Enantiodromia in Russian politics

Sovereignty is a measure of power. No power - no sovereignty. According to American political scientist S. Krasner: "Sovereignty is organized hypocrisy"[1]. This is truth.

Power is distributed hierarchically in the world [2]

At the top of the pyramid of powers is the United States. It is served by a number of influential, sometimes obstinate, but always loyal vassals: the EU, Japan, Turkey, as well as distinctive proxies in the Islamic world: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan.

The next countries in the scale of power are those who are able to effectively compete in some areas with the United States. They belong to the "second world" (not the first, but not the third): this is the BRICS countries and others like them. Brazil (collectively, Latin America), Russia, India, China and South Africa (collectively, TRANS-Saharan Africa in General). Potentially it is possible that this list can include some of the Islamic powers, seeking to be independent from the USA as much as possible.

All of the other countries in the world are irrelevant and only get underfoot, every time adjoining to someone who is stronger in each particular local case. They are the pretext for sorting things out between the powers of the first and second degree, a kind of Gastarbeitern of world politics.

The US: a structure of power of the first degree

Now the most important thing. The structure of the first power (the United States) is: the highest expression of a certain ideological formula — liberalism ( i.e. globalism or the establishment of a global liberal democracy as the most important mission), as well as two means to achieve the ultimate goal — the victory of liberalism on a global scale —

1. By peaceful trade;
2. By military force.

The "Merchants" (the Doves) in the United States government believe that in favor of liberalism you can persuade others with arguments and seductive proposals, and the “Enforcers” (the Hawks), are convinced that the quickest way to achieve this goal is through the establishment of absolute American military and geopolitical hegemony on a global scale (because the United States is a bastion of liberalism, so the bigger the US - the more that liberalism is influential, the stronger the US - the stronger and deeper is liberalism). There is a deep consensus between the “Merchants” and the “Enforcers”: they both move towards the same common goal, both simultaneously advocating for a one world government and American national power; the only difference is in the choice of means to achieve this common goal. They argue with each other, but the controversy ends when a power of the second degree appears on the horizon.

Then they all act collectively: the most important things bring them together, especially in the face of the enemy and rival. All the contradictions here are purely tactical in nature. The CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and neocons, pacifists and American militarists are strategically and essentially one single entity. All of them are first and foremost liberals, and therefore, share a liberal ideology, which today can be defined as "American ideology".

If we understand this, we will understand almost everything about the modern world structure.

Enantiomerical compromise

Let us look in greater detail at secondary powers, powers of the second degree. To this category belongs modern Russia.

Its structure of this category depends on the structure of the first power (the US) and, in general, is similar (with differences in proportions) to the structure of all the other secondary powers. There are two symmetrical poles in this structure too: "trade" (peace) and "military" (war). They constitute the core of the bipolar system of governance. While the secondary power is not a direct vassal of the US, and has not turned into a third-rate power (that is a small size country), it has relative sovereignty that is not absolute (unlike the US) but still is not artificial (according to Krasner), like that of a small country.

Relative sovereignty consists of two poles - peace and power, which are, however, qualitatively different. The peace wing - "merchants" is presented by the ideological liberals (acting as agents of hegemony, in the sense of Gramsci [3], and global liberalism), and the security forces — "Caesarists" (also in the sense of Gramsci [4]); that is, the pragmatically oriented bureaucrats, interested only in maintaining power. If the liberals are not against changing the balance of relations with the United States, gradually giving up Russia’s sovereignty (in normal terms) to the primary power (global hegemonic), the Caesarists would refuse liberalism (which for them has no significance) in favour of sovereignty, because under direct American hegemony, the power of national bureaucracies will either be significantly restricted, or transferred into the hands of external managers (as happened in Russia in the 90s).

However both the liberals and the Caesarists, in a power of the second degree, always have a vital interest in maintaining the status quo. They are satisfied with it, as is the case now, and are not happy with the prospect of changes (regardless of which). So both poles are interested in things remaining unchanged. This leads to a sustainable and stable enantiodromia, one able to move simultaneously in two opposite directions: the military stands for peace (not war, which would be logical), and liberals stand for sovereignty (and not globalization, which follows from the ideology of liberalism). The military does not want to fight, and the liberals want to restrain globalization. So here there exists an enantiomerical compromise. Here we find all kinds of contradictory statements: Crimea is ours, Donbass — theirs; we are not at war with Ukraine, we trade with Ukraine, etc. It is not just a cover-up for expansionism using a smokescreen of peaceful but cynical diplomacy, this is indeed the way of thinking of an enantiomerical ruling elite.

Enantiodromia ends where one of the trends clearly begin to dominate. When the Caesarists realize that U.S. hegemony and liberalism as such will inevitably lead to de-sovereignization of Russia, and it does not depend on who prevails in the United States — the hawks or the doves, they (Caesarists) then shift into the zone of ideological non-liberalism (anti-liberalism) and prepare for war; a real military war. Because they know that sooner or later that war will be imposed on them if they will insist on sovereignty.

When the liberals realize the same thing, they cross the border and offer to sacrifice sovereignty for peace.

Outside of enantiodromia, bureaucrats become (anti-liberal and anti-American) patriots, ideological patriots (Russia above all), and liberal supporters of the regime and its elite become opponents of the regime, and an implacable opposition to it (there should be no Russia at all). Liberals in irreconcilable opposition represent a Fifth Column, while the liberals in the government — the Sixth Column. Symmetrically, a distinction exists between security officials and bureaucrats (within the elite), and the independent ideological core of patriotism (great power nationalists, supporters of the Orthodox Empire, traditionalists, conservatives and conservative revolutionaries, Eurasianists and followers of the 4PT).

But in modern Russia, as in almost all modern powers of the second degree, the enantiodromia practically dominates everywhere. This is the alliance of military men for peace with the liberals for sovereignty. They mimic the structure of the first power, but this imitation is based on one fundamental mistake: American elites are ideologically unanimous, aspiring towards a common goal and argue about tactics: tools, processes, timing, the place and time of carrying out of an operation, expediency, a calculation of the balance of interests, etc. In contrast, the enantiodromia elites are self-contradictory: the liberals are in one party, national bureaucrats (Caesarists) in the opposite. Doves and hawks in the U.S. are two horses harnessed from one side of the chariot; the liberals and bureaucrats in Russia - from different sides: this is enantiodromia.

Enantiodromia of the second-level powers is in a structural stupor, however it is also in a hurry to get rid of those who pose a threat - the Fifth Column, the ultra-liberal opposition who are directly challenging our sovereignty, and also the committed patriots who insist on a non-liberal ideology and the inevitability (but preparations must begin now) of a direct clash with the United States. So, outside of the mainstream are those and others. The Fifth Column, and consistent patriots (military for war) are banned. The primary discourse in the society is completely controlled by enantiodromians who are looking more and more like schizophrenics.

If we understand this, we will understand not "almost everything" in the modern world, but in fact everything. Indeed the same scheme, mutatis mutandis, works for all the other second level power countries, and even third-rate countries, which are in a field of intense controversy between wealthy and geopolitically ambitious countries.

Crimea without electricity: explanation

This general formula explain to us the reason for this surprise. When we reunited with Crimea in response to the Maidan, we were the only ones who recognized the legality of this reunion, and nobody else. It absolutely makes sense that Kiev does not just disapprove, but starts a direct "Reconquista" if it can, and if Kiev is unable to do so, it will try to strangle the separated territories in any other available way. From the point of view of consistent patriots in Russia, it is very clear and has been very clear from the beginning. The Americans and their European vassals pushed the crowd in Kiev to overthrow the compromising (enantiodromic) Yanukovych, who was both yours and ours, and not yours, and not ours (until he confused himself). The goal was to bring to a third power country, with close-to-zero sovereignty, a directly pro-American liberal elite: and so it happened. This dealt a blow to Russian sovereignty, and then despite the enantiodromic condition (this time Russian), there emerged a consensus (albeit relative) of traders and security forces who responded with the reunification with Crimea. Not all Sixth Columnists unconditionally accepted the Crimea reunion, but there was nothing they could do: those who were categorically against it could just go over to the Fifth Column.

But the joy of the patriots was premature: the Crimea became an end for something else, and with respect to the Donbass, the enantiodromia prevailed: the "enforcers" for peace together with the liberals for sovereignty began to write the Minsk agreement. Once again their slogan was: "if only there was no war" began to be heard. Trade negotiations with Kiev restarted: no one was fighting. Yes, war is peace. All is good. A mountain of corpses, an accident; the internal affair of a third-rate country. Political purges began among the patriots, who thought that the bureaucracy, Caesarists and security forces, had shifted in their direction, in the direction of Novorossiya, anti-liberal ideology and preparation for a decisive war. There it was. But enantiodromia kept its power firmly and was not going to give it up. Not now.

Yet in Kiev the situation was no better. Overthrowing one enantiodromist, a mob of this third-rate power brought to power still another enantiodromist. And in the new environment he began to waver: neither war nor peace, rushing from the fight with the rebels of Donbass to the Minsk agreements and discussions of gas prices. In this situation, two enantiodromias with the participation of the bipolar American elite (always promoting solely in their interests in any situation no matter by trade or war) Ukraine supplied electricity to the seceded Crimea.

Supplied up to a certain point, then stopped. A little more war, a little less trade. Tomorrow may be again a little more commerce, a little less of the "Right Sector", and so on in this period.

In Russia, structurally the situation the same, but the level of power is different: the difference between relative and fictitious sovereignty is still very significant. It is however partially neutralized by the fact that behind the country with virtually no sovereignty looms the shadow of the country with absolute sovereignty (the US). And here is the important conclusion: the way Poroshenko negotiates with Russia, is the same way Moscow negotiates with Washington. The imbalance of powers explains how negotiations are going: the strong can always break any agreement if it is in their interest to do so, without consequences (if there is nobody who is stronger). The weak, following the lead of the strong (trade, doves, if only there was no war), always depend on the strong more and more. And if it comes to a critical point, then it will be too late to start the war at some point, Moscow can do with Kiev whatever it wants by using the carrot and the stick tactic. But Washington can do the same with Moscow.

The liberals in Washington count on this in relations with Russia. They are willing to postpone war, so the Sixth Column in Moscow has time to strengthen its position, to embed liberalism deeper in the elites and even the masses, hoping that in this way the weakened secondary power will fall into their hands by itself. The American strategists (for example, Steve Mann) understand that liberalism, historically, strengthens democracy and by contrast, corrupts and undermines undemocratic regimes.

But this game lasts only as long as the Sixth Column stays empowered together with a guarantee of peace (the peace in exchange for liberalism) continues to weaken Russia. If ideological patriots (and not just the bureaucrats) become active during this time, then the initiative goes to the Washington hawks. Not against the Washington "doves" and "traders" as it may seem, but with their blessing. After all, they both have one goal.

Washington phones up Kiev, and electric transmission towers leading to Crimea get blown up. From Moscow it may be followed only by an enantiomerical answer: surprise or indignation. After all, war is peace. Do not forget this.

Thus, we have not only solved the riddle of our surprise, but have also learned a good theoretical lesson from this minor episode in the Great War of Continents.

[1] Krasner S. D. Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.
[2] Lake David A. Hierarchy in International Relations: Authority, Sovereignty, and the New Structure of World Politics. Ithaka, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009.
[3] Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. International Publishers, 1971.
[4] Ibid.