In search of peace after «the Great World War»

Legend of the XXth century

Yermolaiev Andrij

head of Strategic Group Sofia

«Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, it is the whole of Europe, that will decide the fate of the world."
Charlles de Gaulle
Xi Jinping,2014
«We hope to work with our European friends to build a bridge of friendship and cooperation across the Eurasian continent. For that, we need to build four bridges for peace, growth, reform and progress of civilization, so that the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership will take on even greater global significance.»
«The European Union should aim for a common economic zone with Moscow which would extend from Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok to Lisbon», «We should move gradually towards this goal»
Angela Merkel, 2016

Thousands of pages explaining phenomena of the First World War outbreak have been written by the historians. The ambitious war declaration statements and first military actions in the long gone 1914 seemed temporary or even «unreal». According to the contemporaries', memories when France entered the war, thousands of people have already been dying on the Western front, while Parisian cafes and St Petersburg's restaurants were filled with laidback people, loudly discussing the latest newspaper articles. The whirlpool was sucking in new and new actors, the loss of territories and people motivated militaries to launch new operations, and diplomats - new negotiations and conspiracies. «The hangover» in 1918 cost Europe and the world a lot and bloody geopolitical and military feasts lasted for more than 7 decades.

Both a hundred years ago and today the question remains unanswered - HOW, understanding EVERYTHING, intellectuals, politicians, diplomats and business circles crossed the line? Why the Renaissance and new rationalism, the pride of the Enlightenment and the ruling progress didn't hold the world from the decay into the barbarianism and darkness of the World War, totalitarianism of all kinds and ideological fanaticism?

The second decade of the new XXI century is once again facing the ghosts of war. Diplomats and politicians, «brains» and scientific authorities are talking about a threat and possibility of «heated battles» between the West and Islamic world, USA and Iran, NATO and Russia… In any scenario the battlefield is the world, parties are all nations and alliances.

The world war as a new way of changing the world and world order became as possible scenario and «life project», as financial-trade alliances and globalised communication standards via internet. The war as an extreme resort, becomes a new cycling norm of Our New Age. More precisely - may become, having a past World War as a precursor and a deep blindness of the present «grandchildren of war».

Look around. Our contemporaries are drunk on war. They don't care about the risks. They despicably allow deaths of the young and future generations. They enjoy their «present» and don't care what happens after them. They are ready to destroy the new ultramodern world for new experiences for their «libido» and «Thanatos».

The conversation about the fact that the world is in chaos and the so called «world order» collapsed has already been present for three decades.

«Yalta-Potsdam cold order» has lasted for nearly 50 years and a lot of people consider it to be «a golden age» of the modern western civilisation and the prosperity of the world economy, successful globalisation and development equalisation.

Well, for every one of us, maybe with a rare exception, childhood seems to be «a golden time», a doorstep to the difficult adult life. But if the period after the Second World War was such a «golden age», «childhood» of our controversial «today», then what was growing and what has grown?

The XXI century has reached its 20 year old birthday, but the XX is not leaving. In the past a famous political economist and historian Eric Hobsbawm, the author of «the long nineteenth century», named the gone XX century «short». Giovanni Arrighi, one more enlightened mind of our time considered the XX century to be as long as the past XIX. And Arrighi is right. Something that to Hobsbawm looked compressed and fleeting, corresponds to the definition of «TRANSFER». Less than a century has passed from the beginning of the imperial wars and revolutions in the XX century to the Declaration of Helsinki CSCE 1975, and afterward - USSR collapse, Germany unification and establishment of The European Union. However the beginning of the new world order has been vividly delayed and the change period duration has already gained a definition of «rising chaos».

The «world order» in the XX century has been always discussed and written about a lot. Maybe because in the human history and memory it will remain mainly as a World War century. World- because almost every nation and territory has been involved. But also because dynasties and empires, nations and classes have clashed. The war itself became «an order», where despite the values and norms declarations, the power and the will decided the fate of millions for several decades.

Maybe, for the first time after the religious wars in Europe, the conflict of ideologies and social utopias became one of the main steers of the war. The same as the Holy alliance in 1815, born by continental empires' and dynasties' fear of revolutionary utopia of «liberating» Napoleon wars power, Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations- UN and NATO were a «ideological consolation» - an attempt to declare an order based on common values (nation, democracy, human rights, collective security), covering the unresolved issues («balance of interests») of the new post-imperial and historically fleeting «national world order».

This Great war had a «first» and a «second» heated phase, and a «cold» one, however not less bloody and burning. Very roughly this Great War is limited to the events, which cover the scale and most importantly, an all-human action.

The first wars of the beginning of the century (Anglo-Boer, Russian-Japanese) have promptly grown into the «empires war», shamefully veiled by the «war of nations» ideology.

Global clashes in this war have sometimes diminished, but have never stopped. The civil conflicts in China and Japanese occupation in the East and the Pacific ocean, Spanish «hybrid» world war in the 30s, the war in Korea and Vietnam in 40-70s, the Near East wars in 50-60s are only some illustrations of the Great World War.

Hence, the fall of the Old order of the «long XIX century», the Great World War and the peace that lasted for a decade comprise an estimated chronology of the, not less long, XX century.

The bloody events and major social disruptions draw attention, while their experience leaves an emotional imprint, changes the fate of lives. Ukrainian philosopher Myroslav Popovych called the XX century «bloody». A bright, not at all philosophical, however a very precise metaphorical definition.

«Long», «bloody», not yet finished century, breaking the chronological boundaries and rules of the gone, also «long», XIX century.

After Helsinki-75 the world didn't calm down at once. The wars in Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq conflict, war in Iraq, tragic collapse of Yugoslavia, military conflicts in Georgia, Ukraine…Nevertheless this inertia of The Great World War is very different from the past disruptions. Frontal clashes and interstate acts of war changed into «molecular» wars and «hybrid» technologies. Everyone understands that the full scale war is impossible, because there will not be a winner, and defeat will equal total destruction.

Fights of historians for history were always an inseparable part of the fight for minds. As not only «what happened» and «how it happened» is important, but what it means for the subsequent events. The human consciousness, both individual and collective, constantly «reboots» the past - as a relevant experience and meanings to reflect on. The idea of the necessity to «rethink the past» is very common for a reason. And it is not a one time thing. Actually, rethinking, as reactualisation, revaluation of meanings and goals is a constant process, because it is related to our motivation for future, reflection on individual and public actions. It is the only way.

The Great World War of the XX century has a vast number of characteristics and features. Economists emphasise the industrial revolutions' consequences and industrial centres' fight for markets and territories. Political economists highlight the shift of development centres («centres of capital accumulation»), society and socioeconomic systems organisation paradigms. Political philosophers - the industrial capitalism epoch world conflict of classes, resulting in competition and rivalry of two civilisation systems - socialism and capitalism, where the collapse of socialist camp became sort of a final point, determining the historical winner - neo-industrial global capitalism system. Psychoanalysts see a conflict of «de-holified» being of the modern individualised society and old systems of outer organisation ( state, industry, family ).

These and other approaches to the past century understanding are significant because they reflect important sides and characteristics of the time. Roughly speaking, all this has a right to be.

Despite all the imperial «pacts» in Yalta and Potsdam, semantic and ideological finale of the World War began with the idea of «détente», «convergence», «relations humanisation» and was reflected in the ideas of peaceful coexistence of different social systems only in the mid-70s XX century. Helsinki declaration of CSCE in 1975 became a «peace milestone», ending the Great World War that lasted for at least 7 decades, and a sign of the peace processes launch.

Wars and revolutions do not exhaust the meaning and sense of the gone, or more precisely still leaving century epoch. As well as declarative international legal orders that only outline the epoch. However this line is fragile and vague. The real processes are often larger than these norms, while the events split two ways. We see (more precisely want to see) that border line that confirms that the order exists. And, as blind, miss everything that crosses that border.

So, the proclaimed «nations epoch», sealed by the Versailles Treaty and Wilson's League of Nations, did fit into the transformation process of the former territorial European empires into the prosperous European nations in the aftermath of the World War 1937-1946 ( from the «hybrid war» in Spain to the imperial Japan capitulation). However, not less bloody wars in Indochina and Korea, cynical hybrid wars in the Near East and Africa happened as «counternational». Two Koreas, «schematic» Arab Near East (still filled with unresolved national issues) are only the most vivid examples of the mess in the «international order».

The socialist camp collapse and the breach of trust in the «communist utopia» has never become an «end of history». Francis Fukuyama would, with the youthful enthusiasm, hurry to declare «the end of epoch», breach of time. But the «battle of systems» has transformed into the battle of cultures and social organisations. The «convergence» idea gained a brand new historical connotation, and the history of an unstructured world «continued». That was, with a heavy heart, later confirmed by the philosopher.

National design, based on neo-colonial transformation of the world due to the territorial empires' collapse in the second half on the XX century, has not provided a new steady balance of interests and power neither on a global nor on a local level. New and new nationalities, religious and ideological communities declare their sovereignty rights, not only on a territorial but cultural and ideological scale. A vivid example is an ideology of the new movement in the Islamic world «The movement of the moderates» (initiator- political class of Malaysia). «Moderates» and ISIS are two new poles, contributing to the brand new image of the world. Promoting dialogue and peaceful coexistence of the Islamic and Western-Christian worlds, the «moderates'» representatives are openly pro equal competition of the two economic organisation models - «Participatory economics» and «speculative capitalism». Maybe, for the first time after the capitalist (competitive market) and socialist (administrative market) economy models' rivalry (near global) discussion about the right to choose social model was offered so clearly and unequivocally. «Parallel contemporary worlds»(S.Huntington) from the philosophers' and futurologists' studies transferred into the real poetical-economical area.

Thus, historical and philosophical sense of the 70-year Great World War is in the unfolded battle for the right to participate in the «creation of the further history». And the historical sense of the bloody XX century «completeness» (its value for the subsequent events) will be found and exercised in the new historical subjects' «new world order». Therefore the XX century may become one of the «longest» in the relevant human history, taking it place near «the dark» ages and epochs.

In this «Great Transfer» and in the aftermath of the Great World War the world of colonies and metropoles has drowned in the past. Europe paid a high price for imperialism.There is nearly a hundred years of imperialist wars, post-colonial nationalism waves and unrealised ambitions of American hegemony in the New World (Pax Americana) between United European States democratic utopia and European Union.

Large European Empires (France, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Germany) turned from the old world order governors to satellites, dependant on commodity credits and technology from the biggest beneficiary of The Great World War - USA. «Marshall's Plan» became a unique instrument fro geoeconomic «stripping» of the past empires, Bretton Woods system made the once sovereign financial system of the former empires and monarchies dependant, NATO formalised the geopolitical «sattellitism».

«Marshallisation» of the post-war Europe turned Europe itself into the industrial colony-continent, where amidst the post-war destruction it got the weapons and machines (as colonies once got jewellery and whisky), for the price of former colonies' open markets, loans dependency and geopolitical second place. Europe's division along the buffer border, Germany's separation and the USSR's and USA's system «for two» pushed Europe into being a historical object.

The ghost of the future transatlantic union (USA's persistent proposal from the late 1940s) threatened Europe to become a state - but not one of European Union, but of The American Atlantic.

Бывшие европейские империи и авторитарные режимы, пережив потрясение фашизма и разрушений, шаг за шагом, начиная с Европейского объединения угля и стали, с трудом возвращали себе право на новую историю. Так видится замысел и разворачивание проекта ЕвроСоюза – от 1950х к 2000м.

The base for the EU's new strategy for subjectivity, we think, is the idea of New leadership-social utopia of humanist structure (multiculturalism, human rights and freedoms, social state).
Three components of the new European subjectivity strategy
In geoeconomy - «demarshllisation» of national economies and reestablishment of influence on former «colonial worlds» based on financial-technological and cultural expansion ('europisation'). The key strategies - from the coal and steel community to the economic community (EEC), common economic space (from energy system to standards), currency (euro), infrastructure (transport corridors, energy system on the continent), buffer zone and resources base ( neighbourhood and subregional communities policy), saving social state model after the world crisis in 2008+.

In geopolitics- Germany unification (1990) and creation of the integration core (Franco-German Treaty of Aachen 2019), military-political independence strengthening (PESCO 2017) with the subsequent establishment of the single European collective security system, independent policy on the «containment conflicts» (Syria, Iran, Ukraine).

In globalistics - connections extensions and establishment of the «common spaces» with new growth centres and macro regional communities «without the USA». Preparing and exercising the new «long» continental strategy ( started by the «Paris Charter» CSCE 1990, the idea of the Big Europe). The free trade treaty with MERCOSUR (2019, Brasil+) and laying the groundwork for the continental free trade zone with China and Russia (SCO+EEU).

The Helsinki-2 idea, including China, can be exercised in the nearest years.

Europe is fighting for a new order, for its own, European XXI century. Where it has to, primarily, learn and consider the lessons of the «bloody XX century», be «not the first, but not the second». Political economists determine the upcoming development cycle as «Asian», with China as capital accumulation centre. China demonstrates its readiness to competition without wars. Europe is preparing itself to be a grateful new partner of the new leader.

«The one, who will own the new continental development strategy, will save its historical subjectivity. The one who will be left aside may loose the country». This can be the cruel formula for the Eurasian continent countries survival in the upcoming XXI century - century of post-war development -century of geo-cultural assimilation and geo-economic takeover.
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