Centuries never immediately acquire a character that can reward them with a right spot in history. Thus the 20th century did not really start until 1914. Will the 21st century be labeled as “the 2015 century”? Without wishing to predict the future, which remains by definition unpredictable, we can try to look at today’s events, which in turn, can help us sketch the general framework of the future. One thing remains certain though: never has the world been so uncertain, never have we witnessed such across -the -board upheavals. In each domain decks of cards are being shuffled and reshuffled. With the old issues disappearing, new ones keep popping up on the horizon. Which are these main driving forces?
The background scene is pretty well known by all. Among the major problems emerging in the coming decades, four, at least, will prove to be crucial: the inevitable depletion of natural resources; the future of international migrations and inter-ethnic relations; the rise of new types of warfare (war for oil and war for water, space warfare, and cyber warfare), including the planned merging of electronics and living beings. What about the rest of the things?
Will the 21st century be a Eurasian century? The United States has obsessive fear of seeing an assertive China-Russia alliance as a prelude to the constitution of a large continental bloc. Having been embarked on a series of geopolitical wars of aggression, it will do everything to encircle China and Russia, to impose the Trans-Atlantic “Free Trade” Agreement designed primarily to cut off Europe from Russia, to manipulate artificially the price of oil, and it will do so with its habitual brutality based on the principle: “If you are not our vassals, you are against us.” Events in Ukraine, a country which is the real geostrategic pivot of Eurasia, have already helped reactivate the Cold War — which had never really come to an end in the first place. The Maidan Square “revolution” has been from the outset more anti-Russian than pro-European, but it was the Americans who eventually drew benefit from it. The United States is prepared for anything, absolutely anything in order to uphold its status of “the indispensable nation.”
“De-Americanization of the World”
Russia, for its part, is seeking to implement a new geopolitical axis with Beijing and Tehran, a factor of multipolar balance of power opposed to the Atlanticist endeavors. The Chinese, after long procrastination, are no longer hiding their desire to “de- Americanize the world.” Yet, the future of Russia, a great power, albeit still fragile, in a similar way as China, with its own inner contradictions, remains uncertain. Countries of Eastern Europe are still hesitant as to which path to follow—all the more so as Germany is seeking to replace the former USSR as a federating factor in Eastern and Central Europe.
We are witnessing a restructuring of the forms of world domination. The United States, with its financial markets, its armed forces, its language and its culture industries remains the leading world power. Its economic impact, however, is decreasing bit by bit (its share of global industrial output has fallen from 45% in 1945 to 17.5% today), with the dollar representing today only a third of world trade in comparison to more than a half in 2000. The process of “de- dollarization” has already and simultaneously begun, in oil and gas trading and on the monetary front. Russia and China, emulated by other Third World countries, are using more and more their national currencies in trade and investment. The project of trade in energy and raw materials, without resorting to the dollar, is beginning to take shape. Meanwhile, the purchase of gold is gathering momentum. The advent of a new international reserve currency, designed to replace the dollar, seems inevitable.
The total debt of the United States has now reached a staggering $60 trillion figure (400% of GDP. i.e. public debt, private debt, corporate debt and household debt), which, for all intent and purposes, is no longerrepayable. Other nations, trapped in the cauldron of debt, also run the risk of default. As a leading figure of a growth company, albeit with no growth in sight, Europe, which is already on the brink of recession, appears now to be close to collapse. The crisis of 2008 was only a dress rehearsal. A bubble in government bonds of all OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries keeps swelling. There are today over 100 trillion dollars’ worth of bonds and more than 555 trillion dollars in derivatives. What will happen when this “bond bubble” burst?
Self-Destruction of Capitalism
The fact of the matter is that capitalism has become incapable of continuing the “development of its logic within the framework shaped ironically by the logic of its own development” (Francis Cousin). To offset its declining level of performance, capitalism must constantly increase the volume of its profit, that is to say, it must constantly expand the scope of its trade opportunities. In order to insure, however, the free flow of goods and commodities, it must raise its productivity level, which in turn means lowering the share of living labor that has been domesticated through the wage labor system. Hence the proliferation of “superfluous people” — i.e., the unemployed. How to sell ever more and more to customers who are being forced to earn less and less with their wages? Conversely, how to deal with the zero marginal costs of digital goods and services? Capitalism is now facing the fundamental problem of the devaluation of capital value. The flight into the loan system and into calculated obsolescence, followed by the race into financial speculation and “derivatives,” has its limits. The model of consumerism through credit is coming to an end. Having destroyed everything, capitalism, just like a scorpion, is bound to destroy itself.
Saturation of the market, the explosion of debt, the downward trend in the rate of profit, the decline of Europe, the widespread rise of false consciousness, the activation of a sub-chaotic process of de-civilization — the world seems to have entered into an implosive and terminal stage. Can we get out of it other than by war?
It is no longer unreasonable to think that the war is approaching and that it will be a new world war. This will not be a “clash of civilizations” (for this to happen one needs some civilizations), nor a war between “Islam” and the “West.” Again it will be a war between the East and the West. A “final battle” between the powers of the Earth and the powers of the Sea, between the continental powers and thalassocratic powers, between the money system and the principle of reality. NATO, which has become an offensive military alliance servicing the American wars, remains the most threatening coalition to world peace. A sign went out when Vladimir Putin was labeled by the Americans as the main enemy. On December 4, 2014, the House of Representatives passed a resolution amounting to the declaration of war against Russia. The alternative is war.
Alain de Benoist is philosopher. His new book is Le Traité transatlantique et autres menaces (2015). This editorial appeared firstin the quarterly Eléments, (January-March 2015) under the title “Le Tournant ?.”