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mercredi, 16 avril 2008

Thoughts on Hegelian Geopolitics


by Troy Southgate

Despite the negative image of Russia that is currently being portrayed in the media, it seems pretty feasible that Putin - possibly since his last meeting with Bush in 2007 - was eventually persuaded, albeit covertly, to capitulate to Western demands. That he's a loyal friend of Russia's capitalist ruling class is not even up for debate, even if some people in Right-wing circles do seem to respect him for ousting the Jewish oligarchs several years ago. In reality, however, Russian capitalism is no better than its Jewish-dominated counterpart and Putin's so-called 'successor', Dmitry Medvedev, is little more than a puppet of the same socio-economic regime. But when you stop to think about the vilification of Russia over the last few months, especially with the well-publicised Litvinenko affair, the systematic construction of what many people are interpreting as a 'new Cold War' is, in a sense, rather Hegelian. The reason being, that contradiction, of course, eventually leads to reconciliation and some commentators believe that the thesis-antithesis-synthesis formula is better expressed in the dictum: 'problem-alternative-solution'. Perhaps this potential return to a bi-polar world is a shift beyond Samuel Huntingdon's 'Clash of Civilisations' strategy in which there is merely one superpower (United States) fighting against an imagined or manufactured opponent (Islam)? Let's think seriously for a moment about the relationship between the West and Russia in both a Hegelian (after Fichte) and a geopolitical context:

* thesis or intellectual proposition (Western capitalism)
* antithesis or negation of the proposition (Soviet communism)
* synthesis or reconciliation (a gradual alliance, through perestroika, between the two)
* presentation of a new antithesis (Cold War 2, Russia as the 'new' bogeyman)

... and so it goes on ...

Russia has not exactly presented a new antithesis in an ideological sense as Soviet Communism claimed to do, of course, and it was Hegel's view that no new antithesis can ever arise due to the eventual disappearance of extreme ideological and philosophical positions, but this rather idealistic perspective does not seem to take into consideration the fact that convenience will often outweigh genuine revolutionary fervour. It remains to be seen where Islam will fit into all this.

Food for thought.

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