Col. (ret.) Alain Corvez
International consultant, former advisor to the French Defense and Interior Ministries
Will American hubris come to an end, or will we all disappear in a universal conflagration?
To begin with, I would like to congratulate the Schiller Institute for organizing this conference at a critical moment, when the threat of a nuclear war which would lead to the extinction of humanity becomes clearer by the day, because of the concentration in the heart of Europe of weapons capable of destroying the planet within seconds. To respond to the reinforcement of U.S. strategic forces in NATO on European territory, Russia has had to deploy an equivalent arsenal of deterrence on its western borders. It is high time that the strategists of various countries, even those far from the European theater, demand restraint and more wisdom from the heads of state of the entire world. That is the purpose of this beneficial initiative by Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, whom I wish to compliment personally.
And as we are immersed in the humanist thinking of Schiller, I would like to recall how Nietzsche described him in his introduction to On the Future of our Educational Institutions.
“Between those who take everything for granted and those who are solitary [out of despair], there stand the fighters — that is to say, those who still have hope, and as the noblest and sublimest example of this class, we recognise Schiller as he is described by Goethe in his Epilogue to the Bell:
“Brighter now glow’d his cheek, and still more bright.
With that unchanging, ever-youthful glow,–
That courage which overcomes, in hard-fought fight,
Sooner or later, ev’ry earthly foe–
That faith which, soaring to the realms of light,
Now boldly presseth on, now bendeth low,
So that the good may work, wax, thrive amain,
So that the day the noble may attain.”
In his first work, Philosophy During the Tragic Age of the Greeks, Nietzsche writes of Heraclitus:
“… he believes in an end of the world periodically repeating itself and in an ever-renewed emerging of another world out of the all-destroying world-fire. The period during which the world hastens towards that world-fire and the dissolution into pure fire is characterised by him most strikingly as a demand and a need; the state of being completely swallowed up by the fire as satiety….”
He writes further : “satiety gives birth to crime : Hybris. »
Indeed, the overabundance of means, excess, the unmeasurable pride that define hybris are crimes against humanity, a humanity that needs caution and measure. For Nietzsche, Heraclitus was the “weeping philosopher “ as he was called in later antiquity: “Is not the whole world-process now an act of punishment of the Hybris?… Is not the guilt now shifted into the essence of the things and indeed, the world of Becoming and of individuals accordingly exonerated from guilt; yet at the same time are they not condemned for ever and ever to bear the consequences of guilt?”
We know that Heraclitus later believed that everything that tends to be contradictory converges into harmony, which is invisible for the common man, and that what is to become is the result of the struggle among opposites, which affords us some hope that the justice will prevail over injustice.
That is far from the nihilist vision of Schopenhauer: “We expiate our birth once by our life and a second time by our death.”
The Atomic Weapon: Factor of War or of Peace
Our world is one which has seen the accumulation of gigantic means of destruction, since the appearance of the nuclear weapon in our arsenals, a deadly weapon which, as General de Gaulle said, was not a simple progress in weapons techniques, but a technological leap upsetting the traditional rules of warfare as, for the first time in the history of mankind, man invented a weapon which it were impossible to use, once more than one country possessed it. Exclusively a deterrent weapon, and thus the assurance for any country that has it, that no hostile power could take the risk of being destroyed, at the same time it would attack. But impossible to use reasonably, hence the title “weapon of non use”.
In the field of science, de Gaulle thought that the electronic microscope represented a similar leap :
“I do not believe, you see, that the electronic microscope is only an enormous pair of glasses : what it allows us to discover, is not what we were looking for. It solves some of our problems, but it also brings its own. We have not finished with the atomic bomb. The most powerful means of war began by bringing peace. A strange peace, but nonetheless peace. Let us wait and see.”
The recently deceased great French anthropologist and philosopher, René Girard, who invented the mimetic theory, wrote in The Unknown Voice of the Real, in reference to Nietzsche:
« True vengeance [in the sense of Nietzchian resentment, editor’s note] is again with us in the form of the absolute nuclear weapon, which reduces our planet to the size of a primitive village, once again terrified by the prospect of a war to the death. True vengeance is so terrifying that its staunchest supporters dare not release it, since they know full well that all the atrocities they can inflict on their enemies, can also be inflicted on them by those enemies ». (1)
What doctrine would Heraclitus have formulated, had he known of the potential for mankind to unleash nuclear fusion, when he already then spoke of a “world-fire”?
One great French strategist, General Pierre-Maris Gallois, who honored me by introducing me into his think tank, told me of his exchanges with General de Gaulle on the nuclear weapon, and how so few people, even among specialists, had understood the new concept. They continued to think in terms of military coercion, whereas it was all about detering someone from attacking us.
I quote him :
“Suddenly plunged into the atomic era, opinion continued to reason as it could have rationally continued to do in the classical cycle. They thought in terms of coercion, when deterrence was at stake. They compared the forces available numerically, when they should have assessed the damages that the strongest would suffer, no matter how powerful, if it attacked the existence of the weakest.” (2)
REVERSAL OF ROLES
Right now, NATO is engaged in an unheard of classical and nuclear military build-up in Europe, in particular on Russia’s borders, in Poland and the Baltic States, on top of the forces already stationed
in Romania, Italy, Germany and Poland. I will not go into the details of the forces deployed, which have already been described with great precision by many experts. Those forces of the Atlantic Organization include nuclear forces as part of the global AEGIS system that the United States had originally announced was aimed at countering the threat from Iran, although it was clear for everyone that the purpose was to threaten a re-emerging Russia. This system, which is also deployed in the Atlantic and the Pacific, has sea-based, air-based and land-based mobile installations. Although presented as defensive against a hypothetical Russian or Chinese threat, it is in fact also offensive, and its cruise or ballistic missiles can be used in a first strike.
France, which unfortunately returned to the military organization during the Sarkozy presidency, is involved in this war-like deployment and just recently decided to allow NATO forces to be stationed on her territory, although in principle only belonging to the military staffs in which our senior and non commissioned officers have now become used to carrying out brilliant careers, and who are therefore not inclined to see NATO as a U.S. military tool, but rather as an alliance of the free and righteous world that defends liberalism and human rights, against another world which is not.
The AEGIS system is a worldwide system capable of launching a nuclear attack anywhere on the planet. The AEGIS system is a worldwide system capable of triggering a nuclear attack anywhere on the planet. It is lyingly presented to public opinion as defensive, but its purpose is to convey to the world that the United States is the master of the planet and intends to tell every country how to live, what rules to follow, which customs to keep and which to discard, carrying out completely free trade by eliminating protective tariffs and maybe even borders. The U.S. intends to impose its model at the risk of triggering a nuclear war, that would be the Apocalypse or the final conflagration Heraclitus spoke of in the Sixth Century BC. The European Union has cast in the stone of its founding treaties this rule of unbridled liberalism, of free and undistorted trade, of elimination of internal borders, just as it has integrated its defense structurally into the military organization of NATO.
The entire U.S. military system — with its incomparable budget of more than 700 billion dollars, when all the funds of defense and intelligence organizations are combined – is now directed against China and Russia, because of their alleged hegemonic ambitions in Europe for one, in Asia for the other, thereby reversing the roles. (3) This strategy draws in its allies, especially the EU of which France is the thurifer (acolyte) but certainly seems doomed to implosion, with the help of our British friends who seem to want to get off the ship before the shipwreck. (As I write, we do not know the results of the June 23 referendum, but whatever the outcome, it will have an enormous impact on the future of the EU and should hasten its break-up.)
China, through its laborious and industrious efforts, has made tremendous economic progress, eradicating famine and under-development for a majority of the population. It has created a large wealthy class, raised the overall living standard, and accumulated significant financial reserves, while maintaining the centralism of collectivist communism, which gives it the great advantage of maintaining central control over opening its immense population to world trade as well as control over the major adaptation reforms. The opposite happened in the Soviet Union which quickly dissolved under the perestroika of a Gorbachov who had good intentions, but lost control of the reform process.
China is considered by the United States as a rival to be destroyed before it gets too powerful. Therefore, it is denied the right to defend its vital interests, in particular in the surrounding seas, by creating hostile alliances of those countries that value U.S. protection.
But the fact of the matter is that the fine-tuned Chinese diplomacy has convinced a growing number of countries in the region that China is not imperial and rather wishes to favor international cooperation to develop economic projects that are profitable for all. The immense projects in the
progam proposed to Eurasian countries, but open to the rest of the world, called the New Silk Road and Belt, have already convinced many countries, that have joined in insistutions that come up with such projects and finance them, such as the Asian Bank of Investment and Development and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) : the BRICS, ASEAN, which is joined by Iran, at the crossroads of the Middle East and Caucasian Asia, with the 400 million inhabitants in the immediate vicinity, ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for America) and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) in Latin America. Certain countries continue to play both ways, remaining friendly with America while trading with China and Russia, but the impression is that their economic and even strategic interests draws them closer to the win-win system, which has seen previously rival parties put aside their demands to become part of this new world order. India and China are one example of that, but not the only one.
U.S. diplomacy presents Russia as an imperial power ready to invade Europe. But that is such a blatant falsehood that one wonders how European countries can accept the idea, unless they have some reason to link up with the United States to avoid having to spend more on their own defense. This falsehood seems to have recently lost ground in Brussels, where, under the pression of different peoples and countries, it is recognized that the sanctions are more harmful for EU member states than for Russia, which is developing options in Asia and on its own immense territory.
On June 8, the French Senate, voted up a proposal to gradually lift the sanctions, after the Parliament had done so in April. And the President of the EU, Mr. Juncker, attended the Petersburg Economic Forum, as he could no longer resist the pressure coming from deep within the real Europe, which has no problem understanding that entente and cooperation with the immense country of Russia is required for its future.
This, of course, is worrisome for Washington, which had viewed Western Europe as a protective glacis against Soviet Russia since 1945. After its victory over Soviet communism in 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR, a certain hubris, or over-confidence, inspired America to destroy the new Russia by buying up politicians and oligarques and supporting Chechen terrorism in various ways. Putin, an astute strategist who understands the workings of the balance of power, wished to put an end to his country’s disintegration and come to an understanding with the number one power in the world, accepting the concessions imposed by its weakness, but less and less inclined to sacrifice the vital interests of Russia, that were threatened by the U.S. imperial hysteria which presented the one attacked as the attacker.
Frankly speaking, what serious strategist could imagine that Russian divisions would invade Eastern Europe to reconquer the former satellites of the Soviet Union? What for, to what purpose? To grab their mining or industrial wealth, or to convert them to the orthodox faith?
All experts know that the purpose of stopping the coup in August 2008 in Georgia was to clearly demonstrate what the limits were of NATO’s constant expansion eastward, in violation of promises made, after the U.S. State Department-led provocations by the Tiblis government. The return of Crimea to its fatherland in 2014, after a unanimous vote of the population, was a result of the “open coup d’état” (as described by the American strategist George Friedman) which had brought to power in Kiev a government hostile to the populations in the East and to Moscow. The vote was compliant with the UN rules on the right peoples’ right to self determination.
Putin’s reemerging Russia attempted for a long time to come to an agreement with the United States and its European neighbors, but the hegemonic intentions of part of the oligarchy in Washington could not accept that the world could be multipolar, and that America could share the running of the planet with new powers. Apparently, the candidate Donald Trump hopes to break this short-sighted system. We can hope he will succeed, for the sake of the world and of the Americans, since he
proposes to bring back the pension funds that have gone abroad for more profit, and to invest them in the U.S. economy to create jobs. That is why he is caricatured in Western media as a clown, although American citizens have understood his message and vote for him.
It is misleading to accuse Russia of massing military forces on the borders with Poland and the Baltic States with aggressive purposes, since Moscow built up its forces there in response to NATO’s repeated threats at its doorstep, especially in the Baltic countries. The former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently stated that NATO’s build-up near Russia was a mistake and counter-productive.
That is why I spoke of the hybris or hysteria of the United States, because it does not seem to realize that this military escalation against Russia raises extreme fear in the entire world, because it involves nuclear weapons. It is obvious that Russia will not accept to be crushed without attacking at the same level. That would not mean World War Three but the end of humanity.
It is time for the most important world power, at least militarily, in terms of its arsenals and the number of bases around the world, to become measured and to cease refusing to see the world that is changing, the balances that are shifting, the emergent powers that are asserting themselves. It is time for that power to decide to enter into cooperations to the benefit of all, with the most powerful assisting the poorest, and scientific progress serving all of humanity.
The drama of our time is that the excessiveness and blindness of the United States are the result of a Messianic conception which brought to power politicians who are convinced, ever since the collapse of communism in the USSR, that since the supreme good – liberalism – defeated the absolute evil – totalitarian collectivism – the United States is entrusted with the divine mission of leading the world. In addition, there are the interests of the financial powers organized in lobbies at Washington, whose assets cover a large part of the planet and who own the media and their means of propaganda ; these networks are the actual decision-makers of U.S. policy, so much so that the government is often unable to apply its own decisions if they do not comply with those interests. In that respect, the Obama Administration did manage to impose a few reforms, such as medical insurance domestically or the nuclear deal with Iran, but they are still there.
Nearing the end of his term, the U.S. President appears to have given into their demands, in particular in Syria where, despite the announcements of agreements with Russia to end the bloodbath, the actions on the ground continue to fuel the fighting. Taken off guard by the Russian military intervention in September 2015, which forced the players to take off their masks and choose between fighting Islamic terrorism or not, the U.S. leaders continued the policy of regime change against any government that does not accept their policy, which greatly benefits an Israel which uses the chance to deny more rights of Palestinians and take their territory, in total violation of UN rules.
Russia, with its intervention in Syria, demonstrated that it had developed an army whose technology was on par with that of the U.S., and was even more moderne in certain areas. Though the Russian army is not as large and does not have foreign bases, which proves it has no imperial agenda, it is capable of coping with any deliberate attack on its vital interests. Russia has shown that it hopes to cooperate with the United States, the Europeans, China, India and Asia more generally. The confrontationist stance maintained by the US government — which refuses to acknowledge that its worldwide supremacy is over, but that it could cooperate peacefully with other countries rather than encouraging tensions and wars as it has done since 2001 – cannot succeed against the plans of the rest of the world.
The refusal to recognize the new realities, the desire to sustain an outmoded order, illustrated by a paper money that finances their debt but not their development, threatens to end the world in a nuclear Apocalypse. All the countries in which the U.S. has intervened, from Afghanistan to Libya,
have been destroyed, while the Middle East is in a dramatic chaos. Its policy in Syria is ambiguous, as it plays several cards at the same time, simultaneously supporting rival forces, agreeing with Russia one day, and rejecting a possible solution the next, and endorsing the religious antagonisms constantly fanned by Saudi Arabia. These contradictions are also visible in its policy toward Iran, a major, indispensable actor of stability in the Middle East and the Caucasus. It signed the agreement reintegrating Iran into the concert of nations, but continually threatens to ostracize it again, and even threatens to take financial reprisals against countries that interact with Teheran too quickly.
NEW WARSAW PACT
We know today that NATO will be holding a summit in Warsaw in early July, following on the major ANAKONDA maneuvers under U.S. aegis, with the participation of 24 countries (including Macedonia and Albania (!), and of course the Baltic countries, Turkey, Canada, Finland), but fortunately without France. This is symbolical since the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist after the dissolution of the USSR and what we hoped was the end of the Cold War. Such a summit, in such a place, sounds like a useless and dangerous challenge, especially given the reinforcement of NATO’s nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia is not a threat to anyone. It is simply organizing economic and strategic cooperation with the Asians, and with Africa and Latin America. It would be willing to do so with the U.S. and Europe, but the latter is still too subservient to Washington to take up the offer, although some attempts can be detected to shake off the chains of servitude, due to popular pressure.
That is why, as a French patriot, I would like France to withdraw from NATO and to refuse to take part in the Warsaw summit, the purpose of which is to provoke Russia. I am described on various websites, in articles and in books as being pro-Russian, or pro-Chinese, pro-Iranian or rabidly anti-American. In fact, I am simply pro-French and convinced that my country’s interest is to see the world as it is, to shake off any “bloc” ideology, and to respect the sovereignty of states. I would like to France to recover its own sovereignty, and to resume the independent policy which was her tradition since General de Gaulle, which does not rule out agreements with our neighbors.
Our era is experiencing the return of national sentiment in Europe, as the impression sets in that to avoid disappearing into a shapeless hodgepodge, the various peoples need to defend their heritage and enrich it through exchanges with the others. A Europe of the nations is called upon to replace the technocratic EU, which is unable to meet the great challenges of our time. Its sincere acolytes are beginning to understand that “it is not enough to jump up and down on one’s chair like a goat bleating Europe, Europe, Europe”, to build it [quote from de Gaulle], and that that doesn’t help at all.
I don’t believe Robert F. Kennedy, JR could be considered anti-American or a traitor. However, he does judge the policy of his country the same way I do, in an article in Politico of 24 February 2016 :
“ Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria”. “They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil.”
The link is here:http://www.politico.eu/article/why-the-arabs-dont-want-us-in-syria-mideast-conflict-oil-intervention/
He adds the Iranians to his catalogue, recalling the overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953 by the CIA, after the British MI6 had failed to do so.
It is high time to for American hubris to be replaced by a spirit of cooperation which the entire world would greet with relief. A cooperation among all countries on the basis of mutual respect and shared interests. In such an appeased climate among nations, gradual but total nuclear disarmament should be on the agenda, and the nuclear powers should agree to proceed with it simultaneously. France, which has proved its greatness in the past in defending universal values, could contribute to this process when the other nations concerned have renounced their threats. But deterrence, which has so far prevented a new, deadly, world war will have to continue to be exercised in one way or another to guarantee planetary peace.
To conclude, I will quote a great French philosopher, who was also an extraordinary statesman: General de Gaulle, in a 1964 address to students of the Mexico University:
“Indeed, beyond the distances that are shrinking, beyond the ideologies that are weakening, and the political systems that are losing their breath, and unless humanity destroys itself some day in a monstrous self-destruction, the fact that will dominate the future is the unity of our universe; One cause, that of man; one necessity, that of world progress, and consequently of assistance to all those countries that desire it in order to develop; one duty, that of peace; these constitute for our species, the very basis of existence.”
1) René Girard, « Nietzsche against the Crucified One», in La voix méconnue du réel ; Une théorie des mythes archaïques et modernes. Grasset. 2002
2) Intervention of General Gallois in a colloquium organised in September 1984 at Arc-et-Senans by the Institut Charles de Gaulle and the Université de Franche-Comté.
3) According to the American IISS (International Institute of Strategic Studies), worldwide defense budgets in 2015 were assessed to be 597,5 billion dollars for the United States, 145,8 bn for China, 81.9 bn for Saudi Arabia, 65,5 bn for Russia, 56,2 bn for the UK, 48 bn for India, 46,8 bn for France which comes in seventh.