June 28, 2015
Translated by Kristina Rus
Andre Fursov is a historian and a specialist in shadow global elites
Andre Phephelov, host: Hello, this is Andre Phephelov in Den TV studio. We are joined by historian Andre Fursov. The subject is World War. Everyone talks about the world being on the verge of WWIII, from housewives to intellectuals. Many different factors point at it. And the main factor is the factor of uncertainty. No one knows what’s coming. And the most apocalyptic scenario is being painted of an epic slaughter which will resolve the knot of irreconcilable differences. We can built many models of the beginning of this process. Do you agree that this stage is approaching?
Andre Fursov: It is not approaching, it is already here. The problem is our view of a world war depends on how we define a world war. They say: “Generals always prepare for the old war”. The thing is that in mass consciousness, even in the consciousness of professionals, a view of war is based on the last war. Everyone thinks it must look like WWI or WWII. The problem is the world war phenomenon is not limited by these two wars. World wars are a characteristic trait of a capitalist era, because capitalism is the only global system, and wars for the hegemony in the capitalist system always had a global character, related to breaking out of Europe, colonies etc.
We can identify three types of world wars in the history of a capitalist system.
- First type is the sum of local conflicts, the 30-year war lead by the Hapsburgs and their coalition on the one side, and on the other side – by the coalition financed by Holland.
- Second type: Anglo-French wars, two rounds: the 7 year war of 1756-63 and the Napoleonic wars. By the way, if we add the 7-year and the Napoleonic wars, we will also have a 30-year war, but stretched in time.
- And finally the third type – First and Second World wars, although I agree with those experts who say that it was a big 30-year European war from 1914 to 1945, because if we take the period between 1918 and 1938 (because WWII began on September 28, 1938 with a Munich pact), these 20 years have been saturated with wars, it is a continuum.
So we are dealing with 30-year world wars, some of which are stretched in time, and others last as the 30-year long WWI.
In this regard, if we look at what’s happening today, considering the armament of the leading global powers, which can wipe each other out, meaning the Russian Federation and the US, most likely the new world war will look a lot like the 30-year war, or a sum of local conflicts stretched in time and space. The 30-year war was a sum of four local conflicts, which had changed the face of Europe and drew a line under the two centuries of European crisis and made capitalism a system.
If we look at what’s happening in the world today, we already have two growing local conflicts, and both have a tendency to concentrate either right on our border, or in its vicinity: the Ukrainian crisis, and the Middle-Eastern crisis, created by the Western geopolitical operation “The Arab spring” or everything related to the Islamic state.
The Islamic state and ISIS are two different things. ISIS was really a regional terrorist group, but Islamic state is something entirely different. I am afraid we are dealing with a new phenomenon, a hybrid state, a power formation which combines state institutions and a hybrid organization, which transcends geographic borders. So there are two such hot spots. If two more hot spots emerge, let’s say – the Caucasus and Central Asia, in our underbelly and the Xinjiang Uyghur region of China, in my opnion, then we will have all the reasons to talk about a new WWIII, which mirrors the 30-year war, but only on the exit from the capitalist era (and the entrance and exit are always similar).
– So it will be a third one?
– It could be the third, or fourth by other calculations, but it is clear that the new world orders are always born out of war, and the next world order will unfortunately be born out of war.
The issue for us is as follows, can we push this war away from our borders, so that this hot spot remains where it started without spreading towards us, or even better – turn it towards the instigator or their satellites. As Hamlet, translated by Pasternak, said: “Go, the poisoned steel to your destination!” This is the main issue.
What we see today in the Middle East and Ukraine is a creation of a zone of instability. This zone of instability is targeted towards Russia and China simultaneously, creating economic and political strain. Since the West doesn’t shy away from declaring the main task to liquidate the Putin regime, it is clear that imposing the arch of instability along our borders will cause economic problems.
– By the way, they already changed their tone about the Putin’s regime
– You know, they are playing a good and bad cop. We shouldn’t swallow it. It is enough to remember how the British leadership played Hitler, how the Imperial party played their own game, and gave Hitler an impression that a deal can be made, and finally they tricked Hitler, and he made a move, he started the Polish campaign, thinking the English will not interfere, but they did. At first there was a strange war…
– It was an Anglo-Saxon trap.
– Beware of the gift-givers
– It reminds you about the story with Nikolay the First and the Crimean campaign.
– Absolutely, it was a classic trap and unfortunately Nikolay the First in the middle of the 19th century remained a person of the 20s of the 19th century. We didn’t loose the Crimean war because our arms were outdated, we lost for two different reasons. First, if this war was turned into a fatherland war, it would have been a different thing. The main thing, is Nikolay the First didn’t understand who he was facing. If the English and the French would have withdrawn by themselves, the war would have lasted for another one or two years. For the first time the coalition of states was backed by trans-national structures. And Russia did not have a weapon to counter it. And despite the army reform of 1874, Russian wars after the second half of the 19th century… In 1878 we won against Turkey, it was the first victory, we lost the Japanese war and WWI. The recruit army, created by Peter the Great, beat the Europeans and our diplomats were successful, but since the mid-19th century the army and the diplomats were loosing wars, because the Russian leadership did not understand that they received a stronger and more information-intensive enemy than a state – transnational structures. And only under Stalin this issue was resolved. First they used Comintern, a ‘weapon’ of the same type, and until the mid 1960’s USSR was able to solve a number of national issues, and only when at the end of the 1960’s new transnational structures began to emerge in the West, which integrated a part of the Russian leadership, the situation had changed.
– You said, Nikolay Pavlovich could not declare the Crimean war a Fatherland war, but from what you said about the local character of WWIII, there is also a problem of people seeing it as an aggression
– This is a problem of our propaganda, and explaining to the people that the current war has a different character
– But it is still a war of annihilation
– Correct, and when some letters in your language are changed to a Latin letter, it is a military action, it is a psycho-historic action, which changes your code. This is what Azimov called “a phycho-historic war”. The sci-fy novel “Academy” by Azimov since 1954 is a requirement on the curriculum of American West Point military academy, because psycho-historic war is one of the most important spheres in the post-military world, because it is clear when a Soviet society cannot be destroyed from the outside, it must be destroyed from the inside.
When your culture is blown up from the inside – this is a strike at the psycho-historic matrix. When they show you a play about Yevgeny Onegin, where Tatyana is masturbating on stage, this is not just mocking the culture, it is a psycho-military action, and the reaction to such action has to be according to the laws of war time and a pre-frontal zone.
– So we need to create a counter-action?
– Not just a counter-action. We must create an attacking psycho-historic model. Counter is a reaction, we must make the enemy react. We need our own positive program, which the Soviet Union had until the mid- 1960’s. And later the Soviet society has turned into a society of merchants, and if you are turning into a society of merchants, then what is your difference from the more successful merchants? If we are talking about a stand off between the various zones of capitalism, periphery capitalism has no chances, because if you are a periphery capitalism, you are just as the center, but the center is wealthier and has already achieved. If you want to escape the historic trap of the capitalist system, you must present a different agenda. Someone might say, we have already tried to, and socialism has lost. No, socialism didn’t loose, a concrete political-economic power structure has lost, with a part of elite integrated into the Western system. And this should be a lesson.
In any case, if you want to win, then don’t play a suicidal game by sharing a platform of the enemy, but create your own platform. Otherwise just raise a white flag and surrender.
– I think we have no second chance, we have to fight
– Some in the scientific sphere say that everything will go back to normal when our conflict with America is over. No, it will never go back to normal. Americans made a mistake once. When Clinton said, “We will let Russia be, but not be a great power”, meaning “we will not destroy it, we will just suck the resources out of it”. He thought Yeltsin’s Russia was forever, but it wasn’t. Americans will not step on the same rake twice.
There are two options – either we become a great world power, or the country will be broken up and a historic Russia will cease to exist, but there will not be a return to the Yeltsyn times, not because we don’t want it, of course we don’t want it. But the West will not allow it, they will not make the same mistake again.
– If some intellectuals don’t get it, the people get it.
– The people don’t just get it, they feel it with their skin, and this is very very important.
– Thank you very much