What will save Europe?
There are two theories of international relations: liberalism and realism. But there is a third way. This is now Europe’s last chance.
· Liberalism proclaims that the sovereignty of national governments must be reduced to zero by the transfer of power to supranational organisations and, eventually, to world government. The world government isn’t a conspiracy, but a classic conception of liberal theory in international relations. The only debate is about whether it will be a government or governance (the latter of which is soft rule: “you are free, but we will correct you to be the way we want you to be”).
Realism proclaims the following: realism won’t fade, humanity will keep living in nation-states and jurisdiction is based on a balance of power.
The third way (neither liberalism nor realism) is the theory of the multipolar world.
The multipolar world is a triple conception: liberalism corresponds to hegemony (global capital, a united world etc.), realism corresponds to caesarism (sovereignty, capitalism confined to national border, mercantilism), but the theory of the multipolar world corresponds to counter-hegemony. This is not just realism: it is the idea of resistance against the aggression of liberalism from the point of view of civilizational foundations, not that of pragmatic interests.
The main actor (in contrast to realism) according to the theory of the multipolar world is not the nation-state, but the civilization. The multiplicity of civilizations does not immediately mean war or peace. Civilizations have an inclination towards dialogue, but are prepared for war in exceptional cases.
The subject of the multipolar world is civilization, united into a great polity. For example, France itself isn’t the subject of the multipolar world, but Europe; not Russia, but the Eurasian space etc. Realism is, after all, constrained by nation-states and their coalitions, and that is a dead-end road. Having disassembled the EU, we will have returned to basic conditions but worse, with the growth of nationalism and assorted disintegration.
‘Liberalism or realism’ is a false dilemma when there is a third way.
Today Europe is an interesting field of possibilities. Of course, in general democracy rules, but its days are numbered. But an important choice is coming: if Europe keeps its unity, having confirmed its civilizational identity on the basis of common roots (Greco-Roman sources), it has the chance to become a pole of the multipolar world
Russia is also busying itself with integration: but perhaps it is necessary to take a more in-depth tack, not on the basis of a residual principle? We need a systematic, intellectual opposition to hegemony – and there is not enough realism and caesarism for this.
The theory of the multipolar world is not just for us of current interest, but also for others, for the East as well as the West. And for Europe it has a key importance at this very moment.