The “old-style thinking” devours and destroys reality together with the “new thinking” – Le mort saisit le vif, as Karl Marx used to say.
Nevertheless, geopolitically, the victory of the “old-style thinking” is the beginning of our geoeconomic, political, cultural, business and monetary end.
With a view to “thinking well”, we must start again from the Chinese Taoist extraordinary experience, which also inspired Mao Zedong’s philosophy and political practice: “The Venerable Idler to the Old Idler: the thought (or Resonance of the Heart) comes from the heart. The heart has neither sound nor smell, but when the Thought sets into motion it is called “thinking.” The Thought is nothing but the mind of this moment, what we commonly define as the heart-mind. The Though is the sound of the heart, which means that it has been movement- of the-Thought “.
Even in the West, when our civilization – epitomized by Classicism in harmony with visible and hidden Christianity – shone brightly in full bloom, it happened that the true thinking was born from the quasi-zen elimination of any preconceived idea about reality and the world – as in Descartes’ “Meditations”, where everything is abolished to reach the only immediate and almost sensitive certainty of the mere “I think”, while all the rest heads for the malin génie of the sensitive and mental illusion, the memory of old experiences.
Or we can still find “new thinking” in a much more recent heir to René Descartes, the cartesius Rosicrucian who went to pilgrimage to the Holy House of Loreto.
Indeed, a more recent heir to Descartes, the mathematical genius Edmund Husserl, spoke of the act of thinking which, with a view to working well and “immediately encompassing” the whole reality and its link with the subject must suspend judgments (epoché), “bracketing” all perceptions, prejudices, the old-style thinking which (badly) reflects a reality which does no longer exist – in fact it has inevitably disappeared with the gurgling of the river water where, as Plato used to say, you never bathe twice in the same water.
But today where is the old-style thinking in current geopolitics and strategy? Everywhere. Nevertheless it will be worth quoting some of the most important examples. By quoting the first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, the NATO Alliance is no longer needed “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.”
Today the Alliance which wanted to anchor the United States to its Eurasian origins, is an inevitable à la carte menu where Turkey, the second NATO armed force, chooses its own Middle East policy which is in contrast with the rest of the Mons Executive Committee while, by unleashing the Arab Springs, the United States even thought of a “popular uprising” from the “bottom” against Al Qaeda and its splinter groups throughout North Africa and in Mali-Mauritania.
This is old-style thinking: attributing to the Arab masses the heritage of values and political practices which is only typical of a not necessarily effective minority of the Western world.
And the circle starts again: Egypt was regained by the “parent company” of contemporary jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood, until the reincarnation of the old Egyptian “Free Officers” who, had been a leitmotiv from Italo Balbo until the overthrow of King Farouk (and the more ambiguous expulsion of Soviet advisers by Anwar El Sadat, in the days after the Yom Kippur War, when aircraft with the red star flew up against Israel from Egyptian military airports). And Al Sisi himself says he saw how to accomplish his mission in a dream.
NATO is divided between a US line and a line of the post-Soviet Eastern countries which want to rebuild a Russian Federation as a “medium regional power”, when this was only the brief dream of the Yeltsin’s Presidency – including Baskhir witches and rivers of alcohol – from 1992 to 1999.
The project outlined in Putin’s dissertation on “The Strategic Planning of Russian Oil Companies”, discussed in 1996 at the Polytechnic University of St. Petersburg’s, is the one at the basis of the selection between “good oligarchs” and “bad oligarchs”, on which the former KGB lieutenant rebuilt the Russian economy and, at the same time, his power.
However, this is old-style thinking, too, President Putin, now that the mix between the reduction of oil & gas raw materials prices, the US estrangement from the Middle East – except for the laundering of petrodollars, which cannot be relinquished and which has been lasting since the pact between Kissinger and King Fahd – which will be left in the hands of Islamism and/or a Sunni axis on an equal footing with the Shiite one, is setting the scene (and the perfect formula) for a long war which will destroy the Eurasian peninsula and part of the Russian periphery.
In short, all this must make us think of the chance of having a Euro-Russian Force, with openings to Israel and some countries such as Egypt and Morocco, a coalition of the willing, with a necessary Chinese contribution, to carry out a real and harsh peace enforcing activity and, above all, redistribute the strategic potential in the Greater Middle East.
Hence a credible separation between the warring parties, as well as harsh and equally distributed penalties for those who support their armed proxies, with Russia recovering Syria; the Lebanon which, with an ad hoc treaty, is made autonomous with a European-NATO Protectorate, together with other countries in the region; Iran which is ensured the current expansion only if it really gives up the military-civilian nuclear power, blocked in vain by the recent agreement of the P5 + 1, and a genuine security along the water line of the Shatt el Arab, with the reconsideration of the old “Istanbul Agreements”, which are old-style thinking as many others ever.
A great “North-African Islam League” to carry forward the brilliant project of religious reform devised by the Egyptian leader Al Sisi, protected by the Islamic League and by a panel of Islamic Sufi, community, popular and regional organizations, guaranteed by NATO itself (also by threatening the use of weapons, if the need arises) and rebuilding the contemporary Islam ruined by the selfish and crazy stupidity of “taking back” the oil wealth and using it against the West to finally strangle it and re-Islamizing Europe up to the “the Rum and their city” , as written in the first Al Qaeda leaflets – another example of “old-style thinking”.
As you may recall,, in the period between Yeltsin and Putin, everything ended up with the companies in Switzerland which laundered the money coming from the bribes associated with the major renovation works of the Kremlin, which cost 120 times as much as planned. With her great common sense, the Swiss judge Carla Da Ponte flew back with a plane of the Swiss intelligence and refused the Russians’ golden hospitality.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the man who controlled the Dresden STASI on behalf of the KGB, took power by ensuring to Yeltsin a “golden handshake” for him and his family and by organizing new elections in his own image and likeness, as well as by eliminating the two old KGB masterminds for the Middle East, his only real enemies.
Today we are not only interested in “doing business” with the post-Soviet East. Too little, and we cannot implement foreign policy with the mindset of “local businessmen”. The obsession for business is silly and a mirror image of the idealism characterizing the various “clashes of civilizations”.
At this juncture, however, we can analyze – with “new thinking” eyes – two factors which can bring us back to a rational relationship with the post-Bolshevik East. It is what I would define as the “return of Mackinder” in contemporary geopolitics.
The heartland – the centre of Eurasia – is yet again the centre of the strategic, conceptual and military development of the “new thinking”. For the British military men the heartland stretched from the East of the Volga river to the Eastern part of the Yangtze River (the Blue River) – the Arctic north and south of the Himalayas.
All lands for the “Big Game”, just to quote the Mason representative of British intelligence and brilliant writer, Rudyard Kipling.
Whoever thinks old-style, thinks about the old borders inherited from the Second World War – borders which were already quite lacking and limited since the start (the Middle East given “turnkey” to the USSR since the very beginning, or rather after the Israeli-French-British operation in 1956 to recover the Suez Canal “nationalized” by Nasser) and today make us laugh. The USA are not particularly interested in NATO unless it does their job; Germany thinks of a EU-Russian union of its own excluding the Southern EU; France yearns to recover its Françafrique and Italy, as usual, understands nothing and has a wait-and see attitude.
Hence, in 1956, was it better for NATO to have the Greater Middle East made treacherous until the long night of the jihad, which could already be foreshadowed in some Fatah groups, or to make effective the border of the “battle for Europe” between NATO and the Warsaw Pact along the terrestrial line between the heartland and the Eurasian peninsula?
Again old-style thinking.
Furthermore China – always in line with the “old-style thinking” – is no longer chasing the US public debt securities, but is selling them. China is no longer the first buyer of US public debt securities and is buying gold instead. In the phase in which China recorded a huge trade surplus with the USA, it had to buy up to 1.1 trillion US dollars more than planned. The Quantitative Easing (QE) is costly.
Since June 2013 Beijing has become a “net seller”.
Hence we can consider “old-style thinking” also the recent great project by Henry Kissinger speaking about a Chinese-US “world diarchy”, with the United States recovering a great axis along the heartland to offset the EU net loss of power and the newly-attempted regionalization of the Russian Federation.
On the contrary, the true and realistic “new thinking” is the structural decline of the entire West, which will depend on the balances of the New Eurasia for its defence, for the fresh capital bound to make its crazy economy and even more delirious demographics stagnate ever more and for the use of force against the great Arc of the jihad, the global challenge we cannot face with weapons, thinking and strategy since we lack all of them.
This is the situation in which Europe is floundering, similar to the situation of the founder of the Red Cross, Henri Dunant, who ended up poor and sick looking for gold in the New World, in California.
The Americans will end the withdrawal of their Armed Forces from Europe, with the European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC) and the other initiatives, but they will significantly slow down the withdrawal of their Armed Forces from Southern Europe and Germany. Certainly this is excellent news for us, but will we be worth adopting a strategy of ours to also make the old NATO borders safe, which is the US goal? And, given the extraordinary internationalization of our companies in the Arab markets, has there possibly been someone in our intelligence services, who has defined with the Investors’ Arab intelligence services a “smart network” to counter the jihad and manage the territory – also remotely – while, according to the recent indications provided by EUROCLEAR, China is starting to reinvest cash outside the USA in Europe? Clearly these debates do not even spring to the “old-style” minds of our policy makers, now relegated to fulfil mere ceremonial tasks. It is a much worse decline than the pre-Risorgimento one – a decline from which nobody will rescue us.
Giancarlo Elia Valori * (@GEliaValori)
* Professor of International Economy and Politics at the Peking University and President of “La Centrale Finanziaria Generale Spa”