A new book based on my Ph.D thesis will be printed this month.
This thesis proposes to analyze the manner in which an isolated ideology – “repairing the world through human action” – became a political program of global magnitude. The deconstructionist method of Solve et Coagula, which we classify within the typology of “planned social movements”, is the mechanism whereby natural identities are being dissolved and gradually replaced with optional identities. The phases of the reconstructive process require identifying a dissolution agent able to break up the natural order of things, to dissolve (solve) the existing matter into primordial matter (prima materia) and, once this point is reached, to re-form, or re-organize it (coagula) into a new type of order, as per the wishes of the intervener.
The return to prima materia is ultimately a systemic change and, as such, subject to the same laws as transition or modernization processes. It therefore presupposes a disintegration of the status-quo and the removal of all its protective obstacles. On the societal plane, Max Weber identified three obstacles that the “reformers” need to overcome: a) economic obstacles; b) political obstacles; c) psychological obstacles; to these, Professor Ilie Bădescu added d) obstacles represented by spiritual centers. The social reconstruction process requires the disintegration of the social and identity binds, that is, of those elements that aggregate the social “atoms” – the individuals – into various types of communities. The removal of the “obstacles” results into a society atomized into a multitude of separate individuals, disconnected from one another and gathered under the only collective form that remains acceptable – humanity as a whole. Once the first phase (solve) is finalized and the obstacles-binds have been removed, the individual once again becomes Rousseau’s le bon sauvage. In the second phase of the process (coagula), after the individual has been “liberated”, the initial categories are replaced with a human, presumably rational option. Freed from the constraints of the identity received at birth, the individual can now choose from among a multitude of optional identities and categories. In the end, the notion of the individual itself is dissolved and reconstructed in such a manner as to permit the inclusion of non-human subjects, such as corporations, animals, geographical territories or artificial intelligence.
In his “Brief History of the Future”, Jacques Attali outlines the ultimate purpose of the reconstructive process. The French theorist predicts that humanity will soon traverse the following phases: the fall of the American Empire, followed, in Attali’s proposition, by a “polycentric world”, the “hyper-empire”, “hyper-conflict” – all of these ephemeral, unstable concepts – and, ultimately, by “hyper-democracy” and the end of history. These processes are expected to take place in the near, palpable future, most probably within the next two – three decades.
In order to bring humanity to a stage where the Solve et Coagula deconstructive method and its final outcome may become part of the public discourse, a long process was required, a process carried out on two discrete planes: a horizontal plane – geopolitical, and a vertical plane – ideological.
On the vertical plane, the reconstruction of the world presupposes a substitution of existing cultures with a new universal paradigm. This plane encompasses all the methods, technologies and actions used to disintegrate man’s personality and consciousness and to prepare humanity to accept a new human condition, and a new destiny. The operations carried out on this plane pertain to psychological warfare, propaganda and despiritualizing action. The need to promote this method by political vehicles able to put this ideology into practice, by force if necessary, brought forth the horizontal plane and its theaters of geopolitical action. Since the reconstruction of the world presupposes the adoption of a certain destiny by the entire humanity, the horizontal plane consists of the entire world. The actions carried out on the horizontal plane have as their purpose a global reorganization of society where man is freed from the tyranny of social conventions, of collective identities, and of the State.
Compared to the vertical-ideological plane of the conflict, where actions are most often subversive in nature, in the geopolitical theaters, strategies are enforced by way of military and economic confrontations purported to ensure, as an intermediate goal, world hegemony by a single superpower. For geopoliticians such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, the world is a chessboard with important pieces and less important pieces, which can be sacrificed etc. Adversaries in this chess game are the so-called “geostrategic players”, that is, those nations able and willing to project their influence outside their borders, while the key role belongs to “geopolitical pivots” – states whose influence stems from their geographical location and their capacity to influence the behavior of the big players. Transposed into our terminology, Brzezinski’s chessboard becomes the “horizontal plane”, while the areas of interest studied by Brzezinski become “theaters of geopolitical action”.
In examining the manner in which the reconstruction of the world became an ideology of worldwide import, this thesis is concerned not as much with the history of the movements the pieces made on the chessboard, as with the ideas and strategies that caused such movements, where the geopolitical players are mere vehicles meant to ensure the global domination of a certain paradigm. For this reason, we have focused our study more on the manner in which this ideology penetrated the realm of geopolitics and on the areas where the enforcement of this program encountered great difficulties. Therefore, the theaters of action chosen for scrutiny are areas where the enforcement of the reconstructive processes has taken an aggravated, radical, or complete form, thus becoming areas where the confrontation between different paradigms resulted in war, revolution and special operations. Accordingly, even if geography, demography, economy and foreign politics remain important factors, the main struggle is a cultural, even spiritual struggle. In this view, Afghanistan – which, while being one of the poorest countries in the world, beset by tribal fragmentation and perpetual anarchy, has somehow found within itself the resources to successfully confront three empires in succession: the British Empire, the Soviet Empire and the American Empire – is a more interesting case than Thailand or South Korea, both more populous and economically more developed countries, but fully integrated into the predominant cultural paradigm. Same as Hezbollah, an Islamic political movement seated in a Levantine country of just a few million people, is more important to the study at hand than Indonesia, the most populous Islamic nation. Having accepted this historical dynamism able at any time to generate new theaters of action, new geostrategic players and new geopolitical pivots, we deemed most relevant to our study the following theaters of action:
– The British Empire and the Anglo-Saxon world dominated by it – the place where the ideology of “repairing the world” by human intervention found a political vehicle able to afford its project a global magnitude;
– Russia – interesting due to its vast hold on the great Eurasian space, its attempts at becoming a geopolitical counter to the Western sphere, and its ability to recover from historical catastrophes;
– Europe at the end of the 20th century – made interesting by its hesitation/inability to undertake a historical mission of its own, different from the Solve et Coagula universalism;
– Certain contemporary Islamic movements – made interesting by the manner in which they managed to organize a non-state opposition to major geostrategic players.
What drew our attention to the Atlantic theater of action is the emergence of a dense spiritual center in the British Isles as early as the 17th century. In this process of formation of a “dense space” we have identified as ontological outlines of British ascension complex social processes such as: a confluence of revolutions – industrial, spiritual, political, economic and ideological; an ensured coexistence of successive states; and the shifting of “hidden” logistical centers towards North-Western Europe. The British Isles are also the place where the world was first conceptualized as a quantifiable and controllable whole. It was in England that the “repairing the world by human intervention” program became a socio-political project of global consequence. In Elizabethan England, the “repairing the world” project – “axis mundi” – was superimposed on the preexisting belief in a missionary destiny – “the spirit of the place”. England is the place where the ideology of reforming the world through human action met the capital accumulated in the Mediterranean basin and where, benefitting from the security derived from an insular position and the support given by the state, they found an environment auspicious to their growth to a planetary scale. While triumphant in the Albion under the guise of the Puritan Revolution and, subsequently, of the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, Solve et Coagula could not be contained within the island because of the global nature of its calling: the reformation of an imperfect world. Using the vehicle of the British Empire, this Weltanschauung was exported to the Western hemisphere aboard the very first pilgrim ships. According to Carroll Quigley, one of the most knowledgeable geopoliticians of the Anglo-Saxon school, whose book “Tragedy and Hope” is one of the most significant references for this thesis, the Atlantic model owes it resilience to an ability to reinvent itself. It his theory of civilizational cycles, the American Professor argues that any given civilization is being inexplicably born and goes through a period of expansion followed by a crisis which forces it to reorganize itself. Having overcome this point, that civilization enjoys a golden epoch, followed by conflict and decay. The difference between the Western civilization and its rivals consists in its capacity to reinvent itself in a process Quigley connects to the succession of the various types of capitalism – commercial, industrial, financial and monopolist. The pluralist economy which ends this sequence, and which Quigley was already predicting in the 1960s, ensures the premises for the establishment of a liberal model of universal vocation, that is, precisely the hyper-democracy discussed by Attali four decades later.
On a macro level, the horizontal plane is the world as a whole, and the main objective of geopolitics is global domination – that is, domination over both land and seas. Therefore, to control the Eurasian continent is, due to its dimensions, a necessary prerequisite to global hegemony. “For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia”, said Brzezinski, arguing that Eurasia is home to the top six nations in terms of military spending and the biggest six economies after the United States and to the most populous countries in the world, and that any potential contenders to global supremacy can only emerge from this geographical area.
History validates the former Secretary of State’s theory. First used in correspondence by English spies at the Afghan borders, the Great Game is a notion that continues to fascinate the intelligence circle and the British historians to this day, as it was the first time the British Empire encountered a geopolitical rival able not only to oppose and resist it for a long time, but to do so on all theaters of action and, when defeated, to recover with astoundingly great speed. The Great Anglo-Russian Game was not limited to blocking Russia in Central Asia, but entailed distinct operations in multiple theaters of action, among which the Balkans and the Far East. In 1904, in an attempt to explain the persistence of the Anglo-Russian rivalry throughout the 19th century and the Tsarist Empire’s ability to resist the constant pressures to which it was submitted from the outside, Halford John Mackinder put forth the theory of geography as pivot in the history of humanity. For Mackinder, as well as for generations of experts that succeeded him, in the Anglo-Saxon world especially but in the Russian sphere as well, politics is primarily determined by geography, while geography means occupation of the great areas. Since the globe is dominated, on the one hand, by oceans and, on the other, by the great continental mass, political power is also split between those powers that dominate the seas and those able to impose their domination on the greatest land mass – the Eurasian pivot-region. An approach based on geography requires one to focus on the two great forces – maritime and continental –who will inevitably become engaged in confrontation for global domination, regardless of historical epoch or ideology. Geopolitics argues that any power that controls the great continental space is a civilizational rival to the power that controls the oceans. The converse is equally correct.
Taken alone, geography, however, fails to explain why certain nations occupy the great landmass, or their great endurance in those spaces. In the 20th century, Russia was not the most populous country of Eurasia and, while it certainly enjoyed periods of sustained economic and industrial development, it also experienced decades of stagnation and suffered external aggressions and internal convulsions of colossal magnitude. Nevertheless, Russia recovered every time. Similarly to the study of rival powers, in order to explain historical phenomena one must likewise extend the sphere of geopolitics beyond geography, into ideology and the transcendental. Where the global expansion of the Anglo-Saxon liberalism is based on a vocation to “repair the world”, on a “global program of illumination and reform” and “liberation of the individual”, we have tried in this work to identify the ideological underpinnings of the resistance to such action. We have found that the question “what strategies did Russia adopt in its confrontation with the West that permitted it to remain the West’s main geopolitical rival across centuries?” received in the Russian geopolitical theory three potential answers, each analyzed in detail in this thesis: (1) Continuity through elites; (2) The imperial project linked to the occupation of the “great Eurasian space”; and (3) A missionary destiny.
The distinction we have drawn between the two planes of the deconstructive effort – the horizontal/geopolitical plane and the vertical/transcendental-noological plane – raised in turn the question of the nature of the most formidable obstacles impeding these processes. We have asked ourselves whether there exists a correspondent in the vertical plane for what the continental mass represents in the horizontal plane. Is there a noological transposition of such geopolitical barrier? A focus on the European theater of action enabled us to examine certain correspondences between geopolitics and noology. Having put forth the idea that any geopolitical construction must ultimately be anchored in the absolute, we inquired whether it was precisely the degradation of such vertical correspondences that made it possible for Europe to be relegated to the status of bridgehead of Atlanticism reserved to it by Brzezinski at the beginning of the new millennium. As stated by Saint John Chrysostom in ancient times, the authority of the empire is theological in nature, as it derives not from the military force the empire might deploy, but from the divine mandate bestowed upon it: a command to stop the Antichrist and to ensure the supremacy of law. Later on, Charlemagne and the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire invoked this very same transcendental source of power to justify their claim of domination over the entire catholic ecumene. Traditionalist thinkers such as Evola and great geopoliticians such as Carl Schmitt equally arrived at the conclusion that, where the transcendental source of authority declines, both the legitimacy of the empire and the justification of a European institutional unit disappear.
But is it really an imperium necessary to ensure the vertical anchor of the transcendental calling? The political failure of the two great Christian empires, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, a fall which did not entail eschatological events, puts under doubt a close conceptual connection between the empire and the katechon. To the extent any form of political organization finds legitimacy through a belief in a transcendental mission, such calling could, at least theoretically, be equally assumed at a smaller scale – national, for example. A case like this would not necessarily eliminate the geographical criterion, which prevails among imperial concepts, but rather circumscribe it to other factors, such as ethnicity or history/tradition – within the meaning of Professor Ilie Bădescu’s concept of “ethno-historical legitimacy”. This concept, closely linked to the “nationality principle” which underlaid the peace treaties at the end of the First World War, presupposes the right of peoples to live independently in sovereign states, within borders drawn based on unity of ethnicity and tradition. We have allocated a section of this work to analyzing the vulnerabilities of the principle of ethno-historical legitimacy as well as to various actions taken in time to undermine this particular expression of collective identities.
The Islamic theater of action, presented at the end of this thesis, allowed us to examine the capacity non-state geopolitical actors have to oppose the processes of deconstruction. In this view, we have relied on the British sociologist Michael Mann’s network theory of power, as well as on William Lind’s theory of the fourth-generation warfare.
In our view, the main original contributions of this thesis consist in: the extrapolation of the Solve et Coagula process to the geopolitical realm; the description of the method and ultimate objectives of this process; and the distinction drawn between the horizontal/geopolitical plane and the vertical/transcendental plane where the deconstructive action is conducted. A focus on the areas where the enforcement of these processes encountered major difficulties helped us formulate the paradigm of theaters of action, an analysis model applicable both in geopolitics and in noology. The final objective of this thesis – to identify the most formidable obstacles raised in the path of “repairing the world through human action” – allowed us to identify novel aspects in each of the theaters of action we have examined. An analysis of the manner in which the Atlantic “dense space” was set up, its correlation to the geopolitical purpose of the reconstructive process, the distinctions operated among various currents within the Eurasian geopolitical school of thought, and the conclusion of this thesis – that any political effort, including anti-deconstructive, requires a transcendental anchor for success – are some of the results of our present study.