows the truth.

Emotional intelligence is sorely neglected in family rearing, formal education, and the workaday world, and the neglect of so vital an aspect of life has consequences. One of the consequences of this pseudo-guilt is that people lock up in defense.

Told that they damaged their child in one bogus John Rockerfeller medical procedure or another, they continue passing down trauma rather than admit the error theretofore; told they enslaved their child in a LEGAL NAME which will rob and reeve his every piece of property, which will put him under the galling yoke of the Bar Association, for the remainder of his days, they continue with birth certs; told they wasted the childhood of their offspring in an educational system designed to form workers hungry for strangers’ smiles and frowns, they continue. Only here is culpability, only here is guilt. As Oscar says, “He who sins a second time wakes a dead soul to pain/ And makes it stain it spotty shroud, and makes it bleed again.”

Still and all, every allowance must be made not only to salve the conscience of the abused but to make allowance for various compromises too. Not all men have the same duty of state, and we must never forget we are under an occupation. The resistance of a single man to The Problem is different from the resistance of a mother; the resistance of the able-bodied is different from the resistance of the so-called disabled; the resistance of a child is different from the resistance of an old couple. The nature of opposition is different based on circumstance, the spirit is the same. Only a broad, catholic (sic), and masculine spirit will be able to instill and marshall this sentiment properly for the liberation of the people.

This too is a fine line. Men no longer read for regular lengthy periods, so men do not have the mental muscles to grasp nuance. People cannot grasp our situation, a crisis which speaks gently to those used, abused, and complicit with The Problem; roughly to the active partisans of The Problem; and impatiently with pretended foes of this abuse whose incompetence has stalled out proper resistance. There is no nuance, and so people fall into us vs. them, black and white, thinking. One of the first casualties in such an environment is humor, at least the good sort. Our masters think in grays, in complexity, and that is why we are in slavery and they are not.

Sabr: The Generational Nature Of The Resistance

O Sister, the Solution is simple: preserve the natural virtues of youth – gaiety, idealism, passion, and purity – in the student until death; titanic is the vision and patience to effect this. The Problem has aligned the entirety of its social institutions to killing or co-opting these very things, all the soon to make an adulted slave. To nurture the above virtues into later life we need to scotch trauma, cultivate the four wealths, and be a fulcrum of unity.

Everything in this order is designed to traumatize men. From conception to burial the life of man on this plantation is one compounded hurt after another. I do not speak of the natural slings and arrows of this valley of tears but the carefully fostered hurts designed into our child rearing behaviors, and those of afteryears.

It was as clear as clear can be that the response of families last June and October vis-a-vis the nudist aspect of Apocatastasis’ work was triggering a great deal of trauma in those individuals which had nothing to do with me or the school. I mean in Pearls Before Swine to advocate for naturism in the classroom, family sleeping and bathing, and related health approaches which will diffuse or altogether do an end-run around designed hurts. How the devils of evil suspicion roared – or rather, texted – their filthy insinuations at – or rather, about – me. Apocatastasis Institute will exercise and heal those possessed harpies yet.

And what was the subject of that nude talk I gave in Manhattan, the one all the dusty Karens were clucking about with their innuendo? Vulnerability and mortality. It is really only in vulnerability that an high trust society can develop; it is only in consciousness of our mortality that we can be grateful. Let the classroom be such a wholesome training ground.

O Kind One, to end trauma only brings one to the mark; it only brings one to the starting gate of life; it only brings one from the red, as the capitalists say, to $0. An healthy society needs to be rich in four things if they are to be sane. They must be rich in spiritual, cultural, social, and economic capital, and they must be ranked in this order, if they are to be lasting. The religious bounty of the community must be great; each man’s cultural knowledge, contribution, and engagement ought to be robust; our interpersonal comportment must always be in honor, and our social trust must be of a high level; and if a man must waste his time in commerce, at least let each and all own the means of his livelihood. How will we do this? By instilling these sentiments and training in his schooldays.

Finally, it falls to pedagogues and schools to form the fulcrum of unity in society. Stimulated by telephonic media, our society is fragmenting into a thousand pissy bubbles. Whilst stroking the egos of the partisans this only serves The Problem, for a people must be divided if they are to be conquered. After the church, the school is the place where a common ground may be cultivated free of factionalism and denominalization. Alas, I’m afraid the Church is no longer interested in any social role beyond pocketing checks from the DNC, so it falls to schoolmen alone to serve this social end.

Barefoot & Happy

Many moons ago, long before Apocatastasis, and long before even Nancy, before the saints ran my patient hide off from St. Esau’s, I saw a vision of what education could be. I saw a sight of barefoot teachers and learners allowed to live their vocations sans meddlers. O Good Sister, I cannot say our educational interaction has been perfect, muscha, but it has been as perfect as this vale of tears will allow. You and your dear husband come as close as I can hope to that oldsome vision: vulnerable lot we, we’re trying to make sense of this crazy life, and to milk the classroom for this end. Thank you.

Hark! A Voice like Thunder Spake

The men must rise at this hour. I do not say they must rise in physical force, for – should The Problem persist – that is a duty which obliges a future generation. (Arrah, it falls to us to rear this generation.) No, ours is not the generation capable of the gun. I say all healthy men and communities are those who can handle the gun; it is an altogether different matter whether they ought to do this.

Save for the shining example of the Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan, if the Muslims – a spiritually, familiarly, physically, and culturally healthier bunch than we – were unable to physically check The Problem in two decades of immortal and heroic struggle, there is no way the men of America will. Unlike the robust Musslemen, we North Americans are intoxicated, fat, estrogenated, sexually dissipated, and fragmented into an hundred political and a thousand religious parties.

So how must men rise? They must rise in leadership. The most pressing area where they are to do this is in religion, for The Problem is really a spiritual sickness; where grace, sacraments, and charity recede, like a tired, sugared, stressed body, The Problem comes in like a cold.

On the heels of a masculine religious revival, men are to rise intellectually; the working man as soon as the bourgeois, the Hottentot as soon as the stockjobber. The most immediate area where intellectual leadership bids us to labor is in formal education.

Querelle des Dames

You said I burned bridges. That is a dangerous metaphor to one so vain as I, for it is too tempting to make a comparison with Horatius! (It is Lent and I must resist temptation.) But let us stick with that analogy nonetheless, I burn bridges. So I speak bluntly if I speak at all: women ought now cede instructional roles in all educational modalities towards students aged at- or after puberty. Let us honor what good they have done, particularly in homeschooling, and show them the door. They have done some good yes; now let us magnify their labors, and to do this there must be a sexual changing of the guard.

The reality is that alternative education has stalled out for fifty years because it is almost completely a feminine enterprise, and it is not given to women to see beyond their family concerns. At this point men must lead in alternative education or the whole enterprise should stop wasting everyone’s time and fold up. As it stands, The Problem which alt ed-ers apprehend, and the educational Solution which will dismantle The Problem, cannot be shouldered by women. They have had half a century to prove themselves and they have stalled out at a kitchen table.

How loath I am to say this. In their diapers and in their heels, I have loved the daughters of the republic as they are, something like a sister or a daughter. Surely every little girl was once a snowflake in heaven. From their sundressed car seats to their seven year old sandaled feet, from their chokered necks and sixth grade scuffed knees to their prom rigouts and blushing smiles, I have gone out of my way to not so much as shake their hands. More times than not I cannot bring myself to look into their eyes, so fair are they. And horndog I, don’t I put the souls and virtues of Rachel Corrie and Israa Jaabis and Donna Mcguire on blast like none other, and don’t I hope my daughters will be strong as they were strong?

Yet for two decades I have watched formal education strangled by the feminine spirit. I saw St. Esau’s high school destroyed by menstrual rags (see, An Excess Of Love), and I have seen Apocatastasis Institute hampered again and again by the same (see, Pearls Before Swine). I was content for many years to cover their nakedness, to excuse the shortcomings which always attend women in the classroom. I said The Problem was big and that we needed each and all hands on deck were we to instantiate The Solution. I do not say that now, for I’ve seen again and again the unmoored feminine energy degrade our time in the class, waste our resources, and stall out in a stunted grasp of The Problem and The Solution.

In the essays to come I did not want to shove against the feminine energy as forcefully as I did, but the behavior of those Connecticut broads last year forced my hand. I have seen white trash behavior from that bunch, but last year was beyond the bounds. It is clear that sort is a liability to everything they profess. I love what they profess, and so I have shoved back against those liabilities. They were drunk, but not with wine; they staggered, but not with strong drink. Perhaps my writings will cause them to sober up.

The End Of The Matter

I thought it worthwhile to condense for you those major principles which background my coming works, An Excess Of Love and Pearls Before Swine. Besides, these are the assumptions I take into those dinnerly conversations which are such a welcome break from the administrative duties which so obsess my days of late. I imagine that I should become persona non grata when my projects are published, but we must grasp the sobriety of the moment and the weight of The Problem. If there must be a Cato in Carthage let it be me; let me sit in the ashes and rubble to make my point to the world. And if men will say I am mad after those essays drop, they at least won’t say that I lied as their teachers lied, that I was frivolous as their parents were frivolous, or that I sat around when there was work to be done.

You in your way, Shaqiqa, and I in mine, must keep our heads about us as we reestablish formal education on a free, holy, and agentic footing; and whilst instilling the durability of youthful virtues in afteryears, let us both continue being gay, idealistic, passionate, and pure.

Always children we, Sister,

I kiss your head, and your feet, and your hands,

John Coleman co-hosts Christian History & Ideasand is the founder of Apocatastasis: An Institute for the Humanities, an alternative college and high school in New Milford, Connecticut. Apocatastasis is a school focused on studying the Western humanities in an integrated fashion, while at the same time adjusting to the changing educational field. Information about the college can be found at its website.

Featured: Gust of Wind, by Jean-François Millet; painted ca. 1872.

A Philosophy of War by Henri Hude

The English edition of A Philosophy of War, by the French philosopher, Henri-Paul Hude, has just been published. We are happy to bring you an excerpt from this very important and timely book.

What is war today? To answer this question, we can no longer rely on notions of war elaborated in various classic works, because we are faced with a new problem—how to save humankind from annihilation in a total world war involving weapons of mass destruction. The simplest answer is to establish a “Leviathan,” whose promise and project is straight forward: cancel all powers except one, which will be universal and absolute, and start a war without end against all free powers and all liberties. This way eventually you will get peace forever. But can Leviathan actually deliver on this promise? And peace at what cost, because Leviathan demands absolute and unlimited power over the entire human race? It is this problem that Philosophy of War lays out in all its chilling detail. Is there another solution that can bring political and cultural peace to the world? Indeed, there is, and this book next details a very clear path, one that also ensures that we do not become enslaved by Leviathan. Nations, and their “wisdoms” (that is, “religions”) can unite as peace becomes possible. If you love liberty and desire peace, then this book is for you.

Please consider supporting the work of Professor Hude by purchasing a copy of the book.

I was twenty years old and suffocating at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris, often just called “Ulm” because of its location on the rue d’Ulm. There, Marxism lay heavy and it was oppressive. But there was an exchange program with Amherst College, in Massachusetts. Seizing the opportunity, I fled to America. On the flight over, I listened to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.” In America I breathed free. I enrolled in a course on the Cold War (even then!). But I was not a diligent student. I meditated, read, wrote, reflected, contemplated and prayed. I was happy. France is my mother. America was my first love.

I spent a year at Amherst, as a teaching assistant in French, in what was then called the Department of Romance Languages, at the top of the hill, next to the great library, which was so precious to me, since I also had to return to the Sorbonne with a demanding piece of work on the status of logic in William of Ockham.

Next to the library was a memorial, which looked over a particularly beautiful view of the forest below that stretched as far as the eye could see. Nature has never moved me more than in its autumnal glory in New England. Large stone parallelepipeds were arranged in a sober, solemn semicircle. Names of battles were engraved on them. I always sat on the one that read, “Normandy.”

Another memory comes to me, with particular intensity, one day, when we came to revisit the D-Day landing beaches. Our sons were swimming in Omaha Beach. They were playing, splashing and shouting with joy. It was life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. I kept an eye on them. But I was thinking of your sons of long ago.

When I arrived in the United States, my mind was in a fog. At Ulm, my first “caiman” [slang for a supervising tutor who resembles an allegator because he devours your time, your freedom] had been the philosopher Jacques Derrida, one of the pontiffs of French Theory. From the outset, our relationship was atrocious. I dumped him, but was left with a choice between two other tutors, a half-mad Nietzschean and the famous Marxist theorist Louis Althusser. I made the rational choice, though I soon realized that I had fallen out of the pan and into the fire. Good God! Between French Theory, Marx and the Antichrist, where to go? I went to America, thanks to my English tutor.

I am a citizen, a philosopher of action. The practical is my element. I abhor idle questions. I love knowledge, not sterile erudition. For me, man is the decision-making animal. But to decide, you have to see things clearly and live in the real world. What I encountered in the United States was reality. When I landed in Boston, I was intellectually cataracted. I knew the world existed, but I saw everything through a kind of fog; I could not really see that it existed for real. I knew there was a God, but that was even less clear. Between God and me, a wall. Among you Americans, the veil dissipated, my lens cleared. After much reflection, one winter’s day, at dusk, after the rain, I left Crossett, where I shared an apartment with three truly excellent roommates, and, walking aimlessly, stopping suddenly, in the light of a street lamp, I admired the damp bark of a birch tree, its tender green beneath the brilliant white, hemmed in black. I was finally in the world and the world was here. Later, the wall fell, too.

By the time I left the States, my mind was at rest. There is nothing like a year of freedom, in a free country. For America was then a free country: a well-possessed middle class, powerful industry, a functioning political constitution, a decent culture, both classical and original. Infinitely less ideology than in Europe. A serene harmony between religion and freedom. Common sense and natural fairness. Free discussion between convinced and civilized people. Opportunities for all. A shaken but still substantial moral consensus. You could feel that something was beginning to sour, but the mood was still excellent, compared to the fetid atmosphere I had left behind.

On the plane ride back, I again listened to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9. But I was now returning, strengthened, to my Europe that was slashed by wars, revolutions, ideologies, totalitarianism and absurd atheism. The America from which I returned was more like the Old World, but not frozen or hardened, rather preserved alive and modernized, like an eighteenth-century Europe that had evolved without trauma, highly civilized, without anti-religious fanaticism. Is it all over? Does that America no longer exist? Must America also be a heartbreak for me?

If it does not find both reason and God, the USA will have a war and it will lose it. It will remain a great nation, like France after Napoleon and his excesses. As for Europe, alas, I wonder if there will be any of it left.


Finally, the question for the USA, which I am taking the liberty of asking, in publishing this book, is quite simply: “Have you decided to be Leviathan?” And the second is its sequel: “Or will you decide, on the contrary, to make us dream again?”


Let us take a closer look at Leviathan’s prerogatives. Leviathan will have at its disposal all national armed forces, which will have become international mobile gendarmerie squadrons; the nations themselves having become mere territorial administrative divisions within the state. This unique and rigorous organization will prevent the proliferation and dissemination of weapons.

Armed groups outside the world’s public forces shall all be classified as terrorists. National independence, local autonomy, freedom of association and individual freedom will no longer be relevant. Given the level of risk, the precautionary principle will demand that all citizens and groups be considered potential terrorists and placed under continual surveillance. Every opponent of Leviathan becomes an irresponsible, reckless person; a madman, an insurgent, a terrorist, a criminal, because mankind can only choose between (1) War or (2) Leviathan politics (Leviathan’s continual, universal and irresistible action of force, constitutive and conservative).

Leviathan is the solution to the problem of real Absolute War, but on condition that all claims to freedom, all claims to natural rights, are repressed. This repression is the essence of Leviathan’s policy. It is indeed a war against any plurality that might be reborn—against peoples and nations, against individuals, groups, families, against all freedoms. Through this heroic, titanic act of force, Leviathan, a single, total state, unjustly threatened by the deaf hatred of all, but indifferent, free and resolute, sure of its right to absolute power, will impose itself on all, not without the consent of all, and truly at the call of all. It thus shall force them all to total disarmament (military, political, legal, technical, physical, moral and intellectual). From what was a chaos of nations and individuals in mortal danger, it shall make a single world people, no longer terrified, but reassured by their partly happy, partly angry submission to absolute world power. Barring a profound cultural change, such is our future.

To preserve humankind’s right to survival, Leviathan will neutralize any threat, even preventively, in a discretionary manner. It will generalize and trivialize the anti-terrorist practice of targeted assassination, but not only against individuals, also against human groups.

The Leviathan State shall remain a Republic, unique and universal. There will still be a social pact. This pact will be made between every terrified individual on Earth and the unique Leviathan, endowed with absolute power, spiritual as well as temporal, whose sole law shall be public salvation. It shall be the very reason and free will of every individual on Earth.

To be strong enough, Leviathan shall remain concentrated. It must include only the wealthy and educated elite—and only them—provided they adhere to Leviathan’s policies. They are the ones who will benefit from medical progress. What will be the relationship between the rich and the rest? “The relationship between humans and animals is the best model we have for the future relationship between superhumans and humans.” No doubt this is why the culture of powerlessness talks so much about animal rights and promotes vegetarian eating. Inferior individuals will be reassured to know that they will not end up as corned beef.

Excluded from sovereignty will be the people, and above all the middle classes, if there are any left. These masses shall be deprived of political and economic rights. This deprivation shall be ensured by biocratic surveillance, repression and prevention—including genetic augmentation or diminution, remote brain control and regular intake of various prescribed drugs/medication. Elections could probably continue without much inconvenience, but we shall need to be sure that their outcome will not endanger Leviathan. The anxious fear of death and war, and the culture of powerlessness, will allow us to associate a reassuring servitude with a happy awareness of security and freedom.

Analysis of the Leviathan inevitably has the whiff of a “conspiracy theory.” Let us say a few words about this. What we call “conspiracism” lies at the crossroads of (i) a hypercritical philosophical tradition, (ii) the new postmodern class struggle and (iii) the historical dynamic tending towards the realization of Leviathan.

A) Philosophical conspiracy is central to the constitution of modern and postmodern critical reason. Marx, Nietzsche and Freud set out to reveal or denounce the occult interests, material or impulsive, unconscious or masked, that pull all the strings in our individual or social lives. More radically, this conspiracism goes back to Descartes. Its major feature is “doubt,” the basis of philosophical modernity, which remains inoperative without the introduction of the “Evil Genius,” a hidden, fictitious or mysterious power which, in its power and malignity “has employed all its industry to deceive me.” But then,

B) why do modern and postmodern elites hate “conspiracy?” For the same reasons that Descartes reserved the use of modern, critical reason for a thinking, conservative elite. If everyone began to doubt everything in morality, law, history, religion and, above all, politics, there would be revolution, communism or anarchy. Postmodern enlightened elites do not hate hypercritical (and therefore conspiratorial, in the philosophical sense of the word) reason, but since they have disrupted certain social equilibria and renewed the class struggle, they do fear revolution, if the use of criticism does not remain their monopoly, or were insufficiently controlled. Globalization, for example, would then be the object of a more or less Marxist critique. Marxism has long accustomed minds to seeing ideologies as the masks of powers and their means of domination. In line with this idea, conspiracy theorists (especially in long-developed countries) see in the praise of globalization an ideology at the service of elites and capital against people and labor. Elements A) and B) converge as follows:

C) with the dynamics of the Leviathan, which unfolds by virtue of a rather impersonal and involuntary logic, which surpasses all those who pride themselves on creating it. The elites believe, often in good faith, that Leviathan is the solution, even if they have reservations about one aspect or another. Leviathan will undoubtedly favor the elites, but their privileges will serve the general interest, and the people are quite irresponsible when they oppose it. Their populist demagogues will be potential terrorists. The people, who do not see it that way, think like George Orwell and attribute historical dynamics to the psychotic will to power of monstrous and perverse elites, from whom it is always legitimate and rational to expect the worst.

In summary, the term “conspiracy” is somewhat contradictory, as it tends to disqualify a political critique of globalization in the name of a modern or postmodern reason that is nonetheless philosophically conspiratorial. It is also a source of confusion, because it mixes relatively classic and timeless political issues (such as the tensions between oligarchy and democracy) with the problematic of Leviathan, specific to the hypertechnical age.Let us now complete our analysis of Leviathan. Under its empire, war can only exist between Power and each individual or group, large or small, potentially delinquent or rebellious. This war, if well waged, will be reduced to a reassuring political and cultural police action, as extensive as necessary, but conducted with discretion—and to a gendarmerie or special forces action, or secret political police, against all attempts at secession or sedition (liberation). This war will be permanent and without end, just as the fight against the underworld is for the police.

The social pact implies adherence to the politics of Leviathan (its constituent war). The freedom of the social pact exists authentically as unconditional adherence to global security totalitarianism, which has become the only reasonable regime imaginable. And all rational liberals have finally rallied to enlightened despotism.

Leviathan will not afford, especially in just a few decades’ time, to let a single lone wolf slip through its net, even for a moment. One would be enough to destroy everything. Universal control shall therefore be preventive. Surveillance shall be continuous, focusing not only on outward appearances, but also on everything that cannot be seen with the naked eye, such as brain waves and hormonal flows. Anything that is not authorized must be prohibited under the most severe penalties.

Leviathan will control everything. Attempt and intent will be punished as much as action. A sci-fi movie like Minority Report is a pretty good approximation. As it is impossible to take the slightest risk of recidivism, extra-judicial elimination is the only conceivable measure against any untimely exercise of freedom. But Leviathan will be worry-free. With technical progress, death is no more than an instantaneous, painless, non-tragic and unannounced obliteration. Public opinion will just believe it to be a natural death.

It is in Leviathan’s interest to make people believe that war is an inevitable effect of the unchecked ecological crisis, since this would be the cause of a global food crisis, leading to a furious struggle by all for the means of subsistence. In the final analysis, this crisis is itself the effect of human proliferation. Peace therefore will require that Leviathan have the right to regulate demographics and impose appropriate morality—libertarian or rigorist as the case may be—to ensure that the set numbers are respected. Aldous Huxley understood that the reproduction of the species is too serious a matter to be left to the freedom of individuals. Here again, a science-fiction film like Gattaca provides a pretty good approximation. “The love of servitude cannot be established except as a result of… a greatly improved technique of suggestion… a foolproof system of eugenics, designed to standardize the human product and so to facilitate the task of the managers.” Demographic and eugenic totalitarianism, as well as the most imperious sexual moralism (lax or rigorous, depending on what social utility requires), will be therefore indispensable to social and political control, barring major cultural change—and this (it should be noted) irrespective of anything one might reasonably think on the subjects of demography and ecology. All growth is incompatible with totalitarianism, without which there can be no true Leviathan, and therefore no guaranteed world peace.


The Green Dragon and its Agony

This problem has arisen not just now, but as the West, having received for one historical moment a semblance of sole planetary domination (after the collapse of the USSR), was unable to put its leadership into practice, as a result of which new sovereign poles—Russia and China—began to assert themselves. Other poles are on the way—India, the Islamic civilization, Africa and Latin America. All in all, there are seven centers of power, including the West. Six of them have united in BRICS and are beginning to build a multipolar order.

The West continues to cling to its hegemony and is attacking the most dangerous opponents to its dominance—Russia, China and the Islamic world. This did not begin today, but rather in the very early 2000s. But the current contrast of the political map of the world has finally come into focus in recent years—and especially after the beginning of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine. The SMO was the first hot war of the multipolar world against the unipolar world. Before that—especially during President Trump’s first term and because of the rise of populism in Europe—it seemed that a direct clash would be avoided, that the West would peacefully accept multipolarity, and try to reclaim its rightful place in the post-globalization world order. This is what Trump had in mind when he called for draining the globalist swamp in the US itself. But then the swamp managed to drain Trump himself and, during the period of the swampiest President Biden, to unleash a bloody conflict in Ukraine, throwing all the forces of the collective West against Russia as the most important pole of the multipolar world.

The main result of 2023 was Russia’s disruption of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which for the globalists was the decisive moment in the entire conflict. They gave the Nazi regime in Kiev maximum support with arms, finances, political, informational and diplomatic resources. When Russia stood its ground and began to prepare for its own offensive, it turned out that everything the globalists had done had been in vain. However, as long as globalists are in power in the U.S., they intend to continue the war. And, apparently, not just to the last Ukrainian, but to the last globalist.

At the end of 2023, however, the second front in the war of unipolar and multipolar worlds opened. This time the vanguard of the West in the Middle East—the state of Israel in response to the invasion of Hamas began a systematic genocide of the population of Gaza, without any consideration at all. The United States and the collective West fully supported Tel Aviv’s actions, thus drawing a new fault line—the West against Islamic civilization.

The American neocons were already on this path in the early 2000s, which resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and then support for radical Islamists in Libya, Syria, and so on. Now the West is again confronted with the Islamic world, led by the Palestinians, the Yemeni Houthis, the Lebanese Hezbollah and also Iran.

In addition, in West Africa, another springboard of anti-colonial struggle against unipolarity and for multipolarity, an alliance of the most determined countries has emerged—Mali, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon and Niger, where a series of anti-globalization coups have taken place. Thus here, too, a new front is emerging.

And finally, Venezuela, whose legitimate ruler Nicolas Maduro the US tried to replace with the puppet Guaido, and which ended in a complete fiasco, entered into a territorial conflict over the disputed areas of Guyana-Essekibo with the pro-Atlantist puppet, British Guyana. And Argentine President Javier Milay, though refusing to integrate with BRICS, urged England to reconsider the Malvinas issue. Thus, another front of struggle has emerged in Latin America.

Thus, we approached the new year, 2024. And here all the trends continued at an accelerated pace. Tensions for the U.S. in the Middle East are growing by the day. The war in Ukraine will certainly continue, and now the initiative is on Russia’s side.

We should also expect an escalation of the conflict over Taiwan, where the United States pushed through the election of anti-Chinese candidate Lai Qingde; further escalation in the Middle East; continuation of anti-colonial revolutions in Africa; and escalation of contradictions in Latin America into a hot phase.

In the West itself, the crisis is growing at an accelerated pace. The US has an election this year in which the globalists will face a strong wave of Republicans.

The EU is in decline, and there is a rising anti-elite, anti-liberal wave of populists—left and right—rising again. There are leftists like Sarah Wagenknecht and her new party. “Red Sarah” is becoming the symbol of Europe’s anti-liberal left.

Such leftists are first and foremost enemies of global capital—unlike the Soros-bought pseudo-leftists, who primarily advocate LGBT, Ukrainian Nazism, the Gaza genocide and uncontrolled migration, and desperately fight against Russian influence, Putin and Russia in general.

There is also a right-wing component—badly shabby, but in many European countries representing the second most important political force. For example, Marine Le Pen in France. In Germany, the Alternative for Germany is gaining strength. In Italy, despite the liberal weakness of Prime Minister Giorgi Meloni, the right-wing half of society has not gone anywhere. All right-wing populism is as it was.

But there is the globalist West, which tries to pass itself off as the entire “West.” And there are anti-globalization right-wingers and left-wingers, as well as a huge stratum of Westerners who constitute the “silent majority.” This is the most important thing—the average European person understands nothing about politics at all. Ordinary Europeans and Americans simply cannot keep up with the demands to change sex, forcibly castrate their young sons, marry goats, bring in and feed more migrants, eat cockroaches, recite bedtime prayers to Greta Thunberg, and curse the Russians. The Western common man, the petty bourgeois is the main pillar of the multipolar world. He is the core of the real West, not the sinister parody into which the globalist liberal elites have turned it.

It is very possible that in 2024 all these fault lines—wars and revolutions, conflicts and uprisings, waves of terrorist attacks and new territories of genocide—will turn into something large-scale. The downward tide of a unipolar world is already giving way to a rising multipolar one. And it is inevitable.

The dragon of globalism is mortally wounded. But we know how dangerous the agony of a wounded dragon is. The global elite of the West is insane. There is much reason to believe that 2024 will be something terrible. We are an arm’s length away from a global world war. On all fronts. If it cannot be avoided, there is nothing left to do but win it.

It is necessary to finish off the dragon to free mankind, and the West itself, which is its first victim, from its evil spell.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Ria Novosti and Geopolitika.

Featured: “Saint George and the Dragon.” Folio 26 recto, from the Passio Sancti Georgii, passio Sanctae Margaretae manuscript, dated ca. 1270: MS 1853 in the Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy).

Well-Being vs. Salvation

Behind a burning red fog
The great mind swims in confusion
Its blood ferments in anger
Honor and wisdom will cower

Your river's flow is damned all to hell
Your river's flow is damned all to hell

Drifting in a current to stagnate
Encircle the vision of rust

Your river's flow is damned all to hell
Your river's flow is damned all to hell
Strong hearts soar through blindness

Tearing the fog, tearing the eyes
To clarity
To a place where truth is seen

Your shell is hollow, your shell is hollow, so am I
The rest will follow, the rest will follow, so will I
So will I
(Neurosis, “Under the Surface”)

“Your will be done, on earth as in heaven” (Mt 6:10)
Lead me, Lord, in the path of your commandments.
Teach me the demands of your precepts
and I will keep them to the end.
Train me to observe your law,
to keep it with my heart.
Guide me in the path of your commands;
for there is my delight.
Bend my heart to your will
and not to love of gain.
Keep my eyes from what is false;
by your word, give me life.
Keep the promise you have made
to the servant who fears you.
Keep me from the scorn I dread,
for your decrees are good.
See, I long for your precepts;
then in your justice, give me life.
(Psalm 118)

There are only two paths in life, the one that leads to heaven and the one that leads to hell. And there are only two modes of living, salvation and well-being. One must live in the mode of salvation to end up in heaven, and the mode of well-being can only lead to hell. Heaven begins on earth when one pursues salvation, and hell is right here for those who pursue well-being. One cannot live in both modes, as they are mutually exclusive, though one can live in one and then another. It is the mode that one persists in unto the end that determines eternity. It is not that well-being is hell per se, for it is a good, though not the ultimate one, and the fruit of living the mode of salvation is true well-being in this life, the most that is possible on earth, a life of sometimes agonizing and unspeakable suffering, surely, but also ineffable peace, supernal joy, and indomitable hope. Living in God’s Divine Will is heaven itself, and it begins now. And it culminates in eternity with the most well-being possible to a creature, complete union with God. So, well-being is good, but if we seek it and not God as our main goal in this life, if it is our primary existential mode, with salvation taking a back seat, we obtain neither well-being nor salvation.

What exactly do I mean by salvation and well-being, and why are they mutually exclusive? In a fascinating 1970s book entitled, Marriage: Dead or Alive, the twentieth-century Swiss Jungian psychiatrist Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig explained that marriage was failing more than ever before because it was mistakenly portrayed and understood in the mode of well-being, where in truth it is a relationship and institution grounded in and ordered to salvation, only succeeding when understood and lived out as such. About well-being vs salvation, he writes:

Clearly not belonging to the state of well-being are tensions, dissatisfactions, painful emotions, anxiety, hatred, difficult and insoluble internal and external conflicts, obsessive searching for an undiscoverable truth, confused struggles about God, and the felt need to come to terms with evil and death. Sickness most certainly does not belong to the state of well-being. It is much easier, at any rate, for physically and psychologically healthy people to enjoy a sense of well-being than it is for the sick. “Give us our daily bread” really implies, “Give us daily our sense of well-being.”. . . As goals, salvation and well-being contradict each other. The path to happiness does not necessarily include suffering. For the sake of our well-being, we are urged to be happy and not to break our heads with questions that have no answer. A happy person sits at the family table among loved ones and enjoys a hearty meal. A person who seeks salvation wrestles with God, the Devil, and the world, and confronts death, even if all of this is not absolutely necessary at that precise moment.

The mode of salvation was modeled perfectly for us in the life of Jesus Christ, and it is only by following His model that we can attain our soul’s salvation, but it is not that the salvation mode of life only became known to us by the Incarnation. It was known to the ancient Jews as well as the pagans, and it is known to today’s Jews, Muslims, pagans, and secular humanists, for it is a fundamental part of natural human consciousness. Those who prefer this mode over the mode of well-being, and live it unto the end, are saved, regardless of what they know or do not know about Jesus Christ, unless, of course, they reject Him knowingly and deliberately. But if they are truly living within the mode of salvation, they will never do that. When Jesus comes to them three times before they die, as St. Faustina said He would, they will recognize Him as the unknown Someone they were looking for, and the reason they rejected the mode of well-being for the much less comfortable mode of salvation.

A good pagan example of the two modes in contrast is found in the two heroes of Homer’s epics, Achilles and Odysseus. Achilles is given a choice to live a long life of well-being or a short life of salvation. The mode of salvation for the warrior was a life of valor on the battlefield, seeking honor and glory more than the mere preservation of one’s life. Achilles fulfilled this mode excellently until he was deprived of the honor he deserved by King Agamemnon. Achilles reacted with a superhuman rage and offense at this affront, and this not mainly because his war-trophy bride, Briseis, was taken from him, but more because he was destined before birth to have been the new Zeus, but was deprived of this by Zeus himself. According to a Pindaric tradition, Thetis, at the behest of Zeus, acceded to marriage with the mortal Peleus instead of Zeus in order to avert the birth of a son who would be stronger than his father. Achilles would have surpassed Zeus if his mother had not consented to a marriage beneath her divine status that neutralized the threat he constituted to Zeus’s order. Achilles knew this, and so harbored in the recesses of his soul an infinite desire for divine power and glory that could never be satisfied, as well as an infinite divine rage at this existential frustration. This is an excellent image of the desire all humans have for divinization, along with the nagging sense that we were all destined for greatness but somehow lost it, and the ineradicable feeling of futility, dissatisfaction, and guilt with a mere life of well-being. Until Jesus came, we had no real ground for hope that our infinite longings could ever be fulfilled, yet some before Christ, such as faithful Hebrews and noble pagans, still chose to live in the mode of salvation, somehow knowing they were obliged to do so even without a grounded hope in an eventual successful end. Getting back to Achilles, when he was dishonored by Agamemnon, a mere mortal, it was as if his whole raison d’etre was destroyed, and he chose to leave the battle and live the mode of well-being in his tent, hanging out with his friends and playing music. When some of the Greek leaders come to his tent to try to convince him to rejoin the battle, Achilles says:

Neither Agamemnon nor any other Greek will change my mind, for it seems there is no gratitude for ceaseless battle with our enemies. He who fights his best and he who stays away earn the same reward, the coward and the brave man win like honor, death comes alike to the idler and to him who toils. No profit to me from my sufferings, endlessly risking my life in war.

Here Achilles reveals the mode of well-being he has recently adopted, with its irrefutable logic of the futility of a life pursuing salvation. For those living at the time of the Trojan War, 1200 BC or so, the afterlife in the underworld was a shadowy thing, neither punishment nor reward but a flittering, ghostlike, and passionless existence, barely alive, with no drama or purpose. In the Odyssey, Odysseus meets Achilles in the underworld and is told by him that it is so lame that it is better to be a slave on the earth than to rule Hades, in other words, that there is no reason to pursue the life of salvation. But somehow, in spite of the nihilistic yet airtight well-being logic he entertains for a moment—what good is it to be a warrior if in death all are equal, and equally half-dead?—Achilles knows that a life of honor and courage and death-defying valor is obligatory for him and that it violates a primordial, cosmic law for him to allow his fellow Greeks to die dishonorably, and so when his best friend Patroclus dies in battle due to his wallowing in well-being despair, he re-establishes himself in salvation mode and kicks much Trojan ass with some bedecked and armed with god-designed armor and a cosmos-wrought shield that contains the whole cosmos, signifying that the way of salvation, and not the way of well-being, is written into the very fabric of things. And he dies soon after by getting shot by an arrow in his heel.

Odysseus lived the salvation mode until, on his way home from Troy, he is waylayed by a nymph goddess, Calypso, who “traps” him on her island for seven years. I put trap in scare quotes because in the less-literal yet more accurate reading, Odysseus was free to leave anytime he wanted, and it was just the case that he did not want to, as he now had a matchless goddess as a very willing wife, one who also shared her immortality with him. But her name means “she who conceals,” and the price he had to pay for his well-being on steroids was never again to be seen and known, and perhaps to have his life up till then never sung by bards to the future generations of Greeks. Somehow he knew (when he got the seven-year itch) that risking abominable suffering in unknown waters populated by horrendous monsters with a very uncertain prospect of ever getting home alive was worth more than an eternity of perfect, earthly well-being. So he put on the helmet of salvation, as it were, built a raft, and eventually sang his own song on the island of the Phaecians, a paradisal mecca of well-being whose king also invited him to renounce his salvation, marry his beautiful daughter, and stay forever with them before sailing him (almost) home on a magic ship.

My last example from the ancient world is Job. According to the theology of his day, which was probably after the Flood but well before Moses, those who followed God’s law were blessed with a life of well-being, and this was a reason as good as any other to do so. If one did not experience well-being—health, long life, wealth, and a big family with lots of land and flocks—it meant that one was not following God too well, and deserved not to have it. But this was a mistaken notion of the economy of God and the true purpose for following Him, as Job was to discover. Satan challenged God by saying, essentially: “The only reason anyone ‘loves’ you and doesn’t curse you is because you reward them with well-being. Take away their well-being, and see what happens. You talk about salvation all the time. Well, they never really choose it, if it even exists. There is only well-being disguised as salvation.” God takes away all the well-being from Job, and his counselors tell him to repent of his sin. They are firmly in the well-being mode. Perhaps Job was as well at some time or another, but he meditated for a while on the dung heap, and he was now in salvation mode, as he cried, “I know my redeemer lives.” How did he know that? Everyone in the salvation mode knows it, for it is somehow knowing it that puts one into that mode. He eventually was given his well-being back, just as Jesus was resurrected, but an intimate meeting with the unknowable God was what he wanted all along, and he got it, in a terrifying whirlwind cross-examination that almost killed him. He didn’t get a comprehensible and satisfying answer to the mystery of suffering, as the mode of well-being would expect. What he got was confirmation that salvation is not at all about human well-being or the lack of it, or even being just or unjust or pious or impious. It’s something way beyond even morality, however essential that is. It’s about God, period. As St. Louis de Montfort often said: “God alone.”

Why not just call these modes religious or non-religious, or even Christian or non-Christian? It is because those who practice religion and identify as such are not necessarily living the mode of salvation, and those who say they are not religious are not necessarily living the mode of well-being. People can say they believe in God and actually practice worship and seem to live for Him while living completely or mainly in the mode of well-being, and people can say that they don’t believe or care about God or spiritual matters, and appear not to, while living completely or mainly in the salvation mode. It seems to me that the well-being/salvation modes are more fundamental and definitive than the religious/non-religious labels, or even the self-identification of Christian or non-Christian. For, they are existential and primary, residing and operating in the deepest recesses of the heart and the will. Before we consciously choose to act at any specific time in any particular way, we have always-already chosen, as it were, one of these modes, and our choices from then on are derivative from and caused by that primordial choice. Why we choose one mode or the other and persist in it is ultimately a mystery, but I would still like to say something about it later on.

We live within a global culture of well-being, an elite-imposed and artificial, totalitarian therapeutic prison, and this means that through an inexorable, ineluctable, and inescapable cultural conditioning process, well-being is the default position of the collective consciousness. Charles Taylor calls it the Immanent Frame. We are meant by our puppeteer conditioners to know of nothing other. If we do not deliberately fight to resist and escape this conditioning, it will mold and poison our souls unconsciously. But even if we somehow become acquainted while within this prison with the salvific mode of consciousness, through, say, encountering traditional religion or reading classic literature or meeting a living saint, we are programmed to translate this experience into the discourse, grammar, and social-imaginary of well-being, thereby turning it into its opposite.

If the reader is still wondering what exactly the modes of well-being and salvation are, that’s ok, for I am as well. It’s not possible to nail them down in precise language. They are too big and deep for language. The particular mode of thought, cast of concepts, and exigency of language we happen now to understand and employ derives from and is constituted by one of these modes or the other. There is no third. If we are in the mode of well-being, we see the world that way, and we will not only not understand the mode of salvation, we will despise it. Furthermore, we will not even recognize that we are in a mode at all—it is just the way things are. One has to be in the mode of salvation to understand that experiential modes even exist, and then to understand the nature of each mode and their radical opposition. For, these two modes determine exhaustively the very contours of the meaning of life itself, as they are the earthly images of the two modes of eternity. Thus, it must not be expected that they can be discretely and definitively defined in this life. They can be described, pointed to, adumbrated, suggested, intuited, exemplified, metaphorized, allegorized, unveiled, demarcated, translated, and cartographed—but never exhaustively grasped. It is these modes, after all, that define us. Nevertheless, I intend to keep describing and attempting to define them as we proceed, hopefully with increasing lucidity.

This is the clearest definition I can think of at the moment: The mode of well-being is a living hell that leads to eternal hell. The mode of salvation is a living heaven that leads to eternal heaven. And here is the most compelling reason I can think of why this is the case: Hell is the choice for the complete absence of God, Who is ultimate reality. Hell is thus the choice for ultimate unreality. Thus, the mode of well-being chosen in this life is a life of perpetual and absolute war with ultimate reality.

Perhaps an example will be helpful. The plandemic of 2020 was a test, a trial run for the Final Judgment deciding the eternity of every human being ever to live, either Heaven or Hell. What was placed before every human being was a stark existential and theological choice, a choice that was also a judgment. For those for whom this trial would be the manifestation and confirmation of their prior existential choice for well-being, or for those for whom it would be the uber-choice of their preferred long-term state, it seemed no choice at all. I mean, there was a deadly virus, you know, the deadliest one, and all you needed to do to avoid your own sickness or death and prevent the sickness and death of others was to do what you were told to do by those authorized to protect you from sickness and death. If you did that, I mean, the curve would be flattened, man. They told you to allow certain others to stick a swab in your nose, wear a mask all day, stay six feet away from other people, stay home, and close your business or school or church. They were so loving and committed to your health that they coerced these directives, rewarding you if you obeyed them and punishing you if you did not. They told you to get the vaccine or else you would most probably die and kill others, and they helped you to make the right choice by making sure that your life would be a living hell if you refused the shot. Choice? What the hell are you talking about?

The problem is that if you chose to do what they told you, you were not choosing to protect yourself and others from a deadly virus, but you were choosing hell. Now, there were some who were genuinely invincibly ignorant to the lies they were believing, at least at first, and so not culpable. But in the weeks and months after, as reality reasserted itself, it became impossible to believe the lies without fault. You were choosing hell because you were choosing unreality, and knowingly so. By choosing to obey these arbitrary and irrational prescriptions—and you knew, didn’t you? that they were arbitrary and irrational—you were choosing to believe in the Big Lie that underlay them, namely, that healthy people with no symptoms of illness are contagious. You, of course, knew this to be untrue. This is a lie, and an insane one. And you knew it was an insane lie, but you believed it anyway and acted accordingly. And you were quite proud of your mendacious insanity. You believed this insane lie because it made you feel good, in both the pleasurable and moral meaning of the word, but in doing so you put yourself under false authority. And you knew that it was false authority, because what they prescribed was all predicated on a manifest lie, and you knew it was a lie. No one thinks that healthy people with no symptoms are contagious, not even you. But you thought it anyway. “Just wear the f$%*in mask”—the first commandment of Hell. You obeyed this commandment with diabolical pleasure and took the same pleasure in torturing those who disobeyed it. Now, not everyone behaved this maliciously, and I am describing the extreme covidiot here, but all of us to some extent participated in this treasonous behavior.

Is putting oneself under false authority really so bad? Yes, it is the worst sin possible. It is the sin against the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said is unforgivable. It is calling good evil and evil good. Salvation comes from putting oneself under the authority of Truth, Who is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, Who was with God in the beginning and is God. Damnation comes from putting yourself under the authority of untruth, whose father is Satan, the father of lies, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning. And it is this that distinguishes the mode of well-being from the mode of salvation. In well-being, one puts truth second to everything else. Truth is never first. Perhaps it is an authority, but it is never the authority. In salvation, truth is always first. It is Authority, period. One strives for well-being, for we are permitted to do so, but it is always a striving for well-being in the light of and under the authority of truth. And if believing in and obeying the truth means that one’s earthly well-being is sacrificed, then so be it. Salvation comes first. Salvation means eternal well-being, which is all that matters. Earthly well-being is a good, and those who live in the mode of salvation obtain it in its essence, which is joy and peace in union with God in this life, which no one can take away. Sometimes this joy and peace are accompanied by worldly goods, such as financial prosperity and bodily health and good reputation. But sometimes not. And it doesn’t matter one way or the other for the salvation-minded. Obedience to truth is all that matters. For the well-being-minded, a feeling of well-being is all that matters, and knowing and obeying truth is, at best, only a means to this highest end.

I mentioned earlier, and it bears repeating, that “We live within a global culture of well-being, an elite-imposed and artificial, totalitarian therapeutic prison, and this means that through an inexorable, ineluctable, and inescapable cultural conditioning process, well-being is the default position of the collective consciousness.” And this includes those, whether traditional Catholic, fundamentalist Christian, Koranic mystic, alt-right groyper, paleocon-bearded hipster, dark web gnostic, or perennialist blackpiller, all of which would seem quite immune to such conditioning and who would certainly, it seems, reject the default position. I have news for you: not necessarily. The mode of well-being has been firmly in place in the West for centuries, and it has been getting ever more well-being-ish ever since, exponentially since the year 2020. Medieval Christendom was a culture of salvation. Well-being as a legitimate mode of life didn’t exist. People sinned, of course, by choosing for well-being against salvation, but they were ashamed of it, and society let them know. Modernity, on the other hand, is a culture of well-being as The Good, a culture in which the mode of salvation is utterly shameful.

The Catholic Church is the mode of salvation on Earth, for it is the mystical body of the Incarnate Savior. If this mode existed in cultures before Christ and His Church, it was solely due to His providential grace in anticipation of and preparation for His Church, the soul and lifeblood of the world with its various cultures. At the present moment, the human infrastructure and clerical personnel of the Church, in league with her unbaptized external enemies, are at war with her divine core, and Satan is in control of the majority of the clerical human personnel and all of her external enemies. Satan’s hegemony over the Church and thus the world has been building since the 1900s but really in earnest after 1962. Leo XIII and Our Ladies of Akita and Fatima had prophesized it and told us what to do to prevent it, but most didn’t listen.

What this means is that there has never been a time in the history of the human race in which the mode of salvation has been more eclipsed and difficult to live out, and the mode of well-being more pronounced, seductive, irresistible, ubiquitous, and easy to practice, than today. One might think of the time before Christ as comparable or even worse than now, but consider that the corruption of the best is the worst, that nothing could be worse than a counterfeit of salvation replacing the true one, and such could only be possible after the historical manifestation of the full salvific truth of Jesus Christ. What we have today is much worse than paganism, and much worse than even the most corrupt and “dark” of post-Incarnation ages of years past. What we have is a culture of well-being that wears the mask of salvation, with the salvation mode practically counterfeited out of existence. Even the best of the salvation-mode sub-cultures are more or less compromised and tainted by the ubiquitous well-being culture, and they easily end up becoming mirror images of it, appearing to be solidly salvific but surreptitiously and subtly counterfeit. They talk salvation but walk well-being.

This is all I've known
A way to be
True to all
All that inspires

A torch in a black sea
Our stones still stand
To remind us of loss
A loss mirrored on our souls

A watchfire brings strength
Breathe in the heat
In the eternal path
Armoured against life
(Neurosis, "Watchfire")

Human beings were created by God for happiness in the worship of God. For reasons entirely inscrutable to human beings (all of the best reasons that have been offered cannot adequately explain it), God decided to make this happiness a personal choice for which we are responsible. This means that humans can choose not to worship God, that is, choose unhappiness over happiness. Why would a human being choose unhappiness and reject the very reason he was created? No one knows the answer to this question, for it is a mystery, the unfathomable and inscrutable mystery of evil. All we know is that we cannot escape this choice. Whether we obtain eternal happiness in the worship of God or eternal unhappiness in the refusal of this worship is entirely up to us, and any of us is capable of choosing against his own happiness. If you end up in hell for all eternity, it is because you wanted while alive and want now to be there. You refused to worship God, and you did so knowing it would mean eternal hell, and you chose it anyway. Think this is impossible? Think that God would and could never allow anyone to suffer eternal separation from Him? Well, have fun hanging out with know-it-all spiritual morons like David Bentley Hart and engage in gnostic spiritual masturbation, but just know that the Hell you deny awaits you if you persist in rejecting truth.

What does the choice for hell look like? The Catholic Church teaches us that if we die in a state of unrepentance, in a state of mortal sin, we go to hell. What is it to commit a mortal sin, and what does a state of unrepentance look like? Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” and “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” At its core, mortal sin is the refusal to know and obey truth, which is to say, to reject reality, for truth is the conformity of our souls with reality. At the core of reality is the Good, which is reality qua desirable. And since Jesus Christ is the truth, reality incarnate, then every refusal of reality, refusal to know and obey truth, is a rejection of Jesus, the Incarnate Good. Unrepentance means that we persist up to the moment of death in this rejection in the knowledge that we are choosing hell because of it. We end in up hell if we persist in our rejection of reality, truth, and Jesus Christ.

Why would anyone reject reality and truth and the Good and Jesus Christ? The obvious answer is due to a mistake. For whatever reason, we are not in a right relationship with reality and so misunderstand the truth about it. We reject what we do not know is truth. This is certainly possible, but why do we not know the truth? We are personally responsible for the relationship we have with reality when we die, and if it is not a right one, it is ultimately our fault. Not knowing something is the truth at one time or another can certainly be the fault of someone else whom we depend on for knowing what is true, such as a parent or a teacher or a culture, but this is a temporary and remediable situation. The injustice done to our souls by false authorities may not be our fault, but we have the ability and responsibility to rectify this injustice. Even though it is the case that reality is mediated to us by human authorities that could be mistaken or lying about the truth, and mediated by our own faculties of knowing that might be, due to ourselves or others, damaged or faulty, this does not excuse us from the personal responsibility of doing all we can to ensure that we are in a correct relationship with reality and thus know what is true. And we have the responsibility of not only knowing what is true, but also loving and obeying it. If we did not have this responsibility, hell would not exist, for we would always have a legitimate excuse that renders us not personally responsible for our not knowing and not loving truth. There would be no real guilt.

How do we overcome the damage done to our souls by others and ourselves that has caused us, right now, not to be in a right relationship with reality and thus not to know or love what is true? If we are dependent on others for knowing certain truths, and even for the development in us, especially when we are young, of the habit of being docile to truth, how do we overcome this dependency when it has led us into a soul-state of untruth? The answer is that we are always able to choose between well-being, in which truth isn’t a priority, and salvation, where it is the only priority, regardless of how badly we might have been damaged. Indeed, if we had always chosen salvation over well-being, we would not be damaged right now in the first place, for when in a state of salvation, we are immune to the damage done to our souls by the truth-treason of others. The problem is, of course, that we were not and are not now fully in a state of salvation, and so have been damaged. But we can begin to undo this damage by choosing, right now, to be in the salvation mode, and we can keep choosing until the moment we die.

Consider the situation of a Pharisee at the time of Christ. He was badly damaged by the Jewish culture in which he was raised, for it was thoroughly corrupt, even though it was given to the Jews by God Himself. Jesus gives a very clear picture of this culture:

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean. . . . Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Imagine being raised as a Pharisee in this culture. It was now a culture of well-being, not salvation, due to the Jewish leaders’ treason against God. No Pharisee was forced to participate in this corrupt culture, for he still had access to uncorrupted scriptures and traditions. He could have resisted the corruption and even called it out, as Jesus did, but this would have required consistently being in and acting from the mode of salvation, which would have been quite difficult with all the pressure to and rewards from being in the mode of well-being masking as the mode of salvation. Who was modeling it for them? No one. It was the opposite. Everyone was modeling Satan, whom Jesus called their father. But Jesus, the perfect embodiment of the uncorrupted scriptures and tradition, was now present in their midst; now they had a model and thus the ability to compare themselves to the Good and see and repent of their evil. He made their evil quite clear to them, and there was no reason not to believe Him, for He had no hypocrisy in Him, and He spoke to them in love and from the mode of salvation. Perhaps before Jesus came they had some excuse for their evil, but not now.

All a Pharisee had to do was to pose one question to himself: “Is He the evil one, or is it I?” This is a question anyone at any time can ask, and it is a question evoked by the existential mode of salvation, a mode anyone at any time can adopt in the deepest recesses of his soul. Saul became Paul when he adopted this mode and asked this question, a question prompted by a shocking mystical encounter with the Risen Lord that knocked him to the ground and left him physically blind. God will always provide the precise experiences we need to get into the salvation mode and begin asking salvific questions, but only if we first desire to exist in the mode by which such questions will be salvific. Saul must have desired this in the core of his being, and Jesus saw this and helped him to fulfill it. Jesus knew how evil was the culture that produced Saul the Christ-hating Pharisee, and He provided him a way out. Of course, the desire and ability to live in the salvific mode is itself a gift of God unmerited by us without which we could never be saved. But it is always offered and made available to us. We must simply choose it.

A good culture is one that forms its denizens to be in a right relationship to reality, causing the mind to know it and the will to love it. A good culture makes it easier to know and love truth, and a bad culture makes it harder. The Pharisee culture of the Jews in Saul’s day was a bad culture, for it disposed its leaders to reject Jesus Christ. The rejection of Jesus Christ is at the very heart of Western culture in our day, and has been so for a long time, though harder to recognize in past centuries. Our present culture makes it very easy not to know and love truth, for it makes it all but impossible and undesirable to ask questions from the mode of salvation, especially this question: “Is it true?” It thus makes it very easy to be, live, and act in the mode of well-being while thinking one is in the mode of salvation, or not even knowing that there is any other mode than well-being, or that one is in any “mode” at all. How can we be saved from this most perilous deception? Alasdair MacIntyre:

We have within our social order few if any social milieus within which reflective and critical enquiry concerning the central issues of human life can be sustained…. This tends to be a culture of answers, not of questions, and those answers, whether secular or religious, liberal or conservative, are generally delivered as though meant to put an end to questioning.

Paul Evdokimov:

The outdated religious person and the modern sophisticated irreligious individual meet back to back in an immanence imprisoned within itself…. The denial of God has thus permitted the affirmation of man. Once this affirmation is effected, there is no longer anything to be denied or subordinated… On this level total man will not be able to ask any questions concerning his own reality, just as God does not put a question to himself

The totalitarians ruling us are satanists, whether officially or not, and they want to abuse us to such an extent that we no longer ask questions in the mode of salvation in obedience to the ultimate authority of Truth and thereby save our souls. Asking questions indicates a soul that is aware of her dignity as a responsible creature, personally responsible to know and obey the authority of truth, not human counterfeits of it. The satanists want us to degrade ourselves by choosing idols over God, and they want us to do so knowingly and deliberately. This is why they hate questions more than anything. Ultimately, they want us to feel we are so worthless and stupid and deserving of nothing but abuse and death that we voluntarily murder ourselves. They’d rather we do it to ourselves, for it would mean more souls in hell. The first step to obtaining their goal is to get us to stop asking questions and caring about the Truth. God is the answer to all questions. They want us to see them as God. If we stop asking questions about the claims and actions of any human being, we are obeying their satanic command. Origen once wrote: “Every true question is like the lance which pierces the side of Christ causing blood and water to flow forth.” It is the blood and water that saved the Centurion, and it will save us if we so desire it. All we need to do is continually ask ourselves these questions: “Is it true? Am I pursuing salvation right now, or well-being?” And God will do the rest.

O divine Redeemer! As a victim of love for the Church and souls, I surrender myself to you and abandon myself to you! Please, I pray, accept favorably my offering, and I will be happy and confident. Alas! It is very little, I know, but I have nothing more, and I give you everything. I love my poverty and weakness because they bring me all your mercy and your most tender concerns. My God, you know my fragility and the bottomless abyss of my misery… If I were ever to be unfaithful to your sovereign will for me; if I were to shrink back from suffering and the cross and desert your sweet path by fleeing the tender support of your arms, oh! I beg and implore you, grant me the grace to die instantly. Hear me, O most loving Heart of my God, hear me by your sweetest name of Jesus, by the love of your Most Holy Mother, by the intercession of Saint Joseph, Saint John the beloved, and all the other saints, and by your divine ardor to fulfill in all things the will of your Father. (Servant of God Marthe Robin).

Thaddeus Kozinski teaches philosophy and humanities at Memoria College. His latest books are Modernity as Apocalypse: Sacred Nihilism and the Counterfeits of Logos, and Words, Concepts, Reality: Aristotelian Logic for Teenagers. He writes here.

Featured: Crucifixion, Basilica di San Marco, Venice, ca., 1200.