by Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times
Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as the 8th president of Iran this Thursday at the Majlis (Parliament), two days after being formally endorsed by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei.
Representatives of the UN secretary-general; OPEC; the EU; the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU); the Inter-Islamic Union; and quite a few heads of state and Foreign Ministers were at the Majlis, including Iraq President Barham Salih and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The Islamic Republic of Iran now enters a new era in more ways than one. Khamenei himself outlined its contours in a short, sharp speech, ‘The Experience of Trusting the US’.
Khamenei’s strategic analysis, conveyed even before the final result of the JCPOA negotiations in Vienna in 2015, which I covered in my Asia Times ebook Persian Miniatures , turned out to be premonitory: “During the negotiations I repeatedly said they don’t uphold their promises.” So, in the end, “the experience tells us this is a deadly poison for us.” During the Rouhani administration, Khamenei adds, “it became clear that trusting the West doesn’t work”.
With perfect timing, a new, six-volume book, Sealed Secret, co-written by outgoing Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and two top JCPOA negotiators, Ali Akbar Salehi and Seyed Abbas Araghchi (who’s still involved in the current, stalled Vienna debate) will be published this week, for the moment only in Farsi.
Professor Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran summed up for me the road map ahead: “Iran’s foreign policy decisions are pretty clear. Iran will be putting less emphasis on Western nations, especially European, and more emphasis on the Global South, the East, neighboring countries, and of course that will include China and Russia. That doesn’t mean the Iranians are going to ignore Europe altogether, if they decide to return to the JCPOA. The Iranians would accept if they abide by their obligations. So far, we have seen no sign of that whatsoever.”
Marandi could not help referring to Khamenei’s speech: “It’s pretty clear; he’s saying, ‘we don’t trust the West, these last 8 years showed that’, he’s saying the next administration should learn from the experience of these 8 years.”
Yet the main challenge for Raisi will not be foreign policy, but the domestic framework, with sanctions still biting hard: “With regard to economic policy, it will be tilting more towards social justice and turning away from neoliberalism, expanding the safety net for the disenfranchised and the vulnerable.”
It’s quite intriguing to compare Marandi with the views of a seasoned Iranian diplomat who prefers to remain anonymous, and very well positioned as an observer of the domestic conflict:
“During Rouhani’s 8 years, contrary to the Supreme Leader’s advice, the government spent lots of time on negotiations, and they have not been investing on internal potential. Anyhow the 8 years are now finished, and contrary to Rouhani’s promises we currently have Iran’s worst economic and financial record in 50 years.”
The diplomat is adamant on “the importance of paying attention to our internal capacities and abilities, while having powerful economic relations with our neighbors as well as Russia, China, Latin America, South Africa as well as maintaining mutual respectable ties with Europeans and the US government, if it changes its behavior and accepts Iran as it is and not always trying to overthrow the Iranian state and harm its people by any possible means.”
Iranians are heirs to a tradition of at least 2,500 years of fine diplomacy. So once again our interlocutor had to stress, “the Supreme Leader has never, ever said or believed we should cut our relations with Europeans. Quite the opposite: he deeply believes in the notion of ‘dynamic diplomacy’, even concerning the US; he said multiple times we have no problem with the US if they deal with us with respect.”
And now, let’s time travel
There are no illusions in Tehran that Iran under Raisi, much more than under Rouhani, will remain the target of multiple “maximum pressure” and/or Hybrid War tactics deployed by Washington, Tel Aviv and NATOstan, crude false flags included, with the whole combo celebrated by US Think Tankland’s analyses penned by “experts” in Beltway cubicles.
All that is irrelevant in terms of what really matters ahead in the Southwest Asia chessboard.
The late, great René Grousset, in his 1951 classic L’Empire des Steppes, has pointed out “how Iran, renewing itself for fifty centuries”, has “always given proof of astonishing continuity.” It was because of this strength that Iranian civilization, as much as Chinese civilization, has assimilated all foreigners that conquered is soil, from Seljuks to Mongols: “Every time, because of the radiance of its culture, Iranism reappeared with renewed vitality, on the road to a new renaissance.”
The possibility of a “new renaissance”, now, implies a step beyond the “neither East or West” first conceptualized by Ayatollah Khomeini: it’s rather a back to the (Eurasian) roots, Iran reviving its past to tackle the new, multipolar, future.
The political heart of Iran lies in the sophisticated urban organization of the northern plateau, the result of a rolling, pluri-millennial process. All along Grousset’s “fifty centuries”, the plateau has been the house of Iranian culture and the stable heart of the state.
Around this central space there are plenty of territories historically and linguistically linked to Persia and Iran: in Eastern Anatolia, in Central Asia and Afghanistan, in the Caucasus, in Western Pakistan. Then there are Shi’ite territories of other ethnic groups, mostly Arab, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Yemen (the Zaidites) and the Persian Gulf (Bahrain, the Shi’ites in Hasa in Saudi Arabia).
This is the Shi’ite arc – evolving in a complex Iranization process that is foremost political and religious, and not cultural and linguistic. Outside of Iran, I have seen in my travels how Arab Shi’ites in Iraq, Lebanon and the Gulf, Dari/Farsi Shi’ites in Afghanistan, those of Pakistan and India, and Turcophone Shi’ites in Azerbaijan look up towards political Iran.
So Iran’s large zone of influence relies mostly on Shi’ism, and not on Islamic radicalism or the Persian language. It’s Shi’ism that allows political power in Iran to keep a Eurasian dimension – from Lebanon to Afghanistan and Central Asia – and that reflects once again Grousset’s “continuity” when he refers to Persian/Iranian history.
From Ancient History to the medieval era, it was always out of imperial projects, born in Southwest Asia and /or the Mediterranean basin, that came the drive to attempt the creation of a Eurasian territory.
The Persians, who were halfway between Mediterranean Europe and Central Asia, were the first who tried to build a Eurasian empire from Asia to the Mediterranean, but they were halted in their expansion towards Europe by the Greeks in the 5th century B.C.
Then it was up to Alexander The Great, in pure badass blitzkrieg mode, to venture all the way to Central Asia and India, de facto founding the first Eurasian empire. Which happened to materialize, to a large extent, the Persian empire.
Then something even more extraordinary happened: the simultaneous presence of the Parthian and Kushan empires between the Roman Empire and the Han Empire during the first two centuries of the first millennium.
It was this interaction that first allowed commercial and cultural trade and connectivity between the two extremities of Eurasia, between the Romans and the Han Chinese.
Yet the largest Eurasian territorial space, founded between the 7th and 10th centuries, following the Arab conquests, were the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. Islam was at the heart of these Arab conquests, remixing previous imperial compositions, from Mesopotamia to the Persians, Greeks and Romans.
Historically, that was the first truly Eurasian economic, cultural and political arc, from the 8th to the 11th century, before Genghis Khan monopolized The Big Picture.
All that is very much alive in the collective unconscious of Iranians and Chinese. That’s why the China-Iran strategic partnership deal is much more than a mere $400 billion economic arrangement. It’s a graphic manifestation of what the revival of the Silk Roads is aiming at. And it looks like Khamenei had already seen which way the (desert) wind was blowing years before the fact.
“Shi’ites in Hasa in Saudi Arabia”
Hasa >>> should be Ahsa.
That is presently named Ghatif
Al Ahsa is different and Qatif is different. Both towns exists now in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
I like the idea of the arc of the Shi’a. I’m enamoured of the idea of no denominations , cults, etc. , just the kingdom of god, but such a conception is probably just an erroneous dream. Diversity in the garden and all that…
Still, if people spontaneously from the heart did the right thing because it was god doing it….anyway…
Congratulations to Iran.
Another tour of history from Pepe.
One fact he emphasizes is Iran’s political power stems from the widespread existence of Shia people in many nations of Eurasia. This “power” is strength and weakness without underlying economic power and influence.
Iran’s economic needs at home are profound. More than four decades of sanctions and containment from normal trade and development, starved by the West for foreign investment, and kept in wars and conflicts with Saddam and Israel, and threatened by Arab Sunni terrorism have all spoiled Iran’s potential and stunted its growth.
The Shiite world is in deep need for economic investment, but most of those Shiite zones are still in conflicts: Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, much of Iraq, and parts of Afghanistan. In Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Shiites are second class citizens, luckless under present relations between their government and Iran.
So the Shite “world”, where Iran has influence, is a world which needs Iran’s investment. It is hard to see that occurring in this decade.
Your comment reminded me of something funny.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Iran — Wikipedia provides the following figures for Iran:
GDP growth: : −5.4% (2018) −7.6% (2019); −6.0% (2020e)
Meanwhile, these are the actual figures for the Iranian GDP in the above-mentioned years:
https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/iran/overview — And according to the World Bank:
“Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been estimated at US$628 billion for the Iranian calendar year 2020/21” — which is in line with the $635 billion estimate from above.
So, why are some people spreading negativity, and outright lies and false figures, to make it seem like Iran is weak, and weakening further by the year, when in fact, the truth seems to be the opposite?
For the same reason that they regularly minimise the size of the Russian economy – wishful thinking and self deception.
please do not encompass 1.2 billion Sunni Muslims into two dangerous words “sunni terrorism”
the terrorists are the mossad/anglo/american funded wahabis/salaficists who happen to be a small fringe of the sunni world.
we the sunnis love our shia brothers and sisters and we love our orthodox Christian brothers and sisters as well.
I limited the term to ‘Arab Sunni terrorism’. That is an historically correct term. Arabs financed and spawned it. It excludes the billion or so good Sunni who live all over the globe and abhor terrorism, and who are the primary victims of much of the violence.
Actually Radical Islam is a spawn / construct of the British.
The Saudis of “Saudi” Arabia were brought to power as satraps to the Brits.
Many here are aware ISIS is spawn of the Mossad CIA Mi6 triad.
As were “al qada” ( the base/ data base of assets)
The mujahideen (Rocky3 is dedicated to the “brave mujahideen”)
And Taliban (means “student”)/ students at the madrassas set up by the CIA in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Brzezinski plan to “stir up some Moselems” and “give the Soviets their Vietnam”)
Of course Arab money has been used to fund extremism.
But the hand in the Salafist glove is British/(Israeli).
benefit of sanctions and containment: it provides the conditions to strengthen and optimise the “bones” of the economic/political/spiritual system. The ability to find the core true balance between the dimensions of existence are found through hardship. China went thru a similar core optimisation. And we know the result.
I’d love to be proven wrong, but I think the best path forward for nations that have resources and are not in extreme poverty, is to “bootstrap” their own economy with whatever profits and hard foreign currency they can muster. North Korea has done this with “juche”, resource-poor fascist Italy did this under another name which escapes me at the moment, and of course the Soviet Union, which was blessed with abundant natural resources and hard-working people, did this with spectacular results. The Soviets always hoped for outside investments from the 1920’s right up to the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, and it never came. But the dangled carrot probably distorted Soviet economic decisions and created a dangerous cadre of liberals who despised the USSR and now despise Russia.
There are important counter-examples, so the evidence cuts both ways. The US grew from British investments in the 1800’s – and we had a virgin continent to rape. Germany industrial growth was jump-started by the 5 billion gold francs extorted from France in the 1871 treaty.
Iran did very well in during the Imposed War. They managed to build helicopters and tanks under the most difficult conditions. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the various slow-downs of Iran’s economy after 1990 seems to have been due to poor decisions which favored the wealth and which did not fully unlock the potential of the Iranian people, who are hard-working and very smart. I hope Raisi will return to the policy of self-development. I’m sure China and Russia will provide important help, and the BRI will also provide new opportunities.
The English had their paws on Iran’s resources for a period but greed and old imperial ambition shot them in the behind.
The Americans, English and Zionist 5 Eye + 1 with their cadres of McKinsey-Goldman type locusts had a brief window when Boris Yeltsin held the reins in one hand and a bottle in the other.
Putin gate crashed that Party, TFFT.
Now it’s Russia and ally’s like Iran who can ensure a prosperous future for their people and extend a helping hand to Friends,
A forgotten chapter of Persian history is the early instance of American meddling in Persia’s internal affairs with the intention of curbing the ‘Russian influence’ (and British), by the appointment of William Morgan Shuster as treasurer-general of Persia in order to manage the finances of the country and promote ‘democracy’ in the wake of the ‘Constitutional Revolution’ of 1906. And certainly with an eye on future concessions in the newly discovered oil fields.
Hey, could you imagine that in 1921 (in the wake of the concession granted to Standard Oil) articles in the Persian press gloated ”on the love and esteem of Persia for the U.S”, “and her noble and gracious people since 1910 when she sent one of her sincerest educated young men, Mr. [Morgan] Shuster, to reform the finances of our country”, predicting that: “If the Americans, with their flourishing wealth, establish economic relations with our country, we are sure our resources will not remain sterile and we will no longer be so much afflicted by poverty”!
Yes indeed the collective unconscious of Iranians and Chinese remembers that since its origins, multiple centuries BC, trade and cultural exchanges along the Silk Road were flowing from East to West and that it was largely due to the undertaking of a Persian people. The Sogdian merchants were indeed instrumental in their acting as middlemen between the Chinese and the Arab world till sometime before the end of the first millennial AD.
Étienne de la Vaissière is the best known specialist on the study of the Sogdian in China and he mentions that “The creation of the Sogdian trading network between Samarkand and China was a by-product of the Greek conquest of the Achaemenid Empire” (see note hereunder). To survive the Sogdian had been forced to emigrate as far east as China sometime around 329-328 BC where they established Sogdian communities and …sinicized while some of their families “mandarinated” in the Chinese public administration. Hum… does someone know of any example of Chinese assimilation in another culture ?
As Pepe writes “All that is very much alive in the collective unconscious of Iranians and Chinese” but this time around the initiative is coming from the Chinese side which is something radically new indeed ! The Chinese nation is known to have focused along the entirety of its history on what happened inside its borders while ignoring what happened outside. Confucius even theorized that there is no reason for the Chinese to go conquer outside nations and suggested that it is smarter to build one’s own country strong because then outside merchants will rush in with their money and their knowledge… (In the Analects). And note that this is exactly what Western capital holders have been doing since 1990 approximately. (Taiji style economic development ha ha ha)
The Geopolitical question of the century that might soon emerge, in the minds of academic researchers, could soon well be “what changed in the Chinese Zeitgeist” that powered a new era of Tianxia expansion.
Étienne de la Vaissière. “A short history of Sogdians in China“.
this is a fascinating Q :)
‘Hum… does someone know of any example of Chinese assimilation in another culture ?’
thanks Iaodan :)
w/out much real research, on top off me stupid head, I can only think of Mongols.
In history chinese race are not expensionist, thus they dont go out and spread their genes and whenever they are invaded, they guard their bloodlines strictly so much so those who are raped or marry a invader/foreigner is consider a traitor a dirt a broken person and it to be executed or sent away in shame. Old habits/traditions/history die hard alas! those chinese who marry a japanese are still not treated well today.
but assimilaton into? prob only mongols, thats in a large scale, which could explain why the chinese political class is interested to include the minor races into the china grand plan, and not jut geopolitical oriented. its bloodlines mixed up and to the chinese, blood is thicker than water.
why do you think I get 20 russian sex dolls and not the real ones? xD
anyway just me stupid yapping here for entertainment grade xD
I know personally some Mongols and Tibetans who have assimilated the Chinese culture. But I never heard about any one of these nationalities who lost the culture of his nationality of origin.
Many “Man” or Mandchou live in Beijing, I know some of them and it seems to me that their assimilation in the Chinese culture is more profound and I can imagine that within a few generations their descendants will have forgotten about Man culture.
But I never heard of any good example of a Chinese community that forgot the memory of its culture of origin. The nearest to a real acculturation that I have been reading about seem to have occurred in Africa where some villagers claim that they are the descendants of Chinese who participated in Zheng He’s Fleet and whose ship ran aground. See Chinese archaeologists’ African quest for sunken ship of Ming admiral
The Parsis are a minority group in India. They are Persians who escaped Iran following the Arab invasion.
One could point them out and argue that they have not assimilated in over a thousand years in India. But how many of them did in fact assimilate in the last 1400 years? Probably a good number, but how would you and I ever know?
Do you know why I guess that a good number of them have assimilated?
Zoroastrians are forbidden from marrying non-Zoroastrians. And Zoroastrianism does not allow or accept conversions to their faith. Many young Zoroastrians in Iran end up marrying Muslims today, because there are so few Zoroastrians, and as such, so few choices.
Often times, a Zoroastrian boy will say that he does not like any of the eligible Zoroastrian girls in their community, will then proceed to fall for a Muslim girl, formally convert to Islam, and marry the girl. The same scenario could, and does, happen for Zoroastrian girls.
The Muslims and the Zoroastrians are racially almost indistinguishable in Iran, btw.
So, how would you know how many Parsis became Indians in India, over the last 1400 years?
Your entire question is a moot point.
What’s your point ?
“Hum… does someone know of any example of Chinese assimilation in another culture ?”
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_Chinese — “For assimilated second and third generation descendants of Chinese immigrants, it is principally a personal choice whether or not to identify themselves as ethnic Chinese. Nonetheless, nearly all Thai Chinese solely self-identify as Thai, due to their close integration and successful assimilation into Thai society.”
You asked for one example, I will give you two.
In Mexico, I personally know a man whose ancestors were Chinese sailors that arrived in Mexico in the 1800s, and fully assimilated into Mexican society.
Wikipedia gives the following definition of cultural assimilation :
“There are different forms of cultural assimilation. Some types of cultural assimilation resemble acculturation in which a minority group or culture completely assimilates into the dominant culture in which defining characteristics of the minority culture are less obverse or outright disappear; while in other types of cultural assimilation such as cultural integration mostly found in multicultural communities, a minority group within a given society adopts aspects of the dominant culture through either cultural diffusion or for practical reason like adapting to another society’s social norms while retaining their original culture.”
My question related to the first type : a cultural assimilation in the form of a complete acculturation which means that a minority culture outright disappears and its members completely forget their origins.
One example of such an acculturation is given by the Jewish community that emigrated to Kaifeng-Henan sometime in the 7th – 8th century AD. When Matteo Ricci arrived in Beijing in 1601 he inquired about that community and discovered that there was no longer any community. At the time some families still vaguely remembered that they descended from that Jewish community but nobody practiced Judaism any longer nor did they remember any Yiddish or Hebrew. I discovered that by the nineteen-eighties Jewish groups from America and Israel started to converge on Kaifeng offering money and propaganda material in the hope of reawakening a Jewish identity in China. Seen the complete acculturation of that community, and the complete loss of memory of a Jewish identity by any family in Kaifeng, the authorities some years later stopped that initiative.
If they themselves forget their origin, how would you and I know about their origin?
Look, all the people on this planet have been moving around for aeons. To single out any one group of people as exceptional (because they don’t assimilate, or because they are Yahweh’s chosen) is nonsense.
People can forget about their origins this does not mean that history is erased. The existence of a Jewish community in Kaifeng is a matter that is registered in historical documents that no one contests not even the Jewish themselves.
Nobody here singles out any one group of people as being exceptional. The conversation is merely about a historical fact mentioned by Pepe in his article :
“The late, great René Grousset, in his 1951 classic L’Empire des Steppes, has pointed out “how Iran, renewing itself for fifty centuries”, has “always given proof of astonishing continuity.” It was because of this strength that Iranian civilization, as much as Chinese civilization, has assimilated all foreigners that conquered is soil, from Seljuks to Mongols: “Every time, because of the radiance of its culture, Iranism reappeared with renewed vitality, on the road to a new renaissance.”
Over 60% of China’s present territory is composed of territory that was integrated in the Chinese empire by foreign conquerors like the Mongols and the Mandchou who each governed the Chinese empire for centuries. Chinese do not consider that they are exceptional for that.
But such a fact is nevertheless a rare practice. Most countries once conquered assimilate under duress or not. Very few countries succeed to integrate the fact, of being conquered, in their history and their culture. Both Iran’s, and China’s, exceptional cultural and institutional continuity over the millennia explains how they were able to integrate the fact of being conquered in the future continuity of their history and culture.
It is in this particular context that I said “Hum… does someone know of any example of Chinese assimilation in another culture ?”
“People can forget about their origins this does not mean that history is erased.”
My point is, people can forget their origin, and history can get erased. How many episodes of Iran’s 2500 year history do you reckon have been erased? I would say 99%.
How much do we know of Chinese history, before the great book burning?
So, your question about people who have assimilated is simply a matter of how many such cases have been recorded, where the record has survived until today, which does not really reflect on how many people have actually assimilated into other cultures over the years.
Why nobody talks about the erasure of Christianity in Persia?
Good question, but don’t expect an answer.
You write; “The Geopolitical question of the century that might soon emerge, in the minds of academic researchers, could soon well be “what changed in the Chinese Zeitgeist” that powered a new era of Tianxia expansion.”
What changed in the Chinese Zeitgeist? The global war between capitalism and communism, which is engulfing and consuming humanity, would be enough to convince the communist state at the center of the world that its “Chinese” understanding of socialism-communism requires active Chinese engagement in the totality of the world simply to ensure its own well-being. Globalization requires activist Chinese governance. The barbarians need help finding their way to “harmony.” This answers the question you raised for me.
Globalization is an irreversible evolutionary phenomena. It simply has to be assimilated in a principled socialist manner, which requires the revolutionization of China’s relationship with the world.
Thanks for addressing this question. It was the really important part of my initial post.
From my perspective China always assumed that the game of globalization would be played in respect of the differences in the societal cultural fields within the different civilizations around the earth. This is the subject of my last text “The Continuum of the Cultural Field” that I link to in my initial comment.
That assumption came crashing down after Obama (TPP), Trump (sanctions), and then the whole US establishment, unveiled the true character of Western Modernity and at a deeper level the true character of Western civilization. The Chinese were forced to recognize that their initial assumption was wrong. They were forced to recognize that the West would never accept “the otherness of the other” (when I say the West what I mean is the big Anglo-Saxon capital holders and their servants : state decision-makers, intellectuals, media, and so on who represent “the strong force” or the active force that is driving the West).
China discovered that the West’s ambition was to convert “the other” to its Western ways and if “the other” wanted to pursue her or his own path the West showed that it would go for the kill. That’s the present state of the Geopolitical reality and that is what has been uniting Russia and China over the last few years.
But, more fundamentally, China had to adjust its perspective about the game of globalization and herein resides the fabrication of the substance of tomorrow’s world :
— It countered the ambition of the initiators of the TTP to exclude China from the Pacific Ocean by engaging in a Taiji move towards the West. Launching the New Silk Roads program and the build-up of the necessary road, rail, web, interconnections will ensure the flow of goods, services, and culture throughout the whole Eurasian area from where China later will invest in the same kind of interconnections with Africa and Western Europe… China’s move West has cemented a special bond between Russia, Iran, and China that should deepen their economic and cultural spheres over the coming years while the trio acts as the locomotive of the further development of Eurasia, the Tri-Continental-Area and Africa.
— it countered Trump’s sanctions by solidifying its interconnections with the East-Asian region (Asean, Confucian area, and in the North-East Siberia and North-Korea). Asean suddenly became its primary trade destination. Then came RCEP which opens the rconomies of the whole of East-Asia. The opening of the North-East is still lagging but its economic potential is so huge that it will eventually explode. Russia and China are bound one day to decide to free themselves from the Western choking of North-Korea and they will then go full trade and investments with North-Korea and Siberia which will attract South-Korea first and then Japan…
— it is now countering Biden and the whole US establishment by focusing on the dual circulation of its economy which is a recognition that China’s ultimate might rests within its own borders. That means that it is rebuilding its whole supply chain so as to become self-sufficient in terms of — science — R&D — technology — finance & services — manufacturing. The self-sufficiency of the Chinese supply-chains is a necessity to guarantee the capacity of Eurasia and Africa to explode their own development.
In this vision Western Europe will soon have to make a historical choice : — or following the ideological path of the US — or follow the pragmatic path of Eurasia and Africa, But the bet is that at the end of this path the US will find itself cornered and isolated …
Iaodan; Nicely put. Your analysis of China’s moves to protect itself from capitalist imperialism is clearly correct. I read it as an evolution in the Chinese development of Marxist revolutionary consciousness, to the point where the fundamentals of progressive class struggle are engaged at a higher level of development than the traditional Marxist outlook of the 20th century can easily recognize. But that takes an intuitive skill that perhaps only Chinese civilization is capable of wielding at this time.
I see a driving dialectic at work in this. The rapacious power of imperialism is so all driving and consuming that it forces people’s class struggle to find ever deeper sources of resonance with which it can prevail. This dialectic is what Hegel called the negative dialectic which forces the forward movement of history. That responsive core resonance, is in part, what I call China’s Red Dragon force, with which it can sustain initiatives not readily discernible to the eye of the foreign observer. “Red Dragon”, as I understand it, being a Chinese way of speaking of the hidden powers that sustain and guide evolution itself.
However I must respectfully take issue with you in your characterization of “the true nature of the West.” I see that as too sweeping and too dismissive. Although I admit your judgement appears true in the storm and stress of our time. But it is all too easy to conflate the West with capitalism. An error which the capitalists are always happy for us to make. However to simply conflate the West with capitalism is to adopt a Capitalist propaganda narrative. Always a self limiting position wouldn’t you say?
Please keep posting Iaodan – I love reading your work as I learn so much from it.
Thanks Snow Leopard,
You write : “However to simply conflate the West with capitalism is to adopt a Capitalist propaganda narrative”.
Yes I agree with you. But that’s not my take on Western societies.
In my mind “the continuum of the cultural field” contains the core dynamic of societal evolution. It contains :
— the axioms of one’s civilization. These are imprinted in the subconscious of the individuals of all societies within the territorial realm of a civilization and they force the individuals’ thinking and behaviors…
— the societal worldviews give a vision of the world that is shared by the citizens and so these instill trusts among them which boosts societal cohesion and in finale this help to ease the reproduction of society’s institutions over the long haul of many generations. The West has unfortunately lost its worldviews which has pushed the individuals to retreat inside themselves (societal atomization and then societal madness)…
— daily culture in its most general understanding as being all the thinking, behaviors, and actions undertaken by all the individuals within a given society in the present. This is where cultural change eventually operates that gets synchronized inside the continuum of the cultural field and this synchronization is what brings about societal evolution.
MY take about the West is the following :
— Its axioms of civilization center around dualism which makes it impossible for the large majority of Westerners to accept “the other in his otherness” that’s why they are constantly driven to impose their ways on “the other”.
— Without a worldview to share Western societies atomized and each of these societies do no longer form one entity that can act as one which brings about chaos.
— Western daily culture has gradually morphed into consumerism which emptied the minds of the large majority.
Modernity emerged, in the particular context of the continuum of the cultural field of South-West Europe in the 12th century, where the long distance merchants, dealing in luxuries bought in Arab markets, converted to “the reason that is at work within the transformation of money into capital”. Due to the material possessions that the merchants bought people started to envy their success. And over the following 5-6 centuries that reason got shared by ever more people. Finally by the 18th century “the reason” expanded into philosophic rationalism.
Philosophic rationalism + science + protectionist policies of European nation states + the investments by the long distance merchants of their profits into the manufacturing of cotton textile substitutions of India imported goods… all that enfolded the industrial revolution.
Then there is a last turning point, by the end of the sixties. of the strategy of the biggest Anglo-Saxon capital holders who gave us Neo-liberalism and Postmodernism that resulted in our present state of affairs…
If you are interested to know more check “the continuum of the cultural field”.
Again fundamental agreement. I completely concur that the issue really is one of fundamental cosmologies. It really goes that deep. Which is why I enjoy reading your posts so much. You address the issue at that level. By cosmology I mean what I sense you also mean; The internal substrata of beliefs that shape the formation and expression of a culture. It psychological foundation. The West is in an ongoing crisis of cosmological self identity.
The creative opportunity I see here is to recognize that what we call “the West” is actually going through a deep seated crisis of collapse and reconstruction of its foundational cosmology. That being the one sided imposition of what is now being recognized as an exclusively patriarchal world view. This has been building steam (along with pressure of denial) for 5,000 years. A major feature of that patriarchal cosmology is the enthronement of egoism and its denial of wholeness and the demonization of the other (contents of its own wholeness that it suppresses into its own unconscious.) Along with the suppression and demonization of the feminine cosmic principle.
But its time is up. However I am heartened to see the birth shoots of a post capitalist (patriarchal) cosmology beginning to take shape inside what was once a functional European Civilization. It is scarcely recognizable by most, whose eyes are still confined within the parameters of a now dead cosmology. Your writing of “modernity” is well geared to the disaster dimensions of the spectacle, and again I concur.
The most culturally coherent definition of modernity that I have found however reads thusly; “Agony at the combined loss of self and the struggle to regain a psychologically satisfactory realization of a collective self.”
Modernity contains within its mass distress a spiritual drive for its own reclamation. But that too is subject to denial and suppression. Hence it is often not taken into account.
This passion is the unconscious cosmological underpinning of progressive political thought in the West. But, as you seem well aware, it is almost invariably distorted into an egoism of power struggles, because the perspective is not radical enough to drop into the level of cosmological self understanding.
My sense of you is that you write from a cultural perspective that embraces a wholeness of Self, from which you can clearly see the disaster of the West’s loss of self and its devolution into an empty egoism. Which is why I have so much respect for your contributions.
But that leaves me with the vision of the West’s struggle to reclaim its own lost Self as the cosmological foundation of socialist and humanist revolutionary struggle. When Marx wrote that “communism is the transcendence of human self estrangement” he was building the cultural foundations for a post patriarchal cosmology that releases denial of the other in favor of the collective realization of wholeness. I agree with you completely; the West is an ugly sight. Ugly like a woman in agony about to give birth to a baby new cosmology. However, in most cases all people can see is the mess and the pain that is traditionally associated with such birth.
I take note of the fact that German civilization initiated the West’s philosophical discovery of the Self (wholeness) as articulated by Hegel, Marx and Carl Jung, along with many others. And from that discovery German’s developed a rich appetite for the opening to the East and its cultures that never lost a cosmology of wholeness. So Germany, and its radical interpretation of the European Enlightenment, had to be crushed.
It is no accident in my opinion that China, in recovering its national self in the face of aggression from the West took recourse to a German revolutionary Christian cosmology called Marxism. Here the proud nation of China is honoring the revolutionary quest for the self as promulgated by European, German, Hermetic Christianity. China found its feet with the aid of European revolutionary consciousness; i.e., Marxism. I continue to be fascinated by the ongoing symbiosis of Chinese cultural integrity with the socialist world outlook.
Raisi has been in office for all of a few hours and Hezbollah has fired rockets at Israel.
Today, Friday, at 11:15 AM local time, Hezbollah forces fired a barrage of 122 calibre rockets at Israel.
Two rockets hit targets in Golan. Israeli media reports that the rockets which struck Golan were launched from Syria.
According to the Israeli media, a total of 20 rockets were fired, 10 of which were intercepted.
The Zionist prime minister and minister of war are sitting down right now, discussing the attack.
The Zionist regime has retaliated by shelling southern Lebanon.
I get the sense that under Raisi, Iran is going to really turn the heat up on the Zionist regime.
Welcome to the playing field, Mr. President.
https://newsmedia.tasnimnews.com/Tasnim/Uploaded/Image/1400/05/15/1400051514454452223329284.jpg — Hezbollah has announced that they have struck the occupied farms of Sheeba, in retaliation for Zionist airstrikes.
Sirens have been reported in the occupied territories.
Israeli media has reported that explosions have been heard in Zionist settlements near the Lebanese border.
https://newsmediab.tasnimnews.com/Tasnim/Uploaded/Video/1400/05/15/1400051514233547223329253.mp4 — Footage from Israel
According to reports by the Israeli media, the Iron Dome failed to intercept all the rockets.
The reports indicate that there is smoke rising in many locations in the northern occupied territories. An IDF base was among the sites that were targeted.
https://newsmedia.tasnimnews.com/Tasnim/Uploaded/Image/1400/05/15/1400051515050983723329524.jpg — the IDF responded with artillery fire at 11:30 AM local time.
According to Lebanese reports, the Zionists fired 40 shells at towns in southern Lebanon. The town of Kfarchouba was struck with phosphorus munitions, according to Lebanese sources. Most of the shells struck areas around Kfarchouba and two other towns, and have resulted in fires.
The Zionist regime has advised Jews living in settlements near the Lebanese border to stay in their homes.
The IDF fighter jets are making extensive flights over southern Lebanon.
Naftali Bennet is worried that if this escalates into a full-blown war, his cabinet will collapse. It does not look like he is seeking an escalation.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Ansarollah have issued statements congratulating Hezbollah for its rocket attacks, which Ansarollah has described as “very brave”.
But Persia will not again be Persia until Persians get rid of backward Islam. Which, unfortunately, may take a long time to happen…
Shiism is not Islam, according to the real ‘Sunni’ Muslims.
The overwhelming majority of Shia traditions are rebranded Zoroastrian traditions, like mourning for Siavash/Hossein and waiting for the Saoshyant/Mahdi.
Muslims all across the world hate Iranians, they always have.
We should not forget that ‘Zoroastrianism’ has been a persecutor of Christianity, which by the 5th century has taken a solid footing in Persia. The Church of Mart Maryam (St. Mary) in Urmia is one of the oldest Churches in Christendom.
Ok buddy, don’t forget.
Shias split the atom despite all sanctions, embargos, falseflags, and Sunni terrorism/beheadings
Sunnis cut peoples’ heads and terrorized the world despite having FULL access to the West and their tech.
Shia leaders live austerely
Sunni leaders have gold toilets
I let sanity be the judge of who is Muslim and who is not.
And I would not put too much weight on what the Sunni population thinks- they are occupied folks from Morrocco to Indonesia as CIA their main religious source. If they were any wiser, they would not terrorize humanity with their beheadings and explosions.. Hating Iran is a good thing then as it shows Iran is on the straight path- Sirat ul Mustaqeem.
And there’s absolutely nothing that the AngloZionist Empire can do about it… except start WWIII. Remember, Pepe, Zionism is, after all is said and done, an apocalyptic death cult. Iran figures into their crazy end-times eschatology as the nation that will ultimately attack Israel and bring on Armageddon. This is why Trump killed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and imposed new onerous sanctions on Iran. This is why he murdered General Soleimani. All of this to appease his crazy Christian Zionist base.
Pastor John Hagee, Trump’s “spiritual” advisor, doesn’t fear a nuclear conflagration, but rather God’s wrath for standing by as Iran executes its supposed plot to destroy Israel. A nuclear confrontation between America and Iran, which he says is foretold in the Book of Jeremiah, will not lead to the end of the world, but rather to “God’s renewal of the Garden of Eden.”
He goes on to say, “When Jesus Christ comes back, he’s not going to ask the ACLU if it’s alright to pray, he’s not going to ask the churches if they can ordain pedophile bishops and priests, he’s not going to ask if it’s all right to put the Ten Commandments in the statehouses, he’s not going to endorse abortion, he’s going to run the world by the word of God and the world will never end. It’s going to become a Garden of Eden, and Christ is going to rule it.”
Needless to say, 50 million of these folks still think Trump won the 2020 election. As New Mexican Republican Party chairman, Steve Pearce, said back in December, “[Trump] is our president FOREVER and no one can take that away from us.”
So if this guy does not return to save the world, say in a timely fashion too for it is already primed to crash, the whole place goes to hell right.
So my advice is to save yourself first, and then wait for the world to be saved b/c it appears destruction is all that awaits the majority of the human race.
Iran and China bring connected by land is a worst case scenario for America as it would deplete Chinese weakness of sea transportation for oil and goods.
Iran alreadt has a direct link with Russia across the Caspian. They have links with China through Pakistan at the least. The development of these links is only a matter of time.
Do you see what you have done again, Pepe? You have whet their appetites. You served them a nice dish of Persian appetizers 😄
If we take the region as a classroom with lots of bad students, Iran is that aged and wise teacher that is trying to put things back in order….. past the anti-cleric propaganda of the West, this fact has started to dawn on regional people. The cat is out of the bag and Iran is back.
As a historical geographer who has a lifetime of studying the Eurasian Silk Road I heartily concur with Escobar’s journalistic accounts &contrarian analysis. Global futures belong to the East as civilizations more than nations.