“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.