“Which Falls First?” …

… William S. Lind asks in this recent panel discussion (third speaker, just after 43 minutes in). “The foreign policy establishment, or the country?” The relevant thread of his argument: The aggressive foreign policy posture of the United States is counter-productively promoting global disorder, which eventually threatens domestic calamity. When the US fights a foreign state, Lind argues, it advances the chaotic “forces of the fourth generation” — a more formidable opponent than even the most obdurately non-compliant state is able to be. America’s “offensive grand strategy” — tied to a high-level of concern for the internal political arrangements of foreign countries — is sowing dragon’s teeth.

TNIO has been coaxing NRx onto a path of broadened geopolitical scope. There is an unavoidable irony here. The Old Right tends naturally to a preoccupation with hearth-and-home, so that its preferred policy posture (non-interventionism) is often accompanied by — or even buried within — a retraction of mental energy from distant questions. The Neoconservative synthesis of foreign policy activism and cosmopolitan fascination with foreign affairs is far more psychologically consistent, regardless of its errors. For anti-globalists to sustain a panoramic perspective takes work.

This work is important, if realistic analysis is the goal, because distant eventualities hugely impinge. The existence and fate of Neoreaction depends far more upon the great churning machinery of world history than upon the local decisions of its favored ‘little platoons’. To misquote Lenin: Even if you are not interested in the system of the world, it is interested in you.

The fall of any empire involves an interplay of internal and external factors, knitted together in a relation of reciprocal amplification. The whole picture can never be solely a domestic one. By the time imperial destiny is a political question, it is already historical fact. It is too late, then, for simple denial. The thing is in motion. It cannot be asked not to have begun.

Consider only the most basic geopolitical structure of modernity — an ‘Atlantean’ world order consolidated, in succession, by the hegemonic maritime-commercial republics of the United Provinces, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Even from this core narrative, much is already starkly evident.
(0) Modernity rests upon concrete foundations of world power.
(1) Global dominion has a distinctive ideological and cultural skew.
(2) The hegemonic role (and even, at its most abstract, ‘culture’) is more stable, and intrinsically determinate, than the supremacy of any specific power, which waxes and wanes over a shorter period. The role of the Modern Hegemon is an autonomous ‘office’ with its own continuous tradition.
(3) When the United States inherited the role of Atlantean leadership, it adopted a structure of responsibility that had not arisen from within the USA itself. On the contrary, the USA had gown up and into it. How America behaves in the world does not follow exclusively — and perhaps not even predominantly — from anything that America, as a specific country, is.
(4) There is no precedent within modernity for global hegemony to pass from a world power to its successor without a set of very distinctive ethnic characteristics being held in common. (The leading culture of modernity, to this point, has been consistently North-West European, Protestant, Liberal, Maritime-Commercial, and — since the late 17th century — English-speaking, rooted in Common Law tradition.) Since America is the terminus of this sequence, a passage beyond precedent is inevitable. This could take one of (only?) three possible forms:
(a) The USA immortalizes its hegemonic status
(b) The world passes into undirected anarchy
(c) Global hegemony departs from its multi-century cultural orbit into unfamiliar ethnic territory.

None of this is separable from the fate of globalization, or modernity. However attractive it may be, the idea that America, in particular, has any purely domestic cultural, ideological, or political options of significance is untenable. What happens to America happens, immediately, to the order of the world.

Furthermore, geopolitical history has reached the edge of modern precedent. There is no one to whom the torch of global leadership can be passed in keeping with the inner tradition of modern torch-passing ritual. In this very definite sense, modernity as it has been known reaches its end. This no doubt accounts for the underlying tone of mounting hysteria which accompanies America’s increasingly disjointed behavior upon the global stage.

It is an eventuality foretold in Miltonic prophecy — an encounter with the palpable obscure.

August 11, 2014admin 30 Comments »

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30 Responses to this entry

  • The NRx and 4GW intersect | The New International Outlook Says:

    […] It seems to me that NRx and 4GW thinkers have intersected. […]

    Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 7:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    I have finally done my own post on 4GW. I think NRx and 4GW are intrinsically linked.


    Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 7:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Of your three options, Spengler says A.


    RorschachRomanov Reply:

    If Lind is correct in his contention that nearly everywhere, states are facing a series of legitimacy crises, I do not see option A as a viable possibility- for good or ill, the ship is sinking.


    Lesser Bull Reply:

    If I recall, Spengler sees the loss of legitimacy as part of the rise of the superstate, at least in the Roman case.


    Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 8:03 pm Reply | Quote
  • Artxell Knaphni Says:

    [Admin: Comment gibbeted for vacuity and irrelevance]


    Artxell Knaphni Reply:

    Such is the vote of the votary of darkness.
    The gibbet is in error,
    If no words show.
    Such crudely declared excision,
    Lacking all reference, ‘cept space,
    Of what net of signs can it speak,
    Beyond its own?

    Of course it’s relevant: its emptiness doesn’t prevent it indicating any other “vacuity”.


    Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 8:57 pm Reply | Quote
  • “Which Falls First?” … | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 9:03 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brother Nihil Says:

    History suggests (b), doesn’t it? Rome had nowhere to go, so there was a centuries long dark age. During the Bronze Age Collapse, new methods of warfare, foreign raiders, climate changes, etc. led to the sudden collapse of order, razed cities and a long dark age.

    Dark Ages are what happen when civilizations can no longer solve problems without violating their foundational principles. They’re how history resets itself. There were probably a few “darkly enlightened” folks in late Rome too, but nobody wanted to hear their bad news. And I’m sure there will be people like David Brin promising a Star Trek future for our grandchildren right up until the moment that the black flag of ISIS flies over the white house or he is killed by thugs on the way to his car.

    The danger of cutting yourself off from history as radically as modern progressives have is that it creates a massive, lethal blind spot. If you believe that history is a long nightmare that has nothing to teach you, then you’ll learn nothing from it, until the time when its lessons become ineluctable, your cities burn and you die.

    Personally, I think a dark age is starting to look rather appealing anyway, compared to the soul-starving progressive techno-utopia that’s being constructed, and I know I’m far from alone. Do you think ISIS’ appeal is limited to people who believe in Allah and his messenger? As Spengler observed some 90 years ago:

    “If a revolt against the whites were to occur today in Asia, countless whites would join the rebels simply because they are tired of peaceful living.”

    When enough whites have grown tired of peaceful living, of the feminization and PCification of their civilization, of the enervating ways of the “Magians” (think liberals, Jews and Christians) and begin to join the global jihad en masse, that will be the final nail in the coffin for the age of progress, and the beginning of a long, dark age.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Sometime in the past 10 years it became impossible for an average educated adult to keep up on the conflicts in the Middle East and southern FSU. There are too many to keep track of unless you make it a full-time job. At this point, then, there is no way for there to be any meaningful feedback mechanism between US democratic process and actual policy as carried out by the executive branch. Had Romney been elected I don’t think anything would have been better. His hawkish instincts wouldn’t have proven any more helpful than Obama’s randomness.

    The foreign policy debates in the 2016 presidential election are shaping up to be a farce, with no one knowing what they are talking about. At that point it might seem like we are heading toward global anarchy. But there are a couple of mitigating factors: Rising phenotypic IQ is the big one. As people get “smarter” (due to cell phones, internet and better self-education opportunities) crime rates plunge. Street chaos declines. That has happened in spades in the US and may be happening in much of Africa and the Middle East right now. Perhaps a decline in street crime and an uptick in war will offset each other. There will be more for the NYT to write about, but daily life might actually get better.


    admin Reply:

    Where is Ukraine exactly? (I can’t imagine it’s peculiarly obscure.)


    Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 10:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “sowing dragon’s teeth.”

    And what pray are these Dragon’s Teeth?

    Or who?


    Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 10:40 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    The Foreign Policy establishment is in fact the Deep State. Only a Deep State could do so.

    This means of course it’s …ah..well…errant knave…

    They cannot back out and they will play it out to the end. There is a lot of ruin in a country and that’s their business plan. The chief target is of course America proper, a land of boundless resources barely scratched compared to the rest of the world, and hardly any population west of the Mississippi. The majority landowner being USG.

    The world has had enough and they will have to return, they cannot deliver war anymore nor money. They must return. And then dear hearts we see what USG has really got, they can do better than Obama, Hillary, Nuland.

    Remember they have enormous debts and it’s a ruthless world out there, they now must do to the rest of America what was done to the Plains Indians after the Civil War when there were also enormous debts. The Power Bloc is exactly the same, New York and Washington.

    If we weren’t gap toothed moronic inbred trash [we’re not] they’d find another reason, they have to do these things. Economics drives them as it did the 19th century destruction of the Plains Indians.

    When you have a system of many layers of interlocking debt you don’t need Stalin to get the resources, you have debts as the mechanism. The same method was of course applied in Ireland to great success, if you define 2/3 reduction of the troublesome natives as success. Debt has always been the true weapon of mass destruction of the Anglo-Saxon Capitalist system, in many ways this was inevitable. The Left of course instantly pivoted in the 1990s from USSR fellow travelers to uber capitalists and Goldman Sachs staffing of Treasury and the Fed. Graceful dancers they are, The Progressives.

    You see the population of the United States is in the way of …Progress. And it’s debts.

    We shall see.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 12:33 am Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    I think a mix of B and C, with China as the burgeoning new hegemon.

    Look at China in Africa. China needed Africa’s resources but Africa is a mess, so it sent a bunch of its people out there to put it into some kind of order, develop the necessary infrastructure, etc.

    Now consider a world descending into anarchy where China needs to secure its interests. Why doesn’t it just do more of this? Every time capitalism has interacted with Confucian culture the outcome has looked pretty similar: a professionalised civil service and blurred boundaries between government and business. That’s something that’s exportable. The story won’t be “we need you to change your government because universal rights” it’ll be “we need you to professionalise and empower your civil service because we’re fed up with your instability and can’t do business with a bunch of clowns.” The measures can be pushed along with development loans, bail out money, trade agreements, etc, using the exact same strategy the US uses now. China can also take over the role of governing international trade, except instead of using its position to push an ideology, it just pushes stability. Essentially, China could step into the impartial role the US claims for itself now, while discarding all the dumb stuff the US actually does.

    It seems to me that the tools of US hegemony are just sitting there, begging to be taken over by an impartial global neo-mandarinate. The Chinese Communist Party would become the HR department for the world.

    Now, if the descent into anarchy happens anytime soon, it won’t be a straightforward Chinese hegemony at first. China isn’t in a position to take over all the roles of the US. Instead it would be a shaky China-led multipolar system, in which China would gradually grow in power. But due to that very shakiness, it seems like it’d be even more likely that the “China model” of administration by a professionalised civil service would be pushed. Moreover, it seems to me that progressivism is the perfect set-up for a fire sale of Western interests to a country that’s only interested in stability and trade. Progressivism has created the kind of nihilistic cultural vacuum where “stability and trade” probably sounds like more than enough. It definitely beats another Dark Age.

    This probably sounds horrifying to ethno-nats. Not sure about techno-commercialists.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 12:40 am Reply | Quote
  • S.C. Hickman Says:

    I’m at the moment in the midst of reading through Peter Sloterdjik’s three-volume Spherology Trilogy and his appended In the World Interior of Capital. Sloterdijk has always been closer to the traditionalists and Nietzscheans in seeing the Enlightenment Universalist position of the Left as just what it is crapology…. what he sees is power moving to the Pacific regions and the slow decay of the Atlantic empires over time… I tend to see the next conflicts coming in that region as well. America is already so tied to China and the Pacific Rim for its industrial transactions and needs I think it’ll end up having to strike a deal in sharing power with China eventually as part of its realization of demise just like what happened to England with us… even Toynbee was moving toward such an Eastern migration of power in his later writings… nothing really new there. With over a hundred new cities projected to be built with new smart city component technologies and both IBM and Cisco heavily investing in cooperation with China I see the large conglomerates already migrating and realizing Game Over.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 1:14 am Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    Fictional example of how I would run the military based on calling an all-in poker bet:

    Enemy: We want to take over country B. (Bets a normal amount.)
    Good Guys: We won’t tell you when you cross the line. After which we enter into nuclear holocaust. You can take your chances. (Bets enough to take all the enemies money.)
    Enemy: We want to negotiate in order to come to an understanding. (Tries to discern if the Good Guys are bluffing.)
    Good Guys: You will receive no information except that we have the ability to annihilate you. (Stone faced.)
    Enemy: This is a very uncomfortable position for us. (Folding their cards)
    (Dealer shuffles deck and deals the next hand.)
    Good Guys: Can we resume trade talks now?


    Erik Reply:

    Nuclear holocaust seems hard to threaten with after 70 years off. You’d probably have to do some annihilating before the rest started cluing in.


    Bill Reply:

    I was assuming that the NRx leaders would be intimidating.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 4:30 am Reply | Quote
  • Moving forward with 4GW and NRx | The New International Outlook Says:

    […] talk by William Lind (H/t Nick Land). See 43 Minutes […]

    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 5:53 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    “… we are there to build, not to destroy …”


    admin Reply:

    Let’s see if that happens. If it does, it definitely says something. A whole new way to bury the Monroe Doctrine.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 6:00 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    End of Foreign Policy Community means it’s Powers must now eat America.

    America between the Hudson&Potomac rivers East to CA coasts is standing in the way of Progress, and we’re the Cigar Store White Indian, the next stuffed animals in the Smithsonian.

    This is the answer to the question posed at the top of the page, Mr. Land.

    They could of course alternatively repudiate all debts and zero them out, as indeed Finance has had it’s debts “sterilized” to the ruin of all Western governments and the loss of over $100T USD.

    They could admit to madness, zero all debts and amnesty all including themselves – and to me with these conditions met amnesty is acceptable despite their crimes because it means less destruction – but they will not do so. Such decisions require grace, courage. They’ve never had these things and indeed mocked them until they were in power.

    So we see…the results of the ensuing trial made necessary only by the ascent of evil and madness into power. You might blame democracy except none of them were elected or indeed known to the public.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 9:51 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Must say the comments here amusing. For years the end of the Hegemony, the end of the Cathedral as we knew it has been anticipated with pass the popcorn, enjoy the decline, detached snarky irony and so on.

    I point out no individual but a crowd.

    Well now the end is in sight, the actual collapse has begun and it’s not so funny when it’s present and consequences begin to manifest..

    Now Chinese improbable overseas Hegemony or it’s impossible HR outsourcing of America are babbled with clear desperation. This can’t and won’t happen.

    China won’t save America. It can’t. Why should it? oh..and why should China save..You?

    The accounting has begun, it begins overseas in Ukraine, Iraq, Gaza. We have no power.

    It begins in America along the Southern Border which has been De Facto opened as regards Federal Authorities. You may be assured they’ve now lost whatever tenuous holds they had remaining over ICE, CPB, law enforcement in TX, AZ. It began within our borders with Molon Labe – a clear defiant open challenge to the Central Governments putative monopoly on force that was met with snarls and mutters but slunk away from. It continued within America when even Harry Reid couldn’t deliver real estate within his own home state of Nevada, a state where he is Kingfish, the head of the political machine. That was quite seen . It’s more diverse effects are being manifested in St. Louis, although that’s actually standard behavior from the Diverse faction – what isn’t standard is whites and Hispanics openly armed themselves to defend their businesses, standing together.

    That they have money problems might be inferred by increasing the monetary base [bills and coins] 75% may 13 to may 14. But no one noticed it unless they checked FRED St Louis site.

    They have thrown open the border and so thrown away Congress. The open border of course can’t be done without the Foreign Policy Community’s blessing. What’s coming through the open doors is 80% plus teenage males from Central America’s gang neighborhoods, after ICE nicely does some paperwork and takes care of them HHS [Health/Human Services and Blue Faction] delivers them to…gang neighborhoods in the USA.

    Throwing away Congress in the Fall to gain MS-13 soldiers might just mean something.

    This is the precious Decline, so pass the popcorn. Enjoy it. Don’t abandon your snark now.

    Did Socrates stop being snarky when condemned?


    admin Reply:

    I think you’re projecting. No sign of tone shift that I can perceive.


    Thales Reply:

    Yeah, my popcorn bowl still runeth over. Hilarity ensues today on this episode of As the World Burns as Obama re-adopts the Truman Doctrine in piecemeal fashion.


    VXXC Reply:

    Mr. Thales [I presume] in Obama’s case it’s the Truman Show.

    He really doesn’t know, and probably doesn’t want to..would anyone?

    Whether or not tone has shifted reality has, and China can’t come to the rescue even if it wants to…not that those would be the actions of the sane. The Chinese strike me both as sane and having their own problems to concern them.

    Did you know they poured more concrete in China in 3 years than we did in 100 years?

    Hell maybe the West can exit, into all those empty cities. But that wouldn’t be sane.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 10:13 am Reply | Quote
  • Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » T-shirt slogans (#15) Says:

    […] Thales on “Which Falls First?” … […]

    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 4:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    USG isn’t dying pretty, and dying it is. Missed deliverables: Monopoly Force [MOLON LABE FAIL], Syria, Ukraine, Bundy Ranch. It’s ending.

    And no one’s coming to rescue Western Civ, certainly not China. Enjoy the Popcorn.


    Posted on August 12th, 2014 at 9:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • Porphy's Attorney Says:

    The only thing I’d add is that your (a) (b) and (c) might be incomplete. c.f. Robert Keohane’s “After Hegemony” as a starting point; written when he (mistakenly) thought America’s hegemonic moment had already passed (due to events of the ’70s).

    Essentially he concieved of the world as entering a post-Hegemonic order where global institutions (the usual suspects) would be self-sustaining under a polycentric order.

    From the NRx perspective, his argument boiled down to our friends, the international(ized) progressive movement having successfully detached themselves from reliance on any specific polity, and being able to more-or-less manage and guide the world through international institutions (mainly norms, not necessarily mainly I.E. the UN directly).

    What we would call wirepulling on The Movement’s part (not his phrasing) would get the significant powers (the round-up of the usual suspects, which, collectively still hold most of the power, even today) to do what progressives think are the right things, more or less, and uphold the liberal internationalist world order that had been created/put in place by the hegemons.

    So (d) would be a self-sustaining supra-hegemonic (above any specific geographic polity) order. In essence one might call this a variant of (a), insofar as it would be the Anglo-Progressive order, though now detached from any ethnic core and not considering America special at all (except perhaps as a tool-among-others). Its roots would remain its roots, though, despite efforts to “diversify” its “decision-making processes” (which are mostly informal anyhow – again, these international institutions are not to be confused with UN, or even NATO. They’re rules-and-norms, specific organizations are only *potential* venues through which these rules-and-norms might work their magic).

    This might seem like a dubious project to NRxers, but it’s the actual project of liberal internationalism, aka the progressive movement. We don’t think they have much of a future, but we also respect their track record of success over past centuries. So this outcome should be included in any analysis.


    Posted on August 16th, 2014 at 1:18 am Reply | Quote
  • Wagner Says:

    “The foreign policy establishment, or the country?”

    What is “the EU” anyway?

    None of my posts cohere by the way, they’re all just random thoughts.

    Which persons specifically control “the EU”?


    And once we determine that we will have certain people ask them questions on camera.

    Or whatever they decide to do. Bake them cookies and send them to their houses?


    Posted on September 1st, 2019 at 12:47 am Reply | Quote

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