“Christian Zionism”: Theologizing Slaughter

The videos that follow were recorded in 2018. Given the current events in the Middle East, it is worthwhile to revist the important topic of Christian Zionism, which theologizes present-day slaughter through the twin tropes of “prophecy” and the “Chosen People.”

In 2022, Archbishop Atallah Hanna gave this assessment of “Christian Zionism”:

We call on journalists and media outlets to stop the use of this term because it has no place in the Christian Church and theology… Just because a group in America calls itself Christian and advocates for Zionism, does not mean they represent Christianity. It also does not mean we should adopt this false terminology in our writings and teachings.

We do not recognize this so-called Christian Zionism because Christianity is a religion that calls for love, peace, and for siding by the oppressed and the dispossessed wherever and whoever they are… However, Zionism is a completely different thing; it is a racist ideology and movement that has been the reason behind so many injustices and catastrophes inflicted on our Palestinian people.

We denounce and reject all attempts to link Christianity with Zionism; how can Christianity, a religion that calls for compassion and love, be combined with a racist ideology, responsible for all this suffering in the Holy Land and the region… How can this movement claim to represent Christianity while it advocates for wars and destruction that did not spare anybody, including Christians.

We can, for instance, refer to them as Zionist groups that allege being Christian, especially since their beliefs contradict the peaceful message of Christianity… These groups are harming Christianity; they can call themselves whatever they want; however, this doesn’t mean we should adopt their false terminology and ideology.

Christian Zionism, Part 1: Tracing the Lines of a Warmongering Heresy


Christian Zionism, Part 2: Why Christian Zionism Is a Problem


The Christian Seder Meal: A Violation of the 1st Commandment


The Need for American Hegemony

The report that follows was prepared for the United States Marine Corps, in 2009. It clearly lays out the continuing American policy of belligerent “benignity;” in other words, the entirety of the world is America’s “Manifest Destiny,” wherein the unipolar world must be maintained for the good of humanity.

Introduction

The American Idea becomes a commodity for export, maybe the only item of domestic manufacture that can’t be replaced by cheap foreign knock-offs.

The world witnessed a vast shift in the polarity of geopolitics after the Cold War. The United States became the world’s greatest hegemon with an unequalled ability to globally project cultural, political, economic, and military power in a manner not seen since the days of the Roman Empire. Coined the “unipolar moment” by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, the disparity of power between the U.S. and all other nations allows the U.S. to influence the world for the mutual benefit of all responsible states. Unfortunately, the United States is increasingly forced to act unilaterally as a result of both foreign and domestic resentment to U.S. dominance and the rise of liberal internationalism. The United States must exercise benevolent global hegemony, unilaterally if necessary, to ensure its security and maintain global peace and prosperity.

Benevolent Nature

The fall of the Soviet Union ended a period of bipolarity and created an “ideological vacuum” in the absence of anticommunism. U.S. intervention against Soviet aggression in Europe was no longer necessary. Thus, the significance of future U.S. hegemony came into question.

America decided that its benignity would be extended to the rest of the world through the protection of Western interests and assurance of free trade. With the resurgence of worldwide terrorism, the U.S. eventually found itself as the sole guarantor of human rights and dignity for oppressed people. This new role benefitted the entire world.

In the 1990’s, for example, the U.S. intervened militarily in Kosovo, Somalia, and the Middle East to protect innocent people from oppressive and tyrannical rulers. However, socialist contemporaries Spyros Sakellaropoulos and Panagiotis Sotiris argue that U.S. motives were selfish. They contend that the U.S. in fact sought to enhance “capitalist profitability” and “foreign investment.” While this argument may be partially credible, the socialist elite often fails to recognize the U.S. guarantee of freedom extended to millions of Kosovars, Somalians, and Kuwaitis.

Certainly, the United States has been prudent in its application of force. Its decision to repulse the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was directly linked to international dependence on free-flowing oil from the Middle East. The global market economy depends heavily on the accessibility of world commodities and consequently compels the U.S. to safeguard free and fair trade globally. Hence, the protection of American trade interests and free-market capitalism around the world remains a primary focus of U.S. foreign policy. The National Security Strategy of the United States verifies this commitment. The National Security Strategy pledges to promote peace and economic prosperity through the exportation of democracy, market capitalism, and the use of force when necessary.

U.S. Security and Global Peace and Prosperity

American benevolent hegemony indeed benefits the entire world. Robert Kagan, a well-known neoconservative, states “the truth is that the benevolent hegemony exercised by the United States is good for a vast portion of the world’s population” and that to undermine U.S. hegemony “would cost many others around the world far more than it would cost Americans.” In fact, billions of people worldwide live safe and prosper under the umbrella of U.S. military might and American-influenced global markets.

Imagine the world without U.S. hegemony. Who would deter nations like North Korea, China, and Iran from attacking their neighbors? For 55 years, an American presence in South Korea has deterred North Korean belligerence. Across the East China Sea, the U.S. 7th Fleet discourages the People’s Republic of China from using military power to force the annexation of the 60-year old democratic de-facto nation of Taiwan. Of course, the American-led Multi-National Force—Iraq continues to ensure freedom and democracy in Iraq while daunting regional Iranian aggression.

Of course, American benevolence abroad arose from the wastelands of post-World War II Europe and Asia. During the Cold War, the U.S. found itself as the sole guarantor of freedom for numerous Asian and European counties threatened by Soviet aggression. America’s ability to influence the world economy and maintain significant military presences in West Germany and Japan allowed its allies to prosper in relative safety.

Over time, American grand strategy of Soviet containment and Western economic prosperity made American hegemony not only palatable, but attractive to friendly nations. They understood that U.S. allies would be subjected to vast amounts of U.S. economic aid. That monetary aid ultimately created powerful economic competitors in Europe and Asia out of the ashes of World War II.

Furthermore, U.S. defense policy during the Cold War ensured U.S. security through the security of its allies. This policy guaranteed the peace and safety of democratic societies globally. Additionally, this benign U.S. hegemony was “augmented for a time by a monopoly of nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver them.” U.S. policy of nuclear deterrence, for example, dissuaded any Soviet invasion of western Europe. The U.S. continues today to identify its interests and national security with those of its allies. In fact, American prosperity, freedom, and security at home are made possible only by ensuring the same around the world. Accordingly, the U.S. stays the course in Iraq and Afghanistan at the cost of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. This creates an enormous disparity between U.S. funding for Homeland Security and the Global War on Terror in what Robert Kagan accurately describes as “making good” on American “international commitments.” This clearly negates the socialist delusion of a selfish U.S. foreign policy.

Admittedly, the ultimate objective of U.S. hegemony is the advancement of American lives on the home front. No government intends its policies to cripple its nation’s security and economy. However, U.S. policies are meant to also benefit its friends and allies.

Unfortunately, Americans begin to “take the fruits of their hegemonic power for granted” as lengthy prosperity turns into complacency. This results in American ignorance towards growing international resentment of U.S. dominance. It also facilitates the rise of liberal internationalist fantasies of a multipolar world “characterized by a balance among relative equals.”

An Alternative Perspective

The liberal internationalist school of thought is based on the concept of multilateralism, which became popular in the 1990’s due to “an obsession with international legality.” This resulted in the creation of liberal international bodies such as the European Union and World Trade Organization. Unfortunately, multilateral principles have become the mainstay of European politics over the last decade in response to U.S. hegemony. History, however, confirms multilateralism to be unsustainable and impractical.

Multilateralism

The idea of international approval to justify the morality of governmental decisions is mind-boggling. Consider a U.N. Security Council resolution to pose sanctions on another country. The approving nations will probably act in their own interests thereby making suspect any cause for agreement. The
U.N. and E.U. were nonetheless founded on this way of thinking. However, these organizations were not Europe’s earliest “utopian” dream of a “transnational economic era” characterized by a lack of borders, state sovereignty, and military power. The first ended abruptly with “the war to end all wars.”

Yet, liberal internationalists, like Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT, insist that a unipolar world dominated by the U.S. disregards U.N. principles concerning the mutual defense of nations and precipitates a “divided” and “insecure” world. Thus, the multilateralist solution is not state sovereignty, but rather the interdependence of states, which consequently weakens the notion of the nation-state. Multilateralists believe that peace and prosperity are achieved through international cooperation and the application of law. They argue that the United States’ “do-it-alone” attitude, regarding multilateral treaties in particular, discounts the rule of international law and isolates the U.S. from the international community.

While multilateralists strive to replace state sovereignty with international charters, they fail to recognize the infeasibility of a multipolar world. No other nation is currently capable or willing to assume equal responsibility for maintaining global peace and prosperity. This became apparent as European allies slashed their defense budgets and failed to take the lead in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Bosnia. Such was also the case at the end of the Cold War when European nations cut military spending to below two percent of their GDPs while they “cashed in on a sizeable peace dividend” paid in full by America. Europe cannot maintain peace and prosperity with an underfunded military force.

Still, Europe demands “multilateral action through the U.N.” and insists on equal say in solving global issues without providing equal funding. Alas, these are typical tactics of weaker nations unwilling to carry their weight on the international stage, though they are eager to be “free riders” on a global “American pax.” They beg for U.S. aid and security during crisis only to resume their usual criticisms thereafter.

Frankly, most nations do not desire multipolarity. The reluctance of foreign powers to increase their world presence speaks to this end. Consider the limited European contribution to the Global War on Terror. Europe’s lack of participation creates a global need for American hegemony since the U.S. is willing to provide a last line of defense for many countries. In fact, American “unipolarity, managed benignly, is far more likely to keep the peace.” Of course, the concept of benignity is subjective.

Impossible Benignity

Felix Ciuta, a social sciences professor at the University College in London, argues that words like “benign” and “benevolent” are not hegemonic since the very nature of hegemony reflects the selfish interests of the hegemon. Critics typically cite the Bush Doctrine of preemption as proof of this argument. They contend, for example, that the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq violated Iraq’s sovereignty under pretenses of WMD proliferation and human rights violations in order to secure U.S. interests in the region. Furthermore, critics feel that preemptive war is a war crime since it entails the use of “unrestrained, extra-legal violence.” Thus, its application in the name of human rights and democracy mocks those very principles.

Admittedly, even truly benevolent motives do not always produce beneficent outcomes. The British Empire viewed itself as benevolent; however, its “benign” unilateral actions were often deemed malevolent by its colonies resulting in various independence movements. From 1945 to 1997, British
“benevolence” caused the disintegration of the empire as colonies worldwide broke ties with the English Crown and declared their independence.

However, America’s benevolence is evidenced by its track record. The U.S. successfully mediated peace between nations on numerous occasions. For over 50 years, U.S. efforts diverted various clashes between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East, prevented a second war in Korea, and ensured an autonomous Taiwan. When a situation called for force, the application of U.S. military power was “limited in time and scope” since the nature of American hegemony is ideological, not territorial as it was with the Roman or British Empires. If not, would the U.S. be concerned with exit strategies in the Middle East as it was in Bosnia? America has never entertained delusions of a “One Thousand Year Reich” or a “New Soviet Man.” Instead, America expends its own blood and treasure to extend hope and freedom to billions of people globally.

Conclusion

The world is safer and more prosperous because of U.S. hegemony. The free world enjoys unprecedented economic prosperity while starvation and poverty continue to decline.

Furthermore, the “amicus populi romani,” still call upon the U.S. during times of distress. They require U.S. hegemony for their own self-interests as well as to foster good relations with the world’s superpower. Therefore, the U.S. must exercise benevolent global hegemony, unilaterally if necessary, to ensure its security and maintain global peace and prosperity.

What are the alternatives? A Chinese or Russian hegemony would be unlikely to benefit the rest of the world. A multilateral coalition of nations proved to be ineffective and unsustainable. American isolationism would leave the world vulnerable to tyranny. Ultimately, the future of the world depends on American willingness to guarantee the freedom of others. To quote Ronald Reagan: “We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression—to preserve freedom and peace.”

The full report with references:


Skepticism and Faith

Rational Responses to Skepticism is not a book for everyone. If one expects it to be another apologetics book filled with historical and scriptural analysis, he is badly mistaken. Rather, this volume is a rigorous rational defense of the intellectual foundations for Christianity in general and of Catholicism in particular.

[For those who cannot access Rumble, here is another link].

Following Vatican Council II, most of the previously orthodox Catholic colleges and universities slowly abandoned their firm commitment to the Catholic intellectual heritage, especially by decreasing both the number and traditional content of required theology and philosophy courses – and even by changing theology courses into what they called “religious studies.” This tendency was especially evident in their failure to continue to teach the Thomistic philosophical sciences, such as logic, philosophical psychology, metaphysics, natural theology, and natural law ethics. Such courses were routinely replaced by far fewer ones, which were then taught using an historical method inherently inimical to the truth status of competing historical positions. This, in turn, has led to generations of otherwise educated Catholic college graduates who have little or no real understanding of the Church’s intellectual heritage, and especially, its unequalled contributions offered by the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Rational Responses to Skepticism’s intended mission is to restore significant respect for that all-important Catholic intellectual tradition. Since it is a compilation of forty-one separate essays – each one intended to be read on its own, it is not a daunting challenge to read for most educated persons. But, it contains rigorous intellectual defenses of foundational truths essential to authentic religious revelation, that is, to Christianity, and specifically, to Catholicism.

The book contains sections refuting scientific materialism and proving man’s spiritual nature. It gives a rigorous explanation of basic intellectual certitudes, such as the metaphysical first principles of being and causality. From these it proceeds to prove God’s existence and properties as well as addressing the problem of evil and the objective foundation for a natural law ethics whose authority is God himself. Finally, it examines the rational truths underlying religious revelation, including the scientific possibility of a literal Adam and Eve, a unique exposition of the demonstrable miracles of Fatima, and even an explanation as to why the possible existence of space aliens does not disturb any of the preceding objectively demonstrated truths.

As an example of the kind of content found in this volume, I will now present a brief summary of its first chapter, so that the reader can judge for himself the book’s value as a substantive resource for answering the skepticism and confusion which is the hallmark of the present age.

The first chapter of my book, Rational Responses to Skepticism (2022), is entitled “Naturalism’s Epistemological Nightmare.”

The purpose here is simply to give some indication as to the content of that chapter – the full content of which is found in the book itself.

There are many who think that there are only two types of knowledge: (1) that based on religious faith, and (2) that based on scientific knowledge. Effectively, this makes natural science sound like the only really rational basis for truth, while things, like the Bible, are followed without any real rational proof. No room is left for anything like having rational foundations for religion. You can be religious or you can be rational and scientific. But, you cannot be both. The classical philosophical foundations for religious faith are overlooked in this all too prevalent mindset.

Materialism is the view that all that exists somehow extends in time and space, whether in the form of subatomic particles or waves. Naturalism claims that all that exists can be known by empirical verification – thus excluding supernatural entities, such as the God of classical theism. Essentially, they amount to the same thing.

The problem with naturalism which I now consider lies in its epistemology, that is, the science that considers whether and how true knowledge is possible. According to naturalism, all that is real is found in physical reality. Natural science studies that reality from the immense reaches of the limits of outer space down to the incredibly small physical entities of subatomic particles and waves.

But, the method of natural science presupposes observation of the physical world.

We observe with our eyes light from the farthest stars and galaxies, some 13.8 light years distant. We call such distance measurements, “light years,” since it take a year for light to travel some 5.8 trillion miles to reach our eyes. That is why we say we are looking back in time when we look at distant stars. What we really see is not the star as it appears in the universe at this moment in time, but rather, as it appeared many years in the past. What we really are seeing is merely the light from that distant – possibly long extinct star – as that light now strikes our eyes.

But, wait! It turns out that that light we see strikes the outer eye only to pass through its lens and reaches the retina at the back of the eye. Yet, the retina, in turn, does not end the process, but rather, sends a nerve impulse through the optic nerve to the back of the brain, what is called the occipital lobe. As a result, science says an image is formed in the back of the brain – and that is what we really are “seeing,” when we see that distant star! So it is with every external object of sight. All we are really seeing according to this scientific reasoning is images formed in the back of the brain through a chain of causality starting with the external object, but ending deep within the brain itself, where “images” of external objects are actually experienced by us.

If this “scientific” explanation of vision is correct, then the truth is that we never see external objects at all. Rather, all we really know is internal images of things which we experience as external to us, but which are really merely internal brain representations we hope accurately depict external reality.

And yet, the whole story of science is allegedly the discovery of the nature of physical objects in a real material world external to our bodies – a world in which our bodies are but the least infinitesimal piece of a cosmos claimed to be about 93 billion light-years in diameter!

All this means that, while natural science claims to take its observations from external things in the physical world, the logic of its own explanation for visual experience leads to the paradoxical conclusion that we never really experience that physical world at all. We actually experience only events taking place inside our heads!

This absurd conclusion is forced, not by natural science itself, but by trying to think the content of that science in terms of purely physical things. Physical things are extended in space. This forces any explanation of seeing into a causal-chain straight jacket in which external objects must be traced in their effects to changes inside the body which, by definition, are distinct from and other than the objects we think we observe scientifically.

The simple fact is that we would not even know we have a brain or inside of our heads except that someone has done anatomical dissections of the head and found the brain. But, to do that we must accurately observe external objects. Yet, our scientific analysis leads us to the contradictory conclusion that we actually are not seeing the head or brain themselves, but only an “image” of such organs deep inside the “unseen” brain itself!

In philosophical terms, the view that we directly know external reality itself is what is called “epistemological realism.” But, if all we claim to know are solely images or ideas of things inside our heads or brains, that is called “epistemological idealism,” since only the idea or representation of the thing is known, not the thing itself.

As seen above, this paradoxical or contradictory situation arises, not because of our actual experience (which is one of seeing the external world itself), but because of a complicated analysis made in terms of physical mechanisms, such as light beams, eyes, optic nerves, and insides of brains.

But, unless we can actually make physical observations of external things themselves, natural science is impossible, since that is its very method!

This absurd result arises from trying to explain the whole process of vision in purely physical terms, as if nothing exists but physical mechanisms. The bottom line is that the philosophy of materialism leads to absurd conclusions. Therefore, materialism must be a false belief. But, if materialism is false, then non-material entities must exist. Somehow, sense perception of the external world requires the use of powers that are not mere mechanisms of physical things, that is, of things extended in space.

Because this self-contradictory line of reasoning arises as a direct result of the assumption that everything is physically extended in space, it must be that something non-material — something not extended in physical space — must exist.

In a word, the validity of natural science itself requires first that one cannot be a philosophical materialist. Otherwise, natural science entails that we cannot know the external physical world which it allegedly uses as the subject matter of scientific observation and inferences. Materialism or naturalism leads its own much-beloved natural science into an epistemological nightmare!

Later chapters of Rational Responses to Skepticism explain more exactly just how non-material sensory powers and other non-material realities must exist and play a central role in our understanding of the true nature of the world in which we live. The foregoing is simply a sample of the kind of reasoning one may expect in the entire volume – a volume that contains rigorous defenses of central portions of the entire Catholic intellectual tradition. My hope is that this book may serve as a valued reference volume for most well-educated Catholics as well as Catholic university philosophical and theological faculty and students.


Dr. Dennis Bonnette retired as a Full Professor of Philosophy in 2003 from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, where he also served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department from 1992 to 2002. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. He is the author of three books, Aquinas’ Proofs for God’s ExistenceOrigin of the Human Species, and Rational Responses to Skepticism: A Catholic Philosopher Defends Intellectual Foundations for Traditional Beliefas well as many scholarly articles.


Featured: The Allegory of the Faith, by Johannes Vermeer; painted ca. 1670.


The Russian Revolution

The experts repeatedly emphasize that Russia is isolated, which, if true, would not be the first time this has happened in its history. But, looking at reality closely, this Robinsonian Russian isolation is very peculiar because Russia’s ostracism is alleviated by China and North Korea; Iran and Syria; India, South Africa and Brazil; Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali; Serbia and Belarus; Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua; Libya, Yemen and Algeria; not to mention its less committed partners, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, fickle Turkey, Indonesia or Kazakhstan. And I am sure I am leaving out many others. The clever policy of Biden and his European puppets has succeeded in forming a bloc between Moscow and Beijing that has served as a pole of attraction for all the nations that want to free themselves from the Anglo-Saxon noose. It seems incredible that the liberal hierarchs have forgotten Kissinger’s intelligent policy of confronting the two decisive powers of the Eurasian Heartland, the abc of strategy and diplomacy. Does this not enter the manuals of gender, resistant, matriarchal and animalistic Geopolitics?

During my last stay in “isolated” Moscow, I had the good fortune to talk to people from all corners of the wide world, from Tanzania to El Salvador, passing through Indonesia. I was especially interested in the opinion of my African colleagues, protagonists of one of the most important geopolitical changes of the last decade: the disappearance of French influence in the Sahel, which occurred when Paris exhausted the patience of the military of those States, who realized that the Islamist threat from which Paris had come to protect them was financed by their alleged protector, who took advantage of the occasion to take the uranium of the area at a bargain price. The succession of African revolutions in recent years was not sought by the Kremlin; Russia came to the Sahel at the request of states that needed to protect themselves both from France and from the various Islamist organizations in cahoots with Paris and Qatar.

Central Africa, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and now Togo and Senegal, have “resized” France to its rightful position: a second-rate world power and a colony of the Anglo-Saxons, those faithful allies who did not lift a finger to help Macron, the architect of the French decline in the Sahel. The Russian flag in Africa is a sign of liberation from that of NATO which destroyed the Libyan state and has only brought instability to the region. Moreover, Russia and China treat African countries as partners and equals: they offer works and projects instead of credits and financial “aid.” If, for example, Beijing needs cobalt from an African country, it offers infrastructure, consumer goods or whatever it needs in exchange. All this, using as few dollars as possible, the main colonial instrument of our era. Hence the enormous sympathy of all the Africans I met, for Russia and China. They, who were colonized, know what is at stake. And they are very clear about it—Europe is now the colonial and colonized space.

A common feeling for many of us who have spent this time in Russia is that there was a certain parallelism between us and the revolutionaries from all over the world who came to Moscow to see how the Soviet revolution was evolving. Something new was brewing in Moscow and it had to be known. But now this revolution has no dogmas, no infallible methods, no Komintern, not even the slightest ideological cohesion, except for the profound repulsion we all felt for globalist liberalism. Without doctrine or propaganda, this profound historical movement is not even aware of its revolutionary character, possibly because it is a radical and definitive change that does not obey a political movement stuffed with ideology, but a reaction of the peoples and states worthy of the name against the global elites, against the appropriation of sovereignty by the large consortiums. It is the refusal of the most conscious part of the planet to become an aggregate of production and consumption units without God, family or homeland; the refusal to degrade nations into a horde that is brutalized and animalized by false rights while it loses social, economic and political power to plutocracies.

Something is moving in Russia that endangers almost three hundred years of Anglo-Saxon financial and colonial capitalist domination. A revolution is beginning in the world that neither Marx nor Lenin had imagined. A colossal struggle for world power between the global oligarchies and the sovereign states.


Sertorio lives, writes and thinks in Spain. this review comes through the kind courtesy of El Manifiesto.


Financial Capitalism, Or Legalized Usury

In the framework of financial capitalism, speculative markets dominate the economy. Finance, which in the preceding phase of capitalism was connected to production and was functional to its development, becomes autonomous and becomes an end in itself, subjugating production itself and, in general, what has been called the “real economy” (in order to distinguish it from the purely fictitious and fetishistic economy characteristic of finance).

Through the possibility of the creatio ex nihilo of money, the practice of integral speculation in the financial sphere has been encouraged; a practice which, to frame it conceptually, can be qualified as the trade of money self-referentially established as an end in itself and emancipated from any productive purpose.

An emblematic example, among the many available, is the modus operandi of the stateless financier and liberal-progressive herald of the Open Society, George Soros. In 1992, he perpetrated a speculative attack on the Italian lira and the British pound sterling, thanks to which he earned, in a single night, an immense fortune. Specifically, he borrowed ten billion pounds sterling and converted them into German marks. He waited until the pound depreciated on the markets by 15% and, at that moment, he resold the marks and obtained in exchange almost twelve billion pounds. In this way he was able to pay back the ten billion he had borrowed, with interest, and keep the rest, with a profit of about two billion pounds sterling.

What Soros did can be taken as a “textbook” example of this financial speculation which, in short, consists in “gambling” and making profits by “playing” with the difference in prices in time and space of financial instruments, commodities and currencies, without providing any added value. For speculation on the economy and on society to become hegemonic, the monopoly of currency and the complete freedom of capital are indispensable conditions. And it is with this result in mind that financial capitalism developed, especially after the end of the Bretton Woods agreements and through successive processes of financial deregulation.

Speculation, as a consubstantial element of the financial system of the “banksters” and Wall Street (or rather, “War Street”), confirms Keynes’ thesis; in his opinion, if it is not regulated, financialized capitalism is the closest thing to a casino. To be precise, it is a truly sui generis gambling house, based on a very simple rule: if it comes up heads, the banks win; if it comes up tails, the taxpayers lose. Or, to put it with the title of Sheldon Emry’s book, Billions for Bankers, Debts for the People (2017).

Some investors can easily earn formidable amounts of money in a very short time, but the majority of the population loses and the productive economy falls into ruin. This is what Susan Strange stated in her study, Casino Capitalism (1997): “For the great difference between an ordinary casino which you can go into or stay away from, and the global casino of high finance, is that in the latter all of us are involuntarily engaged in the day’s play” (p.2).

The Keynesian definition of Casino Capitalism is also convincing because, in the liberal-financial order, the objective is not to reduce risk as much as possible but, in a diametrically opposed way, it is consciously assumed, since it is the element that makes it possible to obtain enormous profits, while “generously” leaving it to others to always lose. On the other hand, the prevalence of short-term speculative activity on the financial markets—mainly in the field of automated securities trading—has exponentially increased the social irresponsibility of investments.

Such endemic irresponsibility is also due to the fact that the speculative casino of neo-capitalism is governed, in its own way, by a rigorous logic or, to paraphrase the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it manifests itself as a madness endowed with its own method, which can be condensed as follows: the more you risk, the more you stand to gain or lose. And as it corresponds to its aim of maximizing profit, exceeding all possible limits, speculative finance ventures into ever more acrobatic and risky operations, often taking advantage of savers’ deposits to create money and generate profits. This is, for example, the logic-logic of hedge funds, which speculate by borrowing money.

The mechanics of speculative finance also sets in motion a paradox worthy of note: savers, despite not wishing to take risks, entrust their savings to a bank which, au contraire, can use this wealth—without their knowledge, in fact—to embark on risky speculative operations. Among other things, it can be inferred from this that the asymmetries essential to the capitalist financial mode of valorization are also of a cognitive order: the financial institutions and the large speculation agencies have at their disposal a volume of information inaccessible to small and medium-sized investors, let alone ordinary savers.

It goes without saying that the constellation of the banking system, the financial order and the dynamics of speculation constitute—by their very essence and not by accident—an immense amplifier of social inequalities. And this is based on the very structure of financial logic, since money makes possible multiple opportunities to generate more money (Marxianly, D-D1-D2) and, therefore, whoever has more can get richer.

For this reason, the Occupy Wall Street protests, beginning in 2011, while presenting a peculiar aesthetic of impotence, had an irrefutable foundation: thanks to financial capitalism, the majority of the planet’s inhabitants have been literally expropriated of the fruits of their labor and their land by a borderless plutocratic elite minority. In technical terms, it is usually defined as “financial deepening”: a locution that indicates, on the one hand, the widespread capillary penetration of financial markets in all spheres of the world of life and, on the other, the strategy of mass impoverishment or, more precisely, the redistribution of income from the bottom up (conceived, therefore, as an essential moment of the class struggle redefined as the univocal massacre of the dominated by the dominant).

This philosophical-political thesis is corroborated by the data. It is enough to consider the fact that around 1980 (before the massive turbo-capitalist financialization), the richest nation in the world had a wealth equivalent to 88 times that of the poorest country. Well, with the arrival of the new Millennium, the disparity has risen to 270 times. It should be added that the world’s 1,000 richest individuals have a net worth slightly less than twice the total wealth of the 2.5 billion poorest people.

To bring up another relevant fact, the salaries of the top managers of large companies, in 1980, amounted on average to 40 times the average gross salary of the worker; with the new Millennium they have grown to represent between 350 to 400 times this reference. The Marxian thesis of the “centralization of capital,” enunciated in the first book of Das Kapital, seems to adhere to factual reality, especially if one considers that the dominant turbo-capitalist, liquid and post-bourgeois class currently numbers around ten million people on a planet populated by more than eight billion inhabitants.

On the other hand, it is generally known that the Western financial market is dominated by three American giants, Black Rock (which manages more than 10 trillion dollars), Vanguard (which manages about 7 trillion dollars) and State Street (which controls about 4 trillion dollars).

These globocratic giants, moreover, not only confirm the Marxist thesis of the centralization of capital but, at the same time, demonstrate how this also generates, without interruption, a consequent political centralization—the power of these financial institutions is such that they become a political force capable of placing themselves above the states and conditioning them, very often turning them into mere executors of their economic will. In fact, if the banking and financial giants revoke the confidence of the states that do not follow their economic prescriptions—usually oriented in a liberal-progressive, deregulatory and imperialist direction—then the price of their Public Debt securities will plummet. And, in this way, governments will be forced de facto to offer higher yields so that investors will decide to finance their Debt.

The fabula docet is that, thanks to the centralization of capital and the oligopolistic concentration of currency, the lords sans frontières of cosmopolitan finance exercise a practically autocratic power even over the United States and, a fortiori, over the economy of the most financially fragile countries.

It is in this same context that the way the Rating Agencies operate must be interpreted, as they reflect in their maximum expression the hypocrisy of the capitalist order and its intrinsically undemocratic essence. Rating Agencies, such as Moody’s, Fitch and S&P Global Ratings, evaluate the reliability of securities and represent, so to speak, the “barometers” of global finance. In other words, they judge whether companies and banks, public entities and states (all treated indiscriminately and with no possible escape), are in a position to pay their debts.

Leaving aside the fact that the evaluation criteria used by the Rating Agencies seem decidedly opaque and often discretionary, and that, moreover, they sometimes give rise to gross miscalculations in the attribution of their ratings (for example, they incomprehensibly assigned the famous “3 A’s” to companies such as Lehmann Brothers and Enron), their inescapable politicization must not be overlooked—i.e., the fact that, with their judgments, they are able to strongly mediatize even national states, threatening or punishing them if they dare to deviate from the neoliberal canon. The spread is the measure of a country’s credibility when it comes to paying its Debt; and so the Rating Agencies are in a position to attack states by downgrading their rating, as they do with any other company. Some have rightly coined the formula “Spread Dictatorship.” The very fact that these Rating Agencies are American makes them decidedly not very neutral with respect to the interests of US finance, not to mention, ultimately, the “incestuous” link with their clients. In short, rather than the generic finance-capitalism theorized by Luciano Gallino, we are faced with the Dictatorship of Cosmopolitan Usury as the culmination of capitalism itself.


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: La Roulette in the Casino, from Monte-Carlo, by Sem; color lithograph, printed ca. 1910.


Atomized No More: Plato’s Republic and Rediscovering Community

We are just roommates at this point, you and I and everyone around us in the Lonely West. Millions and millions of us live and move and have our being around each other, but that’s about it. We share little more than physical proximity. And even those grudging interactions are ebbing away as we DoorDash our food, Amazon our niceties, and livestream our holy Masses from the convenience of the couch.

The fundamental telos of Apocatastasis Institute is rediscovering community, and I’m thinking a lot about community these days and about social reform and I’ve written a lot about that. So here I am writing this and I’m doing it in an unusual location today. It’s not the typical room people find me in or the car they might see me typing away in. I’m in the skeleton of Big Al’s Toy Box, a hot rod engine factory late of Kent, Connecticut. Were you here you would see a poster for that business right behind me. Indeed I am sitting in Al’s old chair, Lord ‘ave mercy on him.

Yes, I’m thinking about the community that once was here and the business that once was here, and why those things fell apart, and how we use and overuse the word community. Like love and family and friendship, the word community has suffered all sorts of violence. We are increasingly coming to the realization that we’re all just roommates, that we don’t have anything in common. We don’t seem to have a country nor a culture anymore; we certainly don’t have an ethnos. Why that is is a discussion for another day. What is appropriate to ask is what is community and what holds a society together?

Plato was living and writing at a time like ours in some ways, and he’s writing at a time which in its own way is similar to ours. Plato was living at a time at a time increase where the Greek democracy – and it was a literal democracy in the sense of one man, one vote, at least for those men who owned property and could get to the town hall – became long in the tooth. You know, when your ruling class is killing Socrates it’s probably not a good sign of the competence of your leaders. Sure, don’t aldermen have a bad habit of exiling their most talented, and killing them when they can? I think of, yes, of Socrates in the time of Plato, and I think of Jesus run out of of Jerusalem and strung up on that cross, and I think of Mohammed run out of Mecca and Dante from Florence. A prophet is not known in his own land.

So here we have Plato’s home of Athens, and he’s looking around seeing incompetence in the leadership of this democracy. Soon enough Athens is going to be attacked and they’re going to have famines and coups and all sorts of things. Great Tribulation is coming and Plato knows it, but it’s still a ways off for your Joe Blow Greek.

We will revisit the exceptional aspects of Greek philosophy and Greek thinking down the line. Here, however, we can make note of something in that neighborhood, and that is the idea of “the individual” that’s going to be very necessary to understand the whole Greek way of looking at the world and how different that is from the rest of the world. We will revisit this importance anon. Just keep in mind that we’re seeing in Ancient Greece, an area of the world the size of New Jersey, a little pipsqueak piece of land, people who have a way of looking at life that’s going to influence the remainder of Western history, right until this very essay. To them belongs the idea of the individual, and that other aspect of Greek thinking, differentiation. We should also define “Socratic dialogue.” This is simply what we see in a lot of Plato’s writings and other philosophers of teaching with questions and teaching with conversation. In the case of The Republic using different characters to represent different problems.

When we begin The Republic, after now having lain out the situation in Athens, Plato settles upon the idea that to have a functioning republic, to have a functioning community, to use the modern lingo, you need “justice.” Thus begins a Socratic dialogue as to what justice means and as we see in other places such as The Phaedo and The Symposium. He uses the Socratic dialogue partially for comical reasons. Plato uses the other interlocutors of his books to kind of slap down their arguments. So, you know, if you were to put a Socratic dialogue in present times we would see prominent political figures or cultural figures or so-called celebrities often disagreeing with whomever Plato puts up as his hero, and we would see him slapping down their arguments. So, yes, there’s a comical aspect to this, or at least a humorous aspect to Plato.

Having established justice in his vision as being the mortar for a good polis, Plato then uses these other speakers to lay out his mind. Plato uses these people he disagrees with in the same way Thomas Aquinas will do well over 1500 years later. That is to put the opposing argument first, hopefully steelmanning it, and then shoot it down. So Plato has one of his speakers say what is justice, what is this mortar of society, and the first character will say that justice is paying your debts. Yes, one of the character says that and Plato says, “No, no, that can’t be true because of X Y and Z.” And the second one will say that helping your friends and harming your enemies is justice because of so-and-such, and Plato will say, “No, that can’t be justice because what if you’re mistaken and you think someone who is your enemy is your friend?” There is too much gray area here. Finally that last guy will say that justice is the stronger helping the weaker, and that is what gets us to what in fact is justice.

It’s important to understand the way Plato’s using “justice” is not like the three bits above. He’s using that word in the same sense we would use the word “virtue” or “morality,” so keep that in mind. For Plato virtue is the key to understanding his take on society and the problems of Athens and how to fix them. Potentially any human society with virtue will be functional. Remember, those morals are three, not the traditional four that we tend to have. Those four are prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance. For Plato he’s just going to have the three, and these are wisdom, courage, and temperance. I’d like to revisit that before we get into Plato’s conception of a functioning republic, his idea of needing classes of people that have these virtues.

Now, if justice is the key to understanding Plato’s look on an healthy society, then we need to understand Greek philosophy and what it is about the Greek worldview which makes it so influential in subsequent Western history. The key to understanding this significance is that making distinctions is Philosophy 101. This is what put Greek thinking into a league of its own. Making distinctions comes from the Greeks, and this is what makes them different. What makes a cup a cup; what makes a car a car; what makes a bird a bird. There are many versions of these things, but what do they all have in common that makes them them? If you read Plato, and certainly Aristotle, they really obsess about what makes a thing a thing. This is going to be very important when we get to the Allegory Of The Cave which is famous from this book.

The Allegory is probably the most famous nugget of Plato’s that comes from The Republic. It’s probably the one idea of his that if you were to go out on the street that you would hear associated with Plato more than anything else. We all came across it in high school. We certainly all teach it in high school, those of us who never left high school in certain ways. This idea of what makes a thing a thing, this is going to plug in very shortly.

Before I get ahead of myself let’s recap. Plato says in The Republic that justice is having these internal virtues, or characteristics of the soul. For our purposes they are three, not the traditional four. For our man these are wisdom, courage, and temperance. Wisdom, courage, and temperance they are, and these are traditionally called the “pagan virtues” because you don’t need the Christian concept of Revelation which give you faith, hope, and love. Obviously these will go on and later history, especially with Aristotle, but for right now this is what we have.

So for Plato making distinctions, as he does, he sees also in the individual that that’s what makes his definition of justice different than the other three. Justice, meaning virtue, must reside within the individual; then it is to be mirrored to those he interacts with, and there is your society. If you look at the actual text of The Republic, the first three lame definitions of justice, they all have to do with these social arrangements. They are all external social arrangements, that are strong people in the society helping the weak, or owing debts – not just monetary debts, but owing debts of various sorts, you know – to another person, and justice is paying your debt, and finally giving to your friends and enemies what they deserve.

Plato says the weaknesses of these three definitions are because they don’t start with the individual. We also understand this as being a key to Greek philosophy, the individual. This will, of course, go on to be quite influential on Christian statecraft and philosophy later on. This idea is powerful, that justice flows from the internal life of man, flows out into the neighborhood he inhabits, and lifts the aggregate society. In a few weeks we’re going to have a conference at Apocatastasis Institute on the Memorial of St. Joseph The Worker, all day we will be hearing from teachers going on about society and economics and so forth, and for all their worldviews what they’ll be saying is fundamentally Platonic.

There is a mirroring here. There is a mirroring in Plato of the internal world to the external. The Ancient, like the Medieval mind, in that it is symphonic. Platonic thinking is symphonic. Everything works in harmony. This is very different from the modern mind where everything is isolated. There is this complete isolation of society. Fast-forward Modernity until today, and we see that all of life has been broken into these wretched rectangles, these cell phones. All of Western history has led to some dude with his face in the phone, but that’s a very modern type of isolation. For Plato, as for the Medieval, as much as the individual plays a prominent role, the individual never existed apart from society. It is only in Modernity, only since the Enlightenment, that you have this idea of the atomized autonomous individual, the individual that exists in this abstract world where he has no bonds to family, no bonds to anything unless he wishes to enter into a contract. (Whence you have your Social Contract Theory and your John Locke.)

What we need to know is that Plato understands the individual, and that justice (i.e. virtue) must come from the individual, and this is the source of a healthy polis. However, the individual is part of an organism. There is a reflection here. There’s a reflection here, and this is a great setup to the final point of these introductory considerations of The Republic.

We’re looking now at the Allegory Of The Cave, and the reflection I have is that the justice of the individual is seen first of all in the physical body of the individual. As we’re on the cusp of the Allegory, Plato sees everything almost like in a science experiment. Actually, here let’s make it easier. He sees it like a bottle of salad dressing. You have things separate out. The hard things go to the bottom, the light to the top. Whatever, the chopped up crud goes to the bottom, and the balsamic goes in the middle, and then your oil goes to the top; you have to shake it around to get your dressing.

So for reality, says Plato. At the highest part of existence is the Logos. This will become extremely important in Christian philosophy. Plato sees this as giving rise to the World Of Forms, the world of perfection from which everything is a reflection. Everything else kind of trickles down like a bottle of salad dressing to the heaviest most base, most materialistic aspects. Plato sees this in the body of the individual. The highest faculty of man is his reason, so that is highest physically in his body (i.e., his head). His source of reason is the closest, even if only by a few feet, to the skyly World Of Forms. You have for Plato your wisdom in your noggin’ – wisdom which is not just simply data, that’s another Modern distortion, but I’ll behave myself. Then after that you have courage; you have the heart and you have the lungs and the shoulders. Your courage is in your chest. Then you have the digestive and sexual organs, and they are the most base. They’re necessary, but they are those functions which are closest to the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Yes, the human being is like this little salad dressing bottle with the highest elements to the lowest.

Well, Plato then says obviously that’s all of reality. He says, you see, that this hierarchy of justice exists in bodies of men as well. I don’t mean individual physical bodies of men here, I mean groups of individuals. Right, you have the individual person with this hierarchy, Plato says, but you also see the same thing in society, the same division that you see certain people are broken up by these three virtues of wisdom, courage, and temperance. You’re going to see certain types or classes of people that will emulate these same things.

Those who emulate wisdom are, for Plato, a very few number of rulers on this earth who have ever really tried to embrace that challenge. Marcus Aurelius might be one of the more famous ones; maybe St Louis IX could be another example; King David another. But in general few are those rulers who care about wisdom. Then you have the soldiers, those who emulate courage. The most base are the farmers and artisans. They are the most base, not because they’re bad but because there are the most of them, and because their concerns are the most animalistic. These ones have temperance.

These three classes of virtue must live in harmony if the republic is to be functioning properly. If any of you are like me you have different body parts that get inflamed from time to time. Maybe it’s your wrist or your knee that’s off, like I had very recently. When one part of the body isn’t a functioning or is demanding more attention than the rest it’s amazing how it saps your attention. I seem to be prone to this sort of inflammation. Over the winter I had this shoulder thing, and of all the things which go heywire on may, it was by far though most painful of these periodic annoyances that I have and, boy, like I say, when one part of the the body – and getting back to Plato, the body politic – is out of whack, it really does get your attention. It throws off the whole thing. Justice is having the three virtues in harmony, and when this exists in society, when each class carries out its own function, then harmony results. Before we finally get to the Allegory Of The Cave we will remember that one of the things which annoyed Plato in his day was that amateurs as he calls them, or as they’re translated into English, were getting involved with statecraft.

Plato very much had an almost 19th Century British idea of everyone – here’s an old fashioned phrase – minding their station. People should not get out of their lane, to use a later simile. Plato says the Philosopher-Kings need to govern. They are governors; they will not make good farmers. Farmers will not make good soldiers. The same goes with the other combinations. Keep to your lane, Plato says. Don’t have pretensions. This is a major area in these days of Liberalism where the present system diverges from Plato’s Republic. We have this idea that the individual can be anything in society, a governor, a soldier, an artisan.

The final thing I want to talk about is the Allegory Of The Cave. This is the most famous part of The Republic. Think about the parables of Jesus, these are teaching stories. Well there’s an allegory in our text called the Allegory Of The Sun, where the sun symbolizes goodness. The sun is Logos, the sun is Ultimate Reality. Very briefly the whole idea of the World Of Forms is where justice comes from, and where you get this this hierarchy of peoples as the salad dressing described above, of reality where things are separated by their their nobility and virtue. Plato says that this Bic is a pen and this dip pen is also a pen, and so is this gel pen; their designs are different, and yet we recognize them all as pens. There are a thousand different pens yet there is something they all have in common. What fascinated Plato is what makes these three things pens. I’m sitting on a swivel chair as I write this, and there’s a hammock over there, and there’s a beanbag in the corner, and upstairs there is a bar stool. In the World Of Forms, Plato says, there must be an ultimate pen of which all other pens are more or less poor reflections; there must be an ultimate chair from which all other seats are shadows.

So that’s the “sun” in the Allegory Of The Sun, it’s the Logos in the World Of Forms; it’s the ultimate woman, the ultimate man, the ultimate computer, the ultimate love, the ultimate hate, and so on. Everything else is just a reflection of this Logos, like waves rippling away from a thrown stone.

In the Allegory Of The Cave Plato tells us this very weird story where he says there is this underground cave. In it we see men who have been chained from birth to this wall. From their earliest years, from the breast and from the knee, they have been chained looking at a wall, looking at shadows of birds and pots and trees. The light comes from behind them and strange priests project the shadows which these poor bastards have to look at. They believe the shadows are reality; it’s all they know. They’ve never actually seen real birds and pots and trees. They see the shadow of the tree and they believe that is the thing itself. And in this story Plato says that one happy day someone comes into the cave and kills off those dudes in the robes making shadows, and he frees these slaves who have been brought up from the breast to see shadows as reality. He says, you know, “Come, follow me guys!” like in The Goonies or something, “Come, follow me!” He leads them up over the dead bodies of these guys with the sticks, and up and over and out of the cave they go. Finally the freed slaves see real birdies flying through the real sky, and real trees, actual trees with leaves and bark and such. But Plato says that people who have been so formed to see shadows as reality will kill their liberator. They will kill him up there and they will run back into the cave and they will find new people to hold up their placards and to keep the illusion going. It is much more comfortable back in the cave; it bewildered them to see the real things they only knew as shadows. They were being lied to. To see the real thing scared them, and so they ran back into their cave, back into their shadows.

At this point Plato invites us to ask that question in The Republic which is most difficult of all. Is justice and virtue and this way of seeing society available to everyone, or are there some people – and this is a hard question to ask, maybe the Ancients were more honest than we, or maybe more realistic than we; perhaps we are too idealistic – are there people who can’t handle reality? Are there people who need to be looking at the cave wall?

Plato is going to say absolutely yes, most people cannot handle virtue; most people cannot handle democracy. The vast majority of people are going to be slaves chained to the wall happily looking at the shadows. They’re not competent enough to grasp systems of government and worldview. This is a difficult question.

By the way, Plato’s not blowing the whistle telling us about this system of control. I hear this often enough from people, they mention that Plato’s alerting us, his readers, on the occult workings of the bad guys. No such thing! Plato says, “Get real, most people are fit to be slaves; they do not have the virtues necessary for the republic.” And guess what, besides idealistic Apocatastasis Institute, where are people deeply reading The Republic today? Places like Yale and Georgetown and Fordham and Chicago University, all the schools that produce the management class, all those places that spit out our philosopher-kings. Basically they agree with Plato. We can ask whether we agree with Plato. Is he being realistic or is he being cruel?

The final point of this Allegory Of The Cave, of course, is education. Now begins in The Republic a major meditation on education. This is kind of where my thoughts are going after having encountered this text.

Our author continues his idea of stratification, now breaking up the instruction of a hypothetical philosopher-king sort. He says from childhood until puberty there should be little, if any, formal instruction; from about 17 years old to 20 the youth should solely be occupied with military training with there being no time for study. This probably hits us moderns in the mouth more than anything as that’s the age in this culture when one is supposed to get their college education. Moving on, the 20s of a budding philosopher-king will be taken up with mathematics, the early 30s with dialogue and morality, from 35 to 50 years of age the individual will be engaged in public service, finally arriving at Athen’s Supreme Council after 50 years of age. How different this is from us, where one pretty much stops formal learning once they leave college, usually not returning to such exercises until retirement age.

Note that The Republic starts a tradition in Western literature of utopian thinking. When you read of Thomas Aquinas’ thoughts on the state, or books like Thomas More’s Utopia, or Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, know that this discourse on the ideal state starts with The Republic. I was thinking today of any other culture which had something similar to a book like Plato’s Republic. The closest I could come would be the Mosaic Code in Deuteronomy and Leviticus in the holy Bible. But look at Deuteronomy in Leviticus, which is Moses laying out how the Old Testament Church, Israel, should function and be governed. It’s much more primitive than how Plato is thinking.

As a good Greek he is working in total abstraction. You could theoretically, as we can see now with the Neocons, apply the principles of The Republic in Iraq and Afghanistan and Ukraine right now because theoretically these ideas ought to work anywhere. Of course this is leaving out many cultural factors which explain the unbroken losing streak of Neoconservativism. The point is the people who start those wars are hopped up on The Republic, and they’re hopped up on abstraction, and that explains a lot of things we see in the news.

So what does The Republic teach us about rediscovering community? It offers us an alternative way to structure society. We were given a passing substitute for Christian society in the Enlightenment. Okay, the individual was no longer part of the drama of salvation inaugurated and lived perfectly in Christ and entered into via the holy Sacraments and life of grace. That was switched out with the pageant of a nation; liturgical participation was swapped for dutiful citizenship. It’s a little lame, but it obviously scratched an itch for about 500 years.

That is all gone now. The archons have sold out their nations in the last fifty years. In all my historical knowledge, I cannot recall when the ruling classes of an entire swath of the world have decided on cultural suicide en masse. In place of the citizen, which at least assumed reciprocal obligations as soon as rights, the “consumer” has been posited. And what a success it has been! In a mere forty odd years deracinated Western man has tripped over himself tearing his family apart, forgetting his religion, becoming the most selfish and self-absorbed blob in human history. In putting egotistical, commercial wants as the fundamental social relationship, Western man has forgotten his ethnos, his pride, his health, his God. There are six locations in holy Connecticut where I may buy sex change chemicals for my kid when I want to get back at my ex-wife in a Bar Association divorce court; two places will go all the way and do the chop-chop. This cannot go on.

The archons will hang themselves. If people aren’t dumb enough to take the bait of carefully fostered civil strife, this order will not be around for much longer. When these bastards hang themselves and destroy their systems of oppression, there will be much work to do. On their ruins we will build the republic, and we’ll have a better go of it if we internalize Plato’s Republic of virtue, not selfish consumerism, as we do.


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: Plato’s Cave, engraving by Jan Saenredam, after Cornelis van Haarlem; printed 1604.


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.


Clothes Make the Man, or: Jolly! Whilst One Still Can

“And how spruce you are, too!” said Mr. Pinch, surveying him with great pleasure. “Really, I didn’t think you were half such a tight-made fellow, Mark!”

“Thankee, Mr. Pinch. Pretty well for that, I believe. It’s not my fault, you know. With regard to being spruce, sir, that’s where it is, you see.” And here he looked particularly gloomy.

“Where what is?” Mr. Pinch demanded.

“Where the aggravation of it is. Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he’s well dressed. There an’t much credit in that. If I was very ragged and very jolly, then I should begin to feel I had gained a point, Mr Pinch.”

“So you were singing just now, to bear up, as it were, against being well dressed, eh, Mark?” said Pinch.

Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewitt.

Jolly! As Dicken’s Mark Tapley was ever wont to say in the face of adversity. And to suggest that France is now faced with adversity, well, the word is weak, very weak.

In the world at large, as opposed to the bell-jar purportedly shielding French officialdom from the people the sartorial judgment or lack thereof, exhibited by the barnaclescurrently clinging to power’s rock has been the subject of much hilarity – or might one say, amused contempt.

As a foreigner though, far be it from Papa Mendelssohn to join the chorus, or even to suggest that so consistent a pattern might reveal something of the wearers’ inner self. Rather leave it to the reader to wonder at the extent at which the “sow is being let out.” (OOPS! ! Sorry! Wrong Nord Stream country!) in what was formerly called the French Republic.

Here, a Secretary of State (Young Global Leader) appearing in public in what would appear to be a discoloured, heavily-used nylon négligé; there, the President of the French Parliament wearing a bullet-proof vest and crumpled ill-fitting clothing, posing in October 2023 alongside the Israeli “Defence” Forces, during a visit of questionable constitutionality; another Minister of middle age arriving for official meetings in a skimpy mini-dress and stiletto heels (Young Global Leader); the former Elysée spokesman (Ministerial rank) in what was formerly referred to as “come hither” clothing; and lest we forget, the eminently forgettable sixty-year-old Prime Minister laced up in black boots and skirts well above the knee… Now, Papa Mendelssohn has made it a point of honour to refrain from gossip, failing which a remark or two on the above individuals’ « private » life might not be amiss…

As for what passes for a gentleman in this country, well here we have suit-jackets so narrowly cut as to fail to close, revealing ill-cut, tissue-like shirts gaping over a belly; and below, skimpy trousers cut with a short, tight and narrow rise. One might as well wear diapers. As for grace in walk and gesture … . Of special note is the aristo-cat parading as Prime Minister, a chubby little chappie going by the name of Gabriel Nissim Attal de Couriss (Young Global Leader ; BTW, in the WEF, the proportion of European aristo-cats to plebes is off the charts). Whose number Wolfgang von Goethe had called a couple of centuries ago:

FAUST I, Scène de la Taverne d’Auerbach

Mephistopheles (sings)

Es war einmal ein König
Der hatt’ einen großen Floh
Den liebt’ er gar nicht wenig
Als wie seinen eig’nen Sohn.
Da rief er seinen Scheider,
Der Schneider kam heran;
“Da, miß dem Junker Kleider
Und miß ihm Hosen an!”

Brander.

Vergeßt nur nicht dem Schneider einzuschärfen,
Daß er mir auf’s genauste mißt,
Und daß, so lieb sein Kopf ihm ist,
Die Hosen keine Falten werfen!

Mephistopheles (sings)

In Sammet und in Seide
War er nun angetan,
Hatte Bänder auf dem Kleide,
Hatt’ auch ein Kreuz daran,
Und war sogleich Minister,
Und hatt einen großen Stern.
Da wurden seine Geschwister
Bei Hof auch große Herrn.

Und Herrn and Frau’n am Hofe,
Die waren sehr geplagt,
Die Königin und die Zofe
Gestochen und genagt,
Und durften sie nicht knicken,
Und weg sie jucken nicht,
Wir knicken und ersticken
Doch gleich, wenn einer sticht.

English translation by Bayard Taylor (1825-1878)

MEPHISTOPHELES (sings)

There was a king once reigning,
Who had a big black flea,
And loved him past explaining,
As his own son were he.
He called his man of stitches;
The tailor came straightway:
Here, measure the lad for breeches.
And measure his coat, I say!

BRANDER

But mind, allow the tailor no caprices:
Enjoin upon him, as his head is dear,
To most exactly measure, sew and shear,
So that the breeches have no creases!

MEPHISTOPHELES (sings)

In silk and velvet gleaming
He now was wholly drest–
Had a coat with ribbons streaming,
A cross upon his breast.
He had the first of stations,
A minister’s star and name;
And also all his relations
Great lords at court became.

And the lords and ladies of honor
Were plagued, awake and in bed;
The queen she got them upon her,
The maids were bitten and bled.
And they did not dare to brush them,
Or scratch them, day or night:
We crack them and we crush them,
At once, whene’er they bite.

And to end on Jolly!

Es war einmal ein König (FAUST, Goethe/Beethoven)

Three versions:

Mikhail Golovushkin, bass

Hermann Prey, baritone

(piano accompaniment)

Peter Schreier, tenor

(piano accompaniment)


Mendelssohn Moses writes from France. 


Featured: Mephistopheles, by Paul Mathey; painted in 1888.


Political Parties After 122 Years

In the tranquility of the times I live in, I found in the library an old book by the Belarusian author Moisey Ostrogorsky (1854-1921), Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties (1902), volume 1 and volume 2.

The first thing that caught my attention was the topicality of his proposals and the similarity of his discourse and that of our present, 122 years later.

From the little that is known about his life, we know that he studied law in St. Petersburg; he worked in the Tsar’s Ministry of Justice; he then traveled to improve his knowledge in Paris, England and the United States, where the book was published for the first time; he was elected to the first Duma after the 1905 Revolution and left public life when it was dissolved. Nothing is known about the political upheavals of later Russia. He died in St. Petersburg, which was by then called Leningrad.

For his originality we can compare him with the great scholars of the political parties of the 20th century, like Robert Michels, Gonzalo Fernandez de la Mora, Max Weber, Giuseppe Maranini, Maurice Duverger, Giovanni Sartori, Gianfranco Miglio or Dalmacio Negro Pavón. But Ostrogorsky’s book does not have the fame nor the expensive editions of some of these.

Its main idea is the so-called democratic paradox, according to which democracy is absent in one of its main subjects—political parties. This thesis has been reproduced in our days by many authors without mentioning Ostrogorsky’s book.

Right at the beginning of the study Ostrogorsky states: “A highly developed electoral system is nothing but a purely formal homage to democracy” (p. 26). This formal representation of political parties ends up producing a clique, caste or political oligarchy, profoundly antidemocratic.

Their fruit is the counter-production of what they claim to produce. In a word, those in charge of bringing democracy to fruition are profoundly antidemocratic: “To the types of vileness that the human race has produced, from Cain to Tartuffe, the century of democracy has added a new type—the political” (p. 47).

In political parties, it is not democratic reason that prevails, but the use of feelings to win followers. The political party is the perfect school under the mandate of servility and mediocrity.

What is interesting to note is that Ostrogorsky is not against political parties but against their distortion, denaturalization and falsification in modern democracy.

He proposes that political parties should cease to be rigid and bureaucratic structures that last forever. He proposes that political parties need not be permanent over time, since they are not an end in themselves but a means, like others, in the construction of a democratic society.

It should be noted that Ostrogorsky does not react to the existence of political parties as conservative thought usually does, invalidating them as oligarchic, but seeks their recovery through their temporary limitation.

They have to be open to the possibility of temporary parties around particular demands, which would create an ideological diversity that we do not have today.

As we can see, these are contemporary proposals made 122 years ago.


Alberto Buela is an Argentinian philosopher and professor at National Technological University and the University of Barcelona. He is the author of many books and articles. His website is here.


Featured: Keep Off the Grass, illustration published in Puck (October 1907).


The Melting Horn of Africa

The decomposition of the international community from its consolidated patterns is becoming a constant element of the current landscape and this makes it very difficult for actors and powers to analyze and manage situations, being them old, new and/or renewed presences, and builds instrumental alliances depending on the areas where interests and crises are concentrated.

An example of this situation where allies are competitors and competitors can be potential partners is the Horn of Africa, region which currently experiencing high levels of political violence and instability, from the conflicts in Sudan and Ethiopia to Islamist militant activity in Kenya, the al-Shabab insurgency in Somalia to end up with the brutal, and seems endless till now, civil war in Sudan.

This region is proving to be one of the most delicate hubs on the international scene and its dynamics transcend purely geographical terms, but extend their effects to surrounding areas, such as southern and eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Ocean up to the Mediterranean.

At the center of these dynamics there is a group of states and quasi-state realities, where there are ambitions, attempts to recompose internal cohesion and international image, jarring socio-economic situations, extreme meteorological and environmental phenomena, intrusions of new powers, international and regional organizations always undecided and velleitarian. All this creates a potential mix of instability, but, paradoxically, also of opportunities.

The Horn of Africa, which includes four states (at least those officially recognized), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, is heavily marked by the legacy (at least in three out of four, excluding Djibouti, French, and British for Somaliland) of Italian colonization (colonialism of a poor nation, which has its own characteristics), a failed decolonization, the Cold War, the chaotic post-Cold War and the more chaotic new Cold War of the present days.

The post-World War II systematization scheme held until the 1970s, with the end of the Ethiopian empire, replaced by a pro-Soviet government, while the USSR already had a foot in Somalia since the coup d’état of the dictator Siad Barre in 1970.

In this context, Somalia, precisely because of its geographical location, multiple weaknesses, represents a central hub of regional, pan-regional and beyond, balances and fractures. What are these weaknesses? An institutional reality of a nominal federal structure, a façade to hide a clannish reality, in the process of further disintegration starting from Somaliland, a de facto independent state since 1991 and now Puntland, which looks towards the end of the ‘special autonomy’ of that territory, the ancient Migurtinia (it should be recalled that from this region started the uprising of ‘90 which overthrow the regime of general Siad Barre, in power since 1969).

The recent decision by the Federal Government of Somalia to suspend the provisional constitution, a foundation for unity and state-building, has raised concerns. This decision, made on 4 April of this year, is perceived as detrimental to the original concept of establishing a federal state (in 2012) as only possible wat to push Somalia out of the quagmire where the country is since 1991, the removal of Siad Barre, the explosion of the civil war between ‘warlords’ and the explosion of the armed Islamism. Further, Puntland has affirmed its commitment to engaging with neighboring countries, the international community, and Somalia’s partners.

The other major problem is that of security represented by the threat of Al Shabab and the inability of Mogadishu, precisely due to its mentioned clan reality, to form credible national military institutions, despite a prolonged commitment and, so far not up to various military training missions (UN, USA, EU, UK, UAE, Türkiye) and an African Union (AU) military mission, deployed since 2007 (fully financed by the EU), which suffered heavy losses and only managed to contain the pressure of the Al Shabab. This despite the presence of thousands of foreign military operators, contractors and US regular elements, mostly with members of the special forces, drones (for the US alone we are talking about 2,000 units between instructors, personnel of special forces and drones’ operators).

Now Somalia’s security situation faces a greater challenge, the announced withdrawal of the AU ‘green berets’, which began in 2023 and continued despite several obstacles posed by Mogadishu and planned to be completed in 2024. The Somali government is seriously worried for a security vacuum that could be truly fatal for the African nation.

The shape, size and mandate of a new force to secure Somalia — after the exit of the current African Union peacekeeping mission at the end of this year — remain unknown as it emerges that the Horn of Africa nation is yet to submit its plan before the UNSC (UN Security Council) for consideration and final endorsement.

In a communique issued at the beginning of April, AU said Somalia’s plan for a new force to replace ATMIS (African [Union] Transition Mission is Somalia, which replaced AMISOM, African [Union] Mission in Somalia, the initial deployment of AU-backed troops since 2007, but with limited successes in the stabilization of the country against Islamist terrorists of Al Shabab) will be submitted next month after the continental body undertakes a comprehensive study, and a initial political approval, of the threats and needs on the ground before seeking endorsement of the UNSC.

Mogadishu missed its initial timeline of end of March when it was expected to submit its proposal, due to consultations with the AU PSC (Peace and Security Council) on 26 March and 3 April to plan for the new force that will start operations on 1 January 2025, once ATMIS withdrawal will be completed. Mogadishu indicated only that the ideal force level would be around 10.000 troops.

The AU gave its support to Mogadishu call for a full assessment of the threats and current security needs, in a briefing by Somalia on its proposal for a post-ATMIS security arrangement, pursuant to the UNSC Resolution 2710 (2023).

The new force would be deployed and assume security responsibilities to support Somali security forces on 1 January 2025, a scenario that requires boots on the ground before end of this year to ensure seamless exit of ATMIS troops and immediate replacement.

The AU is keen to preserve the gains that its mission has registered in Somalia for 17 years battling the Al Shabab extremists and (allegedly) liberating more than 80% of Somali territory from the control of the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group, the already mentioned Al Shabab.

But as the mission gradually departs the Horn of Africa nation, with periodic drawdown of troops — with another 4.000 troops to leave at the end of June — experts say Somalia remains vulnerable as the country’s efforts for force generation was not synchronized with ATMIS numbers reduction.

Accordingly, the AU underlines the importance of preserving the gains registered since 2007. International partners that have supported the AU mission and the rebuilding of Somalia’s army to take full responsibility of its security, want a “lean mission focusing on supporting the Somali security forces” to complete the country’s transition without creating a new strain on donor budgets, under a serious fatigue.

But the AU also reiterates its deep concern over the ATMIS funding gap — even as the force’s tenure ends in under eight months — stressing the need for adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for the mission, the burden of which, international partners have borne since 2007.

The EU, for instance, which funds the mission (€2.7 billion for AMISOM/ATMIS till now), face competing funding priorities elsewhere, while the AU still looks the same source for “adequate, predictable and sustainable financing to the post-ATMIS force.

In the same period, were recorded an increased number of attacks of Al Shabab attacks against security forces and ATMIS bases, as well as security force operations against the militants.

Last month, particularly in Galmudug and Hirshabelle states, the Somali troops suffered significant setbacks, which led Al Shabab to regain control of several areas after security forces withdrew from several bases, and showing how fragile were the gains of AMISOM/ATMIS and the solidity of regular somali troops, where internal tensions over logistics failures, corruption, and power struggles were reported.

Despite these shortcomings and the low level of political empathy with the Somalian leadership, the international community cannot ignore the dire stability needs of Mogadishu and want to avert any vacuum between ATMIS and the follow force (in whatever format). In the last week of April EU had approved €116 million ($117 million) for stabilisation efforts in Somalia via its Political and Security Committee. The EU added that it would add $75 million to the resources already mobilised for ATMIS in previous years, covering July 2021 to December 2023, specifying that previous support to the peacekeepers under the EPF (European Peace Facility, an off-budget EU financing tool set up in March 2021, which aims towards the delivery of military aid to partner countries and funds the deployment of EU military missions abroad under the Common Foreign and Security Policy, ECFSP) amounted to €270 million ($271 million). The agreed funding for Somali National Army amounts to €42 million ($43 million) while, according to the EU, “Previous support to the SNA under the EPF amounts to €50 million ($51 million).” This came as the UK announced a contribution of $2.8 million in support of Somali security forces via the UNSOS (UN Support Office in Somalia).

Britain already provided $29.17 million of voluntary contributions in support of UNSOS since 2022 and provides financial support to the ATMIS, which in the while has fulfilled the first two phases of its drawdown of 5,000 troops, handing over 13 FOB (Forward Operating Bases) to Somalia security forces since the beginning of 2023. The next drawdown of peacekeepers is expected to be 4,000 before end of June 2024.

But for Mogadishu, security is also undermined by unresolved internal issues and, as mentioned, external intrusions. And the recent events in Somaliland are a perfect example of this.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, who survived the Tigray insurrection, and with revolts that risk taking on similar proportions in the Amhara region (the heart of the Ethiopian ethnic group and nation), has done research since his inauguration in 2018 of his country’s access to the sea an existential question. Last October 13th he described the situation in Ethiopia as a geographical prison from which it need be freed.

Landlocked since 1991 following Eritrean independence, Ethiopia is in vital need of a maritime opening, which involves either returning the port of Assab, at Asmara’s expense, or having access to it as a free port free from Eritrean customs. But given the difficult relations with Eritrea, Addis Ababa is looking elsewhere, such as facilities in the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland.

Addis Ababa announced an agreement with Hargeisa on 1 January, but without providing many details. It is useful to remember that in 1950 Eritrea, from 1941 under British military government, was federated to Ethiopia, through a vote of the UN General Assembly, as compensation for the Italian invasion and reward for the decisive pro-Western position of the late emperor Haile Selassie; Ethiopia was committed to keeping Eritrea a federated entity; in 1962, with a unilateral act, Addis Ababa formally annexed Eritrea, without any international protest.

The situation deteriorated when the pro-Soviet communist regime led by Menghistu Haile Mariam came to power in 1974 with a coup that deposed the emperor. The head of the Derg (the military junta) initiates a ferocious repression against the Eritrean independence movement, but also against the Somalis of the Ogaden, the populations of the Oromo and Tigray. The repression is so ruthless that the various resistance movements band together and lead to the fall of that bloody regime, despite the help of Soviet ‘advisers’ and Cuban troops.

In 1991, Ethiopia became a federal state and Eritrea became fully independent, but the bilateral relations, after a promising start, quickly became difficult and led to open war between 1998 and 2000. As evidence of the fluctuating relations between Addis Ababa and Asmara, on the occasion of the recent revolt in the state of Tigray, the intervention of the Eritrean forces saved Ethiopia from military collapse in the face of the Tigrayan offensive.

After this interval, bilateral relations returned to the bad and Aby Ahmed Ali realized that an outlet to the sea, moreover into a closed basin like the Red Sea and, as can be seen in this phase due to the strike of Yemenite Houtis militias against international maritime trade, was a weak option. Aby Ahmed turned his gaze and action elsewhere and the choice of Somaliland seemed obligatory and better than the port of Assab; firstly reduce the contacts with a ‘pariah’ state as Eritrea; secondly, it would give Ethiopia direct access to the Indian Ocean and international maritime trade routes.

Especially now that Ethiopia participation in the Russian-Chinese influenced BRICS group of states became effective on 1 January as well.

But this agreement impacts on a difficult geopolitical situation. Also, in this case it is useful to take a quick look at the past to better understand the present and ask questions about the future.

Somaliland is the former British Somalia and after the end of the trusteeship of Rome over the former Italian Somalia assigned by the United Nations (between 1950-1960 and started when Italy was not even part of the organization, joined only in 1955), it was united with Mogadishu, but always remaining a peripheral and little-considered reality. This situation promoted and preserved the existence of pro-independence groups.

When the regime of Mohammed Siad Barre, in power since 1969, collapsed in 1991, Somaliland took the opportunity and proclaimed itself independent and sought international recognition and attempted to assert the fact that, although for a very short period (less than one week), the former British colony was in fact independent before being united with Somalia.

So far, this project has had very little success despite Somaliland’s enviable strategic position. In fact, only Taiwan has established diplomatic contacts with Hargheisa; the very strong ties with the UAE, which has port and military installations in Somaliland to support its operations in Yemen, have not led to the expected diplomatic recognition. It must be said that Somaliland has nevertheless made good use of its independence, ensuring political stability, economic and social development, democratic openness, and respect for electoral and democratic rules and, above all, the absence of Al Shabab terrorists, who instead infest Somalia.

Somaliland has seized a window of opportunity by focusing on Ethiopia’s strategic interest in exchange for what it has stubbornly sought for more than thirty years: to unblock, even formally, its isolation.

But the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland did not arise out of nowhere; already in 2018, Hargeisa, Addis Ababa and Dubai had signed an agreement for the development of the port of Berbera, the largest port of the small state (but this agreement was preceded by a bilateral one between the UAE and Somaliland, signed in 2017, which allowed the ‘little Sparta’ of the Arabic peninsula to open a military base on African soil).

In exchange for a coastal window in the port area of Berbera, on the coast of the Gulf of Aden and at the mouth of the Red Sea, Ethiopia would have committed to recognizing the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland. With the signing of a memorandum of understanding on 1 January 2024, Somaliland grants Ethiopia 20 km of its coastline for a period of 50 years (renewable).

The second most populous country on the African continent with 120 million inhabitants, Ethiopia has 90% of its foreign trade passing through the port of Djibouti with an annual cost of around 1.5 billion dollars in custom duties.

The need of a free harbour, cheaper than the cost of Eritrean customs have a strategic relevance for the Ethiopian economy and its stability. Aby Ahmed needs a sustained economic growth other than the skyline of Addis Ababa; the dissemination of the socioeconomic development is a way to pay and buy the social and tribal calm in order to compensate his program to dismantling the federal nature of Ethiopia and cutting the nails at the states resistances.

The details of the agreement, presented on 1 January in the Ethiopian capital by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, will have to be revealed later and it is still unclear precisely which part of the coast should come under Ethiopian control, but the cities of Zeilah and Zughaya, not far from Djibouti, have been mentioned by several sources. Addis Ababa plans to build a commercial port, a naval base, an industrial development zone and a road corridor.

This decision by Ethiopia leads to the effective revival of the national naval forces. In fact, the Ethiopian Navy, was reactivated in 2019, is making preparations to establish a naval facility in Somaliland. The Ethiopian navy, one of the most skilled naval forces on the continent, was disbanded in the early 1990s when Ethiopia lost its coastline to the separation of Eritrea. The restoration of the naval force was one of the first initiatives undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali when he assumed office in early 2018. Over the past five years, with the assistance of friendly nations (which were not disclosed), the Naval Force was formally re-established, with efforts concentrated on the organization of the structure and the training of officers and staff, and the first activities took place, such as the dispatch of relief teams for the Somali populations affected by catastrophic floods.

The Ethiopian Naval Force is currently training its personnel overseas and plans are underway to establish a naval training facility, academy and navy headquarters. For his part, Hargeisa is expected to acquire shares in two thriving Ethiopian companies, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s most profitable airline, and telecommunications giant Ethio Telecom. But Somaliland hopes above all that the agreement with Ethiopia will open the way to other diplomatic relations, to be officially recognized as a sovereign state and to emerge from the galaxy of states ignored by the international community.

For its part, the Mogadishu government has denounced a flagrant violation of its sovereignty over a separatist territory not recognized by the international community and announced that Somalia will defend its territory by all means. He also recalled his ambassador to Ethiopia in response to what he considers a unilateral act that endangers regional stability; then expelled the Ethiopian ambassador and ordered to close the Ethiopian consulates in Somaliland and Puntland, which both openly ignored.

The Puntland State makes it clear that it will continue its engagements with neighboring countries, the International Community, and Somalia’s partners adding that the decision to close the Ethiopian Consulate in Garowe does not apply to Puntland. Further, Somaliland consider that the diplomatic representation of Ethiopia is now at the ambassadorial level, after the agreement of 1 January and also threatens the use of force and in the meantime Mogadishu appealed to the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional body that brings together Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda) which however took a Pilate-like position, awaiting further developments.

Meanwhile, Mogadishu is widening its diplomatic offensive (some analyst says that Somalia has only those) as much as it can, also appealing to the EAC (East African Community, recently joined) and the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) and similar initiatives are planned at the African Union, United Nations, International Court of Justice, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Arab League.

Mogadishu has never accepted the independence of Somaliland, however Somalia’s hopes of bringing Somaliland (and the ‘autonomous’ Puntland) back under its control, even if in a federal form, are very limited, due to its political weakness, institutional, economic and military.

In this perspective, the approach of the Somalian president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, recall a lot the ones of the Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, who tried to empty the federal system of his country and replacing it with a more centralized system. The first answer to this strategy was the violent uprising of Tigrai, which risked to topple him, and the groving turmoil which across Oromo and Amhara states, which openly refuse the disbandment of their own state forces.

Under general point of view, when there are ongoing strong separatist trends, a federal system, instead of control those and bring it back in a harmonious and constructive balance, risk to exacerbate it and bring to a serious fragmentation and instability. In both Ethiopia and Somalia, the federal system clearly shows a poor approach which exasperated the already existing tensions. The problem is that, between the two, Somalia appears more fragile and with more limited options.

A military action by Mogadishu towards Somaliland, as well as being unlikely, would risk involving Ethiopia, which already has troops in Somalia in ATMIS (thousands of Ethiopian soldiers with the ‘green helmet’ garrisoning Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions and some areas of the Hiiraan and Galgaduud regions, even these areas are largely under the security responsibility of the Djibouti Armed Forces), but there are other thousands Ethiopian troops out of the AU framework and operate under the aegis of a previous bilateral agreement between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu, always focused to fight the Al Shabab.

One option in the hands of Mogadishu would be to ignite the rebellious forces of the Somali-speaking populations of the Ogaden, as well as accentuate the intolerance of the Dhulbahante clan, located between Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland and Ethiopia; but a harsh reaction from Addis Ababa would be foreseeable with the risk, however, of being fuel for the fire of other ongoing regional revolts which would risk breaking up East Africa and all the surrounding areas, which already have their own problems, starting from the ferocious civil war that is tearing Sudan apart, and the other civil war which, even now silenced, still affect South Sudan.

The agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland is looked favorably by Russia, which has already allowed Ethiopia and the UAE join the BRICS and sees its regional position being strengthened and threatening, even if indirectly, the jugular routes of maritime traffic towards Europe and the Mediterranean. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that Eritrea is a faithful ally of Moscow. As is clear at this stage, the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland is part of a complex regional context. In Djibouti, although there are French, US, Japanese and Italian bases (other NATO and EU countries make extensive use of these bases), there is a Chinese military installation. As for it, the general context remains difficult, and there is the risk that other actors will enter, complicating the situation.

In fact, almost a month after the agreement between Addis Ababa and Hargeisa, Egypt also appeared on the scene; President-Marshal Al Sissi expressed a harsh judgment on the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland, clearly expressing support for Mogadishu. Behind Egypt’s position is the unresolved issue of the construction of the GERD (Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) on the Blue Nile River, which has been going on with ups and downs for 12 years. It could appear realistic that Egypt wants to use the triangular dispute to put pressure on Ethiopia and make it be less drastic and participatory in the management of the waters of the Blue Nile which Cairo absolutely needs for its economic development and social stability.

Furthermore, there is the situation in Yemen, divided and in the hands of de facto warring factions and one of them, the Houthis, in conflict in 2014 against everyone (or almost everyone) and avalanche effects are feared. Finally, after a too short pause, threats that were thought to be overcome, but which the very difficult economic and social situation in Somalia has caused to re-emerge, such as piracy. The IMB (International Maritime Bureau) of the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) recently advised shipping companies and operators to remain vigilant while transiting waters off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. Since November several ships have been seized off the coast of Somalia, with some still held hostage, showing that Somali pirates have rebuilt their capability.

Somalia is trying in every way to strengthen its position and find partners who can help it get out of a humiliating situation. In early February, Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler and Somalia’s Defense Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur signed a framework agreement on defense and economic cooperation between two countries in Ankara. The agreement, which adds to the previous ones (2009, technical cooperation agreement; 2010 training cooperation agreement, scientific and technical cooperation; 2012, training and cooperation agreement; 2015 defense industry agreement) as well as starting a training program of the Somali navy, aims to improve Somalia’s security perception and at the same time supports Ankara’s ambitions to project maritime power beyond its shores. The agreement falls within a regional context weakened by the recent agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland to give Addis Ababa access to the open sea in exchange for the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

The two nations have released few details on the terms of the agreement. What is certainly known is that Turkey will support Somalia in training and equipping its small navy, thus expanding the impact of the training mission of the Turkish army that has been operating in Mogadishu since 2017. Mogadishu, despite all its problems, has launched in a massive diplomatic offensive to counter Addis Ababa’s initiative and to give legitimacy to its claims on a territory that Somalia considers secessionist and illegal. But there is more behind the naval agreement than just a simple deterrent for Ethiopia by Somalia. It is also about Turkey’s long-standing ambitions to project its power in the Red Sea region and pave the way for further defense deals in the region in the future and the culmination of more than a decade of Turkish involvement in Somalia.

This involvement focused on a broad project of nation-building, security sector reform, humanitarian assistance and socio-economic development at a time when Somalia was a nation forgotten by the international community. The agreement aims to secure mutual interests, positioning Ankara as a significant player in the strategic dynamics of the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa in times to come. This can also be seen as part of Ankara’s hard power projection capability and its advanced defense policy.

Through the agreement with Somalia, Ankara will further strengthen its defense ties with Mogadishu, which will bring benefits for the Turkish defense industry and Turkish commercial interests, while consolidating Turkey’s military presence in the strategic Horn Africa and the Red Sea. Ankara is already a regional power, active in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, in Libya, the Sahel, Central Asia, the Gulf, Syria and Iraq. It has the second largest armed forces in NATO and a very effective and active diplomatic corps that is based on a vast network of embassies, consulates and specialized institutions. The expansion of its naval presence in the Red Sea is the logical next step and it is not impossible to even imagine a future naval base in Somalia, to match ‘Turksom’ (the name of the Turkish training compound in Mogadishu).

As mentioned above, the agreement with Somalia, beyond the security needs of Mogadishu, is for Turkey a part of the broader national strategy to protect its supply chains and create strategic depth in the maritime sector and in this is the materialization of the 2021 ‘Mavi Vatan’ maritime strategy which is corroborated by recent orders for a second aircraft carrier (with a larger displacement and capacity than the ‘Anadolou’, currently in service and due to the expulsion of Ankara from the F-35 Lighting II programme, carrying only helicopters and drones) and four other frigates. ‘Mavi Vatan’ is a strategy that aims to re-establish Turkey as a maritime power with a reach well beyond the eastern Mediterranean and beyond its immediate coasts to develop a deep-sea Navy with a strategic reach and depth ranging beyond the Mediterranean, to the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean.

However, reflecting the persistent ambiguity of Turkey, originated by the requirements of multiple alignment of Ankara, despite a verbal acknowledgment of the territorial integrity of Mogadishu, the hopes of Somalian president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, to see a Turkish navy squadron showing the flag in front of the waters of Somaliland and Puntland remain pure theory, despite a visit of Turkish Navy warship to Mogadishu on 24 April and the promise to assist the country to build up a navy (and apparently putting an end to a similar project launched by the Italian Minister of Defence).

After trying to block it in every way, Somalia had to accept the option of withdrawing the ‘green berets’ of ATMIS. Aware of the weakness of its armed forces, Mogadishu looks anxiously for every possible gap filler, and in case of a weak answer of AU for a post-ATMIS operation, may consider that Ankara in the perennial search of affirmation (or self-affirmation), it would be interested in support her security needs and maybe being the leading nation of another anti-Shabab coalition.

Turkey, in the eyes of some Somali leaders, could represent an alternate option in security provider in case that the ATMIS option will fail. Mogadishu is already thinking about and whose terms should be made known after the summer.

But the relations between Mogadishu and Ankara, as confirmed by the large number of agreements, include of course the economic dimension, or better say, the exploitation of natural resources (in this case hydrocarbons) by the stronger partner who leave royalties to the weak one.

Somalia says Turkey will begin drilling oil off the country’s massive coastline from next year, according to the Director General of the Somali Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mohamed Hashi Abdi ‘Arabey’, who confirmed the recent assertion by a Turkish official on a plan for deep-sea oil drilling operation from early 2025. They will begin seismic works and drilling at the coasts facing Barawe and Hobbio districts (Barawe is about 200 km south of Mogadishu while Hobbio is about 500 km to the northeast). In addition to the inclusion of Turkey in the Red Sea-Bab el Mandeb Strait chessboard, the renewed rivalry between Ethiopia and Somalia regarding the future Somaliland has awakened another significant problem.

In fact, both Ethiopia and Somaliland, in addition to agreeing on the issue of the portion of territory that should be leased to Addis Ababa, have also agreed on the management of commercial air traffic control, creating an unclear situation as various and sometimes contradictory, instructions to airlines, which found themselves forced to modify the routes of their aircrafts and reducing access to Somali airspace, bringing to the surface the jurisdictional and political problem of who (really) controls the airspace of Somalia and whether or not this includes Somaliland.

For many years, the unstable political situation in Somalia has had a serious impact on the country’s aviation sector. The previous national airline, Somali Airlines, also suffered due to civil war in the early 1990s. However, following improvements in some areas, last year the airspace over Somalia was reclassified to “Class A” (therefore normal) and saw the return of air traffic control services to the country after three decades. Also highlighting the progress made by the aviation sector, Somalia recently opened its first MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) center in over 30 years and therefore now has a facility to repair and inspect aircraft locally. The airspace over Somalia and the surrounding ocean is managed by the SCAA (Somali Civil Aviation Authority) from the Mogadishu Area Control Center, which claims to be able to exercise its jurisdiction also over Somaliland, which instead it refuses on the grounds that it has its own independent state.

This airspace, known as the Mogadishu FIR (Flight Information Region ) and its controlling authority are defined in the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Air Navigation Plan for the Africa and Indian Ocean Region (AFI), which recognizes Somalia (including Somaliland) as the controlling state, and by extension, the Somali Civil Aviation Authority, and this position is also shared by the IATA (International Air Transport Association), the umbrella organization airlines around the world. Somaliland has control over its airports but the question of airspace remains effectively open.

Egal International Airport (HGA) is the state’s main airport and serves the capital Hargeisa. Following the signing of the Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU, Somali authorities began restricting flight activity in Somaliland to assert their authority over their airspace. As a result of the ongoing litigation, on January 17, the SCAA blocked an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft carrying Ethiopian diplomatic delegates from entering the airspace, saying it did not have permission to enter the country. According to media sources, the SCAA also blocked an air ambulance carrying a Somaliland citizen who “needed urgent help”, in violation of the rules that govern international civil aviation in such cases. However, Somali authorities have denied this latest claim.

In return, Somaliland claimed independence and jurisdiction over its territory and surrounding areas, issuing an international aviation warning and a statement on its X (formerly Twitter) page. Since both states claim the right to control traffic, there have been numerous reports of airlines receiving conflicting instructions while flying over the area from people posing as ‘air traffic controllers’ and risking collisions. It is not entirely clear whether this was also the result of the dispute between the controllers of Mogadishu and Hargeisa.

This was followed by a February 19 statement in which Mogadishu accused Somaliland of disrupting air routes used by aircraft over portions of the airspace of the northern regions of Somalia. The Somalian government added that if these offensive measures continue, Mogadishu will take strong measures to ensure the safety and security of Somali civil aviation. The dispute has also saw obscure events such as the murder of an civilian air traffic controller of the Hargheisa airport in Mogadishu and Somaliland’s protest over the arrest of six people from that territory by Somali police.

The fate of operations in Somali airspace is almost as delicate as that of maritime traffic between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The East African area is one of the busiest on the continent. The region is also home to some of Africa’s largest airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways. Some of the major airlines connecting the African subcontinent south of Ethiopia with destinations in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent pass through Somali airspace.

The same applies to air connections between Western Europe and the islands of the Indian Ocean. As IATA has stated, no airline would fly in unsafe airspace and signaling the worsening situation, Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will change some of its routes to avoid Somali airspace. For airlines still flying to the country, crews have been advised to pay attention to the environment and follow the instructions contained in the NOTAM issued by the Mogadishu authorities which advise them to contact the Mogadishu Area Control Center in particular in the area within a radius of 150 nautical miles from Hargeisa.

Despite several attempt to reorganize the state, like blocking illegal fishing in its territorial waters (that is a real challenge giving that the coast guard and maritime police have mere ‘brown waters’ capacities), Mogadishu and make public the improving financial situation, thanks to erasure of debt from countries like Russia, Somalia is banking on new opportunities coming out of recent debt relief to seek new credit lines and open up for trade.

Last year, Mogadishu was the only East African country that had zero debt after all the debts were forgiven by the World Bank and IMF (in blatant rivalry with the cancellation of debt decided by Moscow in occasion of the last Russia-Africa summit on last July, around 600 million of US$; but not only Moscow, cancel the Mogadishu debt, also London; in fact, without providing details on the amount, UK has cancelled 100% of its Somalia’s historic debts). It gave a fresh start and opens a huge market for East Africa. In December, Somalia reached an agreement to cancel $4.5 billion of debt with international lenders. That, the diplomat says, gave it new opportunity to attract investors as well as be eligible to borrow more from lenders.

So far, Mogadishu has been cautious of simply piling new debt and officials have said they will prioritise opening up and rebuilding state institutions instead. In the month of April, Somalia signed a financial agreement with the IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development, a Rome-based UN specialized institution) which will see Mogadishu receive up to $31.22 million for support programmes related to food security in rural areas. The money is to be channelled under the Rural Livelihood Resilience Programme, aimed at improving food security and resilience in rural areas. The funding will the first direct investment by IFAD in Somalia since Mogadishu’s external debt pile was cleared. Despite the finance portfolio’s optimism, it expects that global problems affect the country both directly and indirectly.

In mid-March this year, representatives of the Paris Club met with representatives of Somalia government and reached consensus on a debt cancellation. The Club’s announcement indicated that debt cancellation came as a result of the Horn of Africa country reaching its Completion Point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (Enhanced HIPC) Initiative approval by the Executive Boards of the IMF and the World Bank in December 2023.

The debt owed to Paris Club creditors was estimated to be $2 billion as of January 1, 2023, which means 99% of that is now forgiven by the creditors.

However, the regional perspectives are complex. The problems of Somalia seem endless and not limited to the relations with Ethiopia, Somaliland and the collapsing of the federal system. Also, Puntland, which for years remained in a kind of political limbo, not independence but within a special ‘autonomy’ (not octroyed by Mogadishu, but self-gained), showed the fragility of attraction and coercion capability of Mogadishu.

The (Federal, nominally) Government of Somalia’s military toothlessness is responsible for its impotence; instead of focusing on rectifying the former ahead of the foreseeable terrorist upsurge that’ll follow the withdrawal of foreign forces, Mogadishu saber-rattling against Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Puntland are a distraction. As above-mentioned, the Government of Somalia demanded that the autonomous State of Puntland close the Ethiopian consulate in the regional capital of Garowe as part of Mogadishu’s latest diplomatic move to protest January’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ethiopia and Somaliland. Mogadishu also expelled the Ethiopian ambassador and his diplomatic staff alongside demanding the closure of that country’s consulate in Somaliland’s capital of Hargeisa. While the refusal of Somaliland to comply with Mogadishu instructions are understandable giving the precedent situation, the reject of Puntland is more surprising and widely based on the evolution of the situation between Addis Ababa, Hargeisha and Mogadishu. Garowe see in that a momentum which will reinforce its, never hidden, hopes to complete the independence path.

Somalia is powerless to impose its declared writ over those two regions that it still claims as its own, with this latest development exposing just the impotency of Mogadishu. Neither of Ethiopia’s traditional rivals appear really interested in joining Somalia in his efforts for reconquering Somaliland, and even his country’s Turkish military ally, even promising, could be hesitant into to get involved. About that Ankara despite the symbolic visit of its ship to Mogadishu, it still has close ties with Ethiopia despite signing a maritime security deal with Somalia in late February.

As said, even if Ankara officially regards both Somaliland and Puntland as part of the Somalia, yet it hasn’t signaled that it’ll dispatch warships to their waters (nor has Mogadishu officially requested this either, also maybe to avoid another humiliation in getting this request pushed back). The impression is that the Mogadishu barks loudly but doesn’t bite, not because it doesn’t want to do the latter, but simply because has not an autonomy military capability and there are few countries interested in involvement on behalf of a partner without capability, regardless its strategic relevance. The country’s security is dependent on those foreign forces that assist it in trying to degrade Al Shabab military potential, but their substantial reduction by the end of the year will likely lead to an explosion in terrorism. Instead of preparing for that, the Somalian leadership would rather indulge in distractions and saber-rattling, while insisting in the dismantling the fragile federal architecture and preparing for the potential blow of another civil war between new ‘warlords’.

There is a concern that spewing ultra-nationalist rhetoric can bring the Al Shabab militias, which are proved to be very efficient and deadly, onto its side as an “ally of convenience” for waging hybrid war against Somaliland, Ethiopia, and soon possibly Puntland as well. If the terrorists can’t be co-opted through these means, for obvious reasons, the threat of Islamist remain and in long-medium perspective Somalia risks to be like the erstwhile Western-backed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan did in summer 2021 and with the possible emerging of another “emirate” (of terror). This is a nightmare scenario of epic proportions giving the importance of the Horn and the possibly impending fall of Mogadishu under the evil influence of Al Shabab could open a Pandora’s Box of security threats if then-erstwhile Somalia becomes an ungovernable terrorist sanctuary.


Enrico Magnani, PhD, is a retired UN official and expert in military history and international politico-military affairs.