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lundi, 09 mars 2020

Gaeilge: To Save The Irish Language


Gaeilge: To Save The Irish Language

Ex: https://www.defendevropa.com

Language. We take it for granted. We use it every day after all. It’s an unavoidable tool, necessary one and beautiful. One without which our lives would be diminished. But what happens when the native language of a people is replaced by another? What happens when these same people use this other language more than their own? This is unfortunately what has happened to Gaeilge, or Irish as most people know it. A beautiful tongue, on the brink of extinction.

How sad would it be to let one of our European languages disappear? In the struggle to remind our people at large of their heritage as well as the duty to their children and ancestors to carry on, we cannot forget the crucial aspect of culture, to which language is central. Gaeilge, Irish, is important. To 4 million Irelanders in Ireland. To their diaspora which numbers up to 70 million. To us, Europeans, as another part of the enormously rich tapestry that is our collective culture and history.

Let us not let it happen, eh?

What is the most distinguishing feature of a people, other than genetics? Is it their culture? Their history? Their place in the world, geographically speaking?

It’s their language. Teanga in Gaeilge

The foremost of differences, aside one of the easiest to observe.

Language is the way humans interact with one another. We convey meaning and ideas and thoughts through language. It is one of our most important tools. One of the first we learn as a child.

So what would happen to a people who are undergoing a… change to put it lightly, if their language was to disappear? Surely they would lose that most distinguishing of features? They may not even be able to call themselves a people, or a nation, any longer.

A History of Strife & Survival

It is no secret that the history of Humankind is also a history of warfare, the Irish are no exception to this rule. In their case, the battles ware against the Vikings, the Normans, and the English, or British as they would later call themselves… literal centuries of wars, struggles, revolutions…

Around 795 AD the Vikings came to Ireland from Scandinavia with the aim to steal and pillage Irish treasure and women.


By the end of the 10th century, Viking power was diminishing. The Viking era in Ireland is believed to have ended by 1014 when a large Viking Army was defeated in Clontarf by Brian Bórú, who is considered as Ireland’s greatest King.

In the 12th century, the Normans arrived in Ireland which began Ireland’s 800-year struggle with dear old England. In the 1600s the Ulster Plantation occurred in which Irish land was taken from Irish landowners and given to English families. This plantation of Ulster divided the country and this division still remains to this day. Then came Cromwell who arrived in Dublin in August 1649 and was intent on eradicating, as he saw it, the Irish problem once and for all. He despised Irish Catholics and together with his army he slaughtered and murdered, burnt houses and unplanted crops, leaving a trail of death and destruction across the Emerald Isle. He stole Irish land and granted it to moneylenders and English soldiers. He pushed most of the Irish and mainly Catholics, to the far side of the island where the land was poor and infertile. About a third of Catholics died through fighting, famine and disease.

The next 150 years saw more bloodshed and carnage on Irish soil between the Irish and English.

One of the biggest events in Ireland’s history over the last 200 years was ‘The Great Famine’. More than one million Irish died and more than one million emigrated due to the failure of their main crop, the potato, during the famine which lasted from 1845 to 1852. There are tales of roads strewn with dead Irish men, women and children with green around their mouths in a desperate attempt to quench their hunger by eating grass…

The late 1800s saw another push for Irish independence from England with the rise of Charles Stuart Parnell, one of Ireland’s greatest politicians. The Land League was formed with Charles Stuart Parnell as President. He tried to promote a more political way of dealing with the English. He promoted ‘shunning’, which meant that the Irish should refuse to deal with any landlord who unfairly evicted tenants or any Irish who took up the rent of new available land. This was known as the ‘Land War’. While Parnell never achieved Home Rule (Ireland run by its own independent Irish Parliament) it did lay the ground work for Ireland’s greatest uprising.

In 1916, Easter weekend, the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army launched an uprising. Britain was in the middle of World War 1. Padraig Pearse, who was one of the leaders of the rising, read the ‘Proclamation of the Irish Republic’ on the steps of the General Post Office (G.P.O) on O’Connell Street in Dublin before the start of the Rising. This uprising was in a sense a failure but lay the groundwork for greater things. The British rounded up its leaders and executed them. These executed later became martyrs.

A new style of guerrilla warfare began, some time later. Bloodshed on Irish streets peaked with the execution of British Intelligence Agents in 1920 and the murder of many Irish, and innocent Irish at that, by the British ‘Black and Tans’. But by 1922, Ireland achieved independence from Britain, except for six counties in the Northern Ireland, which still remains part of Britain today. In 1922, post-boxes were painted green from the traditional British red, road signs were changed to contain both Irish and English language and the Tri-Colour flew high and proud around Ireland. Violence still continued though, with the ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland peaking in the 1970s. Today, Ireland is peaceful with power-sharing in Northern Ireland between the main Catholic and Protestant Parties.

So much struggle and so much bloodshed, to now lose that for which they fought, because of… globalisation? Interconnectedness? The Nihilist plaque that assails the Continent at large?

All of Europe has endured much. It’s what’s made us so strong today. It’s for that reason the current situation is so infuriating. To have survived so much just to give it up for…comfort?

That’s a nay from me.

Language decay following Independence

For much of Irish history, the English ruled Ireland, but Gaeilge, the language, only really began to decline after 1600, when the last of the Gaelic chieftains were defeated. While the Irish language was never banned or persecuted, it was discouraged. English was the official language of rule and business, there was no one to support the Irish language and culture. So, English slowly spread, especially in the East and in Dublin, the capital, while Irish remained strong in the West. By 1800, the Emerald Isle was roughly balanced between the two languages.


Irish in 1871.

There were two major events that decimated Irish. The first was the Great Famine (1845-50) which hit the Irish speaking West hardest of all, out of a population of 8 million, about a million people died and another million emigrated. From then on emigration became a common part of Irish society as large numbers of Irish left the Isle every year, primarily to English speaking countries like America and Britain. So it was that most Irish people needed to speak English in the event that they would leave home.

English was the language of the future and of economic opportunity; Irish was the past and the language of a poverty-stricken island that couldn’t support them…

The second major event was the advent of education. Beginning in the 1830’s national schools were created across Ireland to educate people through English and Irish was strictly forbidden. While nothing could be done to prevent Irish from being spoken in the home, it was strongly discouraged and shamed. Irish was depicted as an ignorant peasant’s language, whereas English was the language of sophistication and wealth. Poor potato farmers spoke Irish, while rich and successful businessmen spoke English. Other organisations too promoted English, such as the Catholic Church and even Nationalist politicians like Daniel O’Connell. English became the language of the cities while Irish retreated to the most remote and underdeveloped parts of the country.

Languages are strongly subject to economies of scale. This is why immigrant families, if not very careful, lose the knowledge of their tongue, within two generations.

In the Irish example parents taught their children English because that was the language that most people spoke, which caused more people to learn it and so every generation English grew stronger and stronger. Likewise, Irish weakened as fewer people spoke it because few people spoke it which caused fewer still to speak it. It became more and more confined to elderly speakers which discouraged young people and continued the vicious circle. As fewer people spoke it, less people used it for art and literature, which gave people less of a reason to learn it. In short, Irish was/is trapped in a vicious downward spiral.

But there is hope, of course, Irish persists.


Percentage stating they speak Irish daily outside the education system in the 2011 census.

Gaeilge Revived

If we want to revive a language we’re gonna need some people to speak it, no? There have been good sings in recent years!

With some 70 million emigrants from Ireland spread throughout different countries, the Irish born, the Irish descendants and those who became enamoured with Irish culture have worked together in an effort to save the Irish language. Because of the hard work and study from many people all over the globe, in 2008 the Irish government took a nationwide survey to ask its citizens how they wanted to re-establish the nation’s first and official language. The Irish language is now in the process of working its way off the Endangered Languages list.

One of the major supporters dedicated to saving Irish is Foras na Gaeilge. Since 1999, the Foras na Gaeilge took on the responsibility of promoting Irish throughout Ireland. This group developed the Good Friday Agreement, which makes the promotion of the Irish language a joint effort between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, a major achievement. They were also instrumental in ensuring that Irish was added to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, making it a recognised language at the inception of the European Union.

There are positive developments every year regarding the language, more is required, more pushes and more effort, but the situation is improving and that is a good thing.

The Emerald Isle and above all, its people – na hÉireannaigh (the Irish), will live on!


Marie von Clausewitz


Marie von Clausewitz

Non sono solito leggere biografie, ma in questo caso ero molto curioso di affrontare il testo e godermelo fino alla fine per due motivi. Pur essendo una biografia, per me era come leggere e conoscere meglio un autore e un’opera che considero fondamentale per capire la natura della guerra. Secondariamente, il testo mi ha riportato in luoghi che ho visitato e vissuto e che quindi hanno fatto riemergere nella mia mente vivi e piacevoli ricordi.

Il libro di cui vi voglio parlare è Marie von Clausewitz: The Woman Behind the Making of On War di Vanya Eftimova Bellinger, un testo molto interessante che affronta un tema del tutto originale, ovvero la figura di Marie von Brühl, moglie del generale prussiano Carl von Clausewitz il più noto pensatore sulla guerra. Il tema diventa veramente centrale dal momento che la figura che emerge dalle pagine del libro ha chiaramente un carattere e una statura intellettuale importante con un ruolo non secondario nella stesura dell’opera principale di Clausewitz, il Vom Kriege, oltre che, come noto, nella sua pubblicazione postuma dopo la morte prematura dell’autore.

Marie von Brühl nacque nel 1779 da una nobile famiglia originaria della Turingia ma con forti legami con le terre prussiane orientali, ora in Polonia, e con la corte di Dresda. Era, quindi, a tutti gli effetti una nobildonna del tempo con tutto ciò che ne consegue, ovvero ottima educazione (anche relativamente alle lingue visto che parlava fluentemente l’inglese per via di alcuni legami famigliari) e ottime entrature anche nella corte di Berlino che frequenterà assiduamente fino alla morte sopraggiunta nel 1836.

Questo aspetto mette subito in luce una profonda differenza tra lei e il marito, poiché Clausewitz, originario della cittadina di Burg, era sì un nobile ma era un titolo che aveva ottenuto suo padre per vie burocratiche e che andava confermato (cosa che avvenne negli anni successivi anche per merito dell’intercessione di Marie). Il divario sociale tra i due era quindi notevole, la madre di lei, per esempio, all’inizio non approvò la relazione. Il diverso lignaggio ebbe ripercussioni poi anche sul diverso grado di educazione, Clausewitz era certamente un uomo colto e che amava leggere, ma la preparazione di cui godette Marie era superiore per ciò che concerne sia le lingue sia i modi e i comportamenti nelle lettere ufficiali piuttosto che a corte.

L’autrice riesce a creare una vivida immagine della coppia grazie a due aspetti. Primo, utilizza l’epistolario di Marie ritrovato qualche anno fa e ciò le permette di avere a disposizione diverso materiale inedito in grado di gettare luce su aspetti nuovi o poco conosciuti. Pur non essendo un epistolario completo, e con il grande limite di non coprire tutti quei periodi in cui la coppia, vivendo insieme, non aveva necessità di scriversi, resta una fonte fondamentale per capire meglio la personalità di Clausewitz, le dinamiche di coppia, così come i loro interessi.

Dalle lettere emerge chiaramente come la coppia condividesse importanti interessi politici e come Marie sia stata un elemento importante per la carriera di Carl spronandolo e cercando appoggi tra i suoi contatti a corte. Lei lo ha sempre appoggiato nelle sue scelte che spesso lo portavano lontano per via della carriera militare e questo ha rinsaldato sempre più il legame tra loro. Anche la scelta di Carl di raggiungere l’esercito russo e combattere contro Napoleone, quando la Prussia invece si alleò con il francese, fu sofferta ma condivisa perché entrambi condividevano la stessa visione politica nazionalista prussiana in netta contrapposizione con il piano egemonico di Bonaparte.

clausewitz,marie von clausewitz,art militaire,militaria,guerre,histoire,allemagneLa visione politica dei due è molto simile ed emerge costantemente nelle lettere. Il libro ne segue le tracce nel quadro di quegli anni burrascosi che fu l’inizio dell’800 con le guerre napoleoniche la disfatta di Jena (14 ottobre 1806), la sconfitta e l’umiliazione prussiana che scossero gli animi della coppia (che in quel periodo non era ancora sposata, il matrimonio venne celebrato il 17 dicembre 1810 a Berlino presso la Marienkirche visitabile ancora oggi in pieno centro). Questo permette all’autrice di ricostruire in modo preciso le vicende della Prussia, e in genere dell’Europa di quegli anni, inserendovi quindi la maturazione delle idee politico-strategiche di Clausewitz oltre che ovviamente le vicende amorose dei due.
Il secondo aspetto importante è che l’autrice, che ha ripercorso i luoghi della coppia (dalla cittadina natale di Burg fino a Berlino) è che inserisce quella coppia, sicuramente particolare già all’epoca (per il divario sociale tra i due, ma anche per la particolare personalità di Marie), nel dibattito politico della Prussia facendo emergere i contatti con vari personaggi di spicco dello schieramento anti-napoleonico, ma soprattutto le forti e ampie riflessioni politiche che i due erano sicuramente impegnati a fare tra loro, ma anche nei salotti bene della nobiltà prussiana.

Marie appare quindi una donna sui generis rispetto all’immagine della classica nobildonna di inizio Ottocento perché era sì colta, ma aveva maturato un vivo e attivo interesse per la politica, un fatto certamente non comune (come a volte mette in luce l’autrice). Era inoltre impegnata in prima persona in quei dibattiti, ma anche nella vita militare sia per seguire il marito sia per scelta personale. Infatti, è significato il passaggio del testo in cui si ricostruisce il periodo in cui Marie per cercare di rimanere più vicina a Carl, impegnato nelle campagne belliche, e di essere di aiuto nello sforzo bellico prussiano scende in campo in prima persona. Ovviamente non imbracciando un arma, ma occupandosi dei feriti (per esempio durante l’assedio della cittadella di Spandau a Berlino, altro luogo che consiglio vivamente di visitare) e collaborando, dalle lettere non è chiaro in che ruolo, con il locale ospedale militare. Se da un lato all’epoca era relativamente normale che le mogli degli ufficiali seguissero in mariti, dall’altro è chiaro come non fosse normale per una donna che frequentava quotidianamente il re e la corte trovarsi a svolgere mansioni simili a un infermeria da campo.

Marie dunque era sicuramente una donna diversa dalle sue contemporanee e lo dimostra poi ancora una volta dopo la morte del marito, avvenuta improvvisamente per colpa di un’epidemia di colera nel 1831, quando prende in mano il manoscritto del Vom Kriege e le altre opere di Carl per sistemarle e mandarle in stampa. Lei aveva sempre spinto il marito sia verso la carriera militare sia nella stesura dell’opera. Dalle lettere emerge chiaramente il coinvolgimento di Marie in alcune riflessioni di Carl così come il suo sosteno morale per continuare a scrivere. Marie, quindi, conosceva bene sia l’opera sia il pensiero del marito e si trovò a dover completare in qualche modo il lavoro. Purtroppo anche lei morirà presto, nel 1836, e non riuscirà a vedere l’intera opera pubblicata, ma quella che noi oggi leggiamo è quella riassemblata da Marie partendo dai fogli di Carl.

Insomma il libro di Vanya Eftimova Bellinger è sicuramente originale per il tema trattato, interessante da un punto di vista storico, poiché ricostruisce le vicende della Prussia del primo Ottocento e cruciale per chi vuole studiare con maggiore profondità la vita e il lavoro di Clausewitz.

La Russie de Poutine, entre despotisme oriental et démocratie souveraine


La Russie de Poutine, entre despotisme oriental et démocratie souveraine

par Jure Georges VUJIC

La Russie n’a jamais été une démocratie à l’occidentale. En annonçant les nouvelles réformes constitutionnelles, Vladimir Poutine le prouve une fois de plus, en mettant fin après douze ans de « tandémocratie », une démocratie à la russe où le pouvoir était partagé en apparence entre Poutine et Dmitri Medvedev à la tête de l’exécutif bicéphale russe depuis 2008.

Il est vrai que les analyses ne manquent pas pour identifier ce type singulier de démocratie poutinocentrée et l’on parle de « démocratie dirigée », d’oligarchie, d’autocratie, de nouveau tsarisme (D. Trenin), de néo-féodalisme autoritaire (S. Rabinovitch), de corpocratie (J.-R. Raviot)… Les vocables typologiques ne manquent pas pour qualifier ce régime qui conjugue les tendances libérales et réformistes, conservatrices et étatistes. Pourtant si l’on se réfère à la période depuis son retour au Kremlin en 2012 après l’interlude Medvedev, le système poutinien d’apparence plus libéral, pencherait fortement vers l’autoritarisme, la personnalisation du pouvoir, la centralisation. Et, depuis la récente démission du gouvernement, certains parlent d’une nouvelle concentration de pouvoir qui ouvrirait la voie à une autocratie à vie. Et pourtant, contrairement à ce courant politiste démocentriste qui voit des formes démocratiques un peu partout, il est utile de se référer à l’actualité des travaux de Karl August Wittfogel sur les despotisme orientaux.

Wittfogel et les despotisme orientaux

Selon les thèses de Wittfogel, le modèle même du despotisme oriental était constitué par les «sociétés hydrauliques», les grands travaux d’irrguation et la maîtrise de l’eau, lesquels étaient à la base même de la constitution de grands États et d’empires, comme la Chine, l’Égypte ou la Mésopotamie.

L’URSS de Staline s’inscrivait dans la continuation de cette forme étatique de « production asiatique », lorsque Staline, entreprenait de grands travaux «hydrauliques » : creusement de canaux, liaisons entre les grands fleuves (par exemple le Don et la Volga). Le contrôle de vastes espaces supposait un renforcement de la centralisation bureaucratique et étatique. Et c’est pourquoi Wittfogel élargissait cette catégorie de despotisme oriental à l’Union soviétique, en tant que déclinaison russe du « Pouvoir total », le communisme soviétique étant selon lui à l’origine des sociétés disciplinaires, coercitives ou autoritaires, une version russe de la technocratie organisatrice évoquée par James Burnham. À la suite de la parenthèse chaotique du régime eltsinien, la reprise en main de l’État post-soviétique russe par Poutine s’est elle aussi accompagnée d’une vaste refonte institutionnelle et politique, marquée par le renforcement du dirigisme étatique dans l’économie et par une politique de grands travaux d’infrastructures initiée par Poutine lui-même.
Cette politique de grands travaux s’inscrit dans la continuité historique des deux vagues des grands travaux staliniens à partir de 1930, et la modernisation de Moscou voulue par Khroutchev dans les années 60.


La politique de Vladimir Poutine entendait initier une troisième vague avec la rénovation de Saint-Pétersbourg, la construction de douze grands stades en Russie, d’une vingtaine d’aéroports et de centaines de kilomètres d’autoroutes…

Sans oublier l’immense ouvrage de préparation de la ville de Sochi, du littoral de la mer Noire et des montagnes du Caucase à l’accueil des Jeux Olympiques d’hiver 2014. L’administration russe de régime poutiniste (qui lui-même était membre de la Société russe de géographie) était consciente de la fragilité des infrastructures et du manque de cohésion du territoire russe, aggravés depuis l’éclatement de l’URSS en 1991, et se lancera dans une restructuration en profondeur l’ensemble des réseaux d’infrastructure du pays.

Le poutinisme incarnation de l’État long

L’autre élément en commun avec le modèle du despotisme oriental est la concentration, voire la personnalisation du pouvoir, qui s’appuie sur le contrôle de l’opinion publique.

Si l’on se souvient que la peur structurelle est inhérente au système totalitaire soviétique et à sa stabilité même à l’époque moderne, la Russie de Poutine même en s’appuyant sur l’appareil politico-policier omniprésent, doit cependant compter avec la postmodernité d’un pouvoir qui doit reposer sur le consentement de l’opinion publique majoritaire, sur un softpower russe, une sorte de « Russan way of life », suffisamment intégrateur et attractif, plus que sur le seul hardpower répressif.

Et c’est précisément dans ce contexte que s’incrivent les dernières décisions poutiniennes et la démission du dernier gouvernement rufsse. En effet, ayant pris conscience du fort mécontentement social qui monte en Russie depuis plusieurs années et de la baisse relative de sa popularité, Vladimir Poutine entend rénover son image de marque pour développer un nouveau discours axé sur les priorités sociales et démographiques des régions russes (et cela depuis 2018), l’innovation et le développement économique de la Russie. En étant conscient de la baisse de popularité du Président Medvedev, Poutine entend rajeunir et renforcer le gouvernement en faisant le parrainage d’une nouvelle génération patriotique de cadres technocratique, au profil méritocratique, indépendant si possible des réseaux oligarchiques et des clans, pour en faire une « réserve » générationnelle d’une nouvelle élite gouvernementale des nouveaux hauts cadres de l’État, qui assurera la pérennité, non plus du seul président Poutine, mais du poutinisme après 2024, qui devrait incarner alors cette nouvelle figure de « l’État long » que certains qualifient de système corpocratique, de « capitalisme d’État » – une adaptation postmoderne du despotisme oriental à l’heure globale. Postmoderne car, en dépit de sa volonté de « restaurer son statut de puissance dans un monde devenu multipolaire » et de son repositionnement géopolitique sur la scène internationale (Moyen-Orient, Syrie, etc.), la Russie reste tout de même encore une puissance militaire asymétrique profitant, d’une part, de l’arsenal civil et militaire ex-soviétique mais pâtissant, d’autre part, de forces conventionnelles réduites et à moderniser.

La pérennité de la puissance de l’État russe ne sera effective que si certains problèmes sont résolus à terme : le gaspillage énergétique et la question environnementale, les phénomènes de ségrégation socio-spatiale et l’opulence ostentatoire des « nouveaux Russes » (dont une cinquantaine de milliardaires), le « déclin démographique inquiétant », et son rapport paternaliste avec l’« étranger proche » dans ses relations avec les ex-républiques soviétiques. De puissance montante, elle pourrait très vite redevenir puissance relative et déclinante. En choisissant d’osciller entre une « ligne directe », d’asseoir une  légitimité populaire et la nécessité de consolider dans le temps long le rôle historique de la Russie en tant qu’empire autoritaire, la Russie poutiniste s’expose à deux processus centrifuge inhérents à toute construction néoimpériale et multinationale : le risque de sur-extension (l’« imperial overstretch » de Paul Kennedy) de sa puissance militaire et économique, et la volonté d’émancipation souveraine et nationale des peuples du giron moscovite.


Démocratie souveraine ?

Il est vrai que la définition du despotisme, catégorie occidentalo-centriste bien commode des Lumières pour classer les gouvernements et les civilisations, relevait de Montesquieu qui influença Wittfogel (« le pouvoir d’un seul, sans loi et sans règle »), aboutissant à une orientalisation du despotisme, alors que la démocratie occidentale peut être aussi bien contaminée par les despotisme, ce que relevait déjà Alexis de Tocqueville, dans De la démocratie en Amérique. Selon ce dernier, la société démocratique recèle des dangers profonds, au premier rang desquels la tendance à la centralisation qui, dans la recherche de l’égalité, y sacrifie trop souvent la liberté et les droits des individus. Il faut rappeler aussi que Wittfogel considérait les États-Unis comme une société hydraulique (avec ses nombreux travaux d’aménagement fluvial) au même titre que l’Union Soviétique, mais cependant « non despotique », alors que dans les faits, les États-Unis puissance impériale bi-océanique, de par leur histoire d’expansion géopolitique mondiale, depuis le XIXe siècle jusqu’à nos jours, peuvent être à juste titre qualifiés de despotisme démocratique par l’exportation parfois manu militari du modèle de la démocratie de marché et de la religion des droits de l’homme.

Vladimir Sourkov, vice-président du gouvernement, a développé en 2005-2006 la conception de « démocratie souveraine », à savoir une démocratie qui ne se soumet pas aux influences étrangères et où les élections expriment non pas l’opposition des intérêts, mais l’unité du peuple et du pouvoir. On se souvient que Poutine avait déclaré que la démocratie occidentale reposait sur l’illusion du choix. Si le choix démocratique n’est qu’une illusion, il est bien plus sain de le rejeter en faveur du rôle historique que la Russie a toujours assumé : celui d’un Empire autoritaire. Selon lui, il ne s’agit pas de l’imposition d’un modèle autoritaire d’en-haut, mais du choix libre de la société russe.

Cependant, cette vision sourkovienne de démocratie souveraine se heurte au paradoxe multinational et multiconfessionnel de l’ensemble Russe et renvoie à l’analyse schmittienne, selon laquelle la condition préalable à toute forme de démocratie réelle et fonctionnelle est la présence d’une population homogène.

D’autre part, l’histoire du déclin des despotisme orientaux et de l’Empire soviétique a démontré que ces empires multinationaux reposaient eux aussi sur l’illusion de la force éternelle et que la plupart ont dû céder à long terme, à ce que Thimoty Garton Ash désigne par « l’ottomanisation », à savoir la poussée de l’autonomie et de l’indépendance des colonies et territoires périphériques de l’empire ottoman.

Selon Daniel Vernet, en dépit de l’occidentalisation de la politique étrangère russe, la Russie semble peiner à choisir entre les quatre options qui se présentent à elle : le modèle chinois, le réformisme musclé, la lutte antiterroriste ou la « double occidentalisation », qui garantirait son insertion durable dans le « mainstream » des relations internationales.

Cependant, l’annexion de la Crimée et le conflit avec l’Ukraine ont accéléré la mutation vers un système où le nationalisme grand-russe et l’anti-occidentalisme confortent le fameux complexe russe d’obsidionalité, ce sentiment de l’encerclement et de menace perpétuelle.

Jure Georges Vujic.


• Daniel Vernet, Le Rêve sacrifié, Paris, Odile Jacob, 1994.

Daniel Vernet, La Renaissance allemande, Paris, Flammarion, 1992.

• Daniel Vernet, URSS, Paris, Le Seuil, 1990.

• Karl August Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism. A Comparative Study of Total Power, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 1957, en français, Le Despotisme oriental. Étude comparative du pouvoir total, traduit par Michèle Pouteau, Paris, Éditions de Minuit, 1964.

• Thimoty Garton Ash, History of the Present. Essays, Sketches, and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s, Allen Lane, 1999.

• D’abord mis en ligne sur Polémia, le 2 février 2020.


The West is Falling Apart


The West is Falling Apart

While the US officials continue to claim that the US-Europe alliance is functioning as usual, the fact that the post-World War Two arrangement is falling apart is becoming evident with each passing day. This was pretty obvious at the latest Munich security conference. While this even has traditionally the current administration… For we know that this shift began a while ago, and it will continue even after this administration.”

France, very much like Germany, made a clearly dissenting note when its president said, while clearly countering Mike Pompeo’s assertions with regards to the ‘West’s victory’, that the US is actually doing “a rethink of its relationship with Europe”, adding further that the European continent must take ‘its destiny’ in its own hands.

The division rests significantly on how to handle China. Whereas the US policymakers have been reiterating warnings against allowing Chinese telecoms firm Huawei any role in 5G technology, countries like even Britain, otherwise considered to be the US’ closest ally, recently announced that it would allow Huawei to build parts of its 5G mobile network. The decision was taken despite the US officials spending months lobbying against it.

For instance, in the last week of January 2020, some US Congressmen wrote to the members of the British National Security Council to urge them to bar Huawei from playing a role in their next-generation telecom networks. Their letter clearly said that “The facts on Huawei are clear. We hope that your government will make the right decision and reject Huawei’s inclusion in its 5G infrastructure.” Earlier in the second week of January 2020, a US delegation presented the UK with ‘new evidence’ claiming to show security risks posed by using the Chinese firm. None of this has worked of course to wean Britain away from China.

Even in the Munich conference, it became evident that the EU leaders do not share the US idea of China as an enemy. Therefore, the US attempts at manging global issues through unilateral confrontation— be it with Russia and China or Iran and Venezuela — are increasingly failing to strike a chord with Europe, the majority of whom are averse to any form of confrontation, least of all with Beijing.  “We cannot be the United States’ ‘junior partner,” said Macron, citing recent failures in the West’s policy of defiance. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas echoed the sentiment, warning that China and Russia were ascendant in a new world order where the United States is taking a more confrontational role.

For Europe, confronting China and Russia is increasingly pointless. For one thing, despite decades of confrontation and so-called ‘containment’, the US/West has not been able to really contain either of the two powers. On the other hand, it is the very failure of the policy of containment that is pushing the US towards even more confrontation. For Europe, Russia and China are increasingly becoming important centres of global decision making. “Decisions about the future of the Middle East are made in Astana or Sochi instead of in Geneva or New York,” said German Foreign Minister, referring to the capital of Kazakhstan, now known as Nur-Sultan, and the Black Sea resort of Sochi in Russia.

With the Munich conference thus ending on an even increasing divisions within the West, it is becoming increasingly possible that the US dominated world is dying and there is an increasing acceptance of Russia and China as countries that can be worked with and, in fact, looked towards for investment and new security arrangements—something that shows that the disintegration of the transatlantic alliance is not merely a result of the Trump administration’s policies; it is a result of the changing global geo-political dynamics.

More specifically, it is the inevitable rise of China and Russia that is making it extremely difficult for Europe to remain locked in the binary of East-West rivalry when the world has already become multipolar. Europe’s assertion of its “sovereignty” is only an expression of its own transformation from a US ally to one of the multiple ‘poles.’

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.