Hypnotic Contraption

The three main agents of the globalization process, as we saw in a previous article, are not species of the same genus: one is a group of governments, the other an international community of billionaires, the third a religious culture without borders, scattered even throughout enemy territory.

Only the first can be described in the usual terms of geopolitics, but insofar as the project of the Russian Empire expands into a “Eurasian empire,” any attempt to define it geopolitically encounters insurmountable obstacles. Since the Eurasian dominion also encompasses Islam, it borders on the comic that the great Russian strategist Aleksandr Dugin presents the contest for power in the world as a struggle between “land empires” and “maritime empires,” classifying “Eurasia” among the first, and the United States in the second group.

On the one hand, Islam, after having occupied its surrounding territories with great ease, achieved world-wide projection as a maritime power above all. In the second half of the ninth century—Paolo Taufer writes in his magnificent study “Islamic Expansionism Yesterday and Today—“all the major shipping routes were in fact controlled by the Muslims: from the Strait of Gibraltar to the South China Sea, from the ports of Egypt which communicate with the Red Sea to Syria.” As to Russia (then USSR), its power in the twentieth century was based less on the strength of their armies than on the active presence of the Communist Party and the Soviet secret service in all nations and continents. There was nothing “terrestrial” in the sprawling expansion of the Kremlin in Africa or Latin America. I cannot believe that Nikita Khrushchev’s soldiers brought on foot the missiles they installed in Cuba in 1962. The fight between the Land and Sea is not valid not even as a symbol, since a symbol only works when it bears within itself, synthetically, a multitude of actual facts, not fiction. The Eurasian empire is not a symbol, is a Sorelian myth—which is the same as saying: a huge carrot dangled on a stick to entice a donkey, a hypnotic contraption designed to put millions of idiots in pursuit of a future that will never be what it promises.

If the mission of an intellectual in dark times is to name names, to exorcise empty words, and change stupefying slogans for an accurate representation of the state of affairs, pro-Eurasian intellectuals fail miserably in fulfilling their duty. All they can claim as a mitigating factor is that the strategists of the two other globalizing blocks have also become notable less for their realism than for their prodigious ability to cloak the world under the projective image of their respective interests.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Diário do Comércio on March 7, 2011, and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

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