by Naresh Jotwani for the Saker blog
Alastair Crooke is a sage whose thoughtful writings pack vast breadth and depth of understanding of history and geopolitics. His analysis is free of the slightest hint of bias or narrow partisanship – a fact which seems almost incredible given that he worked for the UK Government for a couple of decades. In fact, the sage and his writings testify to a constant and priceless element of western tradition – namely, independent thought.
It was therefore as a surprising and rare slip of the pen, that one read the following paragraph in an article written very recently by him:
But … can the West, which has been so deep in denial about both the incredible economic and military transformation that has occurred in Russia since 1998, and in such vehement denial too, of the capacities of the Russian military, simply slide effortlessly into another narrative? Yes, easily. The neocons never look back; they never apologise. They move to the next project …
Reference in the first sentence is made to “the West”. One has to assume that the reference is to the ruling dispensation – or shall we say regime? – in certain countries, because clearly not every human being in these countries has been in denial about events in Russia since 1998.
Later in the paragraph, however, the phrase used in place of “the West” – rather unconsciously, one must assume – is “the neocons”. Is that substitution not hugely surprising? The two phrases do not – cannot! – represent the same slice of human life! Equation of the two was surely unintentional.
William Shakespeare, James Clerk Maxwell, Mark Twain, William James – these are just a few illustrious references from the English speaking regions of “the West”. These and many others – including of course Alastair Crooke himself – have not the remotest connection to “the neocons” view of life.
Possibly, “the neocons” are the newest version of the crazies who have always attempted to lord it over “the West” – as indeed over much of the world. Such people are always at the game of deceptively and cruelly acquiring raw power; but surely such wannabe power grabbers do not equate to “the West”.
Indeed, that the two were thus equated – even if unintentionally – also proves that “the West” is no longer a meaningful phrase, if indeed it ever was. Of course “the East” and “the South” have already figured that out – as we sense clearly in the winds of change blowing through global political alignments.
Crooke also writes that the neocons do not look back or apologize. No power hungry crazies ever do that. Never. It is as if they drive a vehicle with faulty brakes, no reverse gear and a cracked and dirty windshield. Their judgement clouded by limitless greed for power, they lack understanding of the progress which in fact happens not only in Russia, but all over the world. Their every “next project” is therefore doomed to end worse than the one before.
A crash is therefore inevitable, even though it will be denied by ideologues during – and even after – it occurs. What the rest of mankind see clearly as a crash will be written up as a victory, or a major engineered paradigm shift, or some such nonsense. Words are cheap. Narratives may attempt to displace reality, but they cannot fool the world for long. The rest of us need to remain alert and be able to see through empty words.
The internet is a major revolution in world affairs, and its full impact on our lives is yet to unfold. Social media cannot be controlled – not that crazies will not try to do that! Exchange of honest, truthful assessments among people around the world – for the first time in human history – is invaluable.
One ventures therefore to guess that many of the older models of “lording it over the masses” will rapidly lose their effectiveness. Based on what we have seen so far, there is no shortage of clear-sighted people around the world, and their viewpoints are available for all to share.
There will be life after the crash – not only in “the West”, but also in the rest of the world. Perhaps older labels such “the West”, “the East”, “the South” et cetera will disappear, and “the world” will be the only meaningful label. Since there will no longer be one salient “pole” dominating the scene, the world will by default, and naturally, be “multipolar” – with poles which shift over time. One is reminded of football leagues, in which teams keep rising and falling depending on performance.
When we speak about “the world”, we need to also recognize that migrants from the all over the world are today living and working legally in the US – which we may dub the sanctum sanctotum of “the West”. By all accounts, these migrants constitute law-abiding, hard-working and successful segments of the US population. They have learned how to come wisely to terms with – and participate in – relevant aspects of US domestic politics.
But the scene back in their respective home countries is different. These countries need to look after their own well-being amidst major changes in geo-political environment. Relationships of the home countries with “the West” do not mimic the domestic political relationships of their ex-citizens living in the US. This is a point which so-called “ruling elites” in the US miss when they send a US-based migrant to his or her home country to “set things right”.
In any case, after one generation, children of the migrants will have far, far weaker links with their parents’ home countries. One only wishes that the proverbial melting pot works out well for them in the coming years.
Regarding “the neocons” – the present wannabe “lords of the West” – it is worth noting that, not too long ago, the phrase “crazies in the basement” was used by an American president for their ilk.
A beautiful, famous song by Jimmy Cliff goes: The harder they come, the harder they fall … One and all.
The wheels of karma grind on, inexorably. But the thing about crazies is that they remain in denial even after they fall. Maybe it is time for us to laugh at their self-serving ideologies and their crazy antics – after ensuring that we are not harmed too badly by the consequences of their ill-conceived projects.
As someone said, the tragedy is so huge that laughter is needed to deal with it.