Quotable (#183)

Kevin Rudd in The Guardian:

The slow, but steady decline of the UN, and the wider multilateral system which has the UN as its foundation, would be catastrophic for an increasingly unstable world. The peoples of the world, in one way or another, are increasingly asking the question: “Is anybody in control anymore?” when they see growing disagreement among the great powers, the re-emergence of old inter-state conflicts, terrorists on their streets, chaos in their markets, and jobs disappearing with nothing to replace them. People are questioning whether we are beginning to see the beginning of a deeper crisis in the foundations of the overall post-war order itself.

[Sarcastically derisive editorial comment deleted]

Twitter cuts (#122)

This is what the rancorous Brexit controversy — and catabolic geopolitics in general — looks like when the option between integrative connection and disintegrative disconnection is elaborated, without reference to the diagonal line (of connective disintegration).

Zizek is worth referencing on the same conundrum.

Quotable (#173)

The integrationist protection racket:

No matter the outcome of this week’s British referendum on whether to leave the European Union, the damage is already done. The Brexit campaign has given British citizens an eyeful of the globalist agenda, and they have now witnessed the extent to which defenders of that agenda will go to keep Brits in line through fear and threats. […] The “remain” camp’s message hasn’t been that things are going too wonderfully to warrant a change. That would be a tough sell to people who feel that things are pretty lousy right now. Instead, the “pro-Europe” message is that things could potentially get even worse. It’s basic psychology: People tend to be more motivated by the fear of losing what little they have than by the prospect of gaining something they don’t have. Thus, those who have been advocating for Britain to remain in its European straitjacket have treated voters the same way parents treat a child threatening to run away from home. …

If not yet, then eventually, this kind of thing will backfire.

Geopolitics > Ideology

George Friedman places recent US-Vietnam engagement within the history of balance-of-power diplomacy going back to the 1960s, in order to make a simple but compelling point. US relations with the USSR, China, and Vietnam have been only trivially inflected by ideological differences:

… look at the whole story and see how little ideology matters. The entire story is one of three Marxist regimes hostile to each other, and a Western capitalist regime using that hostility to balance the power. […] From the point of view of geopolitical analysis, the unimportance of ideology in all that happened is clear. The importance of the nation-state, regardless of its official ideology is equally clear. None of these four nations behaved as their ideology demanded. All behaved as their national interest did. […] This is why I find geopolitics an enormously more important method for understanding the world than beliefs and principles. These may matter in personal life. But the Marxism that defined Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong and Leonid Brezhnev – and they were very much believers – could not resist geopolitical imperatives. And therefore, the president of the United States went to a Marxist country and set the stage for arming it. This should not surprise us.

RIP Neoconservatism

Max Fisher, at Vox:

Neoconservatives can threaten to quit the Republican Party, or warn that the party is diverging from their values, but it looks increasingly like they may have it backward: that it is the Republican Party, as constituted by its voters and their policy preferences, that is rejecting neoconservatives. […] That might seem surprising. But when you look at the brief history of neoconservative reign over the Republican Party, it seems inevitable. If anything, it is surprising that it took this long.

There probably aren’t enough supporters remaining for a boisterous funeral, at this point.

Neoconservatism had a complex genesis, but it matured into right-wing Jacobinism. The policy program with which it will forever be centrally associated is democracy promotion by the sword. Too aggressive in its civilizational (and especially American) self-confidence for the Left, and too saturated in universalistic Utopianism for the Right, its demise in the second decade of the 21st century can surprise few.

It looks as if robust realism will supplant it. Dewy-eyed foreign policy is done, at least for a while.