The Moscow-based International Conservative Club (founded by the Party of Action) published an essay in Russian by Srdja Trifkovic, The Day of Victory – A Time to Reflect, in which he “ponders why the victory over Nazism has not marked the end of the ‘civil war’ in Europe.” We bring you the English translation of this article.
NB: Dr. Trifkovic’s article Putin’s Collapsing Credibility, which we posted on May 2, has caused a bit of a stir abroad. It’s been widely translated (e.g. into Serbian, Russian and Czech), and reposted by various sites in English—most notably by Russia Insider (“Putin has shown weakness in Armenia and Syria—his credibility is collapsing”), where it has been viewed over 15,000 times and elicited more than 600 comments as of May 11.
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The Second World War in Europe ended 73 years ago today. It was a titanic struggle in which the Red Army bore the brunt of fighting, and inflicted close to four-fifths of all military casualties suffered by the Greater German Reich. It was also the most destructive conflict in human history, which took over 50 million lives by conservative estimates.
It is nevertheless arguable that the Second World War was not the most catastrophic event in European history, in terms its moral and spiritual consequences. In metahistorical terms, that dark distinction belongs to the First World War; the centennial of the Great War’s ending will be marked on November 11 this year. The war of 1939-1945 was the second round of Europe’s extended suicide which started in July 1914.
Both wars were caused by Germany’s ambitious elites. The record set by Germany’s towering historian Fritz Fischer et al. half a century ago still stands. The Kaiserreich could have dominated Europe economically, and therefore politically, by 1920-25 without a shot being fired; but its leaders were gripped by the kind of full-spectrum-dominance fixation which we face in Washington today. A generation later, Hitler’s audacious gambles worked for a while (the Rhineland, the Anschluss, Munich). He did not know when to stop, however, and it was perfectly predictable that he’d meet his comeuppance sooner or later. This happened in the East, where the war was decided in the winter of 1942-1943. Even had there been no D-Day, the Red Army would have reached the English Channel some time in 1946.
Fundamentally, the catastrophe of 1914-1945 was due to the growing schism between Europe’s heart and mind. It started in the Renaissance, matured during the Enlightenment, tasted blood with the guillotine, and produced—well before the Guns of August roared over France, Russia, Serbia and Belgium—the modern times’ four horsemen of the Apocalypse: Marx, Darwin, Freud, and Picasso. The trail of destruction wreaked by this monstrous quartet in the 19th and early 20th centuries was made possible by the Europeans’ growing belief that human reason, reinforced by science and technology, contains the clue to all key dilemmas and challenges of human existence; and, at the same time, that human yearnings and passions should not be and must not be fettered by the shackles of natural law or morality.
This is where Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Tito, Mao . . . came from on the smoldering ruins of the Great War. This is where the Clintons, Soros, the collective Beast of Brussels known as the European Union, and the rest of the Western postmodern elite class come from today. They all belong (“objectively,” as Marx would say) to the same camp. They hate societies still based on national and cultural commonalities. They view all tradition (unless relegated to harmless “heritage”) and all organically developed institutions with blind animosity.
They have won, for now. As the Italian coast guard brings further thousands of “migrants” to European safety every day, and fresh millions are getting ready to make the crossing, it seems clear that—sub specie aeternitatis—the victory over Nazism in 1945 signified less than is comfortable to imagine. Hitler’s defeat marked the beginning of the Long March for the bolshevik-fascist neoliberal synthesis. A little over seven decades later, the dominant elites of the “liberal” West—by now completely devoid of any sense of purpose and history—is unable to protect itself from those who want to destroy and conquer it. Multiculturalism has ensured that Western nations have lost the capacity to define and defend themselves vis-à-vis others, just as most immigrants demonstrably have no sense of kinship with their host societies.
All along, the dominant Western elites insist that the migrant deluge is really a blessing that enriches their sinful and culturally deprived societies. At the same time, they develop and promote a paranoid, hysterical quality in the public discourse on Russia and all things Russian. In the Anglosphere in particular, the corporate media machine and its Deep State handlers have abdicated reason and common decency in favor of raw hate and fear-mongering. We have not seen anything like it even in the darkest days of the Cold War.
Part of the problem is in the fact that many genuine Western conservatives look upon Russia as a natural ally, which the elite class sees as inherently dangerous. That a “democratic” Russia must be subservient to the multicultural postmodern matrix is axiomatic on both sides of the Atlantic. “Democracy” thus defined has to do with one’s status in the ideological pecking order, rather than the expressed will of the electorate: in line with the Leninist dictum that the moral value of any action is determined by its contribution to the march of history.
The reshaping of Russia’s identity is the final stop. In this respect no gap exists between the Sorosite-liberal “left” and the neoconservative “right.” In this sense, Russophobia’s emotional appeal to the Western elite class is understandable: it comes as a huge mental relief to the ultrasensitive multicultural mind to be able to hate an outside group with impunity, and even to appear virtuous in the process. Of course, the object of that animus is a Christian and European nation which stubbornly refuses to be postmodernized, to become gripped by self-hate and morbid introspection; a nation not ashamed of its past and unwilling to surrender its future to alien multitudes; a nation where nobody obsesses over transgender bathrooms, microaggressions, and other “issues” indicative of a society’s moral and intellectual decrepitude.
The liberals’ ideological and emotional Russophobia has blended seamlessly with the bread-and-butter hostility to Russia shared by the new cold war operatives in the intelligence and national security apparatus of the United States, in the military-industrial complex and the Congressional duopoly. The result is a completely surreal narrative which mixes supposedly unprovoked “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, hostile intent in the Baltic, serial war crimes in Syria, attempted and real murders in Western Europe, and gross interference in America’s “democratic process.” The result is an altogether fictitious “existential threat” which has made President Trump’s intended détente with Moscow impossible. In the course of the 2016 presidential campaign he may have been sincere in his stated intent to turn a new leaf, but the Deep State counterpressure proved just too great. A solid rejection front emerged, left and right, conservative and liberal, which extends even into his own team, and which finally inhibited him from making any moves that could have appeared like “appeasement” of Russia and Putin.
The Russophobic narrative is not related to Russia’s actual policies. It reflects a profound loathing of the elite class towards Russia-as-such. That animosity has been developing in its current form roughly since the time of the Crimean War, in the run-up to which Marquis de Custine declared that Russia’s “veneer of European civilization was too thin to be credible.” “No human beings, black, yellow or white, could be quite as untruthful, as insincere, as arrogant—in short, as untrustworthy in every way—as the Russians,” President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1905. John Maynard Keynes, after a trip to the USSR 1925, wondered whether the “mood of oppression” might be “the fruit of some beastliness in the Russian nature.” J. Robert Oppenheimer opined in 1951 that, in Russia, “We are coping with a barbarous, backward people.” More recently, Senator John McCain declared that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” “Russia is an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics,” a Slate author wrote in early 2014, even before the Ukrainian crisis peaked.
This kind of narrative has two key pillars. In geopolitical terms, it reflects the constant quest of maritime empires—Britain before, and the United States after World War II—to “contain” and if possible control the Eurasian heartland, the core of which is of course Russia. Equally important is the cultural antipathy, the desire not merely to influence Russian policies and behavior but to impose an irreversible transformation of Russia’s identity. All along, some of the most viscerally Russophobic stereotypes come from Russia itself, from those members of Moscow’s “intelligentsia” who feel more at home in New York or London than anywhere in their own country. The late Anna Politkovskaya thus wrote in the Los Angeles Times 16 years ago that “it is common knowledge that the Russian people are irrational by nature.” It is impossible to imagine a mainstream publication publishing a similar statement about Jews or Muslims.
The Russophobic frenzy comes at a cost. It further devalues the quality of public discourse on world affairs in the United States and Western Europe, which is already dismally low. It has already undermined the prospects for a mutually beneficial new chapter in U.S.-Russian relations, based on the realist assessment that those two powers have no “existential” differences—and share many actual and potential commonalities. It perpetrates the arrogant delusion that there is a superior, “Western” model of social and cultural thought and action which can and should be imposed everywhere, but in Russia in particular.
Saddest of all, Russophobic mania prolongs the European civil war which exploded in July 1914, continued in 1939, and has never properly ended . . . not even with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It would be in the American interest, as well as Russia’s and Europe’s, for that conflict to end, so that the existential challenge common to all—that of resurgent jihad and Europe’s demographic crisis—can be properly addressed.
Today, on Victory Day, let us reflect on the fact that Hitler was going to make his new Germany just the way he imagined her, or else he would destroy her. In the same vein, the Washingtonian warmongers imagine America as a malleable tool of their global project. Their unremitting quest for an American Empire overseas goes hand in hand with their systematic, premeditated conversion of the U.S. federal government into a genuine Leviathan uninhibited by constitutional restraints. The phrases they wrote for George W. Bush’s 2004 State of the Union Address neatly summed up their millenarian neurosis: the call of history has come to the right country, we exercise power without conquest, we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers, we know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation: “The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.”
This is sheer megalomania, light years away from a patriotic approval of one’s nation. Its driving force is an insane striving for power and dominance, while the ostensibly “nationalist” discourse is merely its validation. Its true nature becomes apparent in extremis: In the apocalyptic finale of the Second World War, Josef Goebbels reveled in the Allied bombing for its demolition of the old, gemütlich, cuckoo-clock and marzipan Germany of the medieval era. Fired by the same compulsion, the pursuit of global empire abroad seeks to annihilate the traditional decentralized America of bingo parlors, Friday fish fries and little league games.
This kind of outlook is not only a critical and chronic danger to world peace. At the same time, it presents the gravest actual threat to the constitutional order, identity, and way of life of the United States. Its devotees have only tweaked the paradigm of dialectical materialism in order to continue pursuing the same eschatological dream, the End of History with no God. They are hungry for the Macht for its own sake—thus sinning against God and man—and the final outcome of that insane mission will be the same as the end of the Thousand-Year Reich.