The Liberal International Disorder

Foreign policy is only one among many areas where liberal modernity displays its novel understanding of freedom as autonomous will to power. A similar voluntarism dominates everywhere from the boardroom to the bedroom. Still and all, foreign policy as practiced by the United States, especially in recent decades, nonetheless enjoys a special distinction. The chaos engendered by its voluntarist will to power is painfully obvious..

In response, two prominent scholars have recently mounted a critical analysis of America’s drive for hegemony and the relation of this effort to liberalism.

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Paul Grenier
Michael Lind: The Path from Liberal Internationalism to Civilizational Realism

Editor's Note: This essay by Dr. Boris Mezhuev, a Moscow-based political philosopher at Moscow State University, was translated by the Simone Weil Center.  It originally appeared in Russian in Politanalitika (6/25/2017).

Boris Mezhuev takes Lind’s Blocpolitik concept (outlined in an article in The National Interest, June 18, 2017) as the occasion to draw a comparison between Lind’s realist notion of blocs and what he (Mezhuev) calls ‘civilizational centers of gravity’ according to his own political concept of civilizational realism.

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Boris Mezhuev
New York, New Jerusalem

Susannah Black writes: What is New York? According to E.B. White, “It is to the nation what the white church is to the village—the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up…” Others have had different answers. Ayn Rand thought it was “the will of man made visible.” “What other religion do we need?” she asked. It is “appalling, fantastically charmless and elaborately dire,” said Henry James. It’s a beautiful catastrophe, said Le Corbusier. It’s the dirty city, the city of dreams, it’s a hell of a town.

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Susannah Black
In Russia, It’s the Realists vs. the Ethno-Nationalists

Dmitry Drobnitsky, in his article “The foreign policy objectives of the party of internal development,” raises a question about the sort of ideological baggage we bring to bear when we talk about reaching a “grand bargain” with the United States.

The possibility of such a deal is increasingly the subject of discussion in Russia. In the West, some fear the very idea, while others see in it the hope of a finding a way out of the impasse in which Russian-American relations currently languish.

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Boris Mezhuev
Nikolai Starikov and the Problem of History

People who care about Russia – its culture, its history and traditions, and, most importantly, its people – have had reason to feel fearful and frustrated in recent years.  Among other reasons because the media in the United States has gotten into one of its by-now all-too-familiar campaigns of simplification and demonization of a foreign country and its leader. Such campaigns (remember Nicaragua? Iraq? Libya?) usually signal that the US government is getting itself ready for the attack.

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Paul Grenier
The Cult of Nicholas II

Ever since the USSR collapsed, tourist stalls in Moscow and St. Petersburg have heaved with Soviet knickknacks: Red Army caps and badges, prints of Stalin’s propaganda posters. Today, while much of this is still available, they also tempt visitors to Russia with an increasingly elaborate array of Putinkitsch. On T-shirts, mugs and key rings, Vladimir Putin strikes his signature sunglasses-wearing pose, the image of Russia’s latest strongman ruler.

Taking its cue, much Western reporting increasingly assumes that, in time-honored fashion, the Russians have made a personality cult of their leader, with Putin its subject as Stalin was before him.

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Matthew Dal Santo