SCO Summit: Chinese Dragon and Russian Bear as multipolarity forces


Speech of professor Alexander Dugin on the conference in China organized by Fudan University during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization 2018. 

Thank you very much for your kind invitation. I would like to thank, first of all, Mr. Zhang Weiwei from Fudan University. This is my first trip to China, and I`m very impressed. I have written a book about China – “Yellow Dragon” – dedicated to history, to civilization and to identity of China. If you`re interested in Russian vision of Chinese culture, or you`ll be interested to translate, I`ll provide Fudan University with it. Actually, we visited Amsterdam conference with Mr. Weiwei, where we were together on the side of multipolarity and the new world order – against unipolarity. 

Unipolar moment

First of all, I would like to expose my vision of multipolarity. I have written many books (more than 60), one of which is called The theory of multipolar world. It`s very important to promote the debates on multipolarity at the scientific level. 

We`re still living in unipolar moment. Unipolar moment arrived with the fall of the USSR, with the end of bipolarity. Charles Krauthammer called it The Unipolar Moment, and Francis Fukuyama called it The End of the History. 

Unipolar moment still lasts, but it is on the decline. It is not something that provokes enthusiasm. The globalization continues, western hegemony is still here, but it is on the clear decline.

We are living in the moment of the ending of the unipolar moment. It is the transition from the unipolar system with the global western values accepted as something universal. And more and more people agree to call this new paradigm multipolarity. 

Multilateralism and multipolarity

There is very important difference between multilateralism and multipolarity.

The idea of multilateralism, distributed by Barack Obama, was based on distribution of some power from the West to the China. The example is the Clinton`s proposal to create G2 – to govern together with China, but under the guidance of the United States. 

The real multipolarity is something completely different. I would like to expose our Russian understanding of what is multipolarity. It is based on the idea that there`s no such thing as universality in the understanding of western modern and postmodern culture. There is nothing universal in humanity, there is no concept of human values that could be applied to any society, there is nothing universal. The understanding of human in different cultures and civilizations in quite different. We can`t deal with universal concept of human rights because we have no such normative concept of human. In western culture there is a concept of individual, it is liberal ideological understanding of human. There is another understanding of human in context of his personal relations with God in Islamic culture, where transcendental level is absolutely essential. There is a concept Ren[1]in Chinese culture, that is more social than individual. There is also the Christian Orthodox understanding of human as Personality (instead of individuality), it depends on intersection of social relations of men and spiritual relations with God. In Hindu culture the concept of human is based on the Advaita tradition, on the Buddhist culture, implying that there is the cosmic illusion, and the destiny of a man is to free himself from this illusion.

So, the concept of human rights is not universal. And the human rights that we accepted as universal value is the projection of modern western understanding of what is human and what is right. That is ideological concept of the West projected on us. 

Multipolarity is based on recognition of this otherness of peoples in positive way. There is not only one concept of “human”, there is not only one concept of “right”, “order”, “normal”, “universal”. For example, Chinese, or Russian culture is universal, but in other way that European or western. We understand the universality differently from the West. 

So, multipolarity is based on the positive understanding of the Other and on the acceptation of pluricentric system of values. If we could arrive to some kind of universality, it should be based on the dialog, not on the monologue; on the debates about the most important concepts in the science, in the culture, in the politics, and not on the unipolar projection of liberal anglo-saxon concept that we should accept as some imposition.

Intellectual decolonization

The project of multipolarity is to do away with western hegemony, western imperialism and western colonialism – and not only in economic or political way, that is already done. In political sense the fight for the decolonization is done. The economical fight is in process, and China is leading here – that is a good example how you could be economically successful without imitating the West. The Chinese model was explained by Mr. Michel Aglietta in terms of regulation theory. The communist party there plays the essential role in conserving the order and promoting the real Chinese version of democracy, and the society is the key factor. 

The problem of Russia in 1990s was the imitation of the West. We have lost almost everything – our country, our independence, our sovereignty, our industry, - and only with Putin we began to revival. The political order is essential in this economic growth of China, but we see here the example of economic sovereignty of China and fight for the decolonization in economic way. 

But there is the most important form of colonialism – occupation of our intellects, of our thoughts. We are still under huge influence of the unipolar moment in the field of the thought, of the philosophy, of the theory, of the science, of the conscience. So, the most important thing in the multipolar world order that should finish with the global domination of the West is the intellectual decolonization. We should free ourselves from this illusion of universal conceptual language of the West. We should understand it, we should learn it, we should deconstruct it and put the West in the logical and natural limits of western civilization. 

So, the discourse of the West is valued in the western part of the world, not on our side. So, we have to decolonize our thoughts, and to return the western civilization to the normal precolonial limits. It`s very important.

In China, it`s easy to speak about the plurality of the time, because in their culture they`re dealing with cyclic time, not with linear time. So, the return is always possible. The multipolarity is based on the return of pre-columbian time, in the time of great empires coexisting – Ottoman Empire, Persian Empire, Chinese Empire, Russian Empire, European Empire. It was the balance that preceded this global expansion of the West. Pre-colombian concept is very important, because it is Renaissance – very interesting moment, but in modernity, in Enlightenment era Renaissance was considered as a kind of introduction to the modernity. But this is only in linear time concept. In the reality Renaissance can be the lost chance of civilization. If we stay in Renaissance we could follow the different way than toward the modernity, global capitalism. 

The real capitalist power has nothing to do with democracy or human rights, it is the continuation of the war. The war was the real source of modern capitalist power. Fernand Braudel, Carl Schmitt, John Hobson proved that. So, all these myths about freedom, free trade, special forms of development of the capitalism are the metanarrative of the colonization. In the reality, economy is the continuation of politics by the other means. As Carl von Clausewitz said, "War is the continuation of politics by other means." Economy is the other form of the continuation of politics. 

So, capitalism is nothing else but the weapon. And the subject to use this weapon is state, society, nation. If we consider this system as weapon, we need to define who uses this weapon. China is again the brilliant example how we can use socialism, capitalism, changes in relationship with the other worlds in favor of Chinese people. Chinese people is the subject of the history, Chinese culture is the subject of the history and that is example of multipolarity.

Now let`s consider more practical aspects of multipolarity. Multupolarity presumes that there`s not only one point of global decision in the West, there are different points. It couldn`t be in the number of sovereign countries, because many of the so-called sovereign countries are not sovereign. They are not powerful enough, they have no critical weight for this sovereignty. So, we need to make a shift from the so-called sovereignty to the real sovereignty. Multipolar world should be based on the balance of these really sovereign countries. So, the quantity of the poles of the multipolar system should be more limited than the number of the so-called sovereign countries. 

Two Wests

We could describe some features of this multipolarity. First of all, the West should be split. The United States of America are one pole of civilization, and there`s Europe that is not the same. They have a lot in common, but there are a lot of things that divide USA and Europe, more and more. Now it`s time to give a form to these differences. This process is facilitated by ruling of Trump`s administration that is more and more egoistic, and less and less globalist. And this aggressive style of Trump is a very good sign because that gives a chance to Europe to redefine its own identity, geopolitical positions, interests and may be military and strategic independence. So, the appearance of Europe as something quite different from United States could be important shift, important phenomena of multipolarity. 

Instead of global West that pretends to be only one point of decision there will be two Wests. This split will help to appear other poles.

Russia, China and other poles

Second aspect of multipolarity. There is the return of Russia - we see it in many aspects of the world politics. Putin has begun to restore Russian sovereignty as independent global player. Russia is weak in economic sense, but it is strong in military and political sense. The Eurasian pole that appears, there is Chinese pole (it becomes independent world player, and economically China is much more developed) and others. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is precisely the core, the example how this multipolarity can be created. That is the core of the multipolar club: it is not yet multipolarity, but that is direction to it. 

So, we see at least two great poles of multipolarity – Russian and Chinese. There is also demographic, economic and political giant in this multipolar context – India. It`s completely independent from Russia, China or West. There is growing resistance against unipolar moment of the side of Islamic states, their civilization is fighting against western hegemony in different way. It could not overcome when Islamic people are divided to the countries – in this case it is easy to destroy it, like Libya or Iraq. But if the new poles as Russia come to help these Islamic states (like in case of Syria), the situation will be different. And with the political and diplomatic support of China to Syria and involvement of other regional powers we could save Islamic states from the West (we know that ISIS is the tool created and supported by CIA during the fight against socialist and pro-soviet tendencies in Islamic world - now is is out of control, but it`s still the continuation of the western strategy). If different poles are working together promoting multipolarity, it could be realized. Islam is religious pole of this resistance, of this sovereignty. In Islamic world there are different poles of attraction – Shia with Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan – it is not really united now. But these poles are united in their rejection of unipolarity. That is very important and active force, that is on rise.

There are first steps toward unite position in Latin America. And another potential pole is Africa, that is logical result of decolonization process, because African countries were liberated from formal occupation, but they are still dependent from the West, they feel themselves colonized. They should find the solution out of this post-colonial structures, there is possible unification in some pan-African project with the help of other players.

We are living in the transition from unipolarity to multipolarity. Unipolarity is still here – it is not yet the multipolar moment, it is the transition. The dragon of western hegemony is still alive - it is wounded and weakened, but still alive. So, Yellow Dragon and Russian Bear are fighting against this monster that doesn`t want to give his hegemony. So, we are living in the end of this fight. I hope that finally we will win – but only together. Let`s put aside the dreams about bipolar domination – that was our error in soviet period. Chinese were very wise of rejecting the proposition for G2 ruling. We should create together the balance in multipolar world – not bipolar of unipolar.

[1]Ren - It characterizes the bearing and behaviour that a paradigmatic human being exhibits in order to promote a flourishing human community (Britannica)