Ideological Sovereignty In a Multipolar World
In the modern world, a multipolar model is clearly taking shape – almost taking shape. It replaced the unipolarity that was established after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and especially the USSR. The unipolar world, in its turn, replaced the bipolar one, in which the Soviet camp geopolitically and ideologically opposed the capitalist West. These transitions between different types of world order did not take place overnight. Some aspects changed, but some remained the same by inertia.
Depending on the change in the entire planetary picture on geopolitictal geostrategical level, the ideological nature of all global players or poles also muted.
A closer analysis of such ideological transformations – past, present, and future – is essential for strategic planning.
And although the Russian government has developed a regrettable tradition of solving problems only as they arise and prioritizing only answers to immediate challenges (as they say today “to act at the moment”), no one is free from global ideological shifts. Just as ignorance of the law does not exempt from responsibility, the refusal to comprehend the worldview foundations of the global order and their changes in no way relieves the authorities – Russia as a whole – from the deep laws inherent in the sphere of ideology. Any attempt to replace ideology with pure pragmatism can have an effect – and even then only relative and always reversible – only in the short term.
In a bipolar world, respectively, there were two global ideologies –
- liberalism (bourgeois democracy) defined the idea of the capitalist camp, the global West,
- communism was the Idea of an alternative socialist East.
There was an inextricable link between the geopolitical poles – East-West and the corresponding military-strategic zoning of the world (Land Power, Sea Power, Air Power, and finally, outer space - Cosmic Weapon) and two respective ideologies. This connection influenced everything – technical inventions, economics, culture, education, science, etc. The ideology captures not only consciousness but also things themselves. From sertain moment It has passed from the level of polemics about global philosophical and ethical issues to the competition of things, products, tastes, etc. But ideology nevertheless predetermined everything – down to the smallest detail.
Looking ahead, it should be noted that China in the conditions of a bipolar world was not an independent pole. Initially, Maoism was part of the Eastern camp. And after Stalin’s death, a cooling began between the USSR, along with its loyal satellites and China, but strictly within the framework of the communist bloc. China began to follow an independent geopolitical line only with Deng Xiaoping, when Beijing entered the era of reforms, and processes of large-scale degradation began in the USSR. But on the worldscale China did not play then any serious -- not to mention decisive -- role (as now).
It is important to note that the decisive dominance of the ideology was the case not only in the USSR and the socialist countries. It was exactly the same in the West. If in the East that was communism, in the West the dominant ideology was (and still is) liberalism. At the same time, the flexible bourgeois approach sought not only to suppress and exclude its opposite ideology but rather to transform it, not to destroy, but pervert, to neutralize. So along with the marginal, mostly openly communist and pro-Soviet parties and movements, there were “tame” leftists – mostly social democrats or left liberals who accepted the basic postulates of capitalism but hoped to correct them in the future through gradual reforms in a socialist key. In Europe, the left was stronger. In the USA – the stronghold of the liberal capitalist West – they were under the harsh ideological and administrative pressure of the authorities. For ideological reasons.
When the Warsaw Pact was dissolved and the USSR collapsed, a unipolar model took shape. At the geopolitical level, it corresponded to the sole domination of the West, its achievement of undeniable superiority and total leadership over all the rest -- including potential opponents (primarily over the remains of the Eastern Bloc represented by Russia in the 90s of the 20th century). This is reflected in the most important strategic documents of the United States of the 1990s – the military doctrine of “full-spectrum dominance” and the prevention of the emergence in Eurasia of a geopolitical entity capable of somehow limiting the US planetary control. This was called the “unipolar moment” (C. Krauthammer).
Ideological domination of liberalism on the worldscale corresponded to geopolitical unipolarity.
Back in the 1930s, the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci proposed using the term “hegemony” primarily as a worldwide expansion of capitalist ideology. After the fall of the USSR, it became obvious that the military, economic and technological hegemony of the West was accompanied by another form of hegemony – ideological – that is, the total spread of liberalism. This is how one ideology began to prevail almost all over the world – the liberal one. It was built on the basic principles that hegemony considered and imposed as universal norms:
- individualism, social atomization,
- market economy,
- unification of the world financial system,
- parliamentary democracy, multi-party system,
- civil society,
- technological development and, above all, “digitalization”,
- the transfer of more and more powers from national States to supranational authorities – such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the European Union, the European Court of Human Rights, the Hague Tribunal and so on.
In the unipolar world, this ideology has become not only Western but the unique, pan-human, universal. China has accepted it in terms of economy and globalization of markets. Russia of the Yeltsin era – as a whole (in somehow perverted form).
And again, as in the bipolar world, the field of ideology was not limited to the highest spheres of politics, it pervaded everything – education, culture, technology. The very objects and technical devices of the unipolar world were a kind of “proof” of the ideological triumph of liberalism. The very concepts of “modernization” and “progress” have become synonymous with “liberalization” and “democratization”. And accordingly, the West, while strengthening its ideological power, strengthened direct political and military-strategic control.
Yeltsin’s Russia was a classic illustration of this unipolarity:
- helplessness and passivity in international politics,
- blindly following Western curators in the economy, desovereignization,
- an attempt by the comprador elites to integrate into global capitalism at any cost.
The Russian Federation was created on the ruins of the USSR as part of a unipolar world, swearing allegiance to the basic principles of liberalism in the 1993 Constitution.
In conditions of unipolarity, liberalism has advanced even further in its individualism and technocracy. A new stage began when gender politics, the critical race theory, feminism, the overdue concern with all kinds of minority, came to the fore, as well as in the horizon of the near future – the transition through deep ecology to posthumanism, the era of robots, cyborgs, mutants, and Artificial Intelligence. American embassies or NATO military bases around the world have become the ideological representations of the global LGBT+ movement. LGBT+ signs are nothing more than a new edition of advanced liberalism.
But the “end of history”, that is, the triumph of global liberalism, which the globalists (for example, Fukuyama) hoped for, did not happen.
The hegemony began to falter. In Russia, Putin came to power, who with an iron hand took a course towards restoring sovereignty, ignoring the ideological pressure of external and internal agents of hegemony (in principle, both parts of a single whole – the general structure of world liberalism). China has broken out into the world leaders, while maintaining the sole power of the Communist Party and carefully guarding Chinese society against the most destructive aspects of ideological globalism – hyper-individualism, gender politics, etc.
So the next kind of world order began to emerge – a multipolar model.
And here the question of ideology aquires greatest importence, becomes decisive. Today, due to the inertia of the unipolar world (which in turn inherits the ideology of one of the poles of the bipolar capitalist West), world liberalism in one form or another retains the function of operating system of thinking. So far, none of the emerging full-fledged poles – that is, neither China nor Russia – have challenged liberalism as a whole. Yes, China rejects
- parliamentary democracy,
- Western interpretations of human rights,
- gender politics, and
- cultural individualism.
Russia, on the other hand,
- strongly insists, first of all, on geopolitical sovereignty,
- puts national law over international law, and
- increasingly begins to move towards (as yet vague and not articulated) conservatism.
At the same time, both Russia and China (especially when acting together) are able in practice to ensure their sovereignty at the strategic and geopolitical level. But the next step is needed: to move finally to full-fledged ideological multipolarity and oppose the liberal Idea by the Russian Idea, the Chinese Idea and genereally by the Multipolar Idea.
It should be noted that in the ideological confrontation with the West, some Islamic countries and movements have gone much further – primarily Iran, as well as Pakistan, and even some radical organizations like the Taliban (banned in Russia). Turkey, Egypt, and even partly the Gulf countries are also moving now more and more in the direction of sovereignty. That means they challenge more and more ideological hegemony of liberalism.
But so far no country in the Islamic world is a full-fledged pole. In their case, the ideological revolt against liberal hegemony is ahead of the geopolitical one.
The Chinese Idea is not difficult to capture. It is expressed
- firstly, in the Chinese version of communism and in the complete monopoly of the CCP on power (and the CCP is precisely an ideological force),
- secondly, in the Confucian ideology, which the Chinese authorities are more and more openly taking on the shield (especially under Xi Jiangping),
- thirdly, it is the deep and organic solidarity of the Chinese society (a very strong and at the same time flexible Chinese identity turns any Chinese, wherever he/she lives, and a citizen of whatever country he/she is, into a natural bearer of the Chinese identity, tradition, civilization, and its structures).
Things are much worse in Russia. By inertia of the 90s, liberal attitudes, values , and guidelines continue to prevail in Russian society. The same we observe in the capitalist economy, parliamentary democracy, the structure of education, information, and culture. Theopenly proclaimed aim of Russian government is "modernization" and “digitalization” -- sometime "privatization" is added. Almost all assessments of efficiency, effectiveness, as well as the very goals of any transformations, are directly copied from the West. There are some differences only in the issue of restricting gender politics and ultra-individualism. The liberal West itself deliberately exaggerates and inflates them. But in order to attack Russia more and more. The present cold war of the West against Russia is pure ideological war. But in the case of contemporary Russia, this is not the struggle of liberalism against full scale iliberalism, but of pure liberalism against impure, partly, fragmentary "liberalism', "sub-liberalism", "under-liberalism".
In Russia, today everything depends from Putin personally. Loosen his grip, or, God forbid, appoint a weak and indistinct figure as his successor – everything will instantly slide into the 90s. Russia got out of 90s thanks to Putin, but due to the lack of an independent Russian ideology, full-fledged ideological counter-hegemony, this outcome cannot be considered irreversible.
The Russian Federation today is almost perfect and self-sufficient military-strategic and political pole, but ideologically it is not a pole. Not now.
And this is where the problems begin. An inertial return to Soviet ideology is impossible. Although social justice and imperial greatness (especially in the era of Stalin) are not just Soviet, but historically Russian values and guidelines.
Russia needs a new form of illiberale ideology, a full-fledged civilizational ideology, which will make Putin's achievments irreversible and promote Russia to the status of a true full-fledged pole and sovereign subject in the multipolar world order.
This is the number one task for Russia.
Strategy, and not just tactics, determine the future, and the transfer of power to post-Putin era, and the necessary long-overdue reforms of power, administrative management, economy, education, culture, and the social sphere. Without a full-fledged ideology in the conditions of multipolarity, no – patriotic, sovereign – reforms can be carried out. But this path is incompatible with liberalism in nothing – not in the premises, not in the latest post-humanist and LGBT challenges.
For Russia to exist, there should no longer be liberalism in Russia.
It is here that lies the key to what we talked about in previous publications in Nezygar – to the transition to the third pole of the Russian – ideological! – the future: from the pro-Western liberalism of the 90s (past) through compromises and ideological sterility (on the verge of cynicism) of the present. We will continue this topic in the next articles of this series.
published in tg-channel Nezygar (@russica2) - http://t.me/russica2