We bring you an abbreviated English translation of Srdja Trifkovic’s interview with the Russki Zhurnal -- one of the most widely read Russian conservative publications -- published on December 29. The first question concerned the extent to which the contemporary world in general, and Russia in particular, are still defined by ethnic and religious identities.
ST: Most Russians are still defined by their ethnic and religious identity, which is unforgivable as far as the Western elite class is concerned. In spite of almost a century of horrendous ordeals and tribulations, Russia is still a recognizable nation, rooted in the continuity of its culture, faith, and collective memories. That is, of course, verboten from the standpoint of those Gramscians and Frankfurtians who run “the West.” It may help explain their visceral Russiphobia. They fear Jihad, but are nevertheless happy to cooperate with it against a common enemy: the traditional nation-state system, and its leading representatives in the Orthodox Christian, Slavic East. Understanding this affinity is the key to grasping Western motives in the Balkans and the continued Russophobic, Orthodoxophobic attitude prevalent especially the United States.
Russian Journal: Is the contemporary “society of individuals” capable of being unified by ethnic and religious identity? Do you agree with Professor Donald L. Horowitz, who sees the ability of ethnic conflict to prevail over other social divisions? Or is the ideology of ethnic or religious exceptionalism a trap of false consciousness for those who are in search of a clearly defined enemy and fail to notice the social causes of tension?
ST: The “society of individuals” is the bane of the West, the poison at its core. This madness has many secondary manifestations – multiculturalism, one-worldism, inclusivism, antidiscriminationism – that demand “engagement” abroad and wide-open immigration doors at home. In either case the impulse is neurotic and its justification is gnostic. It reflects the collective loss of nerve, faith, and identity of a diseased society. It produces a self-destructive malaise literally unprecedented in history. This “society of individuals” is built on the arrogant conviction that human reason, coupled with our science and technology, contain the clue to the dilemmas and challenges of our existence. It holds that certain enlightened abstractions – democracy, human rights, free markets – can and should be spread across the world, and are capable of transforming it in a way that will, for example, transform Muslims into global consumers. Both these forms of insanity have a “left,” Wilsonian variant (one-world, postnational, compassionate, multilateralist, therapeutic, Euro-integralist) and a “right,” neoconservative one (democracy-exporting, interventionist, monopolar, boastfully self-aggrandizing). While often differing in their practical manifestations, both these paradugms are utopian. Their roots are in the legacy of the Enlightenment. They reject any source of authority independent of “the market” and of the alleged will of the masses. Both maintain that Man is inherently virtuous and capable of betterment. Both believe that human conflict is unnatural and can be overcome. These are but two sects of the same Western heresy that has grown out of the Renaissance seed. Its fruits are in the “liberal democracy” of our own time.
The common roots of Western Europe and North America are no longer discernible in what they cherich but in what they reject: societies founded on national and cultural commonalities; stable elites and constitutions; and independent economies. They regard all permanent values and institutions with open animosity. They reject the notions of limited government at home and non-intervention abroad. They assert their devotion to “the market” but in fact they promote a form of state capitalism controlled by a network of global financial and regulatory institutions. The two sects’ gut dislike of the traditional societies and beliefs of the European continent was manifested in their coming together in NATO’s war against the Serbs in 1999, or in their joining forces to produce the “Orange Revolution” in 2004. For the same reason, they share a visceral Russophobia, a soft spot for Chechen jihadists, and a commitment to NATO expansion. Both Wilsonians and neoconservatives are united in opposing democracy in postcommunist Eastern Europe. They are uncomfortable with the thought that it may produce governments that will base the recovery of their ravaged societies on the revival of the family, sovereign nationhood, and the Christian Faith. Inevitably, they have joined forces in creating and funding political parties and NGOs all over Eastern Europe that promote the entire spectrum of postmodern isms that have atomized the West for the past four decades: the embrace of deviancy, perversion, and morbidity as the litmus test of an aspirant’s “Western” credentials.
Russian Journal: You paraphrase Martin Luther’ words by saying that Muslims kann nicht anders. In this context, how do you assess the prospects of Euro-Islam? Does Angela Merkel’s admission that multiculturalism has failed mean that the integration of Muslims into the host community is possible only through the adjustment of the host society under Islamic rules?
ST: To start with, Islam cannot be reformed or repackaged. It is part-cult, part-ideology impervious to self-reflection. I do not take Merkel’s statement too seriously, because a true admission of multiculturalism’s failure would be followed by specific policy proposals aimed at limiting Muslim immigration, or preferably stopping it altogether. Yet when Thilo Sarrazin goes a step further and warns that Muslims are incapable of integrating themselves into German society and that Germany’s Muslim population, due to much higher birth rates, is overtaking the country’s autochthonous population, Merkel joins the chorus of condemnation calling Sarrazin’s statements “extremely injurious, defamatory and completely unhelpful.”
Merkel is no “conservative,” of course. As my friend Brian Mitchell notes in the conclusion to his book Eight Ways to Run the Country, the obvious disharmony between the genuine conservatism of ancient ideals and the ruthlessly new ideology of “democratic capitalism” is lost on the citizen of a “Western democracy”… Democracy in America and Western Europe alike is a corrupt “democratic process” run by an elite class that conspires to make secondary issues important and to treat important issues as irrelevant or illegitimate: One party or politician may be in; another, out; but the regime is in power permanently. The global power of the global regime is unlikely to be broken incrementally by “the West” gradually coming to its senses. It will indeed be broken, however. We cannot know when and how this will happen—but happen, it will.
Russian Journal: In 2002 you wrote that for a long time Washington’s foreign policy strategies had played up to geo-strategic ambitions of the Muslims. What was the reason for the growth of ethnic and religious enthusiasm after the 1990’s? Was the destruction of the “20th century empires” (USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia) the result of a skillful geopolitical game or the natural outcome of a failed attempt to construct secular multiethnic societies?
ST: The common ground then between the West and Islam is that they are both programs of globalization that have as their object the destruction of the old nation-state system based on the sovereignty of states and nationhood defined by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and territorial commonalities. Orthodox nations were relatively preserved from the poisonous effects of Western consumerism, multiculturalism, and general social-cultural suicide. Since the fall of Soviet Communism, most of the former east-bloc states have been falling over themselves to jump on the Western bandwagon. Those former Communist nations such as Russia and Serbia that retained more of their Slavic, Orthodox, and national consciousness, and which consequently present the greatest potential resistance to Western and Islamic expansion, attract the animosity of both. This cannot and will not change.
Russian Journal: The USSR’s national republics managed to disperse more or less peacefully, yet the centrifugal tendencies within the Russian Federation’s republics, clearly manifested in Chechnya, demonstrated that the potential for the Yugoslav scenario in Russia was real. As evidenced by recent events, ethnic intolerance in Russia has a high potential, and the unity of the last 20 years was nominal; can national unity in Russia be destroyed easily today?
ST: It is delusional to expect the people of Turkic or Tatar ethnic origins and Islamic Weltanschauung (whether they are personally religious or not) to be lastingly integrated into, and unquestionably loyal to, a Russian state that is still “Russian” in terms of its defining characteristics. It is equally delusional to expect the West to stop treating Russia as “the Other,” and to stop wishing for its disintegration. Forget the soothing rhetoric emanating from summits! As Russia’s ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin has wondered, “The NATO gamekeepers invite the Russian bear to go hunting rabbits together. The bear doesn’t understand: why do they have bear-hunting rifles?” Well, because they’d like to kill the bear and carve him up, or else make him pliant and obedient to their dictum.
That a “democratic” Russia can be only the one subservient domestically and externally to Western demands and ideas is accepted on both sides of the Atlantic. George Soros has said that “a strong central government in Russia cannot be democratic” by definition, and further says that “Russia’s general public must accept the ideology of an open society.” Of course, “democracy” thus defined depends on an actors’ status on the ideological pecking order, not on his popular support, in line with the Leninist dictum that the moral value of any action is determined by its contribution to the march of history.
Russian Journal: What are the prospects for multinational, multiconfessional states? Can you name the most promising model for them - a consociative civic nation, assimilation of minorities, multiculturalism or anything else? Why, despite of the national, religious and cultural multiplicity, little Switzerland or the U.S.A. are stable?
ST: Multinational, multiconfessional states are always inherently unstable, and if Islam is a significant part of the equation, they are doomed – just look at Lebanon, Bosnia, Sudan, FYROM… I do not accept the notion that countries do not belong to the people who have inhabited them for generations, but to whoever happens to be within their boundaries at any given moment in time… regardless of his culture, attitude, or intentions. The resulting random melange of mutually disconnected multitudes is not a blessing but a plague.
A further pernicious fallacy is the dictum that we should not feel a special bond for any particular country, nation, race, or culture, but transfer our preferences on the whole world, "the Humanity," equally. Such notions have been internalized by the elite class in America and Western Europe to the point where they actively help Islamic terrorism. In America the process has been under way for decades. By 1999 then-Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott felt ready to declare that the United States may not exist "in its current form" in the 21st century, because the very concept of nationhood – here and throughout the world – will have been rendered obsolete: "All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary." To the members of his class, all countries are but transient, virtual-reality entities. Owing emotional allegiance to any one of them is irrational, and risking one’s life for its sake is absurd.
The refusal of theWestern elite class to protect their nations from jihadist infiltration is the biggest betrayal in history. Thanks to them, the quiet onslaught continues unabated. The betrayers, meanwhile, promote an ideology of universal human values, of a common culture for the whole world. They may not even realize why they abet Islam. For all the outward differences, they share with the mullahs and sheikhs and imams the desire for a monistic One World. They both long for Talbot’s Single Global Authority, post-national and seamlessly standardized, an Ummah under a fancy secular name.
Those Americans and Europeans who love their lands and nations more than any others, and who put their families and their neighborhoods before all others, are normal people. Those who tell them that their attachments should be global and that their lands and neighborhoods belong to the whole world are sick and evil. They are our enemies and jihad’s indispensable objective allies.