Review: The European Enterprise: Geopolitical Essays
Review: The European Enterprise: Geopolitical Essays by Robert Steuckers. Selected and translated by Dr Alexander Jacob (Manticore Press, 2016).
Review by Kerry Bolton
The Anglophone Right is light-years behind the Occident and Russia intellectually, lacking a depth of philosophical grounding on which to base action. Fortunately in recent years there have been several major projects that have provided the Anglophone monolinguist such as this writer, with translations of works by major European thinkers; the most relevant being those around and emerging from the Nouvelle Droite and from the Russian neo-Eurasianists around Dr Dugin. A significant advance for the Anglophone reader was the creation of Arktos Media Ltd., translating the works of seminal European thinkers such as Guillaume Faye and Alain de Benoist. Now from the Antipodes, Manticore Press has emerged as a quality publisher of traditionalist and philosophical books. The latest is a selection of nine essays, of over 300 pages, derived from lectures translated by Indian scholar Dr Alexander Jacob. These essays cover a decade up to 2015, from the thinking of Belgian geopolitical theorist and European actionist Robert Steuckers, a founder of the European Nouvelle Droite, who went on to establish the think tank Synergies Européenes in 1994.
The essays are important, providing a wide-ranging background on the vital issue of Europe’s place in the world, from the position of geopolitics as a science. Ironically, given that again there is a dirge of depth analyses among Anglophone Rightists, geopolitics owes as much to the 19th century British theorist Mackinder as it does to the German theorist Karl Haushofer, both postulating how the control of land-masses equates to world-rule, areas moreover which are today hotly disputed, and the targets of US machinations on numerous fronts. This tradition of geopolitical science developed a theory on a perpetual conflict between two inherently rival aspects of geopolitical power: sea-power and land-power. Thalassocracy (sea-power) was, fairly obviously, epitomised by Britain; land-power by Russia, France, Austro-Hungary and Germany. Britain sought to contain and divide the European land-powers, including Russia, with various diplomatic manoeuvres, including the backing of Japan and of the Ottomans against Russia. Britain ran interference against European unity, including the unity promoted by Russia through its avid support of the Holy Alliance. Countering the thalassocratic efforts to contain Europe, Haushofer promoted an alliance between Germany, Russia and Japan. Today geopolitical theorists and advocates of Europe’s unity advocate a “Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis”.
Britain sought to impede Europe right up its own suicidal devastation in wars against Europe during 1914-1918 and 1939–1945. It was these intra-European wars that made European states debtors to the USA, whereas hitherto the USA had been a debtor state. Consequently the traditional European empires were scuttled, a key US war-aim that was flagrantly stated in both Wilson’s Fourteen Points after World War I and Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter during World War II. In these we read that the mainstay of the post-war world, would be free trade, and this meant the death of the empires (See Bolton, “The Geopolitics of White Dispossession”, Radix, Vol. 1, 2012). Today it is called globalisation, and as Steuckers states, doctrines such as liberalism and multiculturalism are used to facture organic societies.
The USA assumed the mantle of the thalassocratic world power from Britain. Thalassocracy is based around the mercantile spirit. The Zeitgeist that was epitomised by Britain was that of the shop-keeper empowered with a war-fleet. The capitalist ethos was under British auspices, and provided the economic doctrine of the Manchester School, under which much the world now endures. Contra this thalassocratic economics is the German School of Friedrich List, whose doctrine is that of the autarchy of continents and great land-masses. The world wars were fought around these contending world-views. It was a pyrrhic victory for Britain however; indebted, its empire soon crumbled.
While Britain’s tradition was that of the Indo-European ethos, the ethos that dominated the founding of the American colonies and the later USA was predominantly Puritan/Calvinist. The USA was the legacy of a Civilisation that had already entered its Late epoch of decay to use the Spenglerian analogy (although Steuckers does not refer to Spengler other than in a single allusion). The USA was the end of something old, not the beginning of something new. Money was its religion from the start, and according to the Puritan ethos culture is regarded as nothing other than a frivolous distraction from work. In this regard Steuckers makes this important point that the USA was founded upon Calvinist/Puritan messianism. Max Weber wrote of capitalism and the Puritan ethic, and although not mentioned by Steuckers in these essays, Weber could be advantageously consulted on the character of the USA and the character of capitalism as a messianic creed. What it means, and what is well appreciated by the Russian Eurasianists, is that the fight between world creeds has a metaphysical dimension.
It is a moot point to argue whether the dominant messianism that motivates US world policy, is one of Jewish origin and purpose, and about the Jewish character of Puritanism. What the Russian Eurasianists (and Steuckers) refer to as “Atlanticist” geopolitics based around Anglo-American thalassocratcy has been willing to sacrifice the interests of Israel and Zionism, and those “Court Jews” such as Kissinger, assumed by certain elements of the Far Right to be nothing more nor less than elders of Zion, have also been willing to sacrifice Israeli interests. In this regard Steuckers refers to Israel as a pawn of US geopolitics, rather than the common assumption among the US Far Right and others, that the USA is a pawn of Israel. One might recall that it was also the position of the USSR, which published some excellent books on Zionism for world-wide consumption, such as Caution: Zionism!, that Zionism was always a pawn of oligarchic geopolitics.
This collection of essays does not include extensive discussions on defining “Europe”, although there are plenty of allusions to historical figures, politicians and academics, each briefly identified with nearly 500 footnotes provided by Dr Jacob. It does however include a brief consideration of what a “reich” is. Steuckers finds the reich falls short of the traditional concept that is defined by a transcendent Idea that is capable of being inclusive to sundry ethnies while being antithetical to the liberal multiculturalism fostered by US-led capitalism whose artificial character, otherwise called “globalism” is bereft of any sense of permanence, place and identity that gives what it is to be human its very essence of being. Indeed, it can be said that a reich as an imperial concept is organic, and what the banal Left has been calling “neo-imperialism” is inorganic and indeed antithetical to what is genuinely imperial. For definitions and history of the regal Idea and what constitutes an imperium in a traditional sense, one might refer to the works of Julius Evola, whose primary books have in recent years bene translated into English, probably for the most part due to the revival of interest in esotericism which happens to be the predicate of his political ideas. In reaching back to the origins of the reich Idea, Steuckers goes beyond Europe to the “proto-Persians” whose knightly and regal ethos of duty and obedience was wide-ranging and provided the social basis for the pre-capitalist organic communities for millennia.
What the Steuckers’ collection does focus on is certain practicalities of European unity that are not so frequently discussed, such as the importance of telecommunications, a European space programme, satellite communications, Continent-spanning roads and other communications systems. Europe’s sovereignty requires the elimination of US corporate dominance in such areas. It is here that Russia would provide an important role, among others. Here also the “Eurasian” vision enters, as it does with revival of Russian influence that would, in conjunction with a European geopolitical strategy, confound US “Atlanticist” thalassocratic strategy, the aim of which is to keep Europe and Russia confined. Steuckers calls such a geopolitical break-out “de-enclaving”, of breaking out to US imposed strictures, which have been most evident in the “colour revolutions” in the former Soviet states and Central Asia, and in the turmoil created in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Beyond this Steuckers factors in the importance of a European policy of alliances with Iberian America, with the natural focus being Bolivarian Venezuela. Indeed this is the vision officially held by Venezuela of a united Bolivarian bloc; the vision, it can be added, of Juan Peron, whose geopolitical diplomacy included Gadaffi’s Libya as an important player (See Bolton, Peron and Peronism, 2014).
It is of passing interest in this regard, that Peron while exiled in Spain, was a follower of the Belgian geopolitical theorist Jean Thiriart, in whose legacy Steuckers works. A further convergence is the cross-pollination of thinking that has taken place between the Nouvelle Droite, Steuckers, de Benoist, and Thiriart, and the Russian neo-Eurasianists headed by Dugin. Common factors include the referencing of the geopolitics of Mackinder and Haushofer, with the important concepts of the “Heartland and Rimland” in defining geopolitical spheres, sea-power and land-power in defining inherently conflicting world-views; and the legal philosophy of Carl Schmitt in defining identity and opposition. Both Steuckers and Dugin place importance on cultivating allies in Asia. BRICS is a manifestation of the influence that Dugin and the Eurasianists have on the Putin regime, and partly why Putin is regarded as inherently evil by the “Atlanticists”. Steuckers and Dugin both place importance on China as an ally in “de-enclaving” Eurasia. Steuckers states that China, like Japan, does not have a proselytizing religion, nor does it interfere in internal politics when dealing with a state, in contrast to the USA, which has long used moral slogans as a primary strategy. China (like Japan) retains its traditions while adapting to technology, although Steuckers does state that China has adopted “western” and “social Darwinist” models of development. For whatever it is worth, this is the one major point about which I am hesitant, perhaps because of unconscious Antipodean parochialism, and my resistance to the infatuation New Zealand political and business circles have had with China since Mao’s time. While Steuckers addresses the matter of oil and other resources, one of this reviewer’s preoccupations has been with approaching “water wars” as a major factor particularly in Eurasia, with China having pursued a policy of controlling the head-waters of much of Asia in Tibet, and certain major problems even now between Russia and China on the issue. (See Bolton, Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, 2013).
A further interesting and contentious (among the Right) aspect of Steucker’s thinking will be his rejection of separatist and “identitarian” politics among the numerous European ethnies. He sees this phenomenon as a regression of European unity and the premises of these identities as superficial. Considering what Steuckers calls the “Eurocracy” of the European Union, the emergence of such identities in reaction to the levelling materialism and hedonism of the EU, derived from the USA, with a Jacobin-Freemasonic ideological impetus, is understandable. However, Steuckers does not seem to consider these national and ethnic movements as offering anything of cultural depth. Steuckers’ concern is that the separatist reaction is a further step away from a true European reich, and that Europe will become more fractured. Certainly one sees in many such movements of the “Far Right” a policy foundation based on neo-liberalism and Islamophobia, to the point of serving as a hurrah chorus for Israel, in a manner similar to the way sections of the “Right” during the Cold War parroted the anti-Soviet and anti-Russian slogans concocted by embittered Trotskyites.
Steuckers aptly identifies today’s misnamed “neo-conservative” movement with this Trotskyism, that maintains much influence over US foreign policy, and which has resurrected its Cold War rhetoric in combatting the new enemies: “Islamofascism”, as the neo-con Trots coined it, and Russia, the perennial enemy. As Steuckers states, the “permanent war” promoted by the USA is a derivative of the “permanent revolution” that the Trotskyites made an essential part of US foreign policy. Actually what the neo-con geopolitical strategists specifically call this perpetual state of instability promoted by the USA is “constant conflict”. In coining the term as the heading of a seminal paper on foreign policy, American geopolitical strategist Ralph Peters wrote that the primary element in what he overly called the destructive policy, is cultural degeneracy using MTV, Hollywood and the like to eliminate every vestige of tradition, and to fracture a targeted society. We see how this operates through the US State Department’s promotion of “Hip Hop” and the like among the young in Europe and elsewhere, reminiscent of the CIA-founded, Trotskyite-led Congress for Cultural Freedom using jazz and abstract expressionism during the Cold War, but now on a much broader and more debased scale. (See Bolton, Babel Inc., 2013).
Above all, for this reviewer, Steuckers identifies the enemy of Europe and of Russia as the USA, and the rift to be one of metaphyseal dimensions; a conflict of differing world-missions. The USA constitutes the “outer enemy”, if I might utilise a Yockeyan term, the enemy which in Carl Schmitt’s concept of the other, can help unify and form the European ethnos, revitalised by a symbiosis with Russia. Interestingly also, Steuckers draws not from Spengler, but from Arnold Toynbee. He sees in Toynbee’s theory of civilisation as emerging through “challenge and response” a creative dialectic that can revive what Spengler would consider a Civilisation in its Winter epoch heading towards senility and death. Europe’s response to challenges might provide that impetus for renewal. Certainly Russia has set that course, and with its own consciousness of mission could also provide Europe with a new sense of destiny.