Sir A Conan Doyle: Holmes: Curious: the fact that the dog did not bark when you would expect it so to do.
Western media is full of speculation whether, or not, we stand at the cusp of WW3. Actually, we are already there. The long war never stopped. In the wake of America’s 2008 Financial Crisis, the U.S. needed to reinforce its economy’s collateral resource base. For the Straussian current (the neocon hawks if you prefer), Russia’s then post-Cold War weakness was ‘opportunity’ to open a new war front. The U.S. hawks wanted to kill two birds with one stone: to pillage Russia’s valuable resources to reinforce their own economy and to fracture Russia into a kaleidoscope of parts.
For the Straussians, the Cold War too never ended. The world remains binary – ‘us and them, good and evil’.
But the neoliberal pillage ultimately didn’t succeed – to the lasting chagrin of the Straussians. Since 2014 at least, (according to one senior Russian official), the Great Game has moved towards the attempt by the U.S. to control the flows and corridors of energy – and to set its price. And, on the other side, on Russia’s counter-measures to create fluid and dynamic transit networks through pipelines and Asian internal waterways – and to set the price of energy. (Now via OPEC+)
So, Putin holding the Ukraine referenda; mobilising Russian military forces; and reminding the world that he is open to talks, clearly ‘ups the ante’. Should the NATO-led Ukrainians push into these areas after next week, it will constitute a direct attack on Russian soil. This retaliation threat is backed up by the mobilisation of massive military deployments.
Then, the Nordstream pipelines were blown up. Put simply, this is a high-stakes game of chicken playing out centred around energy – and against the relative strengths and weaknesses of the western economy and the Russian economy. Biden releases 1 million per day from strategic reserves and OPEC+ seems set to cut by 1.5 million barrels per day.
On the one hand, the U.S. is a large resource-rich economy, but Europe isn’t and is much more dependent on imports of food and energy. And with the final bursting of the QE bubble, it is not clear that Central Bank intervention which created the $30+ trillion QE bubble will be able to provide a solution. Inflation changes the calculus. A return to QE becomes highly problematic in an inflationary environment.
One prescient financial commentator noted: “Bubbles bursting are not just about inflated prices falling, they’re about the recognition that an entire way of thinking was wrong”. Put simply, did the Straussians adequately think through their recent exaltation of the pipeline disruption? Blinken has just called the Nordstream sabotage and Europe’s consequent energy deficit a “tremendous opportunity” for the U.S.. Curiously, the sabotage coincided with reports suggesting that secret talks were afoot between Germany and Russia to resolve all Nordstream issues and to restart supply.
But what if the resultant crisis crashes the political structures in Europe? What if the U.S. turns out not to be immune to the type of financial leverage crisis facing the UK? Team Biden and the EU plainly did not think through the rush to sanctioning Russia. They did think through either, the consequences of their European ally losing Russia.
These ‘fin-war’ elements will likely become more a focus of attention than battlefield wins or reverses in Ukraine (where the rainy season has already begun), and it will not be until early November that the ground will freeze hard. The conflict is heading to a pause, just as the western attention span for the Ukraine war seems to be fading somewhat.
However, what is ‘curious’ for so many, is the eerie silence emanating out of Europe in the wake of their vital energy pipelines lying broken on the Baltic Sea floor at a time of financial crisis. This is the ‘dog’ that did not bark in the night – when you would expect it so to do. Hardly a word, or murmur, is to be heard about this matter in the European press – and nothing from Germany … It as if it never happened. Yet of course the Euro-élite know ‘who did it’.
To understand this paradox, we must look at the interplay of the three principal dynamics at work in Europe. Each thinks of theirs as ‘a winning hand’; the ‘be all, and end all’ of the future. But in reality, these two currents are but ‘useful tools’ in the eyes of those who ‘pull the levers’ and ‘sound the whistles’ – i.e. control the psyops from behind the curtain.
Furthermore, there is a sharp disparity of motives. For the Straussians, behind the curtain, they are at war – existential war to maintain their primacy. The second two currents are utopian projects which have shown themselves to be easily manipulated.
The ‘Straussians’ are the followers of Leo Strauss, the leading neo-con theorist. Many are former Trotskyists who morphed over, from Left to Right (call them Neocon ‘hawks’ if you prefer). Their message is a very simple doctrine about the maintenance of power: ‘Never let it slip’; block any rival from emerging; do whatever it takes.
Leading Straussian, Paul Wolfowitz, wrote this simple doctrine of ‘destroy any emergent rivals before they destroy you’ into the U.S. 1992 official Defence Planning Document – adding to it that Europe and Japan particularly were to be ‘discouraged’ from questioning U.S. global primacy. This skeleton doctrine, though re-packaged in subsequent Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, continued with its essence unchanged.
And, since the message – ‘block any rival’ – is so direct and compelling, the Straussians flit easily from U.S. political party to party. They have too their ‘useful’ auxiliaries deeply burrowed within the U.S.’ élite class, and institutions of state power. The oldest and most trusty of these auxiliary forces however, is the Anglo-American intelligence and security alliance.
The ‘Straussians’ prefer to scheme from ‘behind the curtain’ and in certain U.S. think-tanks. They move with the times, ‘camping on’, yet never assimilating into whatever prevalent cultural trends are ‘out there’. Their alliances always remain temporary, opportunistic. They use these contemporary impulses primarily to craft fresh justifications for American exceptionalism.
The first such important impulse in the current reframing is liberal-woke, activist-driven, social justice-oriented identity politics. Why wokeism? Why should woke be of interest to the CIA and MI6? Because it is revolutionary. Identity politics was evolved during the French Revolution to upend the status quo; to overthrow its pantheon of hero-models, and to displace the existing élite and rotate a ‘new class’ into power. This definitely excites the interest of Straussians.
Biden likes to tout the exceptionalism of ‘our democracy’. Of course, Biden refers here, not to generic democracy in the wider meaning, but to America’s liberal-woke re-justification for global hegemony (defined as “our democracy”). “We have an obligation, a duty, a responsibility to defend, preserve, and protect ‘our democracy’…It is under threat”, he has said.
The second key dynamic – the Green Transition – is one that co-habits under the Biden Administration umbrella, together with the very radical and distinct philosophy of Silicon Valley – an eugenist and trans-human view that aligns in some respects with that of the ‘Davos’ crowd, as well as with the straight-forward Climate Emergency activists.
Just to be clear, these two distinct, but companion piece dynamics to ‘our democracy’, crossed the Atlantic to burrow deeply into the Brussels leadership class. And, put simply, the Euro-Version of liberal-woke activism keeps intact the Straussian doctrine of U.S. and western exceptionalism – together with its’ insistence that ‘enemies’ be portrayed in the most extreme Manichaean terms.
The aim of Manicheanism (since Carl Schmitt first made the point) is to foreclose on any mediation with rivals by portraying them as sufficiently ‘evil’ that discourse with them become pointless and morally defective.
The transition of liberal-woke politics across the Atlantic should come as no surprise. The EU’s regulation ‘trussed’ internal market was precisely devised to displace political debate with tech managerialism. But the very sterility of econ-tech discourse birthed the so-called ‘democracy gap’. With the latter becoming evermore the Union’s unmissable lacuna.
The Euro-élites thus were in desperate need of a Values System to fill the gap. So, they leaped onto the liberal-woke ‘train’. Drawing on this, and the Club of Rome’s ‘messianism’ for de-industrialisation, gave to the Euro-élites their shiny new sect of absolute purity, a Green Future, and stainless ‘European Values’ filling the democracy-gap lacuna.
Effectively, these latter two currents – identity politics and the Green Agenda – were and are very much in the lead within the EU with the Straussians standing behind the curtain, pulling the Intelligence-Security axis lever.
The new zealots were deeply entrenched into Europe’s élite class by the 1990s, particularly in the wake of Tony Blair’s importation of the Clinton worldview and were ready to cast down the Pantheon of the old order, so to establish a new ‘de-industrialised’ Green world that would wash away the western sins of racism, patriarchy, and heteronormativity.
It culminated in the mounting of ‘a revolutionary vanguard’, whose proselytizing fury is directed both at ‘the Other’ (which serendipitously happens to be America’s rivals), as well as towards those at home (whether in the U.S. or Europe) who are defined as extremists threatening ‘our (liberal) democracy’; or, the imperative need for a ‘Green Revolution’.
Here is the point: At the tip of the European ‘spear’ reside the Green zealots— particularly the truly revolutionary German, Green Party. They hold the leadership in Germany and are at the helm at the EU Commission. It is Green zealotry fused to ‘ruining Russia’ – an intoxicating mix.
The German Greens see themselves as legionaries in this new Trans-Atlantic imperial ‘army’, pulling down literally the pillars of European industrial society, redeeming its smoking ruins, and its unpayable debts, through a digitised financial system and a ‘renewables’ economic future.
And then, with Russia weakened sufficiently, and with Putin effected, the vultures would prey at the Russian carcass for resources – precisely as occurred in the 1990s.
But they forgot … They forgot that Straussians don’t have permanent ‘friends’: U.S. primacy always trumps the interests of allies.
What can the European Green zealots say? They wanted anyway to throw down the pillars of industrialised society. Well, they got it. The Nordstream ‘escape route’ out from economic catastrophe has gone. There is nothing else, but to mumble unconvincingly: ‘Putin did it’. And to contemplate the ruin of Europa and what that may mean.
What next? The hawks likely will now play their next hand in the high stakes game of WW3 ‘chicken’. The soaring dollar is one vector. The question is who holds the stronger cards? The West believes it holds the Ukraine card. Russia believes it has ace economic cards of food, energy, and resource security – and has a stable economy. Ukraine represents an entirely different battlespace: the long term Straussian ambition to strip Russia of its historic ‘safety belt’ that began in the wake of the Cold War with the fragmentation of the Soviet Union.
Much will depend on the fall-out from the Bubble burst. As that one commentator put it: “The moment has come for central bankers to tighten and to unwind their various market distortions: The impact has already been catastrophic,” said Lindsay Politi, a Fund manager. “And central banks aren’t done yet. Inflation changes the calculus: Many central banks simply don’t have the option of returning to QE anymore”.