Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism
By Antonio Grego
Committee for the project «Eurasia»
The staff of the Committee for the project «Eurasia» is organized within three different structures, separated and independent, but all of them are interdependent. Two of them contribute to the scientific and academic work of our Group: «Eurasia», a quarterly of Geopolitical Studies, born in 2004. Since that, «Eurasia» has published many analysis and studies focused on Geostrategy and International Relations. Our second structure is the CESEM Institution («Centro Studi Eurasia-Mediterraneo», a think-tank focused on the Eurasian-Mediterranean partnership).
A brand new organization, it has established ties with many Italian universities, aimed at the training and the apprenticeship of our young collaborators. During these eight years our quarterly has organised many open meetings, conventions and workshops with foreign institutions. Our goal is focused on the knowledge of foreign countries, on the introduction of new books of geopolitics and the explanation of Multipolarism and its trends for a mainstream Italian audience.
Furthermore, we have a web journal called «Stato e Potenza» («State and Power»); it has a definitely more political and militant approach to the global situation. It has been created to reach more people with our analysis focused on issues like Eurasianism and the Multipolar system. In this case our analysis is oriented to a daily examination of capitalism and imperialism. Its style is less scientific than «Eurasia» and «CESEM», but the goal is the same: a strategic and economical analysis of the global system we live in.
We cannot forget that we operate and we organize our public initiatives in a difficult country like Italy. You certainly know that the Ministry of Defense and the Italian Armed Forces have been part of NATO since 1949 (its establishment), and our internal policy has always been influenced (if not directed) by Washington D.C. and London. For almost fifty years the chances for criticizing this situation with independent studies have been restrained, despite the activity of the most important Communist Party of Western Europe. However, the communist forces gradually changed their political field, first joining the Euro-Communist project (created by CIA to divide the leftist parties in Western Europe from the USSR) and finally becoming in the Nineties one of the most pro-American political forces in the Italian politics. Let’s make it clear: the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi raised many doubts before joining the U.S.-led campaign against Gaddafi’s Lybia, while the Democratic Party (the post-Communist and social-democratic formation) was quick in asking for a military intervention.
You can easily understand the Italian scenario within we have to move: a country whose culture has been totally destroyed by Liberalism, nowadays organized in a «left» and a «right». The extreme liberal capitalism was introduced in Italy after the end of the so-called «First Republic» (1948-1992), and it was presented like a panacea for the corruption of the State institutions. It won after the so-called «Mani Pulite» («Clear Hands»), a judicial operation led by Washington D.C. that erased a whole political system and led to the total destruction of the Italian economy based on State industries and the public intervention in the economic field.
Our country was enslaved to the ultra-capitalist era of the unipolar world, with the absolute power of the global finance; in a few years Italy lost most of its industrial assets, bought by Anglo-American societies thanks to deregulated privatizations and denationalizations. Now it seems we are back to those years: after the financial crisis our economy fell into a deep crisis due to its huge debt and the progressive strategic decline of Italy during the Nineties.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Euopean Union decided to impose on Italy a political transition with a so-called «technical government» under Giorgio Napolitano’s supervision. Napolitano is another former Communist who became pro-American during the Seventies. The new Italian Prime Minister is Mario Monti, former president of the European branch of the Trilateral Commission, former commissioner of the European Union and international advisory for Goldman Sachs; the new minister of Defense is admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, member of the NATO General Command, while the new Foreign minister is Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, former Italian ambassador in the United States of America and in Israel. These facts make you clear the political and strategic lines that the new Italian government (not chosen by the Italian people) is going to follow.
Social protests in Italy rise day after day, and in a long period this could benefit our publishing activity. However the pressure and the open hostility by mainstream media toward critic voices is still high, especially in relation with the international politics. In Italy four different reviews of geopolitics are currently published, but on the other hand televisions and other medias ignore these topics; their approach to geopolitics is very superficial and mainly based on the American propaganda. We try to challenge mainstream cultural elites with an activity which relies only on our own economical resources, with many sacrifices but always aiming at the higher dignity and professionalism.
The international situation
The current world order is the result of two main events, happened during the last decade of the past century: the liberal and capitalist counter-revolution in the USSR and the birth of a common market and monetary free area in the European Union. These two events resulted in a stronger influence of the Transatlantic partnership, because of the expansion of the American power in Eastern Europe, from the Baltic countries to the Balkans; moreover, we saw the victory of capitalism in the geopolitical European space, an important event as described in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s publications. The Warsaw’s Pact quick decline and the geopolitical weakening of Russia have been other important factors.
The European Union is currently paying a high price for its military and economical dependance on the American superpower: in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal workers and small factories are going to be wiped out due to the financial crisis and the financial measures. Brussel’s solutions are focused to help only the private banking system, forgetting the people. This is a complete non-sense because that’s the same sector that led to the current crisis through speculation and the sub-prime derivates market. Meanwhile our countries keep on spending billions to support military campaigns ordered by the United States of America and Great Britain.
The situation we are witnessing is a clear example of the skill of capitalism to perpetuate itself through Space and Time, showing the inadequacy of the optimistic and dogmatist views of the Marxist ideology. Capitalism has never been in danger of its own existence, it can’t destroy itself without the presence of another factor: the political force of a party and a State and its army, the Socialism in a powerful country. At the same time this can be considered like a realist prevision of the Marxist theory: capitalism could contain the seeds for its own destruction.
Globalization has shown two different faces: the worst one consisting in the violent will of expansion of the American power all over the world, the other has seen the spreading of new technologies and economical development in different parts of the planet. This process of modernization is without any doubt positive from the perspective of countries like China, Pakistan, Brazil and India, and could lead to a global change that could create the preconditions for a multipolar order. This can have other effects, like the beginning of a self-destruction of capitalism: in its moment of biggest success, the capital system doesn’t represent only a «division of workforce», but even a «world division» in areas of influence and direct conquer.
Carl Schmitt’s idea of «Great Spaces» has been confirmed in the past years: these constructions exist in a midway between the global order and the single National States. It became reality with the return of Russia as a power after Eltsin’s dark age, and it has been proved when States like China, India, Iran, Turkey and Brazil gained more and more influence. This process was not a simple «Westernization» of the world, but something more and deeper.
On the political side, the idea of «Westernization» isn’t enough to fully understand what’s happening in the world; it could be seen as a part of a bigger process which also includes modernization, a slide from modernity to post-modernity and a general analysis of what we consider as the «West». Every «political resistance» that the unipolarism is now meeting in different part of the world relies on peculiar histories and traditions which capitalism hasn’t been able to defeat. Political and social struggle must rely on these cultures.
The American imperialism represents a brand new structure of global will of power, something we had never seen before in history: a process aimed at the expansion of its influence worldwide, but still different from the old European colonialism. If we consider the world as we know we should infer that the Anglo-American power and its influence have won.
However this conclusion (as Samuel Huntington wrote) has been an illusion for the cultural and political elites in the White House since 1992: the global spreading of the so-called «American Way of life» (its subculture, its movies, its food) cannot lead to a decisive victory. In his famous book «The Clash of Civilizations», Huntington wrote about the Japanese «Wakon-Sai» and the Chinese «Ty-Jong», eras of technical modernization without any Western influence.
The president of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Hu Jintao, recently claimed that China seeks to defend its own tradition from any foreign (Western, we can add) influence. Non-Western cultures have three different paths on their way: defending their cultural identity while achieving modernization (like Hu Jintao said), rejecting both «Westernization» and modernization (just like some Islamic movements and Lin Biao’s Chinese school) or a mid-way of what we can call an inclusive «Westernization», like that we are witnessing now in Turkey.
We believe that the first step to reject imperialism and to seek a real multipolar system can be chosen only by the first way: modernization without «Westernization». In our view the other two way of thinking modernity aren’t winning strategies: on the contrary, they are going to strengthen global capitalism. We can observe this in many cases: Tukey’s Neo-Ottomanism is directed by the USA in organizing
Middle East after the so-called «Arab Spring», and so it is the same for many political and religious groups in Middle East and Asia. The United States of America are seeking a strategy of containment for every possible global competitor, spreading chaos and poverty to weaken them: this can be reached in many different ways, even using some ideologies like a certain radical Ecologism and reactionary ideologies (often with some kind of a religious background) in non-Western parts of the world. At the same time, even some ultra-nationalist movements can be used for their goals, as we can see in some parts of Eastern Europe.
The strategic and technological power will be the key for all those countries willing to increase their influence.
Nowadays, Russia and China are America’s most influential global competitors. The People’s Republic of China has a stronger political system than the Russian; it is based on a Communist and patriotic system and it is seeking an intelligent approach to the global market to improve its own social and technical development. Beijing still relies on the strategy called «non-intromission» in States’ internal affairs (Zhou Enlai explained this at the Bandung Conference), but is studying new tactics to contain Western aggressive policies in Asia.
We are going to see some kind of a new «Cold War» in Africa very soon. Libya and Sudan have been two preliminary examples of that (although Beijing’s reaction to Western aggressions hasn’t been strong). Russia and China are the only non-Western global powers, they are Permanent Members in the United Nations Security Council, they have got nuclear weapons and important military industries. Plus, Russia has got another very important weapon: the world’s biggest resources in oil and gas, and many other raw materials like coal, steel and uranium.
The Soviet defeat marked a dark era not only for its political meaning, but even more for geopolitics: Russia lost its «Great Space», which Vladimir Putin is trying to build again within the Eurasian Union. Without its strategic routes to the South and the East (Central Asia, Ukraine, Belarus), Russia would lose a huge part of its potential.
A new multipolar order would not automatically lead to the defeat of imperialism, to a fair world and an era of peace. This could lead incited to a global conflict and many regional wars, especially in Northern and Central Africa, in the Middle East and in South-Western Asia. The Cold War ended years ago, but the nuclear power still exists and the multipolar order will be a challenge between nuclear superpowers. Multipolarism has already existed in history: for example during the Thirties, after the end of the British imperial power. It resulted in a terrible conflict between the West and the Tripartite Pact, and a subsequent war against the USSR.
The nuclear power was officially born during the days of May 1945. The criminal attack on Japan was a clear message to Moscow: «Now we can fully destroy you». From that moment, Stalin planned how to defend his country from the American imperialist madness. The Russian answer was the very beginning of the Cold War with the Mutual Assured Destruction era.
Now nine Nations have nuclear weapons: the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Israel, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Four of them are NATO members or part of the Western sphere, five of them joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and share partnerships with Russia and China. Of course nobody will declare war on the counterpart (this would be a suicide) with a first strike, so we can assume that conventional weapons will still be used in the future wars, adding some new high-technology and ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) systems. We think that future wars will be fought in the most underveloped areas of the world, where the superpowers strategies and interests will collide.
The Italian case
As we wrote in the beginning of this analysis, Italy is currently in a very difficult position. After the recent regime change, our new government includes a former Goldman Sachs and Trilateral Commission associated member as a Prime Minister, a NATO personality as minister of Defense and a former ambassador to Washington D.C. and Israel is our Foreign minister. This is enough for you to understand the real nature of this «technical government», collecting military, political and economical personnel from Atlantic structures.
The social situation of Italy is worsening day after day: this system is literally crushing every social conquer that Italian workers won during the past decades. Young people have no perspective for their future but in-occupation and unemployment; the State has no chance to get back its sovereignty and independence. The War on Libya marked a milestone. Sivlio Berlusconi’s government, with all its political faults, was still a strict ally of Russia’s Putin and Libya’s Gaddafi. Our State-run oil and gas company, ENI, launched cooperation projects with its Russian and Libyan counterparts like we had never seen before.
Italy is a kind of bridge in the Mediterranean Sea which links Europe to Northern Africa and Middle East. For this reason Italy has been like a NATO aircraft carrier since the end of the Second World War. We have had more than one hundred American and NATO military bases and facilities on our soil since the beginning of the Cold War. More or less every American aggression in the past decades was launched from Italy: the first Gulf War, the War on Serbia, the invasion of Afghanistan, the second Gulf War and the latest War on Libya. We have been forced to a war against an allied country and its people only to follow Western orders (those coming from the nuclear Western powers, France, Great Britain and the USA). If Italy had a different government and a sovereign political system, our country could play an important role to improve a strategic partnership between the Arab countries and Europe and in defending peace and security in areas like the Balkans and Syria.
Fernand Braudel thought the Mediterranean Sea to be an independent economical space that could be totally independent because of its culture, its economy and its political balance. With its internal differences, the Mediterranean Space has been a beacon of light for centuries in the past. Despite some weird interpretations that we totally reject, the example of Roma and its Empire are totally different from the modern American imperialism: Rome’s institutions still today are some of the highest examples that the word has ever known in fields like administrative law, politics and the State system. This model was melted with the Greek one, able to improve and grow up throughout the centuries, and it was translated to other historical experiences like those of Constantinople (during the long era of the Byzantine peace and harmony) and Moscow, the headquarters of a great empire which is the center of the international balance.
Unfortunately it seems that Italy today has forgotten its own lessons and its rich heritage (political, historical and cultural); our country is living in a condition of extreme ethic, political and social decadence.
Because of that, the American influence found the ground to establish its «cultural» model meeting light or no resistance at all in our society and cultural life. One of our main problems is the historical fragmentation of the Italian political and geographical condition; Italy is united by its culture and literature, but sadly divided by its economical internal conditions. The division of Italy (North, Center and South) is shown by two different phenomena: the Northern League, struggling from more than twenty years for the political independence of Northern Italy, and crime organizations based in the Southern regions, like the Mafia.
The economical scenario of modern Italy is based on small and medium-sized factories. In some cases these industries exploit workers, but more often they suffer from the policies of big companies like Agnelli’s FIAT, Pirelli (tires), Benetton (clothing production), linked to the biggest global lobbies and oligopolies. Every year the Italian State supply these big companies with public money, but workers have never seen the results of these operations, which benefit only super managers like FIAT’s Marchionne and Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, whose policies often lead to serious mistakes and damages for our public interests.
Recently Italy has reformed the Article n. 18 of the Workers’ Statute (originally written in 1970), so it is now possible to fire workers without any right cause. Only a judge could decide if the workers has been fired on the basis of a right cause, but even if the worker wins the lawsuit (and that’s not sure) he couldn’t take back his former workplace. Italian banks have shown the same cynical approach: they aren’t funding anymore small factories nor citizens who want to buy houses; their variable rates of interests are too high and their bonds aren’t sustainable for the middle class.
Tens of Italian workers, small businessmen and traders fell into a deep crisis with their own families and the rates of suicides for economical reasons is increasing day after day. Thousands of Italians are losing their job, unemployed young people rate has never been so high (36%), and the public sector and retirement pensions are being targeted by new taxes, while bonus for super managers and big assets were left untouched. Some isolated cases (controls on the fiscal renditions of celebrities) in the last two months must be considered as pure forms of propaganda by an ultra-capitalist government which considers public money more important than a worker’s life.
The same for the European Union: this is a political construction built on economical basis decided by bureaucrats that the people of Europe have never chosen nor elected. Southern Europe is now paying the price for the guidelines that the Brussels-Paris-Berlin alliance implemented under the direction of the White House and London. It can be viewed as a giant octopus ruled by lobbies struggling to keep Europe under NATO’s control.
If the present scenario is dark, our perspectives are brighter: the current system known as the so-called «Second Republic», the main responsible for the triumph of the Anglo-Saxon model in Italy (a majority election system based on a duopoly that Italian never truly accepted) has failed and corruption is creating a deep lack of confidence towards all the political parties. After years of fierce struggle, the two main parties (Bersani’s Democratic Party and Berlusconi’s «Popolo della Libertà») support Mario Monti’s government. The opposition (the Northern League, recently stricken by judiciary scandals and the only movement of the Italian parliament opposing Brussel’s policies) has never been so weak.
The Italian people are going to face serious challenge now and in the next future; the liberal guidelines ordered by Brussels are likely to be implemented until the end of the term of office and next elections (May 2013). We must not ignore that some analysts are saying that the elections could be delayed, allowing Mr. Monti’s government to operate for some additional months. The social situation in the country, the conditions of workers, families and retirees will be something to focus on during the next twelve months. May’s administrative elections will be an interesting test to understand what Italians really think of this situation. The lack of credibility that politics, parties and the parliamentary system is suffering could bring a low turnout as a result. As a paradox, this discredit could lead to an increased support for «non-political» personnel, like the current government itself, but people see and know what this government is doing. This is not a «technical government», but the cynical result of the influence shared by Western lobbies, banking system, big private monopolies, NATO, the High Finance and it embodies the extreme and worst trends of the two main political parties.
Grego, Antonio. “Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism.” Евразия: Международное Евразийское Движение, 18 May 2012. <http://evrazia.org/article/1985 >.
Notes on further reading: The concept in the above article has also been expressed by Alexander Dugin in his article “The Multipolar World and the Postmodern”. An academic study over-viewing the theory and development of the process called “modernization without westernization” in Asia can be found in “Modernization without Westernization: Comparative Observations on the Cases of Japan and China and their Relevance to the Development of the Pacific Rim” by Stuart D.B. Picken (NUCB Journal of Economics and Information Science, Vol. 48, No. 2 (2004), pp. 171-179, <http://www.nucba.ac.jp/themes/s_cic@cic@nucba/pdf/njeis482/14PICKEN.pdf > [Alternative download from our website: Modernization without Westernization – Picken]).
An example of a book written from a specifically Chinese perspective on this topic and focusing almost entirely on China (thus it is not a good resource for studies of developments outside of China) is Between Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the Modernization of Chinese Culture by Li Zonggui (Oxford: Chartridge Books Oxford, 2015). A collection of studies and perspectives on this process in various Asian countries can be found in Cultural Identity and Modernization in Asian Countries: Proceedings of Kokugakuin University Centennial Symposium (Tokyo: Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, 1983. <http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cimac/index.html >.)