The 24/7 news cycle leaves precious little room for history and its appreciation. The intense competition for jaded attention spans outshines George Orwell’s 1984, where a planet divided between three world empires is united by the ability of each empire to rewrite the past in the minds of its subjects, on a daily basis. Those vilified as enemies on Monday are presented as friends on Tuesday, and the populations of Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia are as unaware of this rewriting as they are of the novel ways in which their minds are dominated by Doublethink.
While real-world 21st century societies are a far cry from Orwell’s dystopia, innovation in the communications field has propelled the fourth-estate into a form of political power nec-plus ultra. By setting the social agenda, selecting voices to ignore and voices to hear, producers and distributors in Hollywood and New York determine the priorities of our government and society. As an institution of power, the fourth-estate suffers no constitutional or legal constraints. Apart from the domains of contractual, advertising, and marketing law, what is referred to as “the media” but is comprised of several distinct industries, enjoys the privilege of influencing everyone from tots to herds, without so much as one fundamental legal constraint on this privilege being on the books.
Little wonder that when it comes to pumping out attention grabbing content, garbage beats quality every time. A Gresham’s law of information debasement assures that important facts are horded by editors and CEOs, and whatever is turgid and hysterical is pumped mercilessly into the retinas and cochleas of the masses all-the-time and every-time, free of charge. A system inimical to anything but the basest, stupidest, and most primitive instincts of which humans are capable crowding out reason, dialogue, and honesty all at once.
Become too dependent on this disinformation infrastructure for knowledge and appreciation of the surrounding world, and the human individual replaces first-hand personal information for templates fabricated in distant studios owned by five corporations intended to reduce him to a pile of impulsive, hyperventilating, outraged obesity obsessively chomping-down Doritos and guzzling Coca-Cola on his way to cognitive oblivion.
While the alliances of the real-world are not fluid enough to justify the multiple-personality disorder of Orwell’s nightmares, the effect of our media junk diets on our relationship to history, is even worst than the Prophet of Doom imagined. In the world of Winston Smith an enemy can become a friend only to revert to an enemy within the span of three days , suggesting that control over the past is essential to control over the present.
In our own day, History as both a science of the past and as a form of esteemed knowledge of the past, has become putty in the hands of cliques unconcerned by the well being of anyone but their exclusive social networks. Control over the collective present requires control over the collective past, and it is achieved by just five Davosmen-owned corporations who have rendered History either entirely irrelevant, or infinitely malleable depending on their political agendas. It isn’t exactly the world of Ingsoc, but there is a Big Brother who decides what counts and what doesn’t, because any objective look at History with a capital H, reveals that what matters to regular people, isn’t what matters to him.
It is to this History that one must turn, to properly evaluate whether America, Russia, and Europe, should be at one anothers’ necks locked in a perpetual blood-letting requiring hecatombs of innocent victims every fifty years, or if there may be a role for each one of them in establishing a peace once it is realized that millennia of murder have served practically no purpose whatsoever.
From pedants to uppity students, frogs, limeys, krauts and gringos, most of us just don’t get it. Europe’s borders change. They change four times a century; they change a lot; comparatively no other region compares. Even post-colonial Africa betrays its chaotic reputation with an Eritrea and South Sudan after a span of forty years. Not so in the Old Continent, where there is, historically speaking, zero novelty to the emergence of the EU super-state, as there was nothing special to the demise of the Soviet one, twenty years ago.
The only post-World War II innovation is of a non-European power such as the United States filling the void left in Europe by two ferocious world wars. Considering the bulk of Russia’s Asian territory, it has an extra-European dimension equivalent to that of the United States, but in both the North American and Northern Asian case, there is less to the extra-Europeanity than meets the eye.
In Antiquity the Mediterranean was the private lake of the Romans, irrespective of whether the coast was African, European, or Asian. When the North American littoral fell to the states of Europe’s western littoral following the Great Discoveries, the Western Hemisphere became their natural demographic, cultural, religious and political exclave. New Spain, New England, New Amsterdam, New France, New Scotland, the names imply that while not part of geographic Europe, the Atlantic was literally Europe’s Mediterranean until the beginning of the 19th century. It was a European space, regardless of where tectonic plates touch.
So too with Russia’s conquest of the East, a European population expansion into sparsely populated North-East Asia. Once Peter the Great opened Russia to Flemish, Dutch, and German settlers in the 1700s, new technology and techniques were introduced to an assertive Russian polity rising to crush the remains of Mongol and Turkic empires in a dash towards the Pacific ocean. What Imperial Japan considered its rightful “Asian” territory when it challenged Soviet power in the Pacific in the 1920s, was conquered similarly, and by virtually the same people, as those who had settled the wilderness of North America.
The only differences between the two expansions are that the bulk of Russia’s population always remained and still remains in Europe proper, and that Russian colonialism, from its formative period right up to the demise of the Romanoffs, was the result of consistent opposition to predatory Asian states with which it had a uniquely negative experience. In Istanbul, slaves were sold right up till 1908, and those of European origin, were Caucasians and Slavs. From its days as a Viking state in Kiev, to its conquest of the Khans of Bukhara, Khiva, and Kokand, century upon century Slavic troops regularly encountered their compatriots as slaves in souks of the East. Russian expansion, unlike that of Atlantic European states, was in opposition to the direct territorial pressure of its Eastern and Southern neighbors with whom it shared neither culture, nor religion, and for whom it served as a demographic repository of sexual and military slavery. Russia’s territorial growth was certainly predatory, but it boasted a historical grudge against Asian empires, which Jamestown and Montreal did not bear the Natives of North America.
Regardless of such difference, the colonization of Northern Asia and the Americas were demographically and culturally identical. Europeans projected their population and family patterns into non-European lands, in a manner which resulted in two of these spaces, that of Russia and the United States, comprising extra-continental, but not extra-European territories.
It is only from a strictly geographical perspective that Europe’s post-World War II occupation by yanks and bolsheviks, can be interpreted as a demise of the continent itself. From the perspective of European civilization, two of its immediate demographic and cultural margins had leveraged their non-European territorial spaces to the benefit of establishing order and peace in what could properly be called the European heartland, i.e. the European continent in its geographic sense.
The demise of the sovereignty and independence of countries in this heartland, is not the demise of Europe in its extra-territorial, civilization and demographic dimensions. The historical continuity in which North America and North Asia were shaped as extra-territorial European spaces in the span of five centuries is a concrete and tangible reality. The geography of Europe is not bound by the Urals in the East and the Mid-Atlantic ridge in the West. The geography of Europe includes the manner in which its physical space nourished a cultural and demographic heritage which expanded into new continents and the manner in which this expansion was and is managed politically.
What is presented as mere “alliance” of North Atlantic Countries, and a mere “Asian” Russia is an expression of European history, in which the relationship between demographic and cultural expansion and its original location is politically organized. NATO is not the result of coin-flipping and randomness. It is not a mere question of probability how people separated yet linked by the Atlantic ocean came to resolve their military disputes. Russia’s size, its claim to Siberia, to Sakhalin, to tiny islands dotting the Pacific was not an Award for winning chess tournaments with Mongolians, Persians, and Ottomans. When America and Russia came to share their borders, in California and Alaska, these were not arbitrary events of two deeply distant cultures encountering one another. More often than not, both American and Russian settlers had French and German speaking individuals when crossing paths in Sonoma California or Klondike Alaska. They were Christians or European Jews, they were genetically related, and their ancestry was traceable to geographic Europe. From a purely historical perspective, none of this is insignificant.
The details of the historical relationship between Europe and its demographic projections abroad are too numerous to go into in full. Since its initial colonization not one North American war occurred without military participation of European states. The United States first wars of conquest were against the Spanish, French, and British empires. Our Civil War included an international and European dimension about which school children have yet to be taught. The scheming of the Frogs and Pommys nearly cost the Union its victory, and preempted Yankee expansion into Mexico proper, and into the Caribbean.
It is not by a fluke of history, that once embroiled in the ghastly carnage of the trenches of Verdun, Gallipoli or Romania, European states vied for the entrance or continued presence of their extra-territorial cousins so as to shift the balance of the war in their favor. Americans and Russians were being asked to bleed for Europe’s border’s long before the Berlin Wall appeared. Already at the time of the British Continental Blockade, America found itself shooting Poms to keep her ships neutral and supplying the belligerents independently of their strategic concerns.
When the ink dried on the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919, Russia was embroiled in a civil war. The Germans, and in some respect the Allies themselves, had managed to knock her out of the Great War in 1917, with catastrophic consequences for the Western Front. The vacuum created with the toppling of the Romanoffs in St. Petersburg, resulted in the direct need for American intervention to keep the Kaiser from swallowing up Europe. If today’s inhabitants of Bristol, Lyon, Milan, aren’t born speaking German, they can thank the American boys who came and gave up their lives for them in 1917.
America’s entry into the war didn’t result in French and British troops pushing the Krauts back to the Rhine. The surrender monkeys and pissed Johns didn’t set foot on German territory at any point during the entire war. It was our GIs that beat the Fritzes when Wilhelm capitulated, and it was Woodrow Wilson’s generosity to apportion bits and pieces of the Kaiser’s overseas colonies to London and Paris so they could attain the peak of their Imperial glory in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
It is wrong to imagine America and Russia as mere interlopers in the European game. They were not two super-powers who just happened upon waning empires that they picked apart as they saw fit. America and Russia are two culturally and demographically European powers who had regularly contributed their flesh to the settling of Europe’s territorial claims. By the time Europe finally bled herself white with war and pestilence, America and Russia were the only ones left standing, capable of bringing closure to the heartland’s conflicts, burdened by their own origins and history as guarantors of the heartland’s peace. The mantle of arbitraging the destiny of Europe’s masses, passed on to Europeans whose territorial distance from the heartland afforded them greater breathing room. America and Russia sported the economic, social, and political capacities to reconstruct Europe from its ashes, and to give Europeans the impression of an irenic utopia, in which the very possibility of Europe being responsible for any future conflict within its border or anywhere else, had been abolished in keeping with Moscow and Washington’s decision to monopolize all expeditionary military capacity to themselves.
Careers moved from Berlin, Vienna, and Paris, to Moscow and Washington. For some, the new burden of Europe was a tremendous personal opportunity to engage in the colonialism of empires past. America and the Soviet Union had equally capable populations of young men and women bent on success and fame in the political, technological, and cultural realms. There was no shortage of ambition, and the Soviets and American’s could match one another tit for tat especially when it came to geopolitics, cunning, and insider manipulation. Both sported large numbers of uniquely gifted individuals and powerful ethnic networks who they tapped for aggressive contestation of the rival superpower, and counted upon to engage in the dirtiest and nastiest form of corruption and control of European allies and satellite states.
The Soviets lacked the breath of American dominance of natural resources, and the know-how which came in co-opting Western European states vs. Eastern European ones. Due to the primary difference with their Atlantic cousins, the USSR had the disadvantage of actual territorial and extraordinary civilian population loss in both world wars, such that America enjoyed an advantage in the infrastructure, intellectual, and labor realm. Moscow attempted to make up its shortcomings by intensive investment in pedagogy, discipline, and by concentrating its resources in the strategic foreign policy domain.
The British and French empires remained unscathed by the wars, and were easily incorporated into an American economy in which foreign policy was more specialized, and limited to a more exclusive social club. America’s population was never subject to the privations demanded of Soviet subjects.
The resulting balance of power between the USSR and USA, shaped global destinies right up till the fall of the Soviet block in 1992. This fall saw Moscow lose nearly all of its international prowess, implying that it could not keep its part in the burden of managing Europe’s borders, and America was stuck holding all the strings which it had spun during the Cold War along with the loose ends left untended by a recoiling Moscow.
Europeans, raised on decades of false impressions of easy politics, where there were no trade-offs to be made, and nothing required any sacrifice beyond that of focused bureaucratic work, naively believed that this was the opportunity to form a political union without for any consideration for the rightful place of either America or Moscow in such an undertaking. Europe’s elites were content to have America pay for their peace dividends, and ignorant of basic historical realities of their own continent, which implied that Moscow’s withdrawal from the Post War burden would not resolve itself, was temporary, and that there would be no automatic solution of Europe’s problems by Washington.
It is this European tendency, inculcated by Washington and Moscow as empire-builders over the last six decades, to live well without the slightest comprehension of the geopolitical infrastructure assuring this good-life, which makes Europeans such dangerous fools on the international arena. For decades the brightest talents of Moscow and Washington, the neocons and oligarchs of New York and St. Petersburg, have fragmented and limited this knowledge among select European elites, while creating masses of European idealists who cannot make the simple connection between living standards and the political sacrifices these entail.
Europeans are oblivious of the costs they pass on to Moscow and Washington for their sovereignty, partying, and free universities. While the empires have to send their kids to die, the Europeans can complain about evil-America and moan about evil-Russians, making ceaseless demands of Washington and Moscow for generous business, social, and political deals in exchange for mere economic access and a fealty of public sentiment which in an epoch when the world is ruled by staggering media lies, amounts to a commitment to the continued brainwashing of Europe’s masses by fairy tales about WMDs and an irenic future.
The mistakes committed the brilliant neocons of Washington and Moscow in the last sixty years are copious and terrifying. Their cognitive capacities, erudition, and ambition are a mix straight out of hell where political stability is concerned. Positively evil in their willingness to sacrifice others for their personal gain, these psychopaths are the necessary component of every powerful state and empire. They are the indispensable energy lubricating the system. The imbecility of the bien pensants Europeans, and so called “progressive” Americans and Russians alike, who lecture everyone about how peace begets peace and idyll begets idyll, how if we all just connected to our chakras and share the same bed we would end up singing kumbaya in a global paradise of secular and sexual rapture, is worst than anything a child-killing neocon could ever dream up.
For if the neocon is true to his nature of a murderous snake in the service of the uncompromisingly sovereign state, then the conformist do-gooder of European extraction partying from Berlin to Seattle with every European capital in between, is a duplicitous hypocrite who screams about the injustices of the capitalist world while actively pushing it deeper and deeper into Hell with their countless Iphones, Priuses, and solar panels whose toxicity, origin, manufacture, and un-recyclability contribute an order more to global climate and permanent pollution change than diesel cars and petrol ever will.
It is this perennial student or wanna-be hipster whose obsessive virtue signaling reveals his cowardly self-abnegation in the face of genuine threat, and his self-aggrandizing contempt for others when fencing with the ones concocted in his spoiled brain, one hears in the cries of European leaders when demanding respect for their second-rate countries, when hectoring the international community with gibberish about human rights and the environment, about which no one living beneath the official poverty level gives a piece of fecal matter or has the time of day to consider.
It is as if by virtue of the hot air which emanates from the mouths and derrieres of such posers that the rest of humanity is having its oxygen taken away and feeling itself suffocated. The do-gooderism and easy living which the Soviets and Americans had bestowed on the European masses and the masses of European origin in America and Russia, is now sucking the air out of the planet’s atmosphere. Kremlin and Washington neocons were always keenly aware that even a small Utopia, can come at a high cost, so why is it that these rigorous geniuses, these “realists” and “fact based thinkers” made it a point to teach the masses, that anything which comes at even the smallest cost, is not worthy of a utopia?
The Europe of today is led by adolescent men and pot-heads. It’s leaders are clowns, prancing about with their International Human Rights garbage to which even their own commitment is highly dubious, if not purely rhetorical. Everyone sees beyond the facade of self-serving careerist rhetoric, and yet everyone finds themselves innocent of it. What Russia and America have wrought in their mismanagement of the continent, is what any two knuckleheads engaged in useless arguing inevitably bring to the table, but unlike Europeans, the elites in both ex-super-powers are keenly aware of their own shortcomings.
Unlike Europeans, the White House and Kremlin are not living with the illusion of being morally flawless in their political reasoning or behavior. They are aware, on a day to day basis how difficult it is to move on the world stage, without knocking someone over, even unintentionally. Only Europeans live with the illusion, that all their sins ended with 1945 and decolonization, and that today the evils of the world can be cured by anti-racism and a martyr-like commitment to self-denigration for the sake of social and international peace; aggression can be exorcised from the system – believe the conformists – via total submission to the aggressors, or by prayers towards Washington and Moscow if real war and policing were ever needed.
If the neocon bogeyman is eternally stuck in brinkmanship of World War III, the European do-gooder is actively pushing the world towards war with his dangerous ignorance. The combination bodes nothing but hardship and suffering for the entire world. Nowhere is this mix of the arrogant social climbing of the neocons and idealistic European imbecility more apparent, more blatant, more revealing of its destructive power than in the Ukraine. (Syria surpasses Ukraine in the cruelty and sheer evil of its predicament, but it falls at the feet of Turks, Iranians, the Saudis, and Israelis, as well as America and Russia.)