Dillon yesterday (thank you) dropped the link to Henry Kissinger's article in Wall Street Journal where Kissinger waxes geopolitical. For some reason Kissinger has reputation in US as a geopolitical thinker of scale, but then again Francis Fukuyama and Zbigniew Brzezinski also have the same reputation, which, in its turn, is an affront to the term "reputation", not to speak of the modern geopolitics as a combination of a broad spectrum of knowledge ranging from history, economics, international relations, geography, military, industry, technological development and some other funny things like theory of probability and other strictly math-physics related issues. We, of course, can all remember, among his achievements, his brilliant idea of "opening China" which resulted in the long run in stripping the US of its industrial might. In general, long term thinking is not a strong point among American geopolitical "thinkers" and Kissinger is an exhibit A of such a trait. Yet, good ol' 96 year old Henry, in his WSJ's piece on Covid-19 arrives to a funny conclusion:
The world’s democracies need to defend and sustain their Enlightenment values. A global retreat from balancing power with legitimacy will cause the social contract to disintegrate both domestically and internationally.
After I stopped laughing, I formulated a question: what ARE those Enlightenment values as Kissinger understands them? Last time I checked the main Enlightenment "value" which made combined West great was a rational thought. Everything else follows from it, including such a simulacra as man's freedom (whatever freedom is in each given historic age). The rest is up for never-ending philosophical debate on what those "values" truly are. And here is the problem--modern West lost its ability to think and act rationally long time ago. In fact, Kissinger should know this very well--he was and still is in the midst of the decision making kitchen in the West which begins to increasingly look and feel like a psychiatric ward populated with people very many of who suffer from acute cases of sociopathic decease, while some are down right open psychopaths incapable of rational thought and even basic reasoning in principle. If Kissinger thinks that figures of Merkel, W, Obama, Mike Pompeo or Trump are representative of "Enlightenment values" then we certainly think about very different "values".
But the next Kissinger's statement is altogether a wowser:
Third, safeguard the principles of the liberal world order.
My question is: did Kissinger actually study the history of "liberalism" and what it did both to the combined West and the world as a whole? This is what I wrote a year ago in my latest book:
Liberalism, in its different contemporary manifestations, such as globalist capitalism, also known as globalization, has a “stellar” record of using threats as a primary tool in international relations. Globalism is aggressive for a number of reasons ranging from purely economic interests to convictions of cultural superiority. These form a ballast for what goes on to become military aggression, easily resorted to because of the often complete inability to understand the practice (what really happens during warfare) and the consequences of the application of military power (what really happens as a result of that trauma and destruction) and accordingly an appreciation of how to achieve a global military balance precluding war.... There is no good life without peace and liberalism is not capable of defining that as a key component of a good life, due to liberalism and its scholarship living in a complete delusion about the predatory intentions driving its own economic and military (often grossly exaggerated) capability.
Even earlier than that, three years ago, I wrote:
Where does this leave us all on the globe in general and in the US in particular? There is no denying that the economic decline both in relative and absolute terms is a fact of life for the United States and the order it came to embody. This order is a globalist liberal vision—America’s crisis is a crisis of liberalism and of global financial capitalism. The utopian modern liberal orthodoxy (a euphemism for free trade) remains based on money and profit as a measure of everything. This doesn’t work anymore.
But forget about me, I wrote it in the times when the going was good and it seemed that everything will be fine. Well, it wasn't fine then already, in fact--it never was. And then, the man of a scale much larger than Kissinger ever was, and a geopolitical thinker orders of magnitude larger than him, stated:
So, Kissinger, using fuzzy platitudes doesn't want liberalism, or whatever passes today under this stupid term, as such to be preserved, he wants, behind this psychobabble of "geopolitical" doctrine-mongering, to preserve the world in which the United States is the only one force which sets up the rules. But this is this main issue with most American "geopolitical thinkers", Kissinger included--they still live in those halcyon days of America's self-proclaimed "exceptionalism" of early 1990s and they don't have required cognitive instruments to recognize the scale of the geopolitical balance's shift which happened since 2007. The world became much more complex and weapons evolved to the point of being unstoppable--a little fact they don't teach in political "science" courses.
What will evolve in the aftermath of the Covid-19 and America's steady departure, due to both ideological and economic bankruptcy, from its self-anointed status of hegemon is a topic for a separate discussion, which will require non-stop application of the main Enlightenment Value of a rational thought and competent reasoning--the value long ago lost in deep dark recesses of the liberalism's mythology as an answer to humanity's real challenges in the XXI Century. The answer it is not and the emerging new world order may yet answer this challenge by creating a more just and more peaceful world, that task the combined West ultimately failed at.