The Power Of Soft Power: Japan, Russia & The USSA

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
May 12, 2017

Every now and then I receive an article that is so thought-provoking I have to share it, and my own opinions about it, even though – as is the current case – my thoughts are still in the process of formation. This is consequently not quite an “op-ed” piece; it’s more of a “thinking out loud ramble”. In this case, the subject of my ramble is that of “soft power”, the idea of “culture” as a geopolitical card that looks increasingly, to my amateur eyes, like it is being played on the world scene, and played deftly by some players that know how to play it.

Permit me an anecdote here: months ago I had a private conversation with a friend who is a financial advisor for a major government in the Pacific. We were discussing the way Mr. Putin has been able to so successfully play the soft power culture card. At the time, I was analyzing Russia’s moves on the world stage in terms of a rather radical thesis, namely, that Putin’s Russia is not a “neo-Stalinist” state, as it is usually misunderstood to be by the West and in particular by the corporate controlled media of the West, and its quackademic “think tanks.” Rather, I opined to my friend, Russia was experimenting with something very unique, something defined by its long history: its grounding as a culture in Eastern Orthodoxy; its invasion by, and eventual expulsion of, the Mongols; its Drang nach Osten and the “collection of the Russian lands” under Ivan the terrible and the drive across Siberia to the Pacific; its “westernization” under Peter the Great; and, of course, its sad experience with Marxism, a western philosophical import; its invasion and surrender to the Central Powers in World War One and following civil war; the devastating invasion by Hitler in 1941; and finally, the collapse of the Soviet Union.

What Putin’s Russia was and is, I argued with my friend, is that it is the world’s first “post-post modernist State,” and that meant, I argued, that we would see Russia doing some “unusual things” on the world stage: (1) it would challenge the dogma of the globaloneyists that the nation-state is obsolete, and the world needs to be run by the likes of David Rockefailure and Darth Soros. (I don’t know about you, but that idea appeals to me even less than the world being run by Bonaparte, Wilhelm II, or Adolf Hitler.)  (2) Russia would begin to play its soft power culture card, not only domestically, but internationally, and make a play to speak for the culturally and politically disenfranchised conservative in the West. To be sure, that was a very radical idea, but I was perfectly serious in proposing it. Mr. Putin had, at the time we were having our discussion, made several speeches to the effect that Russia’s way forward lay, in part, by not neglecting its spiritual heritage; Russia would, he opined, protect the rights of minorities, but it would not allow them to tyrannize the majority nor overturn that inheritance. But that was for domestic consumption. Shortly after we had our discussion, sure enough, Mr. Putin began to address these types of remarks to the outside, and more specifically, to the West, targeting those individuals in the West of similarly conservative cultural values, while taking direct aim at the cultural progressivist left in the West. In short, Mr. Putin was maneuvering Russia – and himself – to be the representative of the culturally and politically disenfranchised conservative in the West.  Mr. Putin and his advisors are attempting to create a new national branding of Russia, and they have been more or less successful.

Which is why I found this article shared by Mr. T.M. about Japan’s use of the soft power culture card so very thought-provoking:

Japan has turned its culture into a powerful political tool

In the main, I have to agree with this article: Japan has managed, quite cleverly and successfully, to create a national brand of “western technology and traditional Japanese culture” and if one looks closely and carefully, much of that philosophical approach has spread to the other Asian powerhouse: China. Both countries are rearming, but if one looks carefully at their diplomacy, they are interested in two things: (1) getting things done and (2) producing things. The sweeping nature of the agreements already in progress in the aftermath of Mr. Putin’s visit last December to Japan, and Mr. Abe’s recent visit to Russia, are testament enough of the recent effectiveness both of Russian and of Japanese diplomacy, and I strongly suspect that it is the fact that both governments and their leaders understand and respect the soft power of culture, and the absolute necessity of preserving it, no matter what the nutty Gramscian progressivists and Mr. Globaloney might say in their perpetual use of shaming tactics.

With that in mind, think of the “national brand” of the United States…

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
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About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

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Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Westphalia, Soft Power, And New…[Part 3]

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
March 30, 2017

I have to apologize for devoting much of this weeks blogs to the remarks of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but as I indicated in part one, so many people sent the transcription of his remarks to the Military Academy of the Russian General Staff, reported on The Sakers website, that I had to comment. And certainly his remarks warrant the extended treatment, for they outline the salient feature of the Russian states political worldview and mentality in a way that few remarks from Russian leaders have. They deserve careful consideration and reflection, for the implications of Mr. Lavrovs remarks are both broad and deep, and very long-term oriented. (I hope, eventually, to do a webinar in the members area on the Russian cosmist philosophers as part of the culture webinars series, for it is in that body of work from the Russian intelligentsia that one sees clearly how closely allied culture and politics are in contemporary Russian thinking.)

In part one, I reviewed the implications of Mr. Lavrovs extended references to the Peace of Westphalia, implications that spell out certain long term objectives of Russian foreign policy. Yesterday in part two, I reviewed the soft power/culture power connection of Russia’s foreign policy to that first Westphalian emphasis. Today I would like to focus on the third area: nuclear weapons and new non-nuclear strategic weapons. Here’s the link to the article once again:

Speech of Lavrov at the Military Academy of the General Staff

I want to direct your attention today toward the end of Mr. Lavrovs remarks, and to some truly astonishing implications contained in them:

Recently, there has been a push towards forcing the nuclear states to abandon their nuclear arsenals and banning nuclear weapons altogether. It is crystal clear that this is premature. Let me remind you that it wasn’t for nothing that the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty wrote into it that the nuclear arsenals had to be fully scrapped but only in the context of general and complete disarmament. We are prepared to discuss the possibility of further gradual reductions in nuclear capabilities but only if we take all the factors influencing strategic stability into account and not just the quantity of strategic offensive weapons.

Another reason why we’re prepared to discuss this issue is the growing sense of urgency about making this process multilateral. The restrictions on nuclear capabilities which Russia and the United States have repeatedly accepted for many years have led them to a situation where, essentially, they cannot proceed doing this on the bilateral basis. (Emphasis added)

A little further on, Mr. Lavrov adds this:

The formation of a polycentric international order is an objective process. It is in our common interest to make it more stable and predictable. In these conditions, the role of diplomacy as a tool to coordinate balanced solutions in politics, economics, finance, the environment, and the innovation and technology sectors has increased significantly. Simultaneously, the role of the armed forces as the guarantor of peace has increased too.

Observe that these two statements are the logical implications of the whole soft power culture power Westphalian emphasis; in effect, Mr. Lavrov has stated that the old Cold War conceptions of armaments reduction talks – with their emphasis on bean counting the number of tanks, warheads, missiles, aircraft  – is simply no longer viable, for the other components of stability are cultural in nature, and lest one misunderstands his statements, he spells out what culture in this context means: it means the whole constellation of domestic and international political institutions, historical memory and traditions, finance and economics, technological innovation and so on.

Mr. Lavrov is correct here, for it is that constellation of factors that leads to the development of armaments and more importantly, the circumstances in which they are used. This brings us to remarks that Mr. Lavrov made in response to a question, and these are worth pondering long and hard:

To a very large extent, President Trump’s position on the majority of key issues on the foreign policy agenda, including further steps to limit strategic nuclear weapons as you’ve mentioned, has yet to be finalised. By the way, if I remember right, Donald Trump mentioned the issue of cooperation with us in this field as an example. He was asked whether he would be prepared to lift sanctions on Russia. I believe that was the way the question was formulated. He responded by saying they should see if there were issues on which they could cooperate with Russia on a mutually beneficial basis in US interests, in particular, mentioning nuclear arms control. At the same time, as you know, the US president said the Americans should modernise and build up their nuclear triad. We need to wait until the military budget is finally approved under the new administration and see what its priorities and objectives are and how these funds will be spent. As for our further conversation, I briefly mentioned in my address that we are ready for such a conversation but it should be conducted with acknowledgment of all strategic stability factors without exception. Today, those who propose implementing the so-called nuclear zero initiative as soon as possible, banning and destroying nuclear weapons and generally outlawing them absolutely, ignore the fact that since the nuclear bomb was made and this new kind of weapon began to be produced on a large scale in the USSR, the US, China, France and the UK, colossal changes have taken place in military science and technology. What is being developed in the US under the codename Prompt Global Strike are non-nuclear strategic weapons. If they are developed (and this work is moving forward very actively, with the objective of reaching any point in the world within an hour), of course, they will be more humane than nuclear weapons, because there will be no radiation, no Hiroshima or Nagasaki effect. However, in terms of military superiority, my friends at the Defence Ministry tell me the effect will be more devastating than from a modern nuclear bomb. (Emphasis added)

Note again that Mr. Lavrov has stated the Cold War Bean counting method of armaments limitations talks is not workable without a discussion and agreement on all factors – again the culture factor – are had.  Note also that in his remarks Lavrov has ruled out nuclear disarmament, even on a bilateral US-Russia basis, since (1) there are other nuclear powers, but more importantly because (2) there is a whole class of non-nuclear strategic weapons, equally destructive as nuclear weapons for bombardment purposes.

For those familiar with it, this is similar to the position that former US Army Lt. Col Tom Bearden maintains was a negotiating position of the former Soviet Union in arms negotiations, namely, that they wanted to ban weapons even more destructive than nuclear weapons, because of their sheer destructive power. The American negotiators, Bearden maintains, did not have a clue what the Russians were then talking about.

This is a crucial factor, for what it indicates is that Russia is well aware of a whole class of secret weaponizable technologies -again, alluded to by Lavrov in his previous remarks – that have to be taken into consideration. In this specific instance, Mr. Lavrov is possibly referring to the rod of God kinetic space-based orbital bombardment technologies which literally propel an inert projectile at such extreme velocities to a surface target that the impact yields a colossal thermonuclear-sized explosion, but without any radioactive aftereffects. In short, think of a nuclear war, without radioactivity.

Wars are thinkable again, and this is a de-stabilizing factor. This could also indicate that, at present, Russia is not involved in the development of a similar capability, but that if such weapons are not up for negotiation with western powers, then it will perforce have to develop them. (And there is an important side issue here, for two powers – Germany and Japan – have undertaken not to develop thermonuclear or nuclear strategic weapons, which they could easily and very quickly do. Such technologies afford an end-run around their treaty obligations, and since both are space-faring powers as well, this potentiality exists, and is yet another de-stablizing factor in Russias strategic calculations).

If one parses Mr. Lavrovs concerns here closely, it is almost as if he is stating, as openly as he can, that negotiations on nuclear weapons is almost a moot point, since technological developments is quickly rendering them obsolescent if not obsolete. Its the secret stuff that Russia is (rightly) concerned about, and it’s the secret stuff that also is a de-stablizing factor and needs to be put on the table. If one now takes the concerns of all three parts of this blog together, then what at first might appear to be a kind of random grab bag of unrelated concerns is really a well-thought out connected policy. And that policy is one which, at its central core, is uniquely based in cultural concerns. And in this, in my opinion, its light years ahead of the create a crisis and then solve it approach of the West.

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Westphalia, Soft Power, And New…[Part 2]

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
March 29, 2017

Yesterday I began this two part blog on the following important article that many here sent me: the speech of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the military academy of the Russian General Staff:

Speech of Lavrov at the Military Academy of the General Staff

As I noted yesterday, Mr. Lavrov placed his remarks about the Peace of Westphalia  ‘front and center ‘, toward the very beginning of his speech to the academy, and this, I argued, was a strong clue about Russia ‘s  long term  agenda. One might summarize that agenda in the form of two propositions:

(1) if there is to be a  ‘global world order’ then to ensure it does not become a tyranny, it must be based on some  ‘congress ‘ system or mutual recognition of the sovereignty of states, coupled with (2) the notion that such states are to be wholly secular, with no one religion dominating, or conversely, excluded. From the standpoint of domestic policy, this is a logical road for Russia to pursue, for though its religious-cultural heritage is Eastern Orthodox, it has significant populations of Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and so on. And this  ‘Westphalian’ approach has been stressed by Mr. Putin repeatedly in his remarks.

But Mr. Lavrov goes on to mention, in this context, something else quite important: the  ‘soft power ‘ or  ‘culture power ‘ card, and he does so, notably, immediately  after  mentioning the Peace of Westphalia: Of course, it takes more than just the size of a country’s territory for it to be considered “big and strong” in today’s world.  There is also the economy, culture, traditions, public ethics and, of course, the ability to ensure one’s own security and the security of the citizens under any circumstances.

Recently, the term “soft power” has gained currency.  However, this is power as well. In other words, the power factor in its broad sense is still important in international relations. Its role has even increased amid aggravated political, social, and economic contradictions and greater instability in the international political and economic system.  We take full account of this fact in our foreign policy planning. (Emphasis added)

What does this mean, or rather, how does this translate into action and policy? A couple of years ago I had a private discussion with a friend who is in the  ‘financial and investment counseling ‘ profession. I told him that one would have to watch future Russian foreign policy statements very carefully, because all the signals I was seeing at that time pointed to a massive increase of Russian use of the  ‘soft power/culture power ‘ card. At the time, I was basing this observation on the way Russia was handling the GMO issue by calling (and later implementing) a complete ban, while calling for genuine long-term studies on its cost-to-benefit aspects, environmental and human health risks and benefits, and so on. At the same time, Mr. Putin was openly speaking against the GMO issue, and from time to time was commenting on the health risks of western vaccine products. In other words,  he was not responding to the issues but rather, aligning Russia with the domestic opposition within the West . Or, to be even more blunt about it: he was playing to the growing sense of many in the West that their concerns were simply not being allowed in the media, in the halls of power, or even being allowed a level playing field and representation. That was just a few years ago.

Now  that program has expanded to represent the cultural concerns across the board: the collapse of morality, the assaults on the Christian basis of western culture, the so-called  ‘war on terrorism ‘ and the covert support by western intelligence agencies of terrorist groups… all of it has come under review by Mr. Putin in recent remarks; consider only his Christmas Eve message. In a certain sense, he was speaking for what many in the west have been calling  ‘populism ‘, but I believe a more accurate term or phrase might be  ‘traditional culturism ‘.  And he  does  raise a valid point: many in the west, this author among them, have grown tired of the shell game being played out in the so-called political parties: there are parties of the  ‘hard ‘ left, the Dummycrooks, Labour, the Social Democrats, and there are parties of the  ‘right ‘ – the  ‘fake opposition ‘ parties – that are really  ‘soft ‘ left: the Republithugs, the Tories, the Christian Democrats, and so on. Both  ‘sides ‘ are infested with globalists, that is to say, with crony crapitalism and with corporate socialists. And that has produced the frustration that, if one pays close attention, Mr. Putin has been addressing in some of his recent remarks.

To put this as plainly as possible: in playing the soft power/culture power card, Mr. Putin has been positioning Russia as  ‘the voice of the opposition ‘, unique among the powers that can be considered  ‘western ‘. It ‘s a decidedly clever strategy, for it accounts for the growing popularity of Russian media among the West, particularly from the disenfranchised  ‘populists ‘ or  ‘traditional culturists ‘, and the response of the oligarchs of the West is very  ‘non-western ‘: to attempt to shut down that media and continue to demonize Russia and anyone paying attention to it or its media. And this too has occasionally brought forth a comment or two from Mr. Putin. It is this strategy of becoming  ‘the voice of the opposition ‘ that I submit might be the  real  motivation for all the  ‘Russian interference in the election ‘ stories one sees in the USA, and even a few trial balloons on that score in Germany. It ‘s an attempt, and a very weak one at that, to break and combat this Russian strategy. Inevitably, matters in the article turn towards defense and security matters, as Russia is, of course, with the USA, one of the world ‘s two premier thermonuclear powers, and by some lights, the premier one, with modern updated delivery systems and by some counts, just slightly more deliverable warheads. But that will have to wait part three, tomorrow…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Westphalia, Soft Power, And New…

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
March 27, 2017

Many people sent me this transcription of a recent speech by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking to the Military Academy of the Russian General Staff. Indeed, the speech is quite important for what it says, and to a certain extent, confirms many high octane speculations that I’ve advanced here, and more extensively in private conversations. For our purposes today, Mr. Lavrov stressed many things in his speech, but I want to focus on three: (1) the Westphalian system, (2) the foreign policy of “human rights” that has enabled US unipolarism and interventionism, and (3) the appearance of wholly new types of non-nuclear strategic weapons of mass destruction.

Here’s the article:

Speech of Lavrov at the Military Academy of the General Staff

http://thesaker.is/speech-of-lavrov-at-the-military-academy-of-the-general-staff/embed/#?secret=myZEh6m328

(1) The Westphalian System: Notably, Mr. Lavrov mentions the Westphalian system, and later the Congress of Vienna system, and the consequences of not including Russia in similar collective security arrangements that occurred after World War One:

I’m aware that some entertain the notion, which is eagerly picked up by Russophobes, that Russia’s vast geography took shape due to expansion resulting from an internal sense of insecurity. As if the Russians, who for several centuries expanded their territory, were trying to “push back” a potential aggressor. To this, I can say that the greatest misfortunes in the past centuries came to Russia almost always from the West, while Russia, according to Mikhail Lomonosov’s famous dictum, “expanded through Siberia,” bringing different peoples and lands in the East under its wing. Many centuries of experience of harmonious coexistence of different ethnicities and religions within one state now allow Russia to promote a dialogue and form partnerships between cultures, religions and civilisations, which is also what happens within the UN, the OSCE and other international and regional organisations.

Another hallmark associated with our vast Russian territory concerns respect for the state, which is the guarantor of the country’s unity and the security of its citizens. A strong state also underpins an independent foreign policy. In international relations, all of that is embodied in the notion of sovereignty.

The sovereignty of states, their equality as the main subjects of international relations, was substantiated and approved within the Westphalian system that took shape in Europe in the 17th century. Currently, these traditional notions are being questioned in a number of Western countries. They are trying to secure for themselves, for example, the ability to interfere in other people’s affairs under the pretext of non-compliance with all sorts of unilaterally engineered human rights concepts like the so-called “responsibility to protect.” We are against such a distorted interpretation of the most important universal international legal norms and principles. Healthy conservatism with regard to the inviolability of the stabilising foundations of international law unites Russia with most countries of the world. (Emphasis added)

While I’ve commented before on Russia’s apparent anti-Globalism, Mr. Lavrov’s remarks are a reminder that Russia’s is not simply an unthinking opposition; it is, rather, well-thought out and well-considered, and hence, Russia has increasingly returned to the mention of the Westphalian system. As Mr. Lavrov points out (and reading his remarks in context), the heart of the Westphalian system is the recognition of national sovereignty. Reading behind the lines here, what Mr. Lavrov is really saying is that any global system which reduces the role of the nation-state or that eradicates its sovereignty is not a genuinely global order: merely a tyranny imposed on the globe by a certain group in the West who then use “human rights” to justify an imposition of their policies on everyone else. It was a process begun under Jimmy Carter and his so-called “human rights” foreign policy, brainchild of his national security advisor, the vowel-impaired Zbgnw Brzznsk (Zbigniew Brzezinski).

There is, of course, something lurking in Mr. Lavrov’s remarks here which, if carefully considered, will reveal a rather sweeping vision, and Mr. Lavrov, as a careful student of history and culture, will know that this implication, while not explicitly stated in his remarks, is there nonetheless.

The Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), which was essentially a religious war, trying to secure Europe for Protestantism, or Romanism. It ended, effectively, with a stalemate.  But as a result, what was recognized was not only the sovereignty of the nation-state over its own internal affairs, other things were also recognized, and they were equally, if not far more, important. The first was the recognition that these nation-states were sovereign, and not the respective religion of their respective princes. In short, the secular state was born, provided it recognized the equal rights of both Protestant and Catholic within its borders, and provided no religious party attempted to impose its own religious law, doctrine, or practice, on the other.

Stop and consider what this means, for by invoking the Westphalia system, Russia has a very long term goal and agenda in mind. Allow yourself to do some high octane “imagination” on what an application of the Westphalian principle would mean: it would mean, for example, an absolute end to Sharia law, and the attempt to impose it on non-Muslim countries or even localities; it would mean Christian churches would have to be allowed to function, freely, openly, and without interference in Muslim lands, and vice versa, mosques to function openly and freely in non-Muslim lands, so long as neither attempted to impose their religion nor seize the power of the state to do so. In a certain sense, the Westphalian principle resembles the so-called “Meccan versus” in the Koran, unhappily set aside by the later “Medinan” verses, where the tolerance of the Meccan revelations are set aside for the “more recent revelations” urging murder and forced conversions.

But there’s more here than meets the eye, but for that, we’ll have to wait for Part Two tomorrow.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.