dystopian interregnum

Image: Lara Mantoanelli


Nuclear war as the ultimate morbid symptom.

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot yet be born; in this interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear” (Antonio Gramsci)

Morbid symptom (1): People already have all the information and knowledge they need to know that the planet's climate is being ruined and its natural resources consumed at an unsustainable rate for the conservation of life; nevertheless, environmental devastation continues, accelerating rather than cooling; morbid symptom (2): As much as societies and governments know that widespread impoverishment is socially unsustainable, with the resulting conflicts only able to be managed, rather than mitigated, through greater repression and police brutality, the concentration of income in the hands of those already too rich continues to increase.

Morbid symptom (3): The belief in representative democracy is exhausted, and societies stop seeing it as a way to build the future; parliaments are increasingly equipped to serve the interests of big business, and to block changes; morbid symptom (4): the founding scheme of the modern nation-state, of subdivision into three independent and separate powers, is degraded to the extent that one of these powers, the judiciary, precisely the one most immune to external control (so that there is exemption in judgments), in several countries becoming colonized (equipped) by the institutions of a dominant country, the United States, under the pretext of “fighting corruption”; the most complete example is Ukraine, which instituted laws attributing to the US the power to directly appoint several of its highest judicial authorities – something that, however, did not prevent the country from assuming the label of “most corrupt in the world”.

Morbid symptom (5): The right to free demonstration is in force only in a formal sense, the State imposes limits on it according to its conveniences (see how the French State liquidated with the movement of the yellow vests, or, more recently, how the Canadian state liquidated the movement of freedom convoys); morbid symptom (6): people are indignant and enraged against Russia for having started a war against a neighboring country, and are shocked by the scenes of children killed, maimed, orphaned, refugees and traumatized for the rest of their lives, without pay attention to the fact that, on this very day, children are also being killed, maimed, orphaned, refugees and traumatized in four other countries, by wars in which the United States is responsible: Yemen (it's been seven years), Syria (ten years), Libya (eleven years) and Somalia (thirty years).

Morbid symptom (7): Practically everything that can be called press in the western world (more than 1.500 newspapers, more than 1.100 magazines, more than 9 thousand radio stations and more than 1.500 television channels) are controlled by only six global conglomerates of media which operate in an absolutely coordinated manner, raising what are no more than narratives of interest to the so-called “1%” (actually 0,01%) to the condition of absolute truth – the demonization of Russia currently underway as the example bigger.

This list could be extended, but the cases above are enough to state that morbid symptoms are no longer occasional and become the norm.

A world in which morbid symptoms are increasingly spreading and getting worse could be called dystopia. It cannot be said that we already live in a dystopian world because we still enjoy spaces of “normality” established by the civilizing process of the last three hundred years – but it can be said that dystopia is advancing at a rapid pace, invading and occupying these spaces more and more. .

In Gramsci's famous postulate, this “dystopian interregnum” can only be overcome when the “old” has finally died and the “new” has finally been born. For all those who long for this death of the old with the birth of something new, it is the dystopia itself (and not the nostalgia for the dying old man) that imposes itself, in practice, as a frame of reference. Thus, measuring Russia's military actions by the moral ruler of one who judges, in absolute terms, that "war is wrong, period" reflects an attachment to a frame of reference that in practice no longer operates (in this case, international law - as if, for example, the American invasion of Iraq had not already taken place contrary to the UN Security Council).

More crudely expressed, in terms of the civilization/barbarism duality: since morbidity and dystopia are barbarism itself, you, no matter how civilized you try to be, have to know when barbarism is on the other side.

Of course war is wrong (and always will be). Of course, children being killed, maimed, orphaned, refugees and traumatized is wrong, hateful and disgusting, and always will be. But then Russia should, after having exhausted diplomatic negotiations so that NATO would not install new attack missiles along its borders as well as remove those already installed (at the military bases of Deveselu in Romania and Redzikowo in Poland) , simply wait until it is annihilated by a surprise missile attack capable of hitting Moscow in just three minutes?

Should Russia, after watching for eight years an entire population of ethnic Russians on the other side of its border be the target of persecution, discrimination, arbitrary arrests and even assassinations, wait passively until Ukraine invades the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk to reintegrate them by force and massacre their populations, and the Russians had information that this invasion was about to be launched?

Should Russia, aware that the Americans have been developing bespoke biological weapons for the Russian people in a network of clandestine laboratories in Ukraine, turn a blind eye to this? Should Russia, after Zelensky declared that Ukraine should seek to develop nuclear weapons, allow this to happen? In short, should she passively wait until Russian children are killed, maimed, orphaned, refugees and traumatized?

In order to be able to judge Russia's actions in a minimally adequate way, one must bear in mind that the war between Russia and Ukraine is secondary (in the sense of derivative, subsidiary) in relation to a larger war, the war (up to now informational, economic and only indirectly militarily) between the United States on the one hand and Russia plus China on the other.

One cannot gain an understanding of this ongoing US-Russian war without understanding how it started (since the late 1990s) and, more importantly, without understanding why it is still only indirectly military (fought in places like Kosovo, Syria, Donbass and now the whole of Ukraine).

For two decades this war has been only indirectly military because both Americans and Russians know that once they engage in direct confrontation it will quickly escalate into nuclear war. And both know that nuclear war has no winners, both will end up destroyed. Put more bluntly, the only way to avoid nuclear war is to never have direct war between the United States and Russia.

So, to have Americans and Russians fighting an undeclared war for two decades now is undoubtedly a morbid symptom that could be called the penultimate morbid symptom, due to the risks that it implies in converting it into direct war and, subsequently, into nuclear war ( the latter, the ultimate morbid symptom, because it abruptly eradicates the old, giving way to an absolutely unfathomable type of new).

After more than two decades of gradual escalation (NATO expansion, incitement to Chechen separatism, Kosovo war, Georgia war, Maidan color revolution, annexation of Crimea, imposition of economic sanctions, non-compliance with the Minsk agreements, actions on social media to influence US elections, war in Syria, unilateral American abandonment of the treaty banning intermediate-range missiles, incitement to color revolution in Belarus, Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Russian ultimatum to NATO, incitement to color revolution in Kazakhstan, attacks cybernetics from either side, expulsion of diplomats from either side, etc.) we have now reached a vertiginous military escalation point, not only because of the Russian action in Ukraine but also because of the American reaction to it, with the sending of arms to the Ukrainians and with the increase of NATO's military presence in countries like Poland and the Baltic countries – despite the fact that the Russians have already announced that they will not tolerate either, and that they will retaliate.

This escalation is headed for a direct war between the Americans and the Russians, in just a matter of time.

The Americans cannot back down, because they are trapped in a trap they created themselves, the need to perpetuate their hegemony over the rest of the world. The Americans are the only country in the world (and in history) that can afford to have a public deficit tending to infinity, because they can simply print more money (dollars) to refinance it. To do so, they need the rest of the world to need to acquire dollars, which in turn requires that virtually all trade between countries be done in dollars.

To ensure that no one questions this state of affairs, the United States needs to have armed forces that are feared by the rest of the world (there are thousands of US military bases abroad, scattered across the planet). US government military spending accounts for more than half of total public spending (as much as the US GDP is carried by the arms industry), and that is why the public deficit is increasingly stratospheric, with which the circle closes.

At this point, the Americans simply cannot "yield to the Russians, in the name of world peace." The point of no return has already been passed decades ago, giving up world hegemony today would mean an economic collapse for the USA, with a deep and abrupt impoverishment of the American population, which would lead to the end of the country's current institutions, if not the end of the country itself. country.

It is clear to everyone that this collapse will happen sooner or later, but the American elites are willing to fight until the end to try to avoid it (that's why this undeclared war of more than two decades against Russia ). The collapse will come because American hegemony rests on two pillars, the dollar as a universal reserve of value and uncontested military power, and both are collapsing, and in an associated way (an eventual military humiliation of the Americans before the world could be demoralizing for them to the point of triggering the process of abandoning the dollar).

A country that intends to be hegemonic cannot tolerate the sovereignty of third parties, and, by seeking their own and independent paths, both Russia and China (as well as a few others, such as Iran) have put themselves on a collision course with the US . Thus, NATO began to expand towards Russia's borders in the 1990s in order to seek to subjugate it. In the year 2007 (it's been fifteen years, therefore) in a speech at a conference in Munich, Vladimir Putin warned the world that NATO expansion in disregard of Russia's national security requirements would lead to the current crisis - but nobody gave him ears.

Ultimately, what is at stake is the fate of humanity. Two different and antagonistic models of civilization (in economic, political, social and cultural terms) are in dispute, the Western model (predominant until now) and the Chinese-Russian model, which has been rapidly encompassing other Asian nations (Iran was already aligned for a long time, but now allies of the United States until recently, such as India and even Saudi Arabia, are starting to change boats). Only one of the two models will be able to survive this dispute (of course, if the nuclear war does not survive).

Parenthesis: let there be no illusions, an eventual supplantation of the western model by the Russian-Chinese one would not mean an overcoming of capitalism, but rather a replacement of the current financialized and absolutely inhuman turbo-capitalism by a “less inhumane” productive capitalism (and with much more conservatism in customs).

In order to win without a direct (nuclear) war, the American strategy is to lead to the fall of the Russian government, with the establishment of a new subservient government, or at least more accommodating, to the West. Hence the appalling economic sanctions (which are already hurting Western economies as much, if not more, than the Russian economy), why Russian oligarchs have been personally targeted (so that they rebel against Putin), why media demonization without parallel and unprecedented, and hence the effort to make the war in Ukraine last as long as possible, seeking to wear down Putin – when everyone already knows that there is no longer any chance of Ukraine defeating Russia militarily; Ukraine, however, accepts pressure from the Americans so that it does not just surrender in order to extend Russian attrition, thus assuming the deplorable role of cannon fodder.

This American strategy even worked well in the first days of the war, when the Russian population hesitated in the face of the prospect of impoverishment due to the economic sanctions imposed by the West. But the western media did not know how to dose the poison, and the Russophobia that followed (with Russian athletes, artists and even students becoming the target of “cancellations” and embarrassment, if not harassment, in Western countries), along with the glorification of neo-Nazis Ukrainians as “heroic defenders of the West” ended up leading the Russian population to close ranks around Putin.

Once this result of the dispute for the hearts and minds of Russia has been given, the West no longer holds to any limits for impregnating hatred of Russia and Russians in the hearts and minds of its peoples, a requirement for a Delenda is. The newest chapter in this strategy is the commission of atrocities against Ukrainian civilians, attributed to the Russians despite any evidence (false flags), in increasing magnitude that tends to reach chemical or radioactive stages.

The Russians' strategy is to push the danger (the NATO missiles aimed at Moscow) away from their borders (all of them; the Russians will not stop in Ukraine), while making their contribution (gas for rubles, for example) to accelerate the American collapse, in the hope that it will happen before an outright war. In this context, Putin will not repeat the mistake made by Saddam Hussein, who passively watched for months on end the deployment of American military bases and contingents “of a purely defensive nature” on the other side of his border, until the denomination “Operation Desert Shield” ” was recycled into “Operation Desert Storm” – when it was too late. If the Americans move massively towards Russian borders they will be attacked pre-emptively, let there be no doubt about that.

Russia took the military initiative reactively, because it felt compelled to do so, to thwart Ukraine's imminent invasion of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. However, Russia made the decision to confront NATO militarily (on the understanding that otherwise it would end up subjugated) more than two decades ago, and has been diligently preparing for it ever since.

At this point, it becomes clear that the chances of there not being a nuclear war are not good – even if, for the obvious reasons of the absurd risk involved, this may still take time.

For those who still believe in the rationality of decision-makers, it is worth returning to Gramsci's warning about morbidity. Furthermore, war was never a rational affair among men. Irrationality has always been present both at the macro level of governments and general staffs (to take just the two world wars that took place, the first was paralyzed in the militarily useless killing in the trenches, while the second elevated names to the condition of nouns for horror). from places like Auschwitz and Hiroshima) to the micro level of the atrocities and cowardice invariably committed by individuals against civilians and prisoners of war.

Finally, even against all evidence, may reason prevail, and may there never be nuclear war!

*Ruben Bauer Naveira is a political activist. Book author A new utopia for Brazil: three guides to get out of chaos [available at http://www.brasilutopia.com.br].

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