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Geopolitics of Europe and the Iron Law of Evolutionary Biology

Europe after the Brexit, NATO 70 summit and Turkish geopolitical vertigo

Professor Anis H. Bajrektarević

A freshly released IMF’s World Economic Outlook brings no comforting picture to anyone within the G-7, especially in the US and EU: The WTO Round is dead, trade wars are alive, GCC is rapidly Pakistanising while the Asia’s core and its Far East slows down. No comfort either comes from the newest Oxfam Report – Are 26 billionaires worth more than half the planet?, which the ongoing Davos Vanity Fair known as the WEF tries to ignore (as much as this gathering of capital sustains in ignoring labor). The Brexit after-shock is still to reverberate around.

In one other EXIT, Sartre’s Garcin famously says: ‘Hell is other people’. Indeed, the business of othering remains lucrative: The NATO 70 summit will desperately look for enemies. Escalation, the best way to preserve eroded unity, requires the confrontational nostalgia dictatum. Will the passionately US-pushed cross-Atlantic Free Trade Area (substituting the abandoned TIPP and compensating for the Sino-US trade war) save the day? Or, would that Pact-push drag the things over the edge of reinvigorating nationalisms, and mark an end of the unionistic Europe?

Is the extended EU conflict with Russia actually a beginning of the Atlantic-Central Europe’s conflict over Russia, an internalization of mega geopolitical and geo-economic dilemma – who accommodates with whom, in and out of the post-Brexit Union? Finally, does more Ukrainian (Eastern Europe’s or MENA) calamities pave the road for a new cross-continental grand accommodation, of either austerity-tired France or über-performing Germany with Russia, therefore the end of the EU? Southeast flank already enormously suffer. Hasty castling of foes and friends caused colossal geopolitical vertigo in Turkey, whose accelerated spin produces more and more victims.

For whose sake Eastern Europe has been barred of all important debates such as that of Slavism, identity, social cohesion (disintegrated by the plunder called ‘privatization’), secularism and antifascism? Why do we suddenly wonder that all around Germany-led Central Europe, the neo-Nazism gains ground while only Russia insists on antifascism and (pan-)Slavism?

Before answering that, let us examine what is (the meaning and size of) our Europe? Where, how and – very importantly – when is our Europe?

The letzte Mensch or Übermensch

Is the EU an authentic post-Westphalian conglomerate and the only logical post-Metternich concert of different Europes, the world’s last cosmopolitan enjoying its postmodern holiday from history? Is that possibly the lost Atlántida or mythical Arcadia – a Hegelian end of history world? Thus, should this OZ be a mix of the endemically domesticated Marx-Engels grand utopia and Kennedy’s dream-world “where the weak are safe and the strong are just”?

Or, is it maybe as Charles Kupchan calls it a ‘postmodern imperium’? Something that exhorts its well-off status quo by notoriously exporting its transformative powers of free trade dogma and human rights stigma – a modified continuation of colonial legacy when the European conquerors, with fire and sword, spread commerce, Christianity and civilization overseas – a kind of ‘new Byzantium’, or is that more of a Richard Young’s declining, unreformed and rigid Rome? Hence, is this a post-Hobbesian (yet, not quite a Kantian) world, in which the letzte Mensch expelled Übermensch?

Could it be as one old graffiti in Prague implies: EU=SU²? Does the EU-ization of Europe equals to a restoration of the universalistic world of Rome’s Papacy, to a restaging of the Roman-Catholic Caliphate? Is this Union a Leonard’s runner of the 21st century, or is it perhaps Kagan’s ‘Venus’– gloomy and opaque world, warmer but equally distant and unforeseen like ‘Mars’?

Is this a supersized Switzerland (ruled by the cacophony of many languages and enveloped in economic egotism of its self-centered people), with the cantons (MS, Council of EU) still far more powerful than the central government (the EU Parliament, Brussels’ Commission, ECJ), while Swiss themselves –although in the geographic heart of that Union – stubbornly continue to defy any membership. Does it really matter (and if so, to what extent) that Niall Ferguson wonders: …the EU lacks a common language, a common postal system, a common soccer team [Britain as well, rem. A.B.] even a standard electric socket…“?

Kissinger himself was allegedly looking for a phone number of Europe, too. Baron Ridley portrayed the Union as a Fourth Reich, not only dominated by Germany, but also institutionally Germanized. Another conservative Briton, Larry Siedentop, remarked in his Democracy in Europe that it is actually France who is running the EU ‘show’, in the typical French way – less than accountable bureaucracy that prevents any evolution of the European into an American-style United States. Thus, Siedentop’s EU is more of a Third Bonapartistic Empire than possibly a Fourth German Reich. The Heartland or Rimland?

(D)evolutionary Biology and geopolitics

Regardless of different names and categorizations attached, historical analogies and descriptions used, most scholars would agree upon the very geopolitical definition of the EU: Grand re-approachment of France and Germany after WWII, culminating in the Elysée accords of 1961. An interpretation of this instrument is rather simple: a bilateral peace treaty through achieved consensus by which Germany accepted a predominant French say in political affairs of EU/Europe, and France – in return – accepted a more dominant German say in economic matters of EU/Europe. All that tacitly blessed by a perfect balancer – Britain, attempting to conveniently return to its splendid isolation from the Continent in the post-WWII years. Hence, living its Brexit distance from the continental Europe for most of its history.

Consequently, nearly all scholars would agree that the Franco-German alliance actually represents a geopolitical axis, a backbone of the Union.

However, the inner unionistic equilibrium will be maintained only if the Atlantic-Central Europe skillfully calibrates and balances its own equidistance from both assertive Russia and the omnipresent US. Any alternative to the current Union is a grand accommodation of either France or Germany with Russia. This means a return to Europe of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries – namely, direct confrontations over the Continent’s core sectors, perpetual animosities wars and destructions.

Both Russia and the US has demonstrated ability for a skillful and persistent conduct of international affairs, passions and vigorous visions to fight for their agendas. Despite the shifts in political affiliations and drives triggered by the Brexit, migrants, economic performance or generational in/compassions, it is a high time for Brussels to live up to its very idea, and to show the same.
Biology and geopolitics share one basic rule: comply or die.

Professor Anis H. Bajrektarević is chairperson and professor in international law and global political studies, Vienna, Austria. He has authored six books (for American and European publishers) and numerous articles on, mainly, geopolitics energy and technology. For the past decades, he has over 1,200 hours of teaching on the subject International Law and Relations (including lecturing in both Kiev and Moscow universities and Diplomatic Academy). He is editor of the NY-based GHIR (Geopolitics, History and Intl. Relations) journal, and editorial board member of several similar specialized magazines on three continents. His 7th book, From WWI to www. – Europe and the World 1918-2018 was to released in December.
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bevin
bevin

As to this
“Finally Europe needs to address the Muslim question. Europe is NOT a Muslim continent, is not going to become one and Muslims who demand that it should should be given a one way ticket fo KSA, Pakistan or wherever. ”
Come on! This is silly! There have been muslims in Europe since the death of the Prophet.
Are there more now than ever? As a proportion of the population no . In comparison with the number of Christians? Perhaps, given that christianity appears to be withering away, reduced to those who believe in it rather than those dragooned into performing lip service.
The same thing is happening among muslims too.
It is gratuitous nastiness to suggest that Europe has a ‘muslim question’. A shocking breach of the rules of hospitality towards strangers, unlike anything one would find in the muslim world except wahhabism.

Antonym
Antonym

So there is a Muslim world? How did that happen, as Mohammed was only active in Medina and Mecca, a pocket in a remote dessert. There is do druid world today.

mark
mark

So how is there a Jewish world when the mythical Moses was taking the tablets in Sinai? Why is there a Jew York and a Golders Green? Shouldn’t all the Jews be perched on top of Mount Sinai and all the Moslems be living in the Borough of Mecca? Might be a bit crowded – but Occupied Palestine would be a bit more peaceful, I suppose.

bevin
bevin

” Only Eastern European nations genuinely fearful of recolonisation would tolerate US military occupation…”
There is no evidence that this is the case. there are a variety of other motives:
1/ Many of these expatriate influenced elites distrust their own countrymen (democracy) to the extent that they regard domination by the US reassuring.
2/ Using russophobia as a stick with which to beat socialist tendencies within these societies is very useful.
3/ A lot of money is made out of NATO bases, particularly those closest to the front line which have premium value (in peacetime anyway).
4/ the NATO ladder is a perfect way (see Don Tusk, Fogh, Stoltenerg) up and out of a political backwater with limited post office opportunities.
5/ Was there ever any colonisation in eastern europe in the soviet era? Russians enjoying all the best jobs in Warsaw for example or communities of Russian farmers taking up the choicest lands in Hungary or Ukraine for that matter? In fact living standards in the GDR and Hungary tended to be higher than those in Russia.
The two largest decolonisation projects in history were, firstly the replacement of the Russian Empire with the Union of socialist republics and the break up of the soviet union into separate independent sovereign states- the consummation of the original Soviet project emptying the ‘prison of nations’.
It seems a trifle harsh to insist that the Russians have an insatiable appetite for empire. As its position on the map would suggest it is in fact a perennial target for outside aggression: a nation which complains of Russian aggression almost invariably hides its own history of attacking and colonising, literally, Russia.

bevin
bevin

The above wee intended to be ‘replies’ to RTJ1211’s comment far below. I blame myself.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

No comfort either comes from the newest Oxfam Report – Are 26 billionaires worth more than half the planet?

Billionaires? The preferred nomenclature is now ‘people of means’. Please!

http://www.unz.com/isteve/should-billionaires-be-renamed-pom-for-people-of-means/

BigB
BigB

Comply or die? As a maxim, that would be more applicable to genetic determinism or sociobiology – of the EO Wilsonian kind. Evolutionary biology is about evolvability, micro-evolution, niche-making; etc. I was hoping to read more of Richard Lewontin or Stephen Jay Gould’s social critique. Their main advance in evolutionary theory was to embed genetics in environment. Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela took this further – with the theory of ‘autopoiesis’ (self-making autonomous systems) and the Santiago Theory of Cognition. Organism and environment are “structurally coupled” in a co-adaptive process of mutual co-evolution. Might a better maxim have been “Evolve or die”?

There are no “iron laws” an evolutionary system must adhere to. Clearly, there are limitations – but not iron laws. If the system was fixed; determinative; and rule-bound – speciation and biological diversity could not occur. Niche and organism are co-evolutionarily developed. Genetic drift and genetic draft play a part in the modern evolutionary synthesis. But I am not a biologist: I’m more concerned with modern revolutionary synthesis – if we can ever develop one.

If organism and environment are co-evolutionary and integral – for which I have appropriated Lynn Margulis’ (another prominent evo-bio proponent) term ‘symbiogenetic’ to describe …what be the socio-political ramifications. Well, the automatic right of instrumental ownership, the pseudo-divine property rights, and the hierarchical statist structures that impose them become very hard to defend. Certainly not on the basis of ‘Natural Laws’. Lewontin also showed biogeographical ancestry. Around 85% of DNA is common ancestral and geographically distributed. Whilst biological differences among ethnic groups occur: ideological constructs of ‘biological race’, biological behavioural and cognitive traits become very hard to defend. Jay Gould also showed – in the “Mismeasure of Man” – that intelligence and cognitive impairment is not genetically or racially distributed. These are just for instances; which, if socio-culturally absorbed – undermine the whole geopolitical world capitalist construct …as anything but ‘Natural’.

If these sort of symbiogenetic, co-evolutionary insights became the adaptive governing inputs of evolvability – themselves subject to evolution …so, not natural: but not the iron laws …what would be the outcome? Something a bit more like a Universal Humanity with the Earth as a common, shared resource – one whose environmental co-evolution and regenerative sustainability is our co-mutual evolution and sustainability …as a processual co-healing?

As a concerned member of the community of life – wouldn’t that be a more enlightened evolutionary synthesis?

Evolve or die?

BigB
BigB

Fudge! There is a stray ‘not’ in there. “so, [not] natural…” becomes “so, natural: but not the iron laws”. How’s that edit function coming along?

Mikalina
Mikalina

“Organism and environment are “structurally coupled” in a co-adaptive process of mutual co-evolution.”

Our environment has been hi-jacked, culturally, religiously, educationally, physically, politically, geographically, etc – and, “structurally coupled”, WE have co-adapted. Change the environment, change the organism – into the brain damaged, immature, dependant, ‘clones’ we are today.

My t-shirt motto? “We’re stuffed”.

As to the article, our ‘nationalities’ were given to us in the first place as a form of control – bemoaning the disappearance of such seems a little nonsensical?

Simon Hodges

Unfortunately its not quite as simple as that. One has to realise that nationality sovereignty and democracy go hand in hand and that the disappearance of national sovereignty is accompanied by the disappearance of democracy. We are being asked to cede political and economic control to supranational bodies where decisions are ultimately made by un-elected technocrats who a good many naively assume to be benevolent to the well being of the people. Even if this were the case, having conceded democracy we would then have only hope that they would carry on remaining benevolent. Looking at protests around Europe one get the strong feeling that these people are not benevolent at all and absent democracy in the future, I for one do not see them improving.

The bureaucrates of the European Commission do not publish manifestos or their political views yet we know that the framework of the globalist politics is Neoliberal economics where austerity is established in the very machinery of the EU/IMF etc and Neoliberal/Neoconservative imperialist foreign policies. We have no idea what political extremes they are prepared to go to once we have eliminated the existing waning democratic restraints.

I’m no great fan of our existing systems and hope that there is much that we could do to improve them but to just reject national sovereignty and democracy out of hand to cede political control to bureaucratic elites and investment bankers seems like a very bad decision.

BigB
BigB

Simon

We gave up much of our sovereignty to bankers in 1972. We voted to take it back. They went to Brussels and let the bankers dictate terms to us. The price is our military: ceded into EU Military Unification (the European Defence Union). They won’t mention that. Without control of our own military; our own foreign policy; our own defence budget; with some sort of rule-taking ‘soft’ pseudo-deal – we lose the rest of our sovereignty, autonomy, independence …in order to come under NATO neolib-neocon suzerain authority. That’s what the existing system did for us.

The first act of a self-sovereign people should be to demand our acceded nation state back. The second act of a self-sovereign people should be to demand a new system of government. If we are going to have traitors in charge: they may as well be traitors answerable to us …rather than a faceless, bureaucratic, administrative dictatorship that sets its foreign policy according to BIS and NATO neolib/neocon directives.

From what you write: we both see that would lead to an incipient civil/military/paramilitary occupation. One that came about through our political naivety of letting ‘them’ govern us. It is exactly the current system that betrayed us. You are right in that their continuing benevolence is anything but assured. Any vestigial faith in systems current must therefore be misplaced?

We’ve already lost our national sovereignty and democracy. We didn’t reject it. We trusted it to traitors who gave it away. We’ve already acceded our autonomy. We are about to cede political control to bureaucratic elites and investment bankers – again. With finality this time? How can we trust the existent system – the very one that betrayed us – to act for us. Hasn’t that been our folly all along?

Simon Hodges

BigB

Couldn’t agree more. Of course giving up national sovereignty also involves giving up monetary sovereignty as well as democracy. See what that has cost the peoples of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal in terms of wealth and jobs! France and Ireland are also in a very precarious position. Had the UK been members of the Euro when the GFC hit we would have been in a far worse position than Greece and most of our state assets would have been sold by now and the welfare state would have been cut to the bare bones just clearing the £Trillion in public debts accrued from rescuing the banks not to mention the QE and other covert bank bailouts that followed.

In this respect I feel the wrong question was asked in the referendum which you have been leave or become full EU members with Euro membership. If that question had been put I’m sure the country would not have been split in the way that it has and Brexit would have enjoyed widespread support. It is unlikely we would have been allowed to stay outside the EU without adopting the Euro at some point.

It is amazing that with all the technological development over the past 30 years that participatory democracy has not advanced a centimetre when all the tools are already there to implement more democratic systems. That says rather a lot about our sham democracy does it not?

Simon Hodges

BigB

One point I forgot to make is that for the Euro using countries who gave up monetary sovereignty first, then they didn’t realize at the time that they were also ultimately giving up democratic sovereignty.

Aside for that, there is an excellent series of videos on YouTube from an Irish investment adviser based in the US that covers a lot of the economic issues which play into this. I strongly urge you to take a look.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClZY-A9DGiR10ZlUMTLjDBQ/videos

Modern Monetary Theory is probably where we will end up in terms of economics but you have to be monetary sovereigns to implement it.

BigB
BigB

I would implement Bill Mitchell’s “Restructuring the State” measures tomorrow. With an emphasis on a Green New Deal to bring us into food (agroecology) and (renewable) energy neo-self-sufficiency and self-sovereignty (autonomous unity). But we would need sovereign currency issuance – which would mean nationalising the BoE (again!). It’s not at all clear to me that it is a national institution (see Nomi Prins – Collu$ion – the G7 CBs acted against the public interest to QE the asset owning class back into business – trashing our economies or any chance of recovery). Obviously, we don’t have sovereign control over fiscal or monetary policy so long as we are in the big neolib/neocon club.

I’ll have a look at the vids later. Thanks for the link.

Simon Hodges

BigB

I can see MMT with mass appeal but not while it attaches itself to Bill Mitchell’s Marxist view of labour and value production. There is room for a whole new politics based upon MMT but not while it attaches itself to Marxist fundamentals and the Left. It has to appeal to and work for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual preference and political orientation.

BigB
BigB

Simon

Mitchell and Thomas Fazi’s subtitle is “A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World” – i.e. all the things we covered. On pages 146-149: he argues coherently that the political breakdown of Marxism – and the left intellectual drift into PoMo identity politics – was marked by the embrace of neoliberal financialisation. The rise of ‘Third Way’ and progressive neoliberalism has cemented the centrist neoliberal TINA (There Is No Alternative). MMT offers a jobs prospect, anti-austerity socialisation, nationalisation, etc regardless, as you say, of race, gender, sexual preference and political orientation. The alternative is a common core ‘progressive’ neoliberalism – with or without liberal-individualist self-declaring females on female-only shortlists. That, and permanent austerity.

Elsewhere he argues cogently of the deliberate ‘depoliticisation’, or loss of autonomy within neoliberalism …and the ‘repoliticisation’ of its return – under MMT. Everything we have mentioned, in fact, that has been ignored in the general Brexit debate.

BTW: have you seen the ‘Red Roar’ video of Corbyn descrying the Lisbon Treaty, and the “Military Frankenstein” of the “EU Empire”? I don’t want to live in a 21st century EU Empire either. Pity Corbyn’s changed his tune.

https://www.theredroar.com/2019/02/exclusive-corbyn-branded-eu-military-frankenstein-and-trashed-second-irish-referendum-in-unearthed-footage/

BTW2: Mitchell has rejected the “somewhat of a Marxist” jibe previously.

http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=27130

In the very narrow (Overton) window of the current centrist debate: if you are not a hardcore neolib/neocon – then obviously, you must be a Marxist. Despite the early influence of Kalecki: I’m not sure the label fits any more.

Simon Hodges

BigB

OffG seem to be removing my posts. BIll Mitchell is a closet hard core Marxist.

Just read his supposed take down of postmodernism to see how all he is really committed to is violent class struggle.

http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=35063

His somewhat a Marxist or just because I’m anti-neoliberal doesn’t make me a Marxist stance is a complete and unethical fake.

BigB
BigB

Mikalina

“We’re stuffed”? Perhaps, perhaps not. The current system is a degenerative, delusional, and devolutionary process, for sure …but it is not a thought-control dictatorship quite yet. To the cultural inculcation: we have a degree of relative autonomy – and veto authority: to choose or not to choose. There are increasing numbers of people looking for a positive vision and alternative of choice. The poisoned chalice of machine inculcated ideological information streams are not the only choice. There are cultures within cultures. There is always a wellspring of a new emergent culture within. We are not limited to, or limited by, our encultured choice. In fact, our conceptual paradigms are an insignificant part of us. May I suggest Caitlin’s ‘Beauty Mindfulness’ as a refuge from the psyop propaganda and cultural mind viruses?

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/01/30/how-to-practice-beauty-mindfulness/

Mikalina
Mikalina

It is possible to hold and experience peace and joy whilst wearing the “we’re stuffed” t-shirt. It is the responsibility of the dichotomy which is difficult to maintain which pushes people into the camp of “life’s an illusion” or “we’re in a matrix, we’re in a matrix-the sky’s falling in”.

And as to choice? The children are coming out of school believing snow is black.(a goal of George Bernard Shaw, the arch manipulator

BigB
BigB

How about we shake hands on the experience of peace and joy: whilst we are wearing a “we’re stuffed – maybe” T-shirt?

Our conceptual modelling of reality is really rather limited. It’s easy to get stuck in closed, self-reinforcing loops and negative feedback cycles of cognition and unknowing. All we can project forward is our own negative feedback. But how real is it?

Correlatively: there’s no sense living in a magical realism bubble. Things look pretty bleak on the current trajectory. But beauty and joy open cognition and make room for unknown, perhaps unknowable, potentialities to emerge and become realisable. Maybe?

I prefer the term “imaginal” for the psyop realism. It’s real, but it’s not really real. Seeing beauty can open up the senses to see that-which-is-as-it-is (tathata). One reality: two ways of seeing reality (dual and nondual). The difference is on the conceptualisation. The psyop surrealism is so far from the really real we should all just laugh at them and their preening self-absorbtion. How about “they’re stuffed” t-shirts?

The jokes on them …if and when we get it. 😀

Simon Hodges

Macron’s France is the contemporary equivalent of Vichy France under the new version of German Neoliberal hegemony.

rtj1211
rtj1211

Well Italy shows no similarity to Mussolini that is for sure.

This analysis assumes Russia still has design on recontrolling Easten Europe. I would call them out very publicly on that and pointing out all the US bases now surrounding them. Only Eastern European nations genuinely fearful of recolonisation wiuld tolerate US military occupation.

So the first accommodation has to be Germany and Russia learning what boundaries mean. The price of Russian energy continuing to flow to Europe must be permanent rejection of territory conquest.

The price of the EU continuing to exist has to be Germany and France not seeing it as their pet projects to be Big Swinging Dicks in Europe. In addition, not opening EU doors to millions will be non-negotiable. Otherwise populism will overthrow the Establishment and the EU project will die. No one wants German tanks in Poland again…

The third issue for Europe is NATO. Let us be brutal, it is an instrument for selfish demanding US policy and Europe has no say whatever. Europe needs to leave NATO, defend itself and agree military peace and trading prosperity with Russia.

The fourth issue is calling out third world imperialism, be it the USA, or Russia/China/Ksa in the future. Europe means nothing as a conquering force, its sole USP is promoting genuine self-determination across the globe. An EU army marauding across Africa should see expulsion from UNSC, nothing less.

What I do not understand is why you need an EU ‘nation’. Governance pooling in specific arenas can occur between sovereign nation states, it does not need a clunking top-down new neoliberal construct. You can pool interests when negotiating access to Russian energy, as pipelines will be transnational. You can choose to pursue economic projects on a major river drainage basin like the Donau if you wish, if it makes sense. There is no a priori reason for a Euro, unless you have designs on global rents based on a reserve currency. Or of course, you wish to avoid trading in US dollars….

Europeans need to be confident that they can trade together in peace, negotiate peacefully without triggering dominance, imperialism nor slavery. They need to be firm but fair with Us, Russia, China, India and other major powers and assertively lay down boundaries that they require those nations to respect. If the Chinese cannot respect our red lines, then they can lose face in public. Who cares how humiliating that is. Consequences and all that….

Finally Europe needs to address the Muslim question. Europe is NOT a Muslim continent, is not going to become one and Muslims who demand that it should should be given a one way ticket fo KSA, Pakistan or wherever. Islam is currently a backward religion compared to Christianity, deeply offensive to much of modern womanhood and is alien to two thousand years of European tradition. It can have its place, but not a dominant seat.

If Europe wants relevance, it must leave its US Russian parental home and set up home as an independent adult.