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The irresistible rise of the civilisation-state Western liberalism has no answer to assertive powers that take pride in their cultural roots

Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)


August 6, 2020   12 mins

A spectre is haunting the liberal West: the rise of the “civilisation-state”. As America’s political power wanes and its moral authority collapses, the rising challengers of Eurasia have adopted the model of the civilisation-state to distinguish themselves from a paralysed liberal order, which lurches from crisis to crisis without ever quite dying nor yet birthing a viable successor. Summarising the civilisation-state model, the political theorist Adrian Pabst observes that “in China and Russia the ruling classes reject Western liberalism and the expansion of a global market society. They define their countries as distinctive civilisations with their own unique cultural values and political institutions.” From China to India, Russia to Turkey, the great and middling powers of Eurasia are drawing ideological succour from the pre-liberal empires from which they claim descent, remoulding their non-democratic, statist political systems as a source of strength rather than weakness, and upturning the liberal-democratic triumphalism of the late 20th century. 

America’s decline is impossible to disentangle from China’s rise, so it is natural that the rapid climb of the Middle Kingdom back to its historic global primacy dominates discussion of the civilisation-state. Though the phrase was popularised by the British writer Martin Jacques, the political theorist Christopher Coker observed in his excellent recent book on civilisation-states that “the turn to Confucianism began in 2005, when President Hu Jintao applauded the Confucian concept of social harmony and instructed party cadres to build a ‘harmonious society.’” In any case, it is only under his successor Xi’s rule that China as a rival civilisation-state has really penetrated the Western consciousness.The advent of Xi Jinping as the Chinese president in 2012 propelled the idea of ‘civilization-state’ to the forefront of the political discourse,” the Indian international relations scholar Ravi Dutt Bajpai remarks, “as Xi believes that ‘a civilization carries on its back the soul of a country or nation.’” 

This civilisational ethos radiates from Chinese analysis of the country’s future path. In his influential 2012 book The China Wave: Rise of a Civilizational State, the Chinese political theorist Zhang Weiwei observed with pride that “China is now the only country in the world which has amalgamated the world’s longest continuous civilization with a huge modern state… Being the world’s longest continuous civilization has allowed China’s traditions to evolve, develop and adapt in virtually all branches of human knowledge and practices, such as political governance, economics, education, art, music, literature, architecture, military, sports, food and medicine. The original, continuous and endogenous nature of these traditions is indeed rare and unique in the world.” Unlike the ever-changing West, constantly searching after progress and reordering its societies to suit the intellectual fashions of the moment, Weiwei observes that “China draws on its ancient traditions and wisdoms,” and its return to pre-eminence is the natural result.

It is in these hallowed traditions, of a centralised state with a 4000-year history, of an efficient bureaucratic class adhering to Confucian values, and of an emphasis on stability and social harmony over liberty, that Chinese theorists credit their civilisation-state’s rise, now “seemingly unstoppable and irreversible”. Surveying a West in decline and a Middle East mired in bloody chaos, Weiwei remarks with cool detachment that “if the ancient Roman empire had not disintegrated and been able to accomplish the transformation into a modern state, then today’s Europe could also be a medium-sized civilisational state; if the Islamic world today made up of dozens of countries could become unified under one modern governing regime, it could also be a civilisational state with more than a billion people, but the chance for all these scenarios has long gone, and in the world today, China is the sole country where the world’s longest continuous civilisation and a modern state are merged into one.”

Yet the appeal of the civilisation-state model is not limited to China. Under Putin, the other great Eurasian empire, Russia, has publicly abandoned the Europe-focused liberalising projects of the 1990s — a period of dramatic economic and societal collapse driven by adherence to the policies of Western liberal theorists — for its own cultural sonderweg or special path of a uniquely Russian civilisation centred on an all-powerful state. In a 2013 address to the Valdai Club, Putin remarked that Russia “has always evolved as a state‑civilisation, reinforced by the Russian people, Russian language, Russian culture, Russian Orthodox Church and the country’s other traditional religions. It is precisely the state‑civilisation model that has shaped our state polity.” In a 2012 speech to the Russian Federal Assembly, Putin likewise asserted that “we must value the unique experience passed on to us by our forefathers. For centuries, Russia developed as a multi‑ethnic nation (from the very beginning), a state‑civilisation bonded by the Russian people, Russian language and Russian culture native for all of us, uniting us and preventing us from dissolving in this diverse world.” 

It is worthy of note that while Russia is frequently characterised by both liberal commentators and far-right enthusiasts alike, particularly Americans, as a breeding ground for state-backed white nationalism, this claim derives from the racial obsessions of the United States rather than the actual ideology of the Russian state. Indeed, for Putin it is Russia’s heritage as a polyglot empire that makes the state he helms a civilisation state rather than a mere nation, explicitly stressing that “the self‑definition of the Russian people is that of a multi‑ethnic civilisation.” 

In a revealing 2018 essay, Putin’s adviser Vladislav Surkov — who was fired from his role this February — foregrounded this hybridity, part-European and part-Asian, as the central characteristic of the Russian soul. “Our cultural and geopolitical identity is reminiscent of a volatile identity of the one born into a mixed-race family,” Surkov wrote. “A half-blood, a cross-breed, a weird-looking guy. Russia is a Western-Eastern half-breed nation. With its double-headed statehood, hybrid mentality, intercontinental territory and bipolar history, it is charismatic, talented, beautiful and lonely. Just as a half-breed should be.” For Surkov, Russia’s destiny as a civilisation-state, like that of the Byzantium it succeeded, is one as “a civilisation that has absorbed the East and the West. European and Asian at the same time, and for this reason neither quite Asian and nor quite European.” 

This unresolved tension between East and West, Europe and Asia defines the political stance of Byzantium’s other successor state and Nato’s current problem child, Turkey. Like China, a great premodern empire eclipsed by the rise of the West to global dominance, Turkey under Erdogan now cloaks its revanchist desires in the sumptuous mantle of the Ottoman past, reviling the West even as Erdogan depends on Trump’s America and Merkel’s Germany for his regime’s survival. When the new imam of the newly-converted Haghia Sophia mosque mounted the pulpit last month, sabre in hand, to proclaim the rebirth of Turkey and curse the memory of the country’s Europe-facing moderniser Ataturk, it was to underline that Turkey’s glorious future depends on reviving its Ottoman past. The date of the ceremony, the 97th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne which dissolved the Ottoman Empire and replaced it with the Turkish Republic was equally symbolic. Just as Justinian, on entering his great new cathedral, remarked that he had surpassed Solomon, so had Erdogan surpassed Ataturk. The age of pleading to join Europe, as an impoverished supplicant, had ended; the age of conquest had returned.

Trapped in the post-historical dreams of liberalism, many Western observers of Erdogan’s growing aggression had missed these symbolic cues, or dismissed them as empty rhetoric, a luxury not available to Turkey’s former subject peoples in the Balkans and Middle East. When, in March, Turkey attempted to force Greece’s borders open with thousands of migrants assembled from the slums of Istanbul, the Bayraktar drone that hovered above the contested border fence bore the callsign 1453, the date of the fall of Constantinople, just as the drill-ships that constantly threaten to violate Greek and Cypriot sovereignty bear the names of the Ottoman admirals and corsairs who ravaged the coasts of Greece and Europe. 

Turkey’s intent, the country’s interior minister Suleyman Soylu boasted during the border crisis, was to destroy the European Union. “Europe cannot endure this, cannot handle this,” he claimed. “The governments in Europe will change, their economies will deteriorate, their stock markets will collapse.” In a speech this month, at the same time as the Turkish navy threatened Greece with war, Soylu outlined Turkey’s civilisational vision of the new world order: “On this path,” he told the assembled audience of military dignitaries, “we’ll design by embracing the entire world with our civilisation, holding the West and East with one hand, the North and South in the other, the Middle East and the Balkans in one hand, the Caucasus and Europe in the other.”

In the newly-annexed regions of northern Syria, Turkey’s rebel proxy militias, dominated by ethnic Turkmen, name themselves after Ottoman sultans, adopt the Ottoman seal as their logos and give interviews in front of maps of the Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent, all while expelling the region’s Kurds and Christians from their homes. In Syria as in Libya and Iraq, Erdogan’s expansionist vision explicitly cites the Ottoman Empire as legitimation for its path of conquest, tracing Erdogan’s “borders of the heart” far beyond the reach of modern Turkey, from Thessaloniki in the West to Mosul in the East. Seizing on weakness wherever he finds it, even the heart of liberal Europe itself lies in the Turkish strongman’s sights. 

When his ministers were barred from addressing crowds of ethnic Turks in the Netherlands and his supporters rioted in The Hague, Erdogan called the Dutch government “Nazis” before telling the Turks of Europe: Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you.” Alternating, with all the passionate inconsistency of a SOAS undergraduate, between triumphalist Islamic expansionism and accusations of racism and Islamophobia wherever his will is thwarted, the Turkish strongman crows over his starring role in the continent’s decline, boasting thatEurope will pay for what they have done. God willing, the question of the European Union will again be on the table,” and exulting that while “they said a century ago that we were the ‘sick man,’ now they are the ‘sick man.’ Europe is collapsing.” 

As with the Netherlands, urging Turks in Europe to outbreed their native hosts and then calling European leaders Nazis when they protest, Erdogan’s civilisational discourse exists in a strange symbiosis with the Western far-right, seen most dramatically in his response to the Christchurch shooting last year. When the killer Brandon Tarrant slaughtered 51 Muslim worshippers in the Christchurch mosque, it was with a rifle on which he had scrawled the names of various European battles against the Ottomans. In his manifesto, Tarrant had explicitly cited Erdogan as “leader of one of the oldest enemies of our people” and threatened Turks, who he described as “ethnic soldiers currently occupying Europe,” that “we will kill you and drive you roaches from our lands. We are coming for Constantinople and will destroy every mosque and minaret in the city. The Haghia Sophia will be free of minarets and Constantinople will be rightfully Christian-owned once more.” In direct response, Erdogan aired Tarrant’s livestream of the slaughter at his campaign rallies, to the horror of the New Zealand government, declaring days after the killings that “you will not turn Istanbul into Constantinople,” and vowing that ”Hagia Sophia will no longer be called a museum. Its status will change. We will call it a mosque,” a promise he fulfilled last month, leading the faithful in prayer in the great cathedral’s second conquest. 

To the horror of liberal European politicians, like the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, who Turkish foreign Mevlut Çavuşoğlu warned was “dragging Europe into the abyss,” and that “Holy wars will soon begin in Europe,” Erdogan’s AKP party revels in the rhetoric of civilisational conflict. Intentionally or not, Erdogan is doing much to drag the continent’s centrist politicians rightwards. Through his actions, he stokes fear and distrust of Europe’s Muslim minority, and then reaps the domestic rewards of the response his warlike discourse brings. But as with many of his stunts, Erdogan’s short-term gains may have unintended consequences stretching far into the future, both for Turkey and for Europe. 

Turkey’s growing naval provocations in the Mediterranean are fuelling such an angry response from European politicians, helmed by Emmanuel Macron, that the EU’s foreign minister Josep Borrell remarked with exasperation in the European Parliament recently that, listening to the mood of the assembled MEPs, “I thought I saw in the Chamber that Pope Pius V had resurfaced calling for the Holy Alliance against Turkey and mobilising the troops of Christendom to face the Ottoman invasion.” It is not difficult to foresee Macron, tacking right as he heads towards the election season, fusing his campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood at home with an assertive European posture against Turkey abroad. A civilisation, like an ethnic group, is defined as much in opposition to a rival Other as from any intrinsic cultural content, and in each other both Erdogan and Macron may have found the perfect foils for their civilisational projects.

Indeed, it is striking that Europe’s soi-disant liberal saviour is the most prominent Western adopter of the new language of civilisation-states: no doubt the former Hegel scholar has discerned the Weltgeist. In an overlooked speech last year to a gathering of France’s ambassadors, Macron mused that China, Russia and India were not merely economic rivals but “genuine civilisation states… which have not just disrupted our international order, assumed a key role in the economic order, but have also very forcefully reshaped the political order and the political thinking that goes with it, with a great deal more inspiration than we have.” Macron observed that “they have a lot more political inspiration than Europeans today. They take a logical approach to the world, they have a genuine philosophy, a resourcefulness that we have to a certain extent lost.”

Warning his audience that “we know that civilisations are disappearing; countries as well. Europe will disappear,” Macron lauded the civilisational projects of Russia and Hungary, which “have a cultural, civilisational vitality that is inspiring,” and declared that France’s mission, its historic destiny, was to guide Europe into a civilisational renewal, forging a “collective narrative and a collective imagination. That is why I believe very deeply that this is our project and must be undertaken as a project of European civilisation.”

There is much here for British conservatives to like, certainly far more than the Global Britain fantasies which neoconservative and neoliberal thinktankers persist in trying to sell the Johnson government. Writing for a British audience in The Guardian last year, Macron remarked that “nationalists are misguided when they claim to defend our identity by withdrawing from the EU, because it is European civilisation that unites, frees and protects us.” Instead, he urged, “we are at a pivotal moment for our continent, a moment when together we need to politically and culturally reinvent the shape of our civilisation in a changing world. Now is the time for a European renaissance.” Yet for Britain, as for the rest of Europe, defining the essential nature of that civilisation is a harder question than it is for China or for Russia. 

Whereas the rising civilisation-states of Eurasia define themselves against the liberal West, the West, and Europe, struggle to define their own very natures, and place greater intellectual emphasis on deconstructing it than on defending it: an urge that is, like the impetus to deny the existence of civilisations as bounded entities, itself ironically a unique marker of our own civilisation. Perhaps a civilisation is merely an empire that survived through and past the age of nation states, yet it is nation states, carved from the bloody wreckage of past empires, that define modern Europe. Perhaps Guy Verhofstadt, the risible butt of Brexiteer mirth, was right after all when he observed that “the world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries. It’s a world order that is based on empires.” 

But then, though there are strong political taboos against observing it, we already live as subjects of an American empire, though few would want to claim America as a civilisation; fewer, indeed, than view the struggling hegemon as an anti-civilisation, dissolving the variety of European and other cultures in the harsh solvent of global capital.  Does even the West exist as a coherent, bounded entity? As Coker notes, “Neither the Greeks nor sixteenth-century Europeans… regarded themselves as ‘Western’, a term which dates back only to the late eighteenth century.” Macron urges us to root our sense of belonging to a specific European civilisation in the Enlightenment, yet this is a far from convincing prospect. After all, it was the universalising tendencies contained in Enlightenment liberalism that led us to this impasse in the first place. As Portugal’s former foreign minister Bruno Macaes observed in a perceptive recent essay, it is precisely the global aspirations of liberalism that have severed the West, and Europe particularly, from its own cultural roots. 

“Western societies have sacrificed their specific cultures for the sake of a universal project,” Macaes notes. “One can no longer find the old tapestry of traditions and customs or a vision of the good life in these societies.” Our naive faith that liberalism, derived from the political and cultural traditions of Northern Europe, would conquer the world has now been shattered for good. Instead, it is the defiantly non-liberal civilisation-states of Eurasia that threaten to swallow us whole. Where then, does that leave Europe, and what are we to do with liberalism? “Now that we have sacrificed our own cultural traditions to create a universal framework for the whole planet,” Macaes asks, “are we now supposed to be the only ones to adopt it?”

In 1996, the political theorist Samuel P. Huntington observed that ‘in the emerging world of ethnic conflict and civilizational clash, the Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems: It is false, it is immoral and it is dangerous. Imperialism is the necessary logical consequence of universalism.” Yet Huntington, like his critics, was writing at a time of unchallenged American pre-eminence. Critics of Huntington’s civilisational thesis, like modern academic critics of the concept of civilisation-states, are challenging a construct that no longer exists, of an all-powerful West arrogantly dismissing the rest from a standpoint of political superiority. Now, however, it is we in the West who are in decline and it is in the universalising myths of liberalism that our powerful civilisational rivals trace the root causes of our failure.

In any case, even within the American empire, the collapse of US power abroad and the growing disfavour with which European civilisation is held in the United States itself do not bode well for the longterm survival of a coherent Western civilisation. If the West, like liberalism, is at this stage merely a justifying ideology for the American empire, then we will be forced to replace it with something else soon enough. It is precisely this problem of determining what that replacement will be that will define Britain and Europe’s politics for the rest of our lifetimes. Europe’s ageing liberal ideologues, the fading 1968 generation which has dominated our politics for so long, do not appear to have answers for these questions; indeed, they do not even seem to realise, even now, that these questions exist. 

It is only when we see Macron struggling to rally European civilisation for the coming age of empires, or observe European strongmen like Viktor Orban, hailed by many Anglo-Saxon conservatives as the saviour of Western civilisation, railing against the West with all the passion and fury of an anti-colonial revolutionary, that we see glimpses of a future stranger and more complex than our current political discourse allows. When we see Poland mandating the study of Latin in schools to imbue pupils with an understanding of “the Latin roots of our civilisation,” or the young rising star of the Dutch radical right Thierry Baudet asserting that we are living through a “European spring,” “contradictory to the political spectrum that has dominated the West since the French Revolution,” which will “change the direction that all our countries are going to take in the coming two generations,” we discern, just as we do in the BLM protests or the spread of the American social justice faith in our streets and universities, the political battlegrounds of Europe’s future.

The most perceptive critique of Huntington’s civilisational thesis was always that the bloodiest confrontations were within civilisations and not between them. In the new age of the civilisation-state, perhaps the greatest challenge to our social harmony will come not from the challengers beyond our cultural borders, but from the battle within them to define who and what they defend.


Aris Roussinos is an UnHerd columnist and a former war reporter.

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David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago

Meanwhile Europe is in the process of being colonised by the rest of the world.
European politicians stuck backwards in trying to resolve the problems created by the devastating hyper-nationalism of their strongest state in the 1940s ,seem to have missed their cue to advocate and protect the multi-dimensional European Civilisation State, too busy demolishing the very civilisation we Europeans share and replacing it with a vague model of multicultural diversity, which in reality will eventually dilute, weaken and demolish European culture altogether, replacing it with fragmentation and discord.

Why is Europe the only Continent which feels obliged to encourage mass, uncontrolled immigration from the world to its crowded shores and which even invites those who come to sustain and spread their own cultural values in Europe, while they reject European ones in increasingly racist language?

It is a very strange process of self-harm to make a whole Continent’s population feel increasingly like strangers in their own homes.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Yes. As I have said for many years, Europe (and the West in general) is both collapsing from within and deliberately inviting destruction from without.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

The European birth is far too low, particularly in comparison to that of the burgeoning immigrant population.

Unless this problem is addressed with the utmost alacrity, there will be a terrible reckoning, the like of which we haven’t seen for many years

Historically, host communities do not ‘roll over’ when invaders appear. They fight back, with everything the’ve got.

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Yep, with the world popultion heding inexorably towards a tipping point of complete unsustainability what we need is hundreds of million of Europeans breeding like rabbits. If you knew anything about facts you would know that every single piece of extant research shows that where women in the developing contries can get easy access to birth control then the size of families drops precipitately.What is the policy of the U.S. for the last two decades? Let me see now, oh yes, it’s to refuse funds to organisations that promote birth control and provide abortion. Where doe this policy come from? Spittle flecked Christian loonies who are every bit as ignorant, vicious, and stupid as their counterparts in the Taliban. Still, they claim to be Christians, so it doesn’t matter does it?

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

Not true in Africa, where birth rates are still high.

And that’s not the policy of the US, maybe some States or counties.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

It is astonishing when one researches say, population in 1950 in some countries and compares it with now.
Countries like Ethiopia, subject to massive famine is if memory serves, four times larger since Live Aid for example.
Why should developed regions take mass migration without suspicion or comments?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

Thanks for that facetious diatribe.

Nobody, to use the vernacular is advocating that Europeans start
“bonking like bunnies”.

However with a European reproduction rate of 1.8 against a Muslim one of currently at 3.0 there will be trouble. Do you seriously deny that?

I almost forgot to welcome you to this site.
It’s good to have a full throttle shrieker to maintain a balance, wouldn’t you agree?

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

A lot of spittle flecked people are down ticking your very cogent remarks.
The Christian right would perhaps prefer the situation that existed in Ireland. Protestant low birthrate. Catholic high birthrate. That ended well didn’t it?
I really can’t see how they allow low Christian birthrates while encouraging immigration of combative religious groups that almost always sees larger families.
Apologies for some words. I’m exploring. I’m staying what I see but do not understand.

Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

As the EU disaster grinds on with the inevitable consequences and the USA self-destructs perhaps the UK’s salvation lies in the formation of a Commonwealth of Nations Civilisation?

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

Most of the commonwealth hated the colonisation.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Strange then that they all wanted to become part of the Commonwealth or move to the U.K.
incidentally, have you been to Pakistan lately?
Holiday homes in the mountains are being enticingly advertised as “British era bungalows”

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

And, in addition to the comment by Giulia, I can cite the following incident, which I have also cited in the 8th August article in Macron in Lebanon.

Over twenty years ago, I was at a meal for about 15 people, where a conversation broke out about what was happening in Pakistan. That was during the mid- or late-1990s. I was sitting next to an elderly engineer of Pakistani origin who, I guess, would have been in his early 20s when the state of Pakistan was established in 1947.

As the quite animated conversation went on around us, he turned to me and said “It was better when the British were there.” He spoke very quietly, with a twinkle in the eye. But he spoke in utter seriousness. An unusual story, truthfully told.

Philip Clayton
Philip Clayton
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

Oh? I thought there was already a Commonwealth. A moribund organisation containing many countries that are hopelessly corrupt and with extremely harsh government.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Clayton

Some are “hopelessly corrupt ” maybe because the Brits are no longer in charge!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

LOL
Every year according to the National Crime Agency c.100b of dirty money flows through London.
And what has UK GOV done about it (for decades BTW)? Nothing!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

Yes, what UK needs is more Pakistani migration

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Noblesse oblige.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

The multicultural experiment, while laudable in its aims, has failed. It must politely, but firmly, be reversed.

Storm Shadow
Storm Shadow
3 years ago
Reply to  chrisjwmartin

There’s no need for politeness toward those who declare war upon you. That’s part of the Western liberal mindset that created this mess. You have to think and act differently if you want different results. In particular, you have to relearn how to fight for primal things like your lands and people, and stop being slaves to the enervating and suicidal abstractions of Christianity and progressivism.

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago
Reply to  Storm Shadow

I sort of agree, but a) I think one can be polite while one fights, and b) I would distinguish between behaviour to the masses that have been imported, often unwillingly, to these shores, and behaviour to the corrupt elites who carried out and benefitted from the importing. While the latter deserve no mercy, the former are victims of this process just as we are, and should be speedily returned to their ancestral lands with our sincere best wishes for their future.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

“…encourage mass..”
completely not true; the boat people are illegal migrants that claim refugee status So unless you are going to sink the boats (with the people in) what are you going to do about it?

Storm Shadow
Storm Shadow
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Fierce action is sometimes required to defend your homeland and culture from destruction. We’ll know that a new age has arrived when there are again young Europeans willing to fight for their survival. Liberalism is a poison that slowly saps the vitality of cultures and destroys them; this seems rather obvious by now. The choice of European man now is simple: reject liberalism and survive, or continue to embrace it and be buried.

Storm Shadow
Storm Shadow
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

The real question is why aren’t you rising up en masse and smashing these forces that are destroying your homelands, cultures and peoples, and not just talking about it?

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago

This is a thought-provoking article like others by Roussinos, but it overestimates the coherence and viability of these ‘civilisation-state’ projects, and does not take full account of how they are received by their neighbours and by these states’ own minorities. All of them are based on historical narratives every bit as bogus as those which have long sustained nation-states. Putin certainly pays lip-service to Russia’s multi-ethnic identity, as does Surkov (who is half Chechen). You can make this distinction between Russianness as a state and civilisation and as ethnicity in Russian (but not in English) by referring to ‘Rossiiskii’ and ‘Rossiyane’ rather than ‘Russkii’ and ‘Russkie’. In reality however this is a cover for an aggressive form of Russian ethnic nationalism that does indeed have racial overtones, with darker-skinned Caucasians and Central Asians the targets. The same is true of Turkey – the Ottoman empire’s great strength was its ability to manage multiple nationalities, and to assimilate Albanians, Armenians, Bosnians and Circassians into its ruling elite. Erdogan’s is a narrow-minded Turkish nationalist project that owes far more to Ataturk than he is prepared to admit, which is why he is still persecuting the Kurds. And as for China – what this talk about 1,000 years of continuous civilisation is designed to disguise is the enormous damage that was done to that civilisation not by ‘foreign enemies’ but by the CCP itself under Mao. There are massive discontinuities between how China was ruled under the Qing (who were not Chinese, and like the Ottomans had a multi-ethnic, supra-national elite – not just Manchus but Mongols, Tibetans and Uyghurs) and what we see today, where the vicious campaigns against Tibetans, Uyghurs are designed to extinguish all forms of non-Han culture, and even Cantonese distinctiveness is being crushed in the interests of complete cultural and political homogeneity. I do not think any of these political projects is sustainable in the long term – they all involve repression, massive state corruption and abuse of power and the removal of legitimate outlets for dissent. God knows ‘the West’ has its problems, but its cultures are far more flexible and accommodating, and its political systems far more responsive to public concerns with a capacity for reform.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I see little sign of the west’s political system being ‘more responsive’ to public concerns. Politicians across the west seem to take great delight in wilfully ignoring the concerns of the vast majority of the public.

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

They can only do it for so long, and then the chickens come home to roost, as we see with Brexit.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, but the political class still spend years fighting the result of the referendum, and some of them are still fighting. The truth is that across the West, the politicians hate the people. And, by God, the feeling is mutual.

Richard Kerridge
Richard Kerridge
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Nearly half of the voters in that referendum did not vote for Brexit. Are they not ‘the people’ as well? You are saying that only those who agree with you count as ‘the people’. That is the usual trouble with invocations of ‘the people’.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Nope, 16M people are not the people. They are the Elite.
And Fraser can not explain why populist can not win power even in countries with proportional representation.
The elite is not responsible for the debacle that is UKIP post Farage.

Richard Kerridge
Richard Kerridge
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

But 17M are ‘the people’, exclusively?

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

But ‘ nearly half’ says it all unless you live in a commie haven or religious caliphate or some other non democratic place.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

nearly half is the elite
but the other half is the people?

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The elite hate and despise the people – there can be no doubt of that.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

The referendum was a once off fluke. I mean allowing one. The parliaments, supposedly representing the people were majority hostile up Brexit.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If that is the case why don’t populist parties win national elections?

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Because media elites spread fear and poison the well against them.

The people are too frightened to vote as they really believe and then spend five years complaining about what they voted for to ‘play safe’.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

somehow (magically?) only c.20% of the population get the truth….
UKIP obvious incompetence is the fault of BBC/guardian?

Frederick B
Frederick B
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Were Brexit and Trump not victories for populism? Anyway that’s what leftist journalists and politicians have been telling us since 2016. And the ultra conservative governments in Hungary and Poland?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Frederick B

Trump lost the popular vote by 3M and lost the mid-term elections in 2018. The ball simply bounced his way in the electoral college.
In 2019 Pis (Poland) got only 44% of the popular vote.

claus.l.rasmussen
claus.l.rasmussen
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

They did in Italy, Poland and Hungary. Some would also count Brexit and Trump as populist wins

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Old Nige, in various guises, won seriou percentages. So where is the representation?
Given two flavours of cheese to eat, you pick one or the other. What if like my son, cheese makes you I’ll?

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

China and Russia have governments that govern in the national interest which is what people appreciate. No Western voter can remember the last thing their government did that was in the national interest.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

Yes, …unless as a secondary or fortuitous outcome. Even water & sewer come at the instance of private real estate developers.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

Historically, even in my lifetime, China has butchered its own people on an industrial scale. Russia likewise, but I wasn’t born in time to witness it.

Presumably you are aware of this or are you in denial as we now say?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser – some truth there are elites in the West not always comfortable with popular views e.g. Brexit, immigration, but there is absolutely no comparison with the situation in China, Russia and indeed the majority of non Western States.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

An excellent dissection of Roussinos’s interesting, if slightly alarmist polemic.

The only credible threat is China, and Rousinnos seems to hoover up their ridiculous propaganda with alacrity.

Paradoxically, even Christopher Coker, in his recent tome, (2017) ‘The Improbable War’ sees war between China and the US as a distinct possibility. Many shriekers in the West are in complete denial, or as Eugene Norman said in another post, ‘why should we worry it’s on the other side of the planet’!

The other players, Putin and Erdogan are mere pygmies in comparison to the menace that the CCP, and the China they have enslaved, represent.

Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

“The only credible threat is China” with respect you seem to have missed his central point that the “the bloodiest confrontations were within civilisations and not between them” Western civilisations increasingly stabilised and fragmented. This surely is our most credible threat as the “American social justice faith” accelerates and confronts classic liberalism ideals as well as small ‘c’ conservatism.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Anderson

A good point but let’s not get too bogged down with defining a civilisation, or we could be here for eons.

Did Rome regard Carthage as an ‘alien’ civilisation or was it within?Almost certainly the former, but not so with say Macedonia or the other Hellenistic states.

Today is not China just a giant Marxist/Fascist Western clone?
What remains of Han,Tang,Sung, Yuan, Ming and Qin/Manchu China? Virtually nothing. Marx,Adolph and Freeman have confined Confucius to the dustbin of history.

Since the absolute triumph of the English driven, Industrial Revolution the entire world, has in effect become the West. They may have nostalgic memories of Confucius or Asoka, but in reality they count for little.

In the 1850’s Japan was locked in a feudal time warp, of heading chopping Samurai, and manic Emperor worship.
After a brutal encounter with the Western barbarians, via such incidents as the Satsuma War, they very quickly recognised the error of their ways and transformed themselves by astonishing metamorphoses into a Western power. So Western, that less than a century later it needed two (Western) atomic bombs to bring them to heel.
Is it really any different with China?

So perhaps the assertion that “the bloodiest confrontations were within civilisations” is correct, because there is no other viable civilisation as such.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Countries can adopt industrialisation but this doesn’t mean they have to abandon their past, or once abandoned that they can’t be resurrected. As I says above as the CCP becomes more anti western it might as well abandon even the pretense of Marxism.

arthur brogard
arthur brogard
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

‘bring them to heal’ … I like that. 🙂

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Anderson

I don’t agree with the “bloodiest” premise. WWI-II cost in excess of 100 million lives, all to save Western Capitalism against the threat of Asian Collectivism.

“Social justice” movements in the US are businesses, extorting cheques from PR depts. and the guilt bank, …all bad faith, very narrow interest and very profitable.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

China is in fact on the other side of the planet. Relax. To get to you and without a deep sea navy capable of massive troop movement, the Chinese army would have to invade Mongolia, Russia (and hundreds of miles of their territory), then the Ukraine, Belarus, then the Eastern and south eastern European nations, then Germany, France, mopping up Holland and belgium and to protect their flanks possibly Italy and Spain etc, then assemble a navy, then invade Blighty, then find your house.

Or they could go though Afghanistan, Iran,Iraq, Turkey, Greece etc. Shorter but more countries.

You are probably safe.

US hegemony is under threat which is why people colonised by American thought are so incensed.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Many thanks for you very kind reassurance, but I wasn’t contemplating the imminent arrival of Fu Manchu and his fierce mongoloid horde in the Cotswolds just quite yet.

In fact you know my position, as
Cato the Censor would have said “Sino delenda est”.

I note you have ally on this site, who goes by the pseudonym of Robert Scheetz,
Judging by his/her syntax etc, he/she may have the misfortune to be Germany or even worse Austrian.

Finally, may I congratulate you on the way you summarily dealt with the classic shrieker who calls himself/herself Philip Clayton? Your demolition of his/her feeble multiculturalist thesis was a masterpiece. Thank you.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Many thanks for you very kind reassurance, but I wasn’t contemplating the imminent arrival of Fu Manchu and his fierce mongoloid horde in the Cotswolds just quite yet.

In fact you know my position as
Cato the Censor might have said “Sino delenda est”.
I note you have ally on this site, who goes by the pseudonym of Robert Scheetz,
Judging by his/her syntax etc, he/she maybe Germany or even perhaps an Austrian.
Finally, may I congratulate you on the way you summarily dealt with the classic shrieker who calls himself/herself Philip Clayton? Your demolition of his/her feeble multiculturalist thesis was a masterpiece. Thank you.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Thanks. I’ve tried to reply in more detail but the Censor forbids it. It is impossible to establish what offence one has committed, and therefore difficult if not impossible to rectify.

I suspect the hand of Tok Tok!

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

China is no threat at all. It’s doing quite well with its trade and modernization programme. What could it possibly want with war and all its mess when it’s not already acquiring all it needs efficiently with its brains and money?

But the Thucydides Trap is far along. The US will have to start a war with China (N Korea, Iran, Taiwan are the lit fuses) because, except for military, it has exhausted all its other potentials, …and survival itself is becoming increasingly problematized as ecocide inexorably advances.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

I am glad we agree that war is inevitable.

I presume that is the meaning of “the Thucydides Trap is far along”?

We will obviously never agree on the malevolence or otherwise of China.

I liked your use of the word ecocide! It has a certain, very comforting, classical ring, about it, don’t you think?

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

“Malevolence” is the wrong word. For individuals sure: certainly Zbig hated Ruskies, Bibi hates muslims, Trump, folks from shit-hole countries, nso on; and I’m sure China along with most of the world loathe the US for its gangsterism and chintzy culture, and wish it ill; but come to foreign policy a state acts from cold-blooded perceived self-interest.

croftyass
croftyass
3 years ago

Excellent-my thought also- I do not think any of these political projects is sustainable in the long term – they all involve repression, massive state corruption and abuse of power and the removal of legitimate outlets for dissent.
Turkey is being stretched on all fronts and all 4 mentioned “civilisation states” will be hammered during the pandemic economic collapse-which will in all likelihood push them further into despotic states .
Don’t write off the USA-its consistently bounced back and despite its faults is just so much more capable of dominating economically & militarily-if you were an investor wheer would you put your money-Turkey/India/Russia /China….or USA-no brainer long term

Stephen Kennedy
Stephen Kennedy
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

The past is not likely to be the future for the United States. For 300 years the Anglo-elite defined what it meant to be an American. For good or ill that domination has been eroding for decades and is probably coming to an end. Maybe the new model can ‘bounce back’ again, but I’m not so sure.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago

“Being an American” will mean anything, everything and nothing in future.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

But it’s going to be very hard for what the 60s band sang, when coffee coloured people are the new Americans for them to create a narrative based on the indigenous 1st race followed by Europeans then Africans. Don’t forget the massive early 1800s Chinese influx too.
How will they establish a cultural heritage to entrap their people and threaten their neighbours?

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

Er, the US is clearly doing worse post Covid than China. I’d be dubious about turkey as a civilisational state, though.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Also invest in China, long term.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

No, that would be lunacy!

China will not be here “long term”.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Wouldn’t civilised have sounded better here?

“Civilisational” sounds frightfully ‘shrieker/woke’, if you don’t mind me saying so.

claus.l.rasmussen
claus.l.rasmussen
3 years ago
Reply to  croftyass

> all 4 mentioned “civilisation states” will be hammered during the pandemic economic collapse

China seems to be doing fine. They are not the export-driven economy they used to be and their closest trading partners in the region are also largely unaffected by the economic slowdown in the West

Russia is suffering from the price war against Saudi Arabia but they’re still far above what they’ve experienced before Putin so I doubt they’ll need to tighten the controls: They’ve been under Western boycott for so long that they don’t depend on our markets as much as they used to

Export to GDP ratios (link) according to Wiki

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago

I agree. Hindsight is the only 20-20 vision, except that the appearance of 20-20 vision is illusory. We cobble together apparently coherent narratives based on events that were not seen as related at the time, and may not be. Humans are intrinsically pattern-makers. We try to find coherence in the most random patterns, and will triumphantly announce that we have found them, even when the pattern is randomly generated by a computer. Small chance, then, that we can be sure of the coherence we think we find in cultural and political history.

The article’s references to Russia are a good example. Russia is in fact pretty weak and divided. Putin whips up nationalism precisely because it is weak, and is apprehensive of outsiders. No change there, then. It is a large country, and was always based on dominating smaller countries around it. A number of those declared independence the moment they felt they could, and won’t be going back into a revived Russian Empire any time soon. They have cultural identities of their own. Visiting Estonia a couple of years back it was striking to see how West-facing it had become, with English replacing Russian as the principal foreign language, and the post-war communist period being referred to as the “Russian occupation”. Only those countries which were too slow in joining NATO have actually been invaded, and that rather surreptitiously.

Perhaps the EU’s failure to instil unity amongst member states is precisely because they are members and not subject states, despite all the ridiculous rhetoric about Brussels dictatorship, etc. The EU was never, and could not be, an empire. Good thing too: the history of empires is that they fail. Always. You can’t have an empire that doesn’t go outside its own borders, by definition. But as soon as it does, it encounters resistance: Arab resistance to the Ottomans, Europe’s resistance to the Nazis, Chechnya’s to the Russians, and that of the Uighurs and Tibetans to China. And as recent research suggests, 3.5% of the population in resistance is all it takes to topple a government.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Mr Tusk seems to think the EU is an empire, or should be.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Sure. It should. However they were far too timid. To recreate a Roman Empire (holy or not) you have to at the very least agree on a common language and base culture (with the individual countries maintain vernacular languages and cultures as well). Do we have one? We do. It’s called Latin. The language and culture.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

All of this is wishful thinking. To take it in order – yes the Russians are dominant in the Russian state, as is Russian culture. All civilisation states have some dominant culture. Same with Turkey and the Turks.

The US was a civilisational state with its Anglo Saxon roots (I say Anglo Saxon because “becoming white” in the US wasn’t a racist act, despite what Ignatiev et al. say, rather it was the opposite – the loss of ethnicity for all Europeans except the early English).

Dissolving its original culture is pretty unusual and probably won’t work out for them, or us if we slavishly copy the US. But that’s enough about the worlds first anti-civilisational state.

And China was ruined by the CCP, but the cultural revolution is over and in fact the post Mao communists were victims of the cultural revolution. Hardly fans. It’s fairly reasonable to say that they aren’t economic communists anymore. They aren’t political communists anymore either. Maybe, and probably, a Chinese civilisational state will reject the western white ideology of communism, and rename themselves the Chinese Confucian party.

As for the last refrain that the western cultures are flexible and responsive to public concerns, were any of this true we wouldn’t be where we are and immigration would be curtailed, and the jobs in China would be in the west.

claus.l.rasmussen
claus.l.rasmussen
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

> Chinese Confucian Party

Bingo! I’ve been thinking the same for a long time. They’re only Communist in name and are much better understood as Confucian

I once thought that when China got rich they would also turn into a democratic state but I’m having my doubts. The civilization state as suggested in the article is a plausible alternative outcome

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago

All empires are multiracial and multicultural.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

What is the percentage of Han Chinese in the current Empire, if I may ask?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

Again, what is the percentage of Han Chinese in the multi cultural ‘wonderland’ you seem to think is the CCP?

My sources indicate about 96%! Is that about correct, or are you, as usual in total denial?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago

Alexander, it is good that one respondent actually sticks to the topic in question! I think Aris’s argument has some in interesting points, but is somewhat hyperbolic and overstated. In a weak sense, yes, liberalism, and, much later, democracy, have only arisen in the West, and although a staunch atheist myself, this has been very well argued to be has having its distant origins the very special and contingent circumstances of divided power in Western Europe, in particular between church and state. So perhaps expecting liberalism and democracy in other civilisational orders, at least as neoconservatives did, to arise in short order is expecting too much.

On the other hand, as Alexander states there have been huge discontinuities in the political systems in non Western ‘civilisation states’. Russia isn’t ruled by the Tsars, not China on the basis of the Mandate of Heaven and indigenous political philosophies such as Confucian or Legalism, but by an overtly and clearly Western derived Leninist system. So these arguments proposed by Erdogan, Putin, Xi Xinping and others are to large extent simply offering convenient cover for often brutal and repressive governments, and at least in the case of Russia, extremely corrupt and kleptocratic ones to boot. There are foreign casualties of these aggressive states, but the main victims are the people of these States themselves, at least if they want even a minimum of responsiveness to their concerns.

Stephen Kennedy
Stephen Kennedy
3 years ago

“There is no such thing as French culture,” French Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said in Lyon at the beginning of February. One of the more shocking statements I have ever heard. What country is (was?) more proud of its culture than France?

Macron seems to have a very flexible personal ideology.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago

Yes one of the most disgraceful things he said an attitude that ought to have been enough to lose him he election had not Fillon been politicaily assassinated by the Left Media and Le Pen put in the worst performance by a Presidential candidate in a TV head to head ever seen in France!

Although he now does seem to be doing his best to make his stupid statement the truth!

titan0
titan0
3 years ago

A bit like the 1980s Tory denials of the existence of British society?
Now look how they plead for society to act in concert to defeat Covid 19, so that business as usual can begin quickly.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

It was a bit odd for thatcher to opine there was no such thing as society while believing there was such a thing as a nation. Humans are either atomised or they aren’t.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

When read in context, I don’t think she was opting for hyper-individualism in her no such thing as society speech.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Come on Eugene, can’t we stop this (?deliberately) misconstrued quote from Mrs Thatcher? I’ll explain it again. At that time there was, as usual, a lot of leftie groups, Unions and the like demanding this and that from the Government and when asked who would pay, the reply from these groups was “society will pay”. This phrase was deliberately disingenuous, obscuring the fact that actually voters pay. Thus, Mrs Thatcher spoke:

” … and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families …”

meaning, of course, that the voters, not some other thing called society, would be paying for the largesse.

The fact that the Guardian et al have continued this misrepresentation for so long says it all about (left wing, in this case) political debate in this country.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

That was misreported, or out of context. He said there isn’t one French Culture, which is a banal but trivially true thing to say as anybody who has visited France will attest.

Gabriel P
Gabriel P
3 years ago

Nice read, thanks. I will express my point of view but note that I am from Eastern Europe, grew up in communist era (understood Russian culture and civilization a lot better that you – sorry!) and do not like PolCor at all.
If we are talking about “civilization” as about all the material objects made by a group of people, I would say Russia is not a threat at all and China stole the vast majority from us. Russia stole it too, but they are not so smart and more backwarded than the Chinese. If we are talking about “culture” as about all the ideas and immaterial goods made by the same group of people, I would say I am even more relaxed. Neither Russia, nor China provided us lately some major breakthrough ideas or concepts or anything new. The asian authoritarism stays the same, it doesn’t matter if you are doing it from shacks or sky-scrapers.
Western world, the US and the EU have been making some mistakes for a while and that needs to change. We declared some groups of people as totally influenced by us and invited them into our home. But they never felt this way, their purpose was to live a better life in terms of civilization, not culture. It is like declaring a tiger as your guest, inviting him at the dinner table and being astonished that he never used knife and fork while he is eating you.
I can count a lot of mistakes made by politicians in the last couple of years from Mr. Obama, Mrs. Merkel or Mr. Schroeder to Mr. Trump and not least, Mr. Cameron (not for making Brexit referendum, but for not being smart enough to cope with Mrs. Merkel). But in our world they leave. In Asian cultures they stay. Forever or so…
Coming back, ask some upper class people from nations around the world about the books their children should read and count how many are from Chinese culture, how many from Russian culture and how many from the Western world.
We still have a great advantage, I do not know anybody who would want to live in China or Russia. It is true also that I have concerns about the polcor ideas and cancel culture from the US universities.
So: less imported Chinese manufactured goods (including the ones made by western multinationals), more education, freedom of speech and common sense capitalism and we shall win, I have no doubt.

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Gabriel P

In the decorative arts- furniture and china and silver in particular we in the West owe the golden age of the 17th and 18 th century to China. No doubt about it at all. The distinctive chair designs of the time are Chinese and date back to the tenth century . The Chinese method of marrying the top of a table to the base is something we never mastered . We were crude in comparison. My son is a top class furniture maker and uses many Chinese techniques. I used to deal in Chinese country pieces when it was a novelty in the 80s and had some wonderful stuff.
Chinese Chippendale is called that for a reason.
As for literature the Russian writers and poets are right there with anything from the West.

Gabriel P
Gabriel P
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

Speaking about Chinese, you are referring to elements of civilization – some manufactured goods. Of course, western world did not invent everything. But in my opinion, we cannot compare our civilizational and cultural achievements with the Chinese or Russians. If we are thinking of the last five hundred years, we as Europeans have achieved a lot more that any of them. To mark some milestones: Renaissance’s humanism and arts, Age of Discoveries, Reformation, Printing press, Age of Enlightenment, Industrial revolution, Capitalism, Universal vote and so on. I think Niall Ferguson explained in his books a lot better than I could do. Breakthroughs in real subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry and so on, were, and still are, overwhelmingly made by us.
I think China immobilism is better explained by the historians like N. Ferguson or politicians like Kissinger. China is waking up but in order to thrive you need a free society, free ideas and their cultural history says organizational skills are not enough.
Russia is another story; their culture was deeply influenced by European culture after Ivan the Terrible but with some heavy Russian, some would say Mongol, influences. The creation of Oprichnina has an influence to this day, in my opinion (Ceka, NKVD, KGB). Peter the Great openness and later Catherine the Great (Diderot) were made Russian upper society permeable to new ideas (also Alexandre after Napoleonic wars). But their circulation was limited and not so accessible to the wider public. Of course, after an acculturalization they had a golden age in literature but it seems that it is over and I wonder if another one will come. They have a hundred year of isolation, contesting almost anything from the west. Ivan the Terrible masked defeats, Potemkin villages, Stakhanov workload, Michurin plants (we have a joke that says Michurin died by falling off from a strawberry tree :)), Putin’s Covid vaccine are in the meantime the expressions of a Russian perennial culture.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Gabriel P

What did China steal from you?

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
3 years ago
Reply to  Gabriel P

“So: less imported Chinese manufactured goods (including the ones made by
western multinationals), more education, freedom of speech and common sense capitalism and we shall win, I have no doubt.”

Well the problem is that the opposite is happening and has been coming to this present point for decades now. It’s not that we can’t win, it’s that our own civilisation is being deconstructed to death, and nobody with the power to reverse this course seems to want to.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

I do struggle with articles like this because they with one very large flaw and that is the political left in the western world, who call themselves Liberals and Progressives, have rejected Liberalism in all it’s from. The new “Woke” culture that has replace it is totalitarian in nature. It rejects all independent thought and punishes those who deviate, even slightly, from the dictated line. They actively reject free speech and the (human) right to say what you feel.

If we want to promote liberalism we need to practice it and we need to start by accepting people have different views and opinions, that history is complex and stop calling everyone with a different view racist. If we don’t accept liberalism, how can we expect everyone else to accept it?

claus.l.rasmussen
claus.l.rasmussen
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

> the political left in the western world

They’re not the political left.

The political left that united the workers against the capitalists died after the fall of the Wall and was replaced with neoliberalists like Blair, Schröder.

Liberals and Progressives are instead on the political right when we look at their economic policies and if we look at their values they’re directly in confrontation with the much more conservative values of the working class and try to divide them by race, sex, identity, etc. so they’re unable to find a common voice

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
3 years ago

When I saw the new Cathedral of the Armed Forces in Russia I thought that such a building is now impossible in the west. The most important building in Europe this century. And Russia is part of what I call Europe still. It is amazing and really inspiring in a way that we have lost here.
We have to teach our children about our past .Not the revisions and the nit picking pathetic liberal mea culpas but the stories. I was cutting wood with my young grandson and he was using an axe. We talked about how our Saxon ancestors used the battle axe rather that the sword and fought standing shoulder to shoulder rather than on horseback., Then about why we lost in 1066 . Then moved on to the age of the oak close by and was it there before Trafalgar and how the trees tell us the story of our land. Maybe some are folk tales but it does not matter. Slowly he understands what a nation is and what the past was to us.
The schools are hopeless and the enemies of a nation’s understanding of what makes it. To me Orban is a great politician and even Macron is showing something . Johnson and the rest here. Nobodies,

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

You won’t get good leaders in a liberal democracy operating under indiscriminate universal suffrage.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

Fascinating, and a chilling foretaste of the conflict(s) to come, if only we had eyes to see. What the writer doesn’t mention is Christianity, which along with classical antiquity underpinned what was western civilisation (including the enlightenment). Macron half-realises this, but appears to think that the political project of the EU will fill the God-shaped hole, in which belief he’s seriously deluded.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Christianity is kaput. It seems that Western Man will have to go through his five stages of grief before he will accept that it is now dead and must be buried. Its replacement can only be Islam, of course. After all, it cannot be Hinduism or Buddhism, can it?

arthur brogard
arthur brogard
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

its replacement hasn’t got a name, I think, but it stems, or will stem, from the accounts of NDE (near death experiences) and ‘reincarnations’.

these accounts are totally persuasive and seem to clearly show we are ‘spirit’ beings that come to earth to inhabit an earthly body for a while and then return from whence we came.

and the simple consistent message shared by all is ‘love’. they say god is love. they say there’s but one energy in all of creation and that it is sentient and it is ‘god’ and it is ‘love’ and we are of it.

maybe this growing new religion will have no other name but that: ‘love’.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

Clearly nothing to do with displacing one’s indigenous population with an imported electorate: a process so advanced in Britain that natives are already outnumbered in many areas and destined to ethnic minority status by 2066 according to Oxford demographer David Coleman; if not before given last year’s influx was the highest annual figure ever.

It’s partly for this reason, I believe, that Greek scholar, Europhile and British nationalist Powell argued that we should side with the Russians rather than Americans in the Cold War, i.e. because of the latter’s inherent multi-racialism. Though it wasn’t race as such that concerned Powell but numbers and concentration.

Also the concept of race should be qualified. His point was purely to do with race understood as shared physical characteristics, which given sufficient numbers, he argued, is bound to operate as a potent source of group identity. Thus shared appearance would come to function as what he called a “political uniform” practically guaranteeing civil war.

One thing we know with certainty is that nowhere have such divergent populations ever peacefully co-existed. Certainly not in such numbers and in such proximity. America functioned as a kind of caste system where people were separated to mitigate rivalries.

One universal factor among humans is that our fiercest rivals are always those closest to us. Whether it be Caths v Prods; Sunni v Shia; Millwall V West Ham. The problem with race isn’t so much the difference as sameness: i.e that if appearance is to be a form of political identity for group X, that feeling is bound to be reciprocated by group y.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

Yes, and this process of ethno-differentiation (or whatever you want to call it) is well under way in the US. Possibly to the point of Civil War, although the black conservative and often Trump-supporting podcasters are incredibly popular online.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

There is no racial divide. The conflict is merely people who still have their natural instincts and those whose natural instincts have been excised by feminism.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Sean L

There’s little wrong with an equal multi racial society in my opinion. Where it all went wrong, and in less than 30 years, was the Blairite concept of multi cultural ism.
Every indigenous British household was different to another. Yet those differences left enough similarity that one still felt at home from Scotland to Cornwall and all points East and West.
Now we are racists in our own homes because we don’t speak 150 languages and fully comprehend as many different political and religious beliefs rampant, within our own country.
It is what it is. But the new others need to learn that not knowing is not rasicm. Else soon they will suffer the same charges.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

I generally agree on Britain. But it’s important to interpret ‘race’ here as visible differences. Powell’s argument wasn’t about race in and of itself but numbers and concentration such that shared physical characteristics could come to function as symbols of political identity. In other words appearance as a mark of membership: identifying you as one of us or one of them.

It’s no different in principle to the ban on political uniforms. Or on away supporters in pubs on match days. Except the visible symbol is constitutive of the person himself, and to that extent all the more politically potent.

Recent irruptions in London were premised solely on the racial appearance of the US victim as against the policeman. Ditto any number of other comparable incidents there and here. Without the numbers or concentration race shouldn’t be an issue, because its value as a principle of membership requires a *group*, which is to say numbers in proximity.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in East and West Africa myself and never experienced any racial antagonism comparable to here. And that’s because my appearance is of no political significance to people consumed by their own rivalries. They have no more racial consciousness of themselves as ‘black’ than I had of myself as ‘white’ before coming to London.

No doubt South Africa is the exception proving the rule. But West’s view of Africa generally is a projection of US racial politics. Otherwise, if every African regime were held to the same standard we’d have to boycott them all.

Travelling west across Rift Valley, Kenya in 2008 after the 2007 strife, we passed some UN IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps harbouring Kikuyu who’d been run out of Kallenjin areas in fear of their lives. My Luo driver remarked that if the car broke down now he’d be a dead man because the Kikuyu by the roadside would slaughter him without a second thought.

‘What about me?’ I asked. I’d be okay because they wouldn’t have anything against the white man. Serious antagonism requires proximity. Of course with the media today ‘proximity’ is available everywhere! But you still need numbers on the ground to pose a tenable political threat.

Hence scapegoating of indigenous people here intensifies as people increasingly come to recognise their numerical advantage. It also explains the numbers of young European women at BLM events who are bound to gravitate to those they perceive as dominant, who in this case are paradoxically portrayed as victims: it’s a win / win.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

The civilization states that are referenced have histories that were more bloodthirsty, more ethnocentric, more racist, than the West ever was. And, none of them have ever apologized, not once, for their history. Perhaps, to be requires us to stop apologizing for being.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  vince porter

What do you want Russia, China and Turkey to apologise for?

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

When a question is asked to which there are multiple, manifest, answers, nothing can be gained, or, learned in answering. Dialogue de sourds.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

Have you heard of the Soviet Empire? the expansionist Peter the Great? The Ottoman Empire? the kidnapping and imprisonment of the women/concubines in Turkey and China? the Kurds? the Armenians? Mao’s cultural Revolution? the Uyghurs?

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago

CANZUK is very much a civilisation, thankyou very much. It is not a “global fantasy”.

Oh, and we are negotiating trade deals around the world as I type.

So tired of this casual talking down of Britain.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

The only way to wake up Europeans is a bloody war; liberal democracy, welfare state is just too comfy for most people.
And populist parties (even in proportional systems) are largely incompetent. Danish people’s party is well run (and Sweden Democrats) but none has topped 20% of the vote.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

We seem to be fighting a losing war against some virus or other.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

What makes you think we are losing?
No virus has yet wiped out humanity. I don’t even know anyone who had had it.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
3 years ago

A lot of this discussion has focussed on politics and culture, almost as if economics didn’t matter. Culture and ethnicity are often the political rationalization for the underlying issues of income and wealth. Follow the money.

China’s greatest accomplishment in the last 3 decades has not been a professed return to Confucian values or ethnic solidarity but successful urbanization and the lifting of hundreds of millions of its people from poverty through trade and the adoption of a largely market economy.

People are willing to put up with corruption, income inequality and totalitarian leaders provided that the majority are becoming better off economically. If or when China is no longer successful at doing this then like the Soviet Union, its Communist Party government will also eventually collapse from within and be replaced. As will any other country, including the UK or the US.

The demonstrations Macron has had to face from the yellow vests were about the price of gasoline, an economic issue. Brexit also has an economic element in its view that the EU was bad for the UK’s economy and that the UK would be better off being out of it. Trump’s trade war with China is not about American culture, but his belief that he can punish China economically for stealing American intellectual property and can repatriate jobs his country has lost to China because of its lower wages and lack of effective environmental laws. Money talks.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago

Good article. Thank you.
Western liberalism no longer has any answers for the West so it is hardly surprising it has no answers for the rest of the world who, as you quite rightly point out, can see all our weaknesses better than we can ourselves.
What I always find amusing is how we criticise our own countries, for how feminism has destroyed the family, how the welfare state has created myriad problems, how SJWs have taken over our universities where free speech is under threat, how corporatism reigns supreme, then seek to lecture other countries on women’s rights, social justice and, the really big one, democracy.
We only got full democracy around 100 years ago, but apparently that is the answer to everything.
What I think would at least be a start is if we stopped lecturing quite so much and tried to respect the sovereignty of other nations. After all, most of us on here, believe our own sovereignty to be exceedingly important.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Go Away Please

No mention of the failure of Christianity and democracy. How much longer is the West going to stay in denial about this though? The West is as Christian as a human skeleton used to be human. If Christianity were still working, feminism would not be running rampant through all the major organs of state and now causing major organ failure.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

No, he managed to avoid both Christianity and democracy. Still he did say:
“it was the universalising tendencies contained in Enlightenment liberalism that led us to this impasse in the first place”
for which I commend him.
Perhaps his idea of Western civilisation encompasses the Hellenic era (after all with a name like Aris he likely has some Greek in him) as well as the Christian.
Definitely a topic for another article methinks.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
3 years ago

Nice article, but a also unnecessarily dour in its estimation of the U.S.’s continued dominance; Russia is going nowhere with its alcohol problem and unintegratable vastness and China, despite the fake data, still depends on everyone buying their cheap goods. They can have fun trying to make something out of Africa and running into Muslim populations a bit further west that like to blow stuff up.

Simon Webster
Simon Webster
3 years ago

It’s wrong to assert that “China is now the only country in the world which has amalgamated the world’s longest continuous civilization with a […] modern state.” Judaism, whose history as a civilization stretches back 3000 years, has been amalgamated with the State of Israel. Israel has a strong argument for being a civilization-state, albeit a very small one.

And it’s precisely Israel’s success at combining an ancient religion with modern democratic institutions that renders it a thorn in the side of liberal Europe. Israel represents the alternative path Europe could have taken after WWII.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

The following post was deleted because it was “Marked as Spam”. That was after several people had commented on it, and upvoted it. After registering a complaint, nothing has happened. This is becoming a major problem on UnHerd. So I’m trying again.
*******************
Mr Roussinos identifies many of the characteristics that give the civilisation-state its power within its own borders; and his observations about the powerlessness of Western liberalism underline the fact that peoples ” be they defined by language, region, history or whatever, will inevitably strain against forces that reduce their identity as peoples ” and that what the liberal project’s final phases are trying to do. That issue is, perhaps, one of the most striking aspects of Mr Roussinos’s conclusions:

In the new age of the civilisation-state, perhaps the greatest challenge to our social harmony will come not from the challengers beyond our cultural borders, but from the battle within them to define who and what they defend.

I am a life-long Russophile, but for various reasons have visited Russia only once. That was in 2007, and within a very short time it became evident to me and my companions, just how naive were western nations in their bleating about the lack of democracy in Russia, and about Vladimir Putin’s increasingly autocratic actions. It seemed crystal clear to us that, like several Russians I know who live in the UK, a significant majority of Russians wanted their nation to be strong; and that this historically rooted concern with national strength was deeply entwined with a strong awareness of Russia as a cultural power.

Admiration for the Russian ability to create coherent identity out of such a polyglot collection of peoples is always tinged with an uncomfortable awareness that this has sometimes been at the expense of those peoples, and sometimes of their lives. And yet I also have to acknowledge that the authoritarian streak which has made that possible is also responsible for something that Mr Roussinos implies as a defining feature of the civilisation state ” cultural confidence.

In a striking online interview, the head of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg pointed to the paintings by artists French, Italian, German, English and Russian. “This”, he said with an air of supreme certainty, “is Russian culture. Politics, economics ” all these things come and go. It is culture that defines a people, and that is why it is so important.” Can you imagine a British curator saying such a thing?

A striking instance of national cultural confidence, as a foil to western liberalism’s weakness, is offered by the Moscow-based dance and music troupe, The Loktev Ensemble. (Search for them on YouTube ” there are dozens of videos, most of them very professionally produced.) No nation on earth takes dance more seriously than Russia, (just think of the social and cultural prestige of ballet), and the Loktev Ensemble is a training ground in which young people between 7 and 19 can explore that love. They’ll do anything. To them, the “liberal” west’s squeamishness about cultural appropriation must be laughable. Their professionalism, commitment and sense of enjoyment are infectious. And it’s obvious that the troupe has significant national prestige.

A high proportion of online comments about the videos are concerned with cultural issues. Westerners from the anglo-sphere, Spanish-speaking countries and elsewhere repeatedly say things of this kind: “women are women, and men are men”, or “God bless Russia for preserving culture”, or “I so wish we had things like this in my country”, or “this is so much better than the Disneyfied rubbish we have to put up with”. The longing, the desire for cultural confidence, comes across time and time again. Beneath that longing lies a recognition of western failure. And, for some at least, the comparatively autocratic rule required to make a civilisation-state work would be a price worth paying

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Mr Roussinos identifies many of the characteristics that give the civilisation-state its power within its own borders; and his observations about the powerlessness of Western liberalism underline the fact that peoples ” be they defined by language, region, history or whatever, will inevitably strain against forces that reduce their identity as peoples ” and that what the liberal project’s final phases are trying to do. That issue is, perhaps, one of the most striking aspects of Mr Roussinos’s conclusions:

In the new age of the civilisation-state, perhaps the greatest challenge to our social harmony will come not from the challengers beyond our cultural borders, but from the battle within them to define who and what they defend.

I am a life-long Russophile, but for various reasons have visited Russia only once. That was in 2007, and within a very short time it became evident to me and my companions, just how naive were western nations in their bleating about the lack of democracy in Russia, and about Vladimir Putin’s increasingly autocratic actions. It seemed crystal clear to us that, like several Russians I know who live in the UK, a significant majority of Russians wanted their nation to be strong; and that this historically rooted concern with national strength was deeply entwined with a strong awareness of Russia as a cultural power.

Admiration for the Russian ability to create coherent identity out of such a polyglot collection of peoples is always tinged with an uncomfortable awareness that this has sometimes been at the expense of those peoples, and sometimes of their lives. And yet I also have to acknowledge that the authoritarian streak which has made that possible is also responsible for something that Mr Roussinos implies as a defining feature of the civilisation state ” cultural confidence.

In a striking online interview, the head of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg pointed to the paintings by artists French, Italian, German, English and Russian. “This”, he said with an air of supreme certainty, “is Russian culture. Politics, economics ” all these things come and go. It is culture that defines a people, and that is why it is so important.” Can you imagine a British curator saying such a thing?

A striking instance of national cultural confidence, as a foil to western liberalism’s weakness, is offered by the Moscow-based dance and music troupe, The Loktev Ensemble. (Search for them on YouTube ” there are dozens of videos, most of them very professionally produced.) No nation on earth takes dance more seriously than Russia, (just think of the social and cultural prestige of ballet), and the Loktev Ensemble is a training ground in which young people between 7 and 19 can explore that love. They’ll do anything. To them, the “liberal” west’s squeamishness about cultural appropriation must be laughable. Their professionalism, commitment and sense of enjoyment are infectious. And it’s obvious that the troupe has significant national prestige.

A high proportion of online comments about the videos are concerned with cultural issues. Westerners from the anglo-sphere, Spanish-speaking countries and elsewhere repeatedly say things of this kind: “women are women, and men are men”, or “God bless Russia for preserving culture”, or “I so wish we had things like this in my country”, or “this is so much better than the Disneyfied rubbish we have to put up with”. The longing, the desire for cultural confidence, comes across time and time again. Beneath that longing lies a recognition of western failure. And, for some at least, the comparatively autocratic rule required to make a civilisation-state work would be a price worth paying.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

Great post. I am something of a Russophile myself, although I haven’t been there since 1993. Have you watched Oliver Stone’s documentary on Putin? He had remarkable access over two years or so. I have no doubt that Putin told a lot of lies in his interviews with Stone, but no more so than any western politician would tell. Nor do I consider Putin to be any more autocratic than those goons in Brussels. Moreover, he is at least sort-of elected, and broadly competent, which cannot be said of the goons in Brussels.

Of course, you can’t blame the Russians for being hostile to the west given the economic ‘shock therapy’ imposed by the west in the 1990s that turned out to be so disastrous, and given NATO’s eastwards encroachment and the siting of missiles close to the Russian border.

Anyway, I will now get back to ‘A Voice From The Chorus’, a collection of letters written from Abram Tertz to his wife while incarcerated in a Russian labour camp in the 1960s.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Thank you so much!

No, I have not seen the Oliver Stone documentary on Putin. But thanks to your mention of it I’ll look it up. I like your comparisons with “those goons in Brussels”; and your comments about Putin and autocracy remind me of a long discourse I had on another forum with someone who was worried about their natural propensity to admire strong rulers. He feared he had lost his moral compass. I said no, and admitted that I have an instinctive kind of admiration for Putin, despite himself.

You’ve perked up my curiosity about the Abram Terz book. I’ve heard of it, but never got round to it.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

Why has your original comment, to which I responded, been ‘marked as spam’? it seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I reported this as an error, and they have said they’ll look into it.
Whatever machinery they use to identify spam is not working well. I had three comments reported at the same time, some of them quite old. I’m trying to resist smart-alec comments about artificial intelligence and word recognition.
Thank you!

arthur brogard
arthur brogard
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

given the 16million that died in wwii and since then have been completely ignored by the west which claims it won the war itself.

alikichapple
alikichapple
3 years ago

Very good piece, thanks, pulling together a lot of strands.
The whole thing is the result, I guess, of representing a mix of Anglosphere/Christian/Europe civilisational baggage and capitalist imperialism *along with* democracy, human rights etc. as Liberalism and Modernity and the Way Things Must Be Forever. It becomes hard to discard the cultural hegemony and still keep all the rights and freedoms.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
3 years ago

There seems nothing wrong in principle with the civilisation state as long as it stays within its borders. This European and Islamic civilisations have notably failed to do. With the possible exception of Russia under militant Communism ““ a western invention ““ the big three cited have not been expansionist. It helps that they have not been blessed with millennialism in the form of western Christianity or Islam. Can Europe slough off its guilt with a new ‘Vergangenheits Bewaeltigung’ and build a civilisation state? A problem specific to Europe is that, as the ancient Greeks could not get away from being a collection of city states, so Europe, much as it tries through the EU, cannot get away from being a collection of tribal states. There is nothing wrong with this diversity, indeed little right with monolithic ‘motherlands’ that try to force many cultures into one artificial centralised state, whose provenance is at least partly mythical and which may not even last. But as long as they do, it would be a good idea for Europe to be more positive about itself, if only to keep the option open.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

Be fairly easy to create a Europe of Nations dedicated to its own Defense. The classics or Latin might serve as a unifying theme.

neilyboy.forsythe
neilyboy.forsythe
3 years ago

All it will take in the UK is for an explicit codified constitution to confirm that sovereign power is owned by the people, and that anyone who tries to bypass, usurp, sign away or “share” that power is guilty of treason.

Tim Lewis
Tim Lewis
3 years ago

“…if the Islamic world today made up of
dozens of countries could become unified under one modern governing
regime, it could also be a civilisational state with more than a billion
people…” Surely we are talking about a caliphate here. But has its age and chance passed?

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Lewis

Caliphate? Islam cannot even stop arguing which form of the religion is the true faith, never mind unite around anything other than a hatred and contempt for non- believers and a preferred universal (obligatory?) first name for male children.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Follow the shoe … No follow the gourd … Big fight ensues within seconds of the birth of Brian-inanity.
Python didn’t even have to make it up.
As for the reality? A unified Islamic state big as it would be, would be very much easier to target and piecemeal for indiscretions because they would have to be as one and face the consequences.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Perhaps, but that hasn’t stopped Islam from spreading very successfully over the last 1,400 years. Essentially, it’s a very long term power grab. Most or all of Western Europe will be Islamic within a century or so. Ditto Africa. The US in another couple of hundred years. Ultimately, only China will hold out.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You talk as if it would be a bad thing! But what is a civilisation to do when it finally realises that its Christianity is kaput?

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Muslims do indeed disagree with each other in the same way Islamophobes disagree with each other.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Lewis

Ideas can always be revived. A Caliph is just a constitutional dictator, which is better than an unconstitutional dictator, is it not?

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
3 years ago

The US is still the global hegemon, despite the author’s wishing it were not. The author is just continuing a hundred-year old tradition (probably longer) that America is running out of gas. The fact is China has no friends, Europe has no clue, Russia has no life and the USA is more productive economically than any of the three.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

What makes you think China has no friends? China is on better terms with the other rival empires of the world than America possibly could be, since it uses diplomacy while the arrogant Americans think they can now dispense with it.

Curious Explorer
Curious Explorer
3 years ago

Always easy to admire Kleptocratic dictatorships such as Russia and China when you don’t live under the regimes. Of course the likes of Aris would be the first to the Gulag or worse in such states

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago

Aren’t all empires kleptocratic in the sense that empires consist of other people’s territory acquired by war?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The US is a a kleptocratic dictatorship of the establishment Reps and Dems. It has been since the 90s and the Clintons, when the the Dems sold themselves to corporate interests.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago

The West oughtn’t properly be called Liberal, but, Capitalist. In England and France Enlightenment ideals were emasculated under the arch idea, Capitalism. Outside that Church is no salvation, as farmers, industrial workers, religious, traditionalists, and socialists, activists and thinkers have ever discovered.

The US & Britain are presently imprisoning and torturing Julian Assange; and, US surveillance and its Five Eyes blanket monitors the entire empire. By comparison the old GDR Stasi kafka state must rate a ‘super liberal’.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

Liberalism has no official handbook, but has become the unofficial religion of the West now that Christianity has faded away.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

And, like the former, more honored in the breach.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  theocracy4all

I’ve was listening to ” Christianity is dead” more than 50 years ago.

Robert G
Robert G
3 years ago

The West’s flexible and accommodating approach stems from the fact that our culture is meant to be tolerant and universal in scope. As Maçães notes, Western cultural values of tolerance and democracy give us procedures for governing, but do not actually tell us how to live.

While this design is intended to allow a plurality of cultures to co-exist and thrive, it also creates a vacuum that draws in those who would see their own culture assume a position of dominance. As a consequence, we’re now seeing (most acutely in the U.S.) a successor culture that utilizes the language and rhetoric of tolerance as both sword and shield, while actively undermining core liberal ideals. Many citizens are afraid to defend historically liberal Enlightenment values for fear of being labeled regressive adversaries of multiculturalism.

I won’t attempt to prognosticate long-term winners and losers, but reviewing the article and the comments bring to mind the Goldilocks principle. On one hand, Western attempts to create an infinitely tolerant and egalitarian society have benefits, but ultimately are unsustainable and self-defeating. On the other hand, the nationalistic and authoritarian civilization-states of Eurasia may also collapse (or undergo radical changes) once seemingly benign tumors of suppressed discontent gradually metastasize into malignant revolution. I wonder whether it is possible to formulate a third option synthesizing key elements of these distinct approaches. Or perhaps it’s just the nature of the beast and it is inevitable for human civilization, phoenix-like, to be cyclically reborn from the ashes of its predecessor.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert G

Very true. And is through the openness and commitment to ‘plurality’ etc that Europe will be Islamized.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

A perfectly good piece although it does little more than echo the interview with John Gray a couple of weeks ago, which itself told us little that we didn’t already know.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

This challenge, which is currently being presented to Western civilization, will require the once-and-for-all denunciation of MarxLenStalinist pipe dreams. A return to faith, family and the golden rule will prove to be our most certain bulwark against any destructive influences.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

It involves moving away from Cold War rhetoric.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

It may be that America is falling into its Thucydides Trap. This is the fate of failing and faltering empires. America is also already crippled by the dementia of liberalism.

theocracy4all
theocracy4all
3 years ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Will this return to faith, family and the golden rule be effected by a Christian revival or an Islamic Revolution?

ian.davitt
ian.davitt
3 years ago

Funny how they used Western Liberal Capitalism to achieve growth.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  ian.davitt

Or, rather, eastern illiberal state capitalism.

Edward Andrews
Edward Andrews
3 years ago

Just to throw in a wee question, what was Christendom? was it not a kind of Civilisation with states plugging into it? Of course Christendom is no longer any more as people have walked away from any attempt to accept that there is any control over people while the Civilisation states all haver a faith, whether it is Confucius, Islam or Russian Orthodox. I don’t say that it is driving the movements, but it is there to provide a basis and identification

Alan Hawley
Alan Hawley
3 years ago

To apply the term “civilisation-state” to countries like China, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, and Poland, under their current governments, is to give a phoney respectability to administrations that owe their (probably temporary) popularity (to a greater or lesser extent in each country) to propaganda and the manipulation of ostensibly democratic institutions in order to ensure continued government control under an autocratic leader and oligarchy.

Many of the developments noted and apparently admired in this article existed in Nazi Germany. The recurring phenomenon to be found in the countries mentioned is the ability of centrist, elitist and often corrupt governments to use propaganda and other manipulative techniques to whip up a superficial nationalism. Despite this, and contrary to the “cultural continuity” points made, all the countries mentioned have drawn enormously on Euro-American technology, business methods, commercial and corporate law, and economic theory. Western flexibility and pragmatism has trumped Confucian and communist bureaucracy. Many Chinese (certainly those contributing to its economic success) love modern Western culture, which is surely just as important in their lives as China’s “ancient traditions and wisdoms”. China is probably the major player in globalisation. Its massive investment in the West will probably mean that military confrontation will be avoided.

The EU, the UK, and the US must not be complacent or naive, especially on defence matters. But the Euro-American bloc must continue to assert the importance of values and institutions that have been developed since the Enlightenment – democracy (albeit imperfect), free speech, human rights, the rule of law, relatively low levels of corruption, free enterprise, and competition. These values and institutions, along with prudent efforts to improve the lot of the economically worse-off by means of fair and practical tax and social benefit policies, are more likely to ensure long-term social stability and economic success than the policies of centrist autocratic and elitist governments whose popularity is fanned by populist appeals to a superficial kind of nationalism.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawley

Is the weather nice in 1995. If I recall it was

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
3 years ago

Mass migration into Europe is another thing. Curious, if Europe is such a den of exploitation and racism. There are two kinds of countries, those people want to leave, and those they want to come to. However, no country today is an empty field where travellers can set up camp and live off the land. Many of the boat people may be the best their dysfunctional and mysoanthropic (neologism) cultures and countries can offer. But they have to leave something behind. If not, they are colonists, and our history tells us colonists eventually have to go home.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

Today’s colonists are going exactly nowhere sir. It is ourselves, the indigenous peoples, that will eventually take flight

jizazkn jizazkn
jizazkn jizazkn
3 years ago

Just another CCP “salad tossing” lib-t**d academic? Psst, bet “it” is somehow getting at least some $$$ from a Soros/CCP-funded “affiliate”. Dare to “change my mind”? Hmm – just wondering if the “author” is any anyways associated to the discredited Swiss/French “philosopher” Jean-Jacques Rousseau pushing similar crap?

Graff von Frankenheim
Graff von Frankenheim
3 years ago

I fail to see how the Chinese can boast of a “continuous” civilisation, unless they overlook the communist period that was the opposite of everything that came before. It’s a bit like a bipolar person alleging: “I have been completely stable all my life”.