Behind the 2011 Orgy of Destabilizations – [6 of 6]

Post-1848 Realpolitik was summed up by Prussian Chancellor Bismarck [photo above] in 1862 with his famous speech asserting that “The great questions of the age will not be resolved by speeches and majority votes – therein lay the great mistake of 1848 and 1849 – but by blood and iron.”
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POST-1848: THE END OF REVOLUTIONARY ROMANTIC ILLUSIONS AND THE GROWTH OF REALISM

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by Webster G. Tarpley

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The post-2001 millennial youth bulge, including the naïve and well-meaning young people of the Arab world and beyond, like the youth generation of 1848, are largely under the influence of a half-baked revolutionary romanticism which contains distant echoes of the snake oil purveyed by Lord Byron, Mazzini and their ilk.

The rank and file youth activists of Tahrir Square typically offered generic slogans about freedom, democracy, human rights, civil liberties, and freedom of expression. They insisted on Egyptian national pride, the unity of army and people (a typical Bonapartist theme) and claimed that they were making a revolution on their own, oblivious to the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the project by MI-6, CIA, NED, and the NGOs. For some, Assange was an ego ideal; for others, it might be the unlikely Ghonim.

The pathos of these young people was that they were dupes, acting as the walk-ons, extras, and props required as television window-dressing for a CIA script starring Tantawi and a military junta, with IMF villains like el Baradei and Amr Moussa waiting offstage.

Clearly, these young people are headed for a letdown of massive disillusionment, out of which a form of sadder but wiser enlightenment might emerge.


THE IDEOLOGICAL HANGOVER AFTER 1848: CYNICISM, TOUGH MINDEDNESS, POWER POLITICS


The years after the failed 1848 revolutions are described in terms of a “new toughness of mind,” featuring cynicism, sober realism, and ruthless pragmatism. Since many of the defeated revolutionary romantics were incapable of discovering the higher historical morality of progressive human development, many opted for a reductionism in which morality was reduced to the rationalization of interests. The connotation of idealism changed from vaguely positive to decidedly negative. Sentimentalism also acquired negative overtones. The arid positivism of Auguste Comte took hold in France, with the brutal cynic Arthur Schopenhauer coming to the fore in Germany. People began to worship power. The so-called post-1848 Realpolitik or power politics was summed up by Prussian Chancellor Bismarck in 1862 with his famous speech asserting that “The great questions of the age will not be resolved by speeches and majority votes – therein lay the great mistake of 1848 and 1849 – but by blood and iron.”

 

QADDAFI’S KEY BLOCKING POSITION VS. THE IMPERIALISTS


In the current crisis, one rule of thumb is that any nation state should be regarded as an actual or potential positive force. The best policy is to work with existing governments rather than trying to smash them, no matter what their defects may be. A state is better than the chaos and anarchy of no state at all. Cliques of subversive generals and bureaucrats bribed by the CIA, backed up by crazed mobs of Facebook devotees thrown into a frenzy of Oedipal hatred against this or that leader, have little to recommend them.

Mubarak capitulated and fell from power, but the more ruthless Qaddafi shows every indication of successfully defending his regime. A defeat of the destabilization of Libya would represent a severe rebuff for the US-UK spooks. As Shashkov notes, “For years the US administrations dreamed of getting rid of Muammar Gaddafi, but each time this charismatic and independent leader somehow manages to outwit the Americans. And thus Gaddafi saved other Arab leaders, who were next in the line, so to speak.”12

 

STALINGRAD OF THE CIA BEFORE RAS LANOUF


Lorenzo Cremonesi, reporting from Libya for the Milan Corriere della Sera, observed in a radio report that the defeat of the anti-Qaddafi rebels at Ras Lanouf on March 10, 2011 represented their Stalingrad. Diehl of the Washington Post sees Qaddafi’s successful defense as a turning point – a Thermidor like the Paris 1848 June Days, but already in mid-March. Diehl writes: ‘…Moammar Gaddafi — who has set Libya ablaze — has become so important…. Gaddafi’s scorched-earth campaign to save himself has not only stopped and partially reversed the advance of rebel forces on Tripoli during the past two weeks; it has done the same to the broader push for Arab democracy. If he survives, the virus of repressive bloodshed and unyielding autocracy could flow back through the region. Maybe it already has…. Pro-democracy forces outside of Egypt and Tunisia have stalled. Algeria and Morocco have gone quiet. In Saudi Arabia on Friday, a “day of anger” advertised for weeks on Facebook failed to produce a significant turnout. And there has been no sign of rebellion in the Arab country whose dictatorship rivals Gaddafi’s for ruthlessness: Syria.13

Diehl even sees the potential for autocratic restorations, of which there were any number in 1848-49, from Paris to Rome to Berlin to Vienna: ‘The obvious follow-up question: In a Middle East where one dictator is slaughtering his way to at least temporary safety, what might the remains of Egypt’s autocracy be tempted to do if the country’s disorder grows? The country’s new reformist prime minister, Essam Sharaf, clearly has been thinking about this: Last week he warned that an “organized, methodical counter-revolution” was already underway.14 Could Mubarak, Ben Ali, or their dynasties be restored? What a humiliation for Obama and Panetta if they were!

The arch-destabilizer Gershman complains that ‘Qaddafi’s survival would signal to autocrats that violent resistance is the wisest path. This would shift the momentum in the Middle East and greatly spur the new backlash.”15 If the wily Libyan desert fox survives, the entire CIA theory of mob rule will be discredited. For Qaddafi is a disciple not of Gene Sharp, but of the Porfirio Diaz doctrine of “Shoot ‘em red-handed.” A cynical post-1848-style conclusion drawn by some autocrats might be that it is better to disperse the mob when it gathers in the public square to start a color revolution, rather than being concerned about public opinion in Europe and the United States, since western public opinion will be hostile anyway, thanks to the Wall Street media.


CHAOS IN EGYPT?


Egypt, where Moslem attacks on the Coptic Christian minority have already broken out, and where the police are growing more violent against the remaining demonstrators, appears headed either for military dictatorship, or for chaos. As Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post noted, ‘some Egyptians think the country is dangerously close to unraveling. “We may never get to the presidential election,” said one well-informed source…. The economy, he said, remains stopped; the government may soon run out of cash to pay salaries. Authority of all kinds is crumbling: Factory managers and union leaders are being challenged by their rank and file, and police have largely disappeared from the streets.’16 But in this case, Egypt might be too weak and chaotic to make deals with Iran.

 

One of the best outcomes for Egypt would be the emergence of a new generation of nationalist colonels who are disgusted by the treachery of US stooges like Field Marshal Tantawi and General Enan, and who would like to return to the traditions of President Nasser, who defied the imperialists by nationalizing the Suez Canal and by building the Aswan High Dam, without which modern Egypt could not exist.

Hopefully, the young rank and file veterans of these failed insurrections will also be able to learn some deeper truths out of their experience of having been duped. A friend of mine from the Philippines has explained at length his own process of growing political awareness after having supported the overthrow of the strong nationalist President Marcos through the 1986 US-backed oligarchical coup whose figurehead was the weak and vapid oligarch Cory Aquino. This was the so-called EDSA agitation in Manila, which set back the economic development of the Philippines, lowered the standard of living, increased political instability, and undermined national independence in favor of a gaggle of parasitic compradors. Such experiences are painful and deplorable, but can also contribute to the formation of capable political activists – real cadres and mass leaders.


BEYOND NIHILISM


If 2011 plays out according to the model of 1848, as now seems increasingly likely, an entire generation of well-meaning revolutionary romantics who had fallen momentarily under the spell of nihilists like Gershman, Assange and Ghonim may wake up to the fact that revolutionary class struggle is a serious business requiring above all two things — program and organization. Program is concerned in the modern age just as much with economics as with political or process reforms. Economic program must aim at freeing the developing countries from the deadly shackles of IMF financial globalization, opening the door instead to national independence, full employment, rising standards of living, improved longevity, and general upgrading of science, technology, industry, and agriculture. Organization is the indispensable vehicle for being able to intervene in mass political upsurges and prevent them from being hijacked by foreign agents and scoundrels like the Libyan rebel council, Field Marshal Tantawi, el Baradei, or Amr Moussa of Egypt.

In short, the aftermath of the 2011 putsch wave may include, if we are lucky, a younger generation which has understood that relying solely on vague slogans about freedom, democracy, and human rights – plus hatred of somebody like Ben Ali or Mubarak — leaves a popular movement adrift and defenseless against well-organized imperialist operatives who seek to use such a movement as a mere taxi to get where they want to go.


THE BRITISH AS THE WINNERS OF 1848


The British, who had been close to a revolution themselves in 1830, were the major beneficiaries of the 1848 events. France came under the control of a British asset. Austria lost its most prominent leader and was permanently weakened. Russia was set up to be attacked by Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire in 1853-56, and Russia’s repression of an incipient revolt in Poland in 1848 planted seeds of hatred and resentment which were to explode in the Polish insurrection of 1863.

1848 diminished the continental threat to Britain and allowed London to proceed to the bloody repression of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 in India, followed by the Third Opium War against China in 1860. Most important, the British were able to obtain collaboration and support from France, Spain, and Austria for their attempted encirclement of the United States, timed to coincide with the British encouragement of the secessionist Confederate States of America. This is the sort of outcome the Gershmans of today are hoping for — all fall down, and the US is left standing. But it looks like they might be disappointed.

 

The years after 1848 thus represented the absolute high water mark of the worldwide power of the British Empire, a period of grave danger of universal colonial empire over the entire planet which receded only with Lincoln’s victory over the Confederate States of America at Appomattox in 1865, followed by Bismarck’s successful unification of Germany in 1871, with British puppet Napoleon III being toppled in the process.


EMPIRE IS BAD FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE


The rebirth of labor ferment, popular agitation, and class defense struggles by working people in the United States, as typified by the resistance against reactionary Republican union-busting governors and their scurrilous “Tea Party” allies in such states as Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and others, holds out the possibility that the divestiture of an imperial role in the world can be accompanied by heavy-duty, anti-Wall Street modernizing reforms along the lines of a second New Deal which would leave the United States far stronger and more prosperous than it is today. The modernizing 1920s reforms of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were able to create a strong and progressive Turkish state amid the general shipwreck of the old and untenable Ottoman Empire. General Charles de Gaulle was able to forge a more powerful, stable, and prosperous France in the aftermath of the French colonial empire in Indochina and Algeria.

Americans need to learn that empire is bad for them, since it is empire that brings high unemployment, declining standards of living, reactionary domination, the merciless exploitation of working people, and the growing barbarism of social life – as well as endless wars and endless casualty lists.

The August Coup in Moscow in August 1991 marked the beginning of the end of the USSR as an empire. The current putsch wave may well mark the beginning of the end for the current Anglo-American imperial congeries.

 

A DISTANT MIRROR: THE ROMAN MILITARY ANARCHY OF 235-284 AD


Today, the US and British ruling elites hope that the ongoing universal assault on the nation-state, including Russia, China, India, Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, and Iran, can allow indefinite prolongation of Anglo-American world supremacy as a world system based on the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, with NATO serving as the main military enforcement arm.

Today’s crisis of the Anglo-American world empire is comparable in some ways to the Roman Empire’s Imperial Crisis or Military Anarchy of 235-284 AD. A reprieve for such an exhausted empire, similar to the late Roman revival from the Diocletian reforms after 284 AD to the final collapse in 476 AD, followed by the Dark Ages, would spell an end to meaningful scientific, technological, and economic development and social progress worldwide.

It would mean a descent into the barbarism and neo-feudalism of warlords and petty states. This is why it is imperative that the existing nation-states, despite their many obvious flaws, be defended, and the waves of destabilization beaten back..

Concluded.

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Source, Cross posted, Title image
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